My Debate with a Solipsist/Taoist/Advaitin

38 Responses to ATHEISM A DEAD END

enleuk

I believe in the experience of being, that which is beyond words. This also means I don’t believe it is God or metaphysical or anything I can name. It just is.

I see the network of my brain and realize all my knowledge is relative because the network is a part of the universe and so I can only judge truth as subjective and relative (except the absolute truth which is beyond all concepts). And through relativity (logical deductions) I see there is no immaterial free will, there is only one life, I am my body and nothing else.

This makes me happy; I am a body, I may not know what that ultimate means, but

I’m happy to live as long as my body lasts.

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  • You could be perfectly content with yourself believing whatever you wish, but your subjective ideas don’t invalidate somebody else experience, that it is not the process of subjective discourse, like I believe the Universe work this way, or that other way, therefore it is impossible for God to exist, or oh, if you were under the influence of Ayahuasca, it is perfectly reasonable to understand that the chemical process in your brain made you believe all this weird stuff! My answer to you is; You try it and experience it, then we argue if your experience was real, or it was just another idea that cross your mind! Either you have experienced God, or you don’t, but if you never have a Mystical experience that open your Heart, all your ideas it is just the chatter box you carry on your head that never stop talking!

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    • enleuk

      I have had that experience, but I don’t call it God because that sounds like it’s not a metaphor for something else, but a real factual personal God. God implies a Judeo-Christian God, a God as defined by the people of the Levant. That is not what I experienced. I experienced the unnameable, the mystery, that which has been metaphorized as the tunder of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, the unity behind the duality of yin/yang, the necessary connection of all things related as portrayed in the black dot in the white field and the white dot in the black field, the emptiness, sunyata, of Nagarjuna, the love of Jesus or the Father he describes by saying “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust”, that which is beyond being and not being, beyond neither being nor not being, the transcendence of Leela, the sun God Ra, nirvana, brahman.

      Joseph Campbell said: “You have to break past your image of God to get through to the connoted illumination. The psychologist Jung has a relevant saying: ‘Religion is a defense against the experience of God.’ the mystery has been reduced to a set of concepts and ideas, and emphasizing these concepts and ideas can short-circuit the transcendent, connoted experience. an intense experience of mystery is what one has to regard as the ultimate religious experience.”

      Beyond Kantian concepts, beyond Nietzschean relativity, beyond all Derridian traces, that’s where the experience is, at the bottom of Apsu.

      I am a materialist because I see the coherency of logically deduced material theories, and I will not misrepresent the mystery with personal interpretations of it, for your thoughts are subjective and so all your interpretations are flawed. Maybe you believe in an ineffable mystery, but I don’t think you’d call it God if you did. And if you believe in a Judeo-Christian God, then you’re basing your conceptual interpretations of that mystery on a literal history of philosophy and must defend your concept against other philosophers and historians, and in the case of the Judeo-Christian God the battle was over long ago, as Nietzsche says:

      “Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that God is dead!”

      You say that my subjective experience doesn’t invalidate your subjective experience, which would have been true, but you’re not talking about a pure experience.

      My ineffable experience is not up against your conceptual interpretation of your experience, but you cling to a conceptual interpretation
      of God and therefore you’re up against the enlightenment of Buddha, Socrates, Nagarjuna and a long list of philosophers as well as all the scientists who discredit your concepts (that’s all they can do, they can’t discredit the pure experience).

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  • I understand your idea of not want to give it a name, however in your discourse you use many times conceptual names to describe your experience, names that are derived of particular Cosmologies, like Leela, The Sun God Ra, Nirvana, Brahman, etc. with their correspondent particular Religions, and their particular Historical, Socio-Cultural negative baggage. Some Religions in the past have tried to refer to it as the Great Mystery, the not Named, because they were aware that one word do not encompass the Divine, and it is true the word God bring in many of us preconceived ideas with negative connotations, and that is unavoidable. However billions of people they give It a Name ; Allah, Brahman, Jehovah, etc. And that is fine with me also.

    Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi is concerned with believers becoming limited to what they have found to be true from the Real. He reminds us that God – Allah – as He really is, is not the same as the God that people may imagine to be, although Allah is not absent from this specific form either Allah is unlimited, but the believer’s imagination, or opinion of God – Allah – is naturally limited.
    → Lâ ilâha illa-LLâh.

    As for your concern by those critics who debunk God based in their prepackage idea of God, they do not scape their limited Imagination, with their particular Cosmology, go try tell an Atheist scientist about your experience with the “Mystery” and see what they tell you!

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    • enleuk

      I am an atheist. The most important thing about understanding that God has no attributes, belongs to no concepts and cannot be related to any of the parts of the universe is that God is not only linguistically unreachable, God is also physically and materially nonexistent and metaphysics itself is nonexistent and thus God is nonexistent by any definition of existence a human can grasp. It will always be a mystery because our brains are a) relative b) subjective and c) embedded in the universe and can never understand itself objectively. So, while it is ultimately unknowable and therefore a mystery, there’s no reason to believe ‘anything about it’, while there are lots of reasons to believe in the meticulously researched and logically deduced materialist theories that most accurately predict the future.

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  • First you tell me about your Experience using Religious, and Metaphysical analogies, now you tell me you are a Materialist that doesn’t believe but the objective Universe out there because our brain is part of it.
    You being a Materialist that is easy to understand.
    But what was all that about: “My ineffable experience”
    How can you have an ineffable experience, if you say in your latest comment and again I quote you: “there’s no reason to believe anything about it”
    Please tell me more about that ineffable experience, that now seems more like a product of hocus-pocus..?
    Also Please read my new post: Science a New Cosmology.

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    • enleuk

      I use metaphors because that’s all we have. I say “there is no reason to believe anything ABOUT it” because it is ineffable, not just linguistically; it is unthinkable and therefore a moot point, it is the very definition of nonsense to believe in something you cannot imagine.

      “Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location.” No, words cannot point at it, because all words are metaphors and ultimately flawed. Our understanding of the moon must be internally coherent (logical deduction) and anything we can’t epistemologically think about must be disregarded. God can be epistemologically thought of, but is either incoherent or an absolute other, which, as I just said, is per definition nonsense.

      Solipsism is not the only belief that requires a leap of faith into a completely unknowable ontology. Brahman-Atman, Leela and Pantheism are identical to Solipsism in this respect.

      What I believe is instead that the mystery, which I experience daily, is the perceived void between the subjective metaphor and the ontological Ding. But since it is absolutely unknowable, I have no indication pointing me in the direction of believing anything else than that the experience is a function of the material structures of energy we have defined coherently and in detail.

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  • I respect your point of not wanting to give it a name, but splitting hairs about semantics for those that do, and consider that by giving it a name you limit it, that is totally your subjective view, and I accept that as well, but by no means believe that to be superior to those that give it a Name. We all have a different qualitative understanding for the same word, that may trigger different responses.
    As a self confessed Materialist, and Atheist you are inescapable defined by those terms, that by the nature of semantics are limited as well, and subject to misinterpretations.
    If you have an Ineffable Experience, you admit to the Ineffable, and that is the Moon.
    Negating that experience in others, or believe yours is superior based in your Ideological Atheism, and Materialism, you are still focusing on the finger, rather than the Moon!

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    • enleuk

      No, I’m only negating the finger-pointing, not the Moon itself. I’m negating the attributes you put on the unattributable. And if you think your subjective opinion can do battle with mine and not lose, then please, explain why deduction is not the most useful method of describing the universe.

      Btw, are you German or what’s with the common noun capitalization? (just curious) :)

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  • First you have to tell me how you can conciliate declaring yourself to be a Materialist, and an Atheist, just to turn around and declare you have achieved a Metaphysical experience?

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    • enleuk

      I already said that I experience it daily and as I’m trying to explain, the ineffable experience is not metaphysical, because the attribute of the experience belonging to a metaphysical plane cannot be attributed to the unattributable. Atheism means you remove all attributes from God and when stripped of all attributes God becomes simply reality, or existence, or universe, or matter, or energy. I use the term materialist because it represents the belief I hold and that belief is that deduction is the best epistemological key to existence.

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  • I am sorry I forgot Metaphysics it is not associated to a Mystical experience from your Materialistic point of view, what I mean in lack of a Materialistic, and Atheist definition to describe the process of Enlightenment, in what context, medium, vehicle, practice, or whatever you want to name it, you have the experience?

    You repeatedly mention daily life, but billions of people go through daily life without claiming such experience.

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    • enleuk

      The vehicle was simply that of learning. I’ve studied by reading books, reading online texts, listening to digital recordings, observing myself and everything else in the world. I’ve not been a member of anything or had a tutor or scripture to rely on. I grew up on a farm in Sweden, went to public school, studied Cognitive sciences, English and Journalism at university. That’s the context. I don’t remember the first time I experienced it and I don’t remember the first time I realized I was experiencing it and I don’t remember the first time I realized what the experience was and how to describe it, because it is ineffable.

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  • So, you mean to tell me one day you woke up and decided you were Enlightened?

    With no practice, no context, and no vision, except for your Materialist and Atheistic philosophy, and the books you read?

    That is for sure a new one. Alas, if cows could fly!

    Look Henrik you seem like a nice guy, but somehow confused, you want to have it both ways, to have your cake, and eat it too, and that is not possible. I got no idea how old are you, but sometimes you sound like a young person, I had been to your blog and there is potentiality in you for Real Spiritual progress, you may look like a Buddha, speak like a Buddha, but if you do not act like a Buddha, you are not a Buddha! And I do not mean disrespect, but you are like a parrot repeating with no Real Wisdom, all talk, no praxis! There is knowledge in books, Wisdom is for you to add, knowledge without Realization, is of little use.

    Some years ago I wrote a letter to a friend, and decided to post it a few months ago, you can find it at my blog under the title: Letter to a friend about Montaigne, writing, and other matters.

    That apply to you like a charm! Read it, is short, you may benefit, your ego is a little out of hand, you are here to win arguments, and feed your ego, you are not fooling anybody, but yourself. And there cannot be any progress in the Spiritual Path if you do not start to tame the ego, and for that you need a Real Spiritual Discipline, under a competent Master, and many years of hard work, so be diligent.

    By the way anything you want to find about me, all you got to do is read my blog. It is short, only have sixteen posts so far.

    I am here to serve people in the Path, if you need confidential advice, just let me know, get in contact with me, you are welcome.

    And remember Henrik:

    The TAO, that is the Real TAO, is no ordinary Tao!

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    • enleuk

      “I got no idea how old are you, but sometimes you sound like a young person”.

      I am 27.

      “So, you mean to tell me one day you woke up and decided you were Enlightened?”

      I’ve never called myself enlightened. I didn’t wake up one day knowing everything after having known nothing the day before.

      “Your ego is a little out of hand, you are here to win arguments, and feed your ego, you are not fooling anybody, but yourself.”

      I didn’t come here to win an argument, I came here to challenge your words, so that I might learn something, so that I might challenge my beliefs.

      “if you do not act like a Buddha, you are not a Buddha”

      I’ve never claimed to either be, have been, gonna be or want to be a Buddha.

      You also say “you seem like a nice guy, but somehow confused” and “you are like a parrot repeating with no Real Wisdom”.

      It’s not often I get so many presumptuous and condescending personal attacks all in one comment.

      I’ve read all your posts. In the Montaigne letter post you talk about Western heartless egos, and I assume that’s what you’re referring to when you say “That applies to you like a charm”. Is this your prejudice or do you have quotes from my blog to support all of these accusations?

      And remember theburningheart:

      Tao/sunyata is a linguistically relative metaphor for the absolute truth, and it is ineffable/empty because the objective reality is unobtainable by subjects.

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  • I remind you of your writing of Nov. 18:
    “I experienced the unnameable, the mystery, that which has been metaphorized as the tunder of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, the unity behind the duality of yin/yang, the necessary connection of all things related as portrayed in the black dot in the white field and the white dot in the black field, the emptiness, sunyata, of Nagarjuna, the love of Jesus or the Father he describes by saying “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust”, that which is beyond being and not being, beyond neither being nor not being, the transcendence of Leela, the sun God Ra, nirvana, brahman.”

    Are those not your words?

    I warned you of borrowing terms for your experience with Religious and well known Metaphysical, connotations. Now those are big claims for a person who confess not even a practice of those beliefs, but furthermore that also deny their possibility as valid. Again I quote you: “Tao/sunyata is a linguistically relative metaphor for the absolute truth, and it is ineffable/empty because the objective reality is unobtainable by subjects.” Therefore You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Those last words unobtainable by subjects, what do you think they mean, or imply?

    Henrik, it is not my purpose to offend you, but to make you aware that it is not the same reading a book let’s say about Kara-Te, and believe you are already a Black Belt without ever practiced the Art! Sorry, if it hurt your feelings, but if you think I have being tough, wait until you start a Real Practice!And you are right I wish this would challenge your beliefs, otherwise all our conversation is useless.

    Please Henrik, rather than borrow my Metaphors, and try to use them against me, be a little original and use your own, I remind you that in the past that have not worked well, or you forgot already the finger pointing to the Moon?

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    • enleuk

      “Unobtainable by subjects” means that a neural network embedded in nature/reality/the universe can only relate phenomena to each other. Everything we experience is relative. You say you experience reality with your heart, that’s your linguistically relative metaphor. The duality of yin and yang, mind and heart and all other dualities are delusions created by the subject to categorize existence so you can build a structure of understanding that fits in your relative neural network. But the universe doesn’t fit inside the subject so because, absolutely, existence can’t be categorized, simplified, generalized and relativized and still be the absolute truth, a subject can only know the subjective experience and not the absolute truth. We have to accept the internally coherently deduced relative truth because the Tao is unobtainable and ineffable and without attributes like “metaphysical”, “life force”,”love” “compassion” et cetera. These attributes do not belong to the unattributable, they belong to the categories of the subjects and are not absolute truths. Love, e.g., is therefore constrained to the rules of the relative universe, the material universe, the logically deduced universe, the tangible universe, the describable universe, the universe in which the word “emotion” is a metaphor for a electrochemical process within a single subject and the emotion “love” not a metaphysical substance that binds subjects together in a metaphysical dimension. Even the word “unattributable” is unattributable to the unattributable, or as Nagarjuna says, even sunyata is sunyata.

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  • I know you knew that, therefore you were lying at saying:

    “I have had that experience”

    So if you believe that to be impossible, is not true, that you ever experience the ineffable, right?

    So have you told that to Eli Jaxon-Bear? :)

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    • enleuk

      “So if you believe that to be impossible, is not true, that you ever experience the ineffable, right?”

      Is that a question?

      Don’t call me a liar. I experience the ineffable daily and trust me, it is not spiritual or metaphysical in any way.

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  • Yes, subjectively! And according to your Materialistic and nihilistic beliefs totally meaningless , and therefore useless! But I do not care about it if you believe you are Clark Kent. I am not claiming that, I am claiming that is not possible to use analogies or metaphors using well know Religious origins dismissing their Cultural, doctrinaire, dogmatic, Historical, Cosmological view of those experiences, that is Cultural Relativism.

    And no I do not have a prejudice against you, or Western society in general but when you claim:

    “I have had that experience, but I don’t call it God because that sounds like it’s not a metaphor for something else, but a real factual personal God. God implies a Judeo-Christian God, a God as defined by the people of the Levant. That is not what I experienced. I experienced the unnameable, the mystery, that which has been metaphorized as the tunder of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, the unity behind the duality of yin/yang, the necessary connection of all things related as portrayed in the black dot in the white field and the white dot in the black field, the emptiness, sunyata, of Nagarjuna, the love of Jesus or the Father he describes by saying “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust”, that which is beyond being and not being, beyond neither being nor not being, the transcendence of Leela, the sun God Ra, nirvana, brahman.”

    You are committing a grievous mistake of equaling your experience, to theirs and that is what I am talking about when I said in my post of Letter to a friend about Montaigne, writing, and other matters:

    “Which take to my posterior reflection, about the lack of sympathy I feel in regard for many members of the Western intelligentsia who embrace Buddhism, out of their idea that it conforms to our way of thinking, and therefore suits our intellectual proclivities, ”

    You cheery pick those metaphors to suit your Materialistic Philosophy, without respecting their true meaning based in their proper context.

    But please tell me about Eli Jaxon-Bear, do you know him, what do you think of him, have you expose your beliefs to him?

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    • enleuk

      It is true that I cherry-pick, in the sense that I dismiss all the nonsens of “fire, earth, water and air” and 7 chakras and so on. I’m only using the metaphors to explain that the psychology is no different in their experience than in mine. You are clearly not a materialist and can therefore not accept this, but that is your subjectivity, not mine.

      No, I havn’t told Eli Jaxon-Bear. Do you know Nils-Ingvar? Have you told him about your views?

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  • Well, your philosophy is poor if you have to borrow metaphors of Religions, that their original meaning contradict your views that do not belong to it, and what is more there are out of context!

    Have I use Nils-Ingvar?

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  • Here we come full circle, you want to convince me of your subjective ideas based in your intellectual understanding of somebody else experience, and that is why you see them similar.
    We can’t live by proxy, our experience is unique, and it will never can be exactly the same regardless, this is the ship of Theseus paradox. The whole idea of a Spiritual Practice is to come to the Realization of your own experience, using methods that have been tried in the past and are effective, regardless of your preconceived ideas about them, if you do not have a practice you will never go too far, granted it takes work, and a lot of effort, but for the skeptics, there are easier, but riskier ways; Ayahuasca, Iboga, etc.
    You dismiss too easily what you do not know, or doesn’t sound like fit your Cosmology, just to give you an example you said:

    “It is true that I cherry-pick, in the sense that I dismiss all the nonsens of “fire, earth, water and air” and 7 chakras and so on.

    Over billions of Chinese people have used Acupuncture for over two thousand years, even Chairman Mao, a staunch materialist and an atheist confronted with the need of medics, and medicines for his troops during the Long March, come to the realization that acupuncture was good enough for his troops, and to this day the practice of Acupuncture is alive and well not only in modern Communist China but also in many other places including Western Nations. Well, as you may guess Acupuncture is based on Taoist Cosmology, that to our modern Western understanding may seem unbelivable, in great part based in those same things you arrogantly dismiss as nonsense, here:

    “Acupuncture five elements
    Chinese philosophy recognizes five distinct elements of cyclical change called water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. These five elements can be related to our four seasons (with a fifth late summer season) as shown in the table below. The elements can also be related to different colors, emotion, taste, voice and various organs. These can also be related to the selection of food and herbs. Notice the correspondence between the Chinese philosophy and the underlying Indian philosophy, which also classifies everything in the universe under earth, water, fire, air, and ether.”

    Should I said more?

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    • enleuk

      I posted a comment that is still awaiting moderation.

      “the whole idea of a Spiritual Practice is to come to the Realization of your own experience, using methods that have been tried in the past”

      That’s a contradiction: “We can only use other people methods to have a unique experience”.

      It’s interesting that you bring up acupuncture because acupuncture has been proven fake, it’s pseudo-science, which means it’s all placebo. [Edit: It actually works for pain relief, but that’s it.]

      I can’t know their experience no, but then again, you can’t know their experience either, you have to make a subjective judgment whether you believe your experience is somewhat like the experience of those who claim attributes like the word “enlightenment” based on your subjective understanding of their subjective experience and their subjective intellectual description to you about it. That means we’re no different you and I when we evaluate our own and others’ experiences and so you can’t use that as a argument against me and not at the same time against yourself. You may think your heart cannot lie to you, but that’s your subjective opinion, but even if it were you have to make a knowledge-based (even if it’s “knowledge of the heart”) decision whether the experienec other people describe to you and which you can only evaluate through their linguistic description of it, then it comes down to who is intellectually better informed about the experience. I am well aware of the effects of Ayahuasca and many other drugs, like DMT, MDMA, mushrooms, LSD, peyote, marijuana, cocaine, heroine, amphetamine, opium, alcohol, tobacco and so on. Not that I have taken all of them, but it’s only the intellectual description of them that matters since we can’t feel what others feel. And regardless of our own experiences, under influence or not, we have to relate those experiences subjectively to the language we share and that’s our only way of making this judgment. I was talking to a scientologist on his blog, it’s in Swedish but I can tell you about it.

      He said that billions or trillions of years ago, metaphysical enteties created the universe and eventually got entangled in it and forget who they used to be, obsessed with the material reality in which they started to believe was real. To free yourself and again become master of time and space, you have to pay a lot of money and go to meeting with an auditor, which is like a spiritual master or guide. The auditor has a device which measures electrical resistance of the skin, but claims that it measures spiritual resistance and is used to unblock the mind, free the spirit. At one point the scientologist I was talking to, during one of these therapy sessions, has an out-of-body experience. I said that OOBs are common neurological phenomena, we know what happens in the brain to create these sensations and that it’s an illusion of the brain and you’re not actually a metaphysical soul that ventures outside the physical body, but he had had this experience and so had a lot of other scientologists and therefore scientology is true and ghosts exist and medium are for real and so on and so on. That’s the problem with subjectivity.

      Now the problem of Theseus’ ship is just this simplification of the neural network I talked about earlier. We perceive trees and rivers and ships and people and stuff, but these definitions are all approximations made to fit inside the brain. If we did not simplify each brain would have to be larger than the universe, which is by definition impossible. Like Heraclitus said, you can’t step into the same river twice, and the reason is that there never was a river in the first place. The river is just a description of a temporarily stable feature or form of the ever-flowing energy of the universe. The same goes for humans, we’re just temporarily stable complexes and our parts change everyday. A human is just like Theseus’ ship. The ship is a ship only because we define it so. In reality it is just atoms, which in turn are not atoms, but subatomic particles, which in turn are not sub-atomic particles but and so on. Each step higher up on the ladder of concepts is a simplification of the level below. It’s wrong, but it’s all we got. So, it doesn’t matter if we change all the atoms of the ship, the ship is only a ship in our minds regardless of the atoms that make it up. We’re not absolute subjects that bind different temporal forms of matter into a coherent unity. Instead we are produced in every moment and the feeling of coherency, i.e. the idea that we’re still the same as the minute before, comes from the neural network automatically connecting the structurally physical memories in the brain and the new electrochemical activity of the present.

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  • Your whole proposition depends on this words, I quote you:

    but even if it were you have to make a knowledge-based (even if it’s “knowledge of the heart”) decision whether the experienec other people describe to you and which you can only evaluate through their linguistic description of it, then it comes down to who is intellectually better informed about the experience.

    My response to you rather than judging and try to discriminate with your intellect about it, which since my first response to you I clearly told you:
    You could be perfectly content with yourself believing whatever you wish, but your subjective ideas don’t invalidate somebody else experience, that it is not the process of subjective discourse, like I believe the Universe work this way, or that other way, therefore it is impossible for God to exist, or oh, if you were under the influence of Ayahuasca, it is perfectly reasonable to understand that the chemical process in your brain made you believe all this weird stuff! My answer to you is; You try it and experience it, then we argue if your experience was real, or it was just another idea that cross your mind! Either you have experienced God, or you don’t, but if you never have a Mystical experience that open your Heart, all your ideas it is just the chatter box you carry on your head that never stop talking!

    Henrik is not about who is intellectually better informed about China or not, is about if you have ever been to China! You dismiss Acupuncture as a fake, you arrogantly negate billions of Chinese experience just because you read somewhere is a fake, rather than rely in someone else account YOU try it!
    Go have a shot of Ayahuasca!

    We have come full circle, here Henrik, this is for you:
    Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen. He seldom turned any away.
    One day an important man, a man used to command and obedience came to visit the master. “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way.
    The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”
    The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind.”

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    • enleuk

      The flaws of anecdotal evidence is exactly what I was pointing at with my reference to the perceived enlightenment of the scientologist. Doesn’t matter how many people claim that acupuncture works for them when all unbiased tests show that it’s just placebo.

      And I have had that experience, why do you keep saying I will learn something after I have one when I’ve made it clear I’ve already had the experience. You don’t think it can be achieved by a materialist or without drugs, but that’s a problem of your limited, or perchance even deluded, mind, and not a problem of my limited, and perchance deluded, mind.

      Also, I’ve invited you to my tea party (my blog), but you refuse my tea even before tasting it solely because it smells strange to you.

    • Do not get flustered Henrik!

      I have been to your blog and read here, and there.
      And what you say about Quantum Physics from a Materialist point of view is sound, I am not opposed to the study of Matter by Science, but ultimately what they have found it is what Hindu Cosmology have been telling us for quite a long time the Universe is Maya, illusion.
      The Chinese:
      The tao that can be told
      is not the eternal Tao
      The name that can be named
      is not the eternal Name.

      The unnamable is the eternally real.
      Naming is the origin
      of all particular things.

      Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
      Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

      Yet mystery and manifestations
      arise from the same source.
      This source is called darkness.

      Darkness within darkness.
      The gateway to all understanding.

      The Sufis also speak of Creation not only in the past, but as a continuous process, This is what is called the renewal of creation at every instant. At every moment the Universe is absorbed in to the Principle and recreated at every moment, in fact Existence is not a state, but an act, as the Existenciating command of God, “Be”

      The Sufis tell us that the
      Absolute see Itself on creation like in a mirror, so no wonder if you study the image of the mirror you will only find a reflection that is not the Real.

      Most people problems with God arise of trying to find Him, not realizing that in a mirror right is left, and left is right!

      In the Spiritual World things are inverse, you do not go looking for God, You do not Realize God.

      God Realize Himself in You!
      If you only allow it.

      Here the Chinese again:

      “If you overesteem great men,
      people become powerless.
      If you overvalue possessions,
      people begin to steal.

      The Master leads
      by emptying people’s minds
      and filling their cores,
      by weakening their ambition
      and toughening their resolve.
      He helps people lose everything
      they know, everything they desire,
      and creates confusion
      in those who think that they know.

      Practice not-doing,
      and everything will fall into place.”

      If you would realize that emptiness that you talk so much about, but seem not to understand, it is precisely what the Mystic strive for. Now, those same guys who give us all that nonsense of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and the seven Chakras come with a brilliant fellow named Patanjali who expose a method of Union (Yoga)

      The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali tell us:

      “Before beginning any spiritual text it is customary to clear the mind of all distracting thoughts, to calm the breath and to purify the heart.
      1.1 Now, instruction in Union.
      1.2. Union is restraining the thought-streams natural to the mind.
      1.3. Then the seer dwells in his own nature.
      1.4. Otherwise he is of the same form as the thought-streams.
      1.5. The thought-streams are five-fold, painful and not painful.
      1.6. Right knowledge, wrong knowledge, fancy, sleep and memory.
      1.7. Right knowledge is inference, tradition and genuine cognition.
      1.8. Wrong knowledge is false, illusory, erroneous beliefs or notions.
      1.9. Fancy is following after word-knowledge empty of substance.
      1.10. Deep sleep is the modification of the mind which has for its substratum nothingness.
      1.11. Memory is not allowing mental impressions to escape.
      1.12. These thought-streams are controlled by practice and non-attachment.
      1.13. Practice is the effort to secure steadiness.”
      Etc.

      Pay attention in particular to 1.2 You have to stop the flow of thought, if you don’t you will never achieve emptiness, in this life, even if emptiness is our true Nature.

      But now the emptiness in my stomach is reclaiming me with a need to fill it! Illusion, or not, I obey it’s command, so I go to dinner. :)

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      • enleuk

        “The Sufis also speak of Creation not only in the past, but as a continuous process, This is what is called the renewal of creation at every instant.”

        If you had actually read my blog you’d see that I talk about that a lot, but very rarely of quantum mechanics. Maya is the real world, the illusion is the subjective experience of Maya. I can accept that God is the inverse of Maya, but if so, then God is just another name for Maya and it would be pointless to talk about God instead of Maya. You talk a lot but you say nothing, just repeating lengthy quotes and not being able to see the whole picture.

        Also, it is impossible to stop the flow of thought. When I meditate I am under the illusion that I am not thinking, in actuality I am just thinking of emptiness, I will never get rid of the activity even when I’m not aware of it, evidenced by dreams and the subconscious. The fourth letter of AUM is this same illusion. So are all the experiences of the heart. In reality you are created by the neural network. I know people have wanted to believe in metaphysics for a long time because the discrepancy between the subjective experience of being and the detailed description of the body creates an insurpassable abyss, a mystery, and this lack of understanding leads us to assume that thunder is a force of will, that trees are inhabited by djinns, that the sun is pulled by a God, that the material world is not an explanation, we have to invent the idea of “there’s gotta be something more”, literally “meta-”.

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    • You see Henrik, the problem with label yourself with a ism, or a ist, like in Materliasm, or Atheist, or any other ism for that matter, is that it force you in to dogmas, here you affirm that it is not possible to stop the flow of thought just because under the tenets of your Religion, oh, I am sorry, your Materialism that is impossible.
      But let’s see how somebody else not bound by your limitations can see things:

      The Universe is absolutely huge, so huge that every possible combination of events that you can imagine inside your head really exists! To give you an example of how the universe is infinite we must look at how the universe branches to infinity on the small side. If I had an apple and made it ½ as large and did this over and over again. There would always be an apple whether its original size was divided down and down ex .5,.25,.125,.0625 and so on. The apple would never disappear because the universe will always accommodate it. We must eliminate human measurements from our head because we have labeled certain sizes terms that make mathematical sense in our mathematical calculations of the universe. What people have failed to realize is that the earth’s circumference is not really 24,902 miles because that it all relative to our idea of size and our measurements. The earth could indeed be .0000024902 cm in the overall scheme of the universe and humans could be .0000000000001 mm at their real height where we have labeled ourselves as perhaps 6 feet tall. Let us imagine a universe with endless possibilities, do not waste time with concepts of dimensions and alternative realities that have been theorized. Simply focus on the term infinite and the concept that infinite is never ending, therefore everything that you can imagine exists. Your mom and dad are being born somewhere zillions of miles away, you are a grandparent, the president of the United States, the emperor of the Chinese dynasty. Somewhere you can even fly if in that given situation and in that given world, physics enable it. Perhaps gravity is far weaker on that earth 9,999,999,999 human measured miles from here in the universe. Back to concept of the ocean and land, just because you cannot see these things does not mean they do not exist. Just because you cannot see those other planets does not mean they do not exist. For example let us look at the moon, humans weigh far less due to gravity and can therefore bounce along while that is not a possibility on our planet due to gravity.

      Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/spirituality-articles/the-universe-and-god-with-infinite-possibilities-1040115.html#ixzz17cksXyPk
      Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

      You say:
      “Also, it is impossible to stop the flow of thought. When I meditate I am under the illusion that I am not thinking, in actuality I am just thinking of emptiness, I will never get rid of the activity even when I’m not aware of it, evidenced by dreams and the subconscious. The fourth letter of AUM is this same illusion. ”

      “My response to you is if the universe is an Illusion, why can’t you have any illusion you may desire? Why you have to add:
      So are all the experiences of the heart. In reality you are created by the neural network. I know people have wanted to believe in metaphysics for a long time because the discrepancy between the subjective experience of being and the detailed description of the body creates an insurpassable abyss, a mystery, and this lack of understanding leads us to assume that thunder is a force of will, that trees are inhabited by djinns, that the sun is pulled by a God, that the material world is not an explanation, we have to invent the idea of “there’s gotta be something more”, literally “meta-”.

      It is not that your own illusion also? it is not the neural network an illusion as well?

      Have a good evening :)

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      • enleuk

        “The earth could indeed be .0000024902 cm in the overall scheme of the universe and humans could be .0000000000001 mm at their real height” Yes, but the point about deduction, which I’ve mentioned several times already, is that the relationship is the same regardless of the definition. I actually thought you had some good arguments behind your strong convictions, but it seems you just thought: “space and time is infinite and I have a soul, therefore …”, which is a deduction based on two very weak presuppositions, because a) space is not infinite and b) the soul does not exist.

        Space is huge, but not infinite. If you divide an apple enough times you come down to an apple cell, if you divide that cell, is it still an apple? If you divide the cell down to a single hydrogen atom, is that still an apple? If you divide that atom, is it still an apple? When does the apple become a human if you eat the apple atoms?

        The soul does not exist. Like all language, the soul is a metaphysical simplification of a complex process. Just because it’s difficult to understand the discrepancy between our “experience” and our experience of our experiencers (the body) (i.e. between the experience and the being) doesn’t mean it’s sound to say it’s gotta be magic.

        Also, even if the idea of infinite space was true, lets say that the billions of galaxies we today believe is what makes up the universe are actually just a quark in a larger existence and the reason we can’t see other quarks (other collections of billions of galaxies) is because quarks are so far apart and don’t have a noticeble effect on each other. Thus, this quark might very well be a part of a giant apple or any other structure. Now, even if this was true, why should we believe it? Nothing in the power of the human can justify this belief. There’s no thinkable reason to believe it, (your arguments are indeed very poor). No delusional “emotional reason” to believe it. No evidence either by measurement or inference can be produced. So even if it was the truth, it would be foolish to believe in it.

        I only use -isms to spark debate, my arguments are not based on -isms. If someone offers a more likely explanation of the universe that doesn’t fit with the acceptable definition of e.g. materialism, I will either propose that our understanding of matter be changed or if that is not logically or consensually possible reject materialism.

        “Why can’t you have any illusion you may desire?” Because we’re not metaphysical. The illusion is caused by the structuralization of matter.

        I recommend these for starters:

        https://enleuk.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/an-arbitrary-theory-of-creation/

        https://enleuk.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/being/

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    • I confess that I choose this article to see if you would catch this one! Actually I agree partially with you Jamison Fisher makes the crass mistake of equating the Universe with God in a Pantheistic fashion, forgetting that the Universe is finite. As for when an apple stop being an apple at the level of the atom, it is not important, before it was an apple, it was an atom of something else, that you eat the apple will be just like the Earth In about 5 billion years, the Sun will have used up its hydrogen reserves and will expand to become a Red Giant, with a radius of about Earth’s orbital distance. The Earth will most likely be swallowed up when this occurs, so the apple! but It is not the apple that should concern you, but the lack of Ontological Reality (Maya) of the apple, the atom of the apple, the Earth, the Sun, and the Universe itself!

      Yes, I read your: An Arbitrary Theory of Creation, but honestly find them, semantically contrived, painfully tortuous to follow, the nearest to the truth of the matter is when you resume and say:

      ” In actuality, nobody knows the nature of water. But we are finite and therefore need to/do believe that we know.”

      And you could have said that with a lot less words.

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      • enleuk

        Yes, but the implications of our lack of knowledge is the interesting part. To say that we don’t know is far from a resumé, it’s merely the prologue. We can’t just say “I have no clue” and be done with it, and even worse would be to say “I have no clue, therefore metaphysics is real.” Subsequent conclusions come from the same question that Descartes answered with “Cogito ergo sum”, namely: What can I know? My answer is that you can’t know the absolute nature of anything. Ultimately nothing exists. But we have dependent-arising, meaning relativity, and we can judge the relative (internal) coherence of a world-view. Thus, in the end, we can’t even speculate about the ultimate nature of things, we can only think of/have to accept the deduced description of the world.

        I’m sorry if it’s torture to you, my short-comings as a writer does not affect the quality of my philosophy though.

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    • In the House build by the materials of Illusion whose inhabitant is more deluded?
      When you say:
      We can’t just say “I have no clue” and be done with it, and even worse would be to say “I have no clue, therefore metaphysics is real.”
      Why not?
      Should I deny my experience, on the base of your subjective supposition that matter is all we got, and become like the King of the poisoned well, just to make you happy?

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      • enleuk

        “We don’t know” -> Conclusion: “Metaphysics is real.” You truly don’t understand why this is impossible to say? I don’t know if there’s an apple in my hand, therefore there is a spider in my hand, necessarily and without doubt a spider. I don’t have a clue whether it’s an apple or not, whether it’s something else or not, therefore IT MUST BE A SPIDER! “I don’t know, therefore metaphysics is real”.

        The point about deduction is not only that we must reduce our knowledge to unprovable deduction, but that this is necessarily what we must build our knowledge on. We can accept that we have no ultimate knowledge of course and say “I don’t know if I exist, I don’t know if you exist, I don’t know if God exists, I don’t know if if anything exists, I don’t know if eating will keep me alive, I don’t know if there is water in my body, I don’t know if there’s any point in drinking water, I don’t know how babies are made, I don’t know et cetera,” which is perfectly fine, but it doesn’t seem very usable. And we can’t get rid of deduction even if we did arrive at that conclusion, because we arrive at that conclusion through deduction of our knowledge. We use deduction to evaluate the idea that “we can’t know anything”, we came to this conclusion through deducing our experiences of the world. The problem of deduction is that the premises are absolutely unknowable, but the strength of deduction is that we can evaluate the internal coherency of ideas. And this is the relationship we inescapably build our knowledge with, no matter what delusional concepts are invented to circumvent this realization.

        In a house of illusion, the people who understand the laws of the illusion will be able to navigate through it. If the laws of illusion are sometimes altered by anyone or anything, the people who understand that one or that thing will understand how the laws change and thus fare best. If the laws of the illusion are constant, then there either is no thing or one to alter them or the thing or one is itself part of the laws or the laws themselves and therefore a superfluous element in the understanding of the house, which then is the entirety of existence and includes thing like love and bliss and consciousness and everything, at least to the person who understands that the house houses it-all.

        I’m not trying to convince you to just make me happy, I also want to share my thoughts with you and I want to explore my own thoughts and I want to explore language and I want a bunch of other stuff besides becoming happy through your conversion, which is far from a top priority of mine.

        I’m not denying your experience, I’m explaining the experience. If you think I am mad, then what’s to say you aren’t the one who’s drunk mad?

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    • Cervantes taught us there is madness that can be sublime, In India the Babas, mad people to our Western eyes, people just call them God Intoxicated, not as mockery, but as a sign of respect, if you argue with a mad man who is the fool? As to who would fare best will always be subjective, and therefore relative.

      Meanwhile you reduce existence at a long series of I don’t knows, and look for enlightenment in the workings of matter , always changing and voluble and dependent to a new discoveries, new hypothesis, photons, a new particle, or distant quarks, and black holes, somewhere in outer space, and dream of building science fiction technology like connecting your brain to a giant machine, not an original idea, and in my subjective judgment not a good one either, and to explore the Universe it in a future still not existent, the outer realms of it, that is your privilege, and if it brings you joy, even better, meanwhile we suffer today the backlash of lesser technology, product of that knowledge, and the irresponsibility of those who menace not only us, but every other creature on Earth.

      I understand the materialist position of consciousness to be a byproduct of matter, but then there is Wisdom in matter, which would mean a sort of consciousness, self awareness, a guiding Principle, that current scientist deny and attribute to chance, the laws of physics, time etc. And if pressed at all, some begrudgingly concede to name it a mystery not unveiled yet. This estate of affairs in contemporary Science reduce Men to a common lower denominator, a throw of the dice of a nihilistic, and purposeless existence, this is contrary to my experience, of life existence as a precious, and meaningful. On your views this wouldn’t mater, I guess, it just will be a chemical reaction in my brain. Maybe the common Man one day would be able to realize Truth through science, I do not deny that possibility, but in any case still would be a subjective experience, in the individual, and very likely not different of Mystical experience were the vehicle for it, is not the mind, or the facts out there, but the Heart.

      But unlike you, others before, and in the present as myself, have chosen a different way, I am unconstrained either by an Scholastic necessity to conform , or an Academic prestige to keep, that free me to speak my mind openly, and without restrains, without the fear of burning up my reputation, like E.F. Schumacher that gave her daughter the book that will be his testament in his deathbed “A Guide for the Perplex” no doubt to escape criticism. When Religions talk about different levels of Being, is anathema, or just nonsense, when theoretical Physicists talk about different dimensions, and all sorts of things, with little compunction. Advaita Vedanta speaks of three levels of Truth.

      The transcendental or the Pāramārthika level in which Brahman is the only reality and nothing else;
      The pragmatic or the Vyāvahārika level in which both Jiva (living creatures or individual souls) and Iswara are true; here, the material world is also true, and,
      The apparent or the Prāthibhāsika level in which material world reality is actually false, like illusion of a snake over a rope or a dream.
      The third school of Vedanta philosophy is the school of Advaita Vedanta. In this, the only reality that exists is Brahman. This does not mean that the world does not exist, but that it has a lower level of reality. In Advaita Vedanta philosophy, the world exists, but it exists with only ambiguous reality, and it exists with Brahman at its root. Hence the true reality of the world is Brahman and the reality that we see around us is a false reality, an ambiguous reality. So the world is really Brahman, that which is not Brahman has only relative reality and is to be disregarded.

      Brahman is the only truth, the world is an illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and individual self.

      If I am mad so be it, unlike a young atheist that exclaimed that he was so sure of his beliefs, that if he by any chance would experience a Mystical experience, he would run and check himself in to a clinic for the mentally disabled, I have no reason to distrust my experience, there is no two.

      I know by my experience that the Absolute, the Immanent, the whole of Creation, the great Mystery exist within me, and my Heart is the Axis of the Visible, and the Invisible, the Ultimate Reality, and this is not a random chance, but the whole purpose of Existence, and not only this allows me to experience truth, consciousness, and bliss, within myself, but It’s reflected Light in the Mercy, Love, Beauty, and meaning of everything, in the objective, as well in the subjective. God, Brahman, Allah, or the Mystery, or by any other Name /or no Name is within me, and allow me to see It in everything, including the sensible as the only Reality. TAT TVAM ASI

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      • enleuk

        Look, you have to open your mind a lot more to be able to comprehend how all the experiences that are almost unfathomably strange to you are all caused by the nature of reality. I call it material because the material description is the most accurate one, but you can call it something else as long as you use the definition applied to matter. How can you apply neurochemical reactions of the human brain like love, bliss, consciousness, mercy and beauty to Brahman who has neither a human brain nor thinks using neurochemical reactions? If you opened your mind to a world that was not like a human you would see wonderful things, but you’re stuck in an anthropocentric world-view where everything revolves around humans. But that’s fine, I’m sure you’re happy in your little world of delusion, my main point though is that there is no additional, no meta, no super, no extra, no something more, no purpose, no meaning, no reason, no point, no goal; It just is.

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29 Responses to “My Debate with a Solipsist/Taoist/Advaitin”

  1. Shriram Says:

    I understand your position, I would say just don’t believe any thing until you are convinced that it is true, first you will need to doubt and find out things for yourself. Is there a soul ? , the materialistic view is that there no consciousness or soul apart from the function of matter. That is all is there why should we think of any soul. In order to resolve this conflict it is better to find out if there is such a thing or not. If it is verified in ones own experimentation and exploration. I would say don’t bother about any philosophies or any thing if you are satisfied with your own philosophy do not bother. If you are trying to explore and find out something then it is different, you can explore and find out, if you are just curious then you are just collecting information.

  2. enleuk Says:

    Why should we even bother asking if there is a soul? I don’t ask myself “Is there an Easter Bunny?” because I already know that the answer is no.

  3. Shriram Says:

    Define a soul first then we will talk about knowing the easter bunny

  4. Shriram Says:

    So it means if I don’t know something I assume that it is like an easter bunny rabbit and say it does not exist. Well if that is the way you look at things then fine.

  5. enleuk Says:

    My objection is that you seem to want to throw out all certainties and rest your entire worldview on the idea of a soul and from there only explore/define the world.

    I agree that knowledge is a difficult question, but I don’t see why the idea of a soul should have any special place in ontology. To me there is no difference between a soul and the easter bunny and I dont see the point in wasting time on figuring out if they are real or not. Obviously I have spent a lot of time thinking about the existence of the soul because it is part of many religions and philosophies going back several thousand years. But that doesn’t make it special and singled out so that you suddenly don’t need to apply the standard principles of epistemology to this axiom of yours.

    I can perhaps give you some reasons for not believing in a soul. Firstly we have the idea of a free will, which contradicts the law of cause and effect. There is plenty of evidence for material causes to desires, feelings, actions, memories et cetera. There is no evidence for a supernatural will that interacts with the ongoing processes of cause and effect in the brain.

    Do trees have souls? Do animals have souls? When was your soul created? How was it attached to your body? When did that happen? When the sperm met the egg, when the cells copied to 64, when they were 1 million, when the heart started beating, when the fingers developed, when you exited the womb, when you celebrated your first birthday, when you referred to yourself as “I” for the first time?

    People have used immaterial causes to explain things for a long time, including thunder and lightning, bacterial infections, animal behaviour, self-consciousness, the universe et cetera. So far, no definition of a soul has been supported by credible evidence. Obviously you know so much more about this than I do (hell, I’ve only spent a few decades studying this), so you’re just gonna ignore what I say and retreat to the comfort of believing in an eternal essence.

  6. Shriram Says:

    You ask me if tree have soul ? Do animals have souls ?do they I don’t know, Besides you are the one making the claim not me. I will still stick to I don’t know. Can desires and mental activity be independent of matter ? To this I still say I don’t know. Suppose you say thoughts are nothing but electrical impulses in our brain then another question can be can we know the electrical impulses with out thought. So what comes 1st the thought or electrical impulse. Ok if the neuronical impulse comes 1st then how did I know it ? through thought.

    So what if you have spent decades studying it that doesn’t mean anything just as you will tell a priest saying I have studied the scriptures for decades and you still tell the priest it means nothing. Even scientists abandon theories they have worked for decades if you find me pissing off I won’t bother you.

  7. enleuk Says:

    No, you don’t piss off. Quite the opposite, I find this conversation stimulating.

    I’m not making the claim. Someone invented the idea of a soul, whoever believes in the existence of a soul is the one who has to prove it exists.

    Ya, I know that “decades studying” something isn’t relevant to the matter itself.

    On to the question: Do electrical impulses come before or after thought? The answer is that they are the same thing. Thoughts are electrochemical flows. Since they are the same thing, the one doesn’t occur before or after the other. In other words, “thought” is the name we give to the flows in the brain that we had no way of watching until the 20th century.

    But, I can give you more. E.g. a tennis player serves at like 200 km/h or something like that at a distance of maybe 20 meters. It only takes like 200 nanoseconds for the neural current to travel from the eye to the visual centre and then another 200 for the signal to be interpreted and via the motor cortex send the signal to the arm and leg muscles for an appropriate response. I’m only giving you rough numbers here, but the command to move is sent at the same time as the signal is sent to the awareness centre, so by the time you become aware that the serve is coming towards you, you have already hit the oncoming ball. This is true for everything, in essence we are not aware of the present, rather, we live a few milliseconds after the present.

    There’s a study that shows that we can predict whether someone will spontaneously choose, on the spot, between two simple choices, just by looking at their brain activity 10 seconds before the choice even when they are neither already determined or even know the question/choices. I that doesn’t put the final nail in the free will-coffin I don’t know what will. I can find a link for you if you like.

  8. Shriram Says:

    i have not said that the soul exists neither did I say that it did not exist, I simply said I do not know. I know all the arguments from the materialistic point of view. There are still certain things which are not explained like for example Deja Vu how does that occur ? So may be you’re right I do not know may be your wrong I do not know. There are experiments which show that some times people are able to know who is looking at them from the back. The materialist view does not seem to explain this. But neither can any one give answers to the questions of materialists also does not seem so. For example how does the immaterial mind interact with the material brain ?

    That is the reason I said you are the one making the positive claim not me I have not made any claim so far. Neither can you prove that I have. Coming to thought and electrical impulses, I am simply trying to define thought here, you said electrical impulses and thoughts are the same thing. But the argument is also that the brain makes consciousness in the sense the function of the brain makes consciousness so I will be right in saying that electrical impulses are the cause for thought. But even to know the electrical impulse I need thought. Also can we say that all electrical impulses are thought ?. Only the electrical impulses in the brain are thought. So it will be rightly said that the electrical impulses in the brain are regarded as the cause for thought.which is the position of the materialist. Also I really don’t understand that by saying I do not know how am I making a positive claim.

    Whereas you are saying that there is no soul that is a positive claim. Also it does not even tell me what is experiencing all of this. I know that something is receiving all of this input what is it ?. One more question I have is that how will I know if something is conscious what is this consciousness. Do I say a computer is conscious or a robot is conscious ? how will I get to know if it is conscious or not ? What is this consciousness ? Who is experiencing all of this ?

    The materialist view does explain many things but does not explain to be the above questions asked by me. You can give explanations but there always remain more questions. So I can fairly say I do not know.

  9. enleuk Says:

    I’m not making a positive claim. It’s other people who put forward the idea of the existence of a soul, I am simply not convinced by their evidence. They’re making the claim, I’m simply rejecting it, not making a claim of my own.

    You’re making the claim that there is an immaterial mind and so you’re facing with the problem of finding an explanation for the interaction between the material brain and the immaterial mind. I don’t believe the evidence for an immaterial mind, I have only seen evidence for a material brain so I’m not gonna assume that there “has to be something more”, like I did when I was a kid.

    I’m glad you brought up deja vu, it’s on of the example I am fond of using. I’ve had a few deja vu-experiences myself and it seems that the majority of people have. The sensation is that you feel like what is happened has already happened before or that you’ve seen or dreamt of it happening before. This is an illusion caused by a glitch in the brain. The working memory works by repeating the same neuronal activity pattern (i.e. thinking of the same thing) over and over, hundreds of times per second, but we perceive it as only one thought. Every time the thought is repeated, it is copied over to the long-term memory, duplicating the path so it can be walked again. The longer and more times you repeat a thought, the better you will remember it. One of the structures of the working memory is called the phonological loop. Auditory stimuli is repeated here and this is the cause for why you sometimes get pieces of a song stuck in your mind and keep repeating the same few chords or parts of the lyrics even when you haven’t heard the song for some time. Deja vu occurs when the repetition is still in progress and some of the pattern has been imprinted on the long-term memory. I’m not sure about the cause of the glitch myself, I’m not a neurologist, but for some reason the brain forgets the connection between the short and long term memory. When it forgets this higher level overview, for a few seconds, the brain will make some assumptions. Let’s say you are watching a shoe. The image of the shoe is repeated in your working memory. The image of the shoe is also being copied to the long term memory. Now the brain loses track of this connection. It will look at the long term memory and see the shoe and everything else around it because it has already been copied to the long term memory a number of times. It will erroneously draw the conclusion that this shoe belongs to the past, to a past experience, why else would it be in the long term memory? It will then compare the “memory” to what is occurring at present (the shoe in the short term memory) and draw the further conclusion that you must have foreseen the future sometime in the past. Since this conclusion is false, the brain has no context or date for when the supposed vision occurred, but the sensation of the experience overshadows this lack.

    You keep making assumptions of the existence of immaterial things. Thought you say is immaterial, consciousness, the mind, emotions, desires, memories, personalities perhaps as well. I’m not making the claim that they are material, I am simply rejecting the proposition that these immaterial things exist. They are little more than remnants of an uninformed language. Today it would seem silly to metaphorize or sum up the quadrillion electrochemical reactions in the brain with a single word. The very word “I” becomes superficial and impractical with an understanding of the interaction between molecules in and around the body.

    You didn’t bring this up, but it’s my favourite example, so I’ll relate it anyway. Photons are packets of energy. Photons are biproducts of the fusion reaction in stars. When photons hit an atom or molecule it can excite an electron to a higher electron shell level and when the atom or molecule regains its balance it sends off the energy as another photon with a specific wavelength depending on the object that reflected the photon. Different amounts of energy correlate to the perception of different colours. In the retina, three types of cones react to three different spectrums of photon energy level. A “blue” cone will respond to a photon of “blue” energy or “blue” wavelength. At the back of the blue retinal cell, there is a molecule with an electron shell that needs exactly the blue amount of energy to excite an electron. When the electron is excited, the molecule’s electrical balance is shifted and the protons and electrons reconfigure their relative distances between each other. The effect is that the molecule changes shape. This molecule is a gate, when it changes shape, it opens a physical path for the ions to flow through. Just like in all of the nervous system, the positive and negative ions flow into new compartments and create a magnetic field that generates the electrical current that opens new gates and the flow of charged ions and molecules (like adrenalin, serotonin etc) propagates the signal from synapse to synapse from the retina, via the optic nerve all the way to the back of the brain where visual stimuli are processed.

    You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re contemplating the existence of metaphysics and from that point of view only are you trying to make the material world make sense. Instead, make no assumptions, just look at the material world and it makes sense on it own. Don’t let yourself be led by people who have invented the immaterial concepts. And you keep repeating that you don’t know, and yet you return to the immaterial concepts as if they were somehow inescapable. You’re equating believing in the existence of a soul with believing in the existence of the eye and you’re doing it on the sole basis of ignorance. We can’t know that the eye exists with 100% certainty therefore the eye and the soul are both exactly equally likely. I could say the same thing about the invisible unicorn in my ear. Since I can’t know for certain, the existence of the unicorn is exactly as likely as the existence of my eye. The soul is not some kind of special category idea that exempts it from the epistemology we use for determining the truth about other things. You believe the soul is special, but everybody who believes in a supernatural phenomenon believe that their specific phenomenon is special.

    To paraphrase Terry Pratchett “You can’t get into a box by using the crow bar that’s inside it.” I understand that it is difficult to accept that your are a material being, the dissonance between your “inner world” and the “outer world” means you can’t look at yourself and the world objectively and that leads to a long list flawed assumptions about who we are and where we are, but when you think about it, being material is no stranger than being immaterial and it is no less amazing.

    You keep saying that you don’t know and at the same time keep bringing up specific concepts like soul and mind without justifying their relevance to the truth about the universe. That is not an intellectually honest mode of conduct. Maybe this can give you an idea of how to deal with the “hard problem” using only materialism: https://enleuk.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/can-materialism-explain-marys-room/

  10. Shriram Says:

    Following is your statement.
    “You keep making assumptions of the existence of immaterial things. Thought you say is immaterial, consciousness, the mind, emotions, desires, memories, personalities perhaps as well. I’m not making the claim that they are material, I am simply rejecting the proposition that these immaterial things exist.”

    show me where I had made the assumption, that is why I am saying you are making the positive claim. Even if I were to accept your explanation on Deja vu, it tell me nothing about precognitive dreams. They are a phenomenon which I have experienced. So based on this do I say that there is an immaterial mind no, I also say that the mind is material. And even the phenomenon of deja vu is physical but some thing not explanable by the current materialistic view. That is all that is the confusion here.

    The reason you say that “I “am claiming the existence of an immaterial mind is because you need a reason to continue the discussion that is all. I have the claim that the immaterial mind does exist, show me where I have made such a claim ?

    So you are making 2 positive claims

    1. That “I” posit an immaterial mind exists.
    2. The immaterial mind does not exist.

    So according to you if some one says they do not know such and such a thing have heard the arguments on both sides and still say this is some thing I do not know are people making positive claims.

  11. enleuk Says:

    1. You’re right that I made that claim to force a response, but you did say e.g. “how does the immaterial mind interact with the material brain”, which presupposes the existence of an immaterial mind. 2. To deny the existence of an immaterial mind until there is evidence for it is not a positive claim. Just as denying a blue unicorn until there is evidence for it is not a positive claim. You’re not responding to the actual problem; that you keep returning to the same immaterial concepts (instead of e.g. unicorns, ghosts, aliens etc) despite claiming that you don’t know.

    (As a side-note, to some extent, materialism is just the go-to-word I use for when nothing immaterial has been demonstrated. I simply retreat to what is known and put the label materialism on it and sometimes physicalism. I would have simply said “knowledge” or “truth” or something if nobody had ever suggested the existence of immaterial, supernatural or metaphysical things. If nobody believe in gods I wouldn’t call myself an atheist. If the majority of people believed in directed panspermia I might’ve labelled myself with an ism meaning “earth-life came from earth”.

    There are unexplained things, I agree, however, that doesn’t lead to any conclusions at all, that just means we don’t know once more. To conclude anything or to make a positive claim based on the fact that our knowledge is incomplete is called an argument from ignorance. Placing a god in that conclusion is called god of the gaps. You haven’t done so, let me stress that. I would be very interested in hearing about your personal experience of precognitive dreams if you don’t mind sharing. Also, could you link me to the thing about knowing who was behind you without looking?

  12. Shriram Says:

    Further more you analogy does not work here with the eye, If I am presenting arguments from the side which claims that does not mean I am supporting them I am merely presenting the arguments that is all. Similarly I have presented arguments from the materialists about the impossibility of interaction between some thing material and immaterial. Presentations of arguments is not to support them. You on the other hand want to take this as challenge saying thinking “hey this guy is challenging my position”. So you some how have to prove that I am supporting the case for the existence of some thing immaterial.

    Ok suppose the immaterialist is not able to give the relevance for an immaterial mind does that mean his argument is wrong. This is a stupid argument.

    You can only ask “show me proof, if there is no proof for your claim I do not accept it” this is a valid argument. Or “show me a reason to believe in it”. This is also a valid argument. I am not giving you any reasons to believe in the existence of an immaterial soul I am simply presenting the arguments I have encountered that is all. But you on the other hand will have to assume that I am doing so to continue this and also try to make further arguments.

  13. Shriram Says:

    There was no one behind me on this my mistake was that I thought you were some one who is searching for something. That is all. There are a few instances but one of them is very specific where a girl is speaking about a story in a particular place which I have never been to. After I awoke this dream was still in my memory but after someone wakes up no one takes the dream to be true but something false. It happened such that I went to camp and at one instance the same story was repeated in the same location. It was at this instance that I remembered that I dreamed of this exact situation. It would be interesting if scientists could explain this since every thing must have a cause. There must be some cause for me to have such a precognitive dream.

    One more thing when I presented the argument “how does an immaterial mind interact with something material,” I was simply presenting the argument from materialists who by the force of this logic prove the non-existence of the immaterial mind as they prove that something immaterial cannot interact with something material. So when the atheist is making such an argument that does not mean he posits the existence of an immaterial mind. Obviously not I am merely presenting the arguments that were made by materialists.

    Now you cannot immediately jump to the conclusion that such things(precognitive dream) although not explained does not posit the existence of something immaterial as I have not said that. I am merely saying that there are certain things not explained by the current science and the present model of materialism does not explain this, that is all. So there must be a cause for such phenomenon we do not know. I am unable to dismiss such precognitive dreams as simply chance since this has occurred more than once. So I will have to accept this as a phenomenon. What causes this I really do not know. But if I accept the current neuroscience I cannot find the explanation of such a phenomenon. Hence I seek.

  14. enleuk Says:

    “There was no one behind me on this”
    I don’t understand this. I was referring to this: “There are experiments which show that some times people are able to know who is looking at them from the back.”
    I asked if you could perhaps give me a link to this as I’m not sure how to find it through google.

    “It happened such that I went to camp and at one instance the same story was repeated in the same location. It was at this instance that I remembered that I dreamed of this exact situation.”
    This is identical to my description of a deja vu.

    Either way, let’s agree that there are things that are unexplained. That doesn’t mean that what we know so far is incorrect, so you can’t say “I can’t accept the current models because we haven’t found an answer to phenomenon x”. Well, you can of course say it, but if your reason for assuming that the current models are wrong is that there are unexplained phenomena then you’re just making an argument from ignorance. As long as we’re dealing with an unexplained phenomenon a material explanation and an immaterial explanation are both equally plausible. They are both equally plausible since we don’t know what the explanation is. And so far, for all the previously unexplained phenomena we have only found material explanations and so far never an immaterial explanation. The remaining unexplained phenomena may have immaterial causes, but they may equally well have material causes, so the fact that there are unexplained phenomena neither supports immaterialism nor materialism. We can draw no conclusions from unexplained phenomena. I instead look at the explained phenomena to find answers and so far, all the explained phenomena have material causes. That doesn’t mean we should stop searching or that materialism is a certainty, but it does mean that materialism is statistically more probable than immaterialism and as long as there is no evidence for immaterial things I will stick to not believing in metaphysics. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped searching for more knowledge though and I try my best to be as open-minded as possible.

    I googled for “experiment sensing who is looking at them backs” and maybe I found what you were referring to, something called the “psychic staring effect”, this is from the wikipedia article:

    “Psychologist Edward B. Titchener reported in 1898 that some students in his junior classes believed that they could ‘feel’ when they were being stared at from behind, and a smaller proportion believed that by staring at the back of a person’s neck they could force them to turn around… He conducted laboratory experiments with people who claimed to be able to sense the stares of others and those who claimed to be capable of ‘making people turn round’, finding in both cases that the results were ‘invariably’ negative.”

    Between 1900 and 2000 more experiments were conducted with negative results.

    “Parapsychologist Rupert Sheldrake carried out a number of experiments on the effect in the 2000s, and reported subjects exhibiting a weak sense of being stared at, but no sense of not being stared at… Sheldrake’s experiments were criticised for using sequences with ‘relatively few long runs and many alternations’ instead of truly randomised patterns, which would have mirrored the natural patterns that people who guess and gamble would tend to follow, and may have allowed subjects to implicitly learn the patterns… In 2005, Michael Shermer expressed concern over confirmation bias and experimenter bias in the tests.”

    “he found a hit rate of 53.1%, with two subjects ‘nearly always right, scoring way above chance levels'”
    So, even if his methodology had been flawless, 53% and 2 subjects above (and others below) 50% is still in the realm of chance. Sheldrake hasn’t demonstrated the existence of this phenomenon. More importantly, even if he does, we still don’t know whether the cause is material or immaterial.

  15. Shriram Says:

    I will provide you the link it is in one of the episodes for the program called “Through the wormhole” this is a program on the discovery channel this is hosted by Morgan Freeman.

    In season 2 episode 5 “Is there a sixth sense”.

    Following is the youtube link

    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dROtWPITBHM”

  16. Shriram Says:

    If current models are unable to explain some phenomenon either something has to be added to them or something else has to be found that dismisses the current model and explains the existing things better than the current model. This is the progress of science.

    Also I am just saying that materialism also has it’s own limitations. This does not mean that I am saying “therefore something immaterial exists” since to establish such a claim it will require a certain means of knowledge that will need to be verified.

    The current model of neuroscience does not explain my own experience with precognitive dreams, hence either some other element has to be added to the existing model or something new has to be found. But in either case if I take the current model as it is , it will not explain this.

  17. enleuk Says:

    I just watched the episode and found that the phenomenon you were talking about was the research of Rupert Sheldrake, the very parapshychologist I found when googling and whose work has been criticized as lacking in the scientific method.

    I just explained your precognitive dream using the existing scientific model. Why then are you saying the existing scientific model cannot explain your precognitive dream?

  18. Shriram Says:

    “I just explained your precognitive dream using the existing scientific model. Why then are you saying the existing scientific model cannot explain your precognitive dream?”

    No it does not .

    I have seen the explanation elsewhere for this.before you could tell me the explanation.

    The crux of the whole explanation is this when a fresh experience is presented to the brain it compares that with a memory already present and that gives the experience of deja vu.

    This does not give me explanation for my own experience with precognitive dreams.

  19. enleuk Says:

    Why not?

  20. Shriram Says:

    The answer is that since it does not give the explanation. You can keep assuming that it does. In either case I am the one who has to say “that makes sense it is a very good explanation” since I am the one who experienced it ,but that is not the way I get it. I have also looked for other explanations they also do not explain it.either.

    But perhaps the answer that is a satisfactory answer to this may explain the relationship between us and the world better. It seems more true that reality is beyond our “isms” , philosophies and religions. In my opinion trying to fit reality into our “isms” is a very shallow way to approach it, according to me such an approach is no approach at all.

  21. enleuk Says:

    I’m not assuming that I have found the explanation. I’m assuming that I have found a potential explanation and that I’m lacking an alternative explanation. I can’t know how probable this explanation is, but I don’t know if I need to know either, since I don’t know that your experience is relevant to objective ontology or even to epistemology. Instead of assuming anything, I’m asking you why you don’t think this is the explanation. If you don’t tell me after five tries, I’m gonna assume that you are ignoring the matter on purpose and assume that your story has no creditability and I will once again be back at square one, where nobody has ever been able to demonstrate an immaterial phenomenon, which leaves me with no choice but to accept materialism for the time being.

    What is your approach then? Nonismism? There is no way of uncoupling yourself from the categories of your mind and retain anything sensible and you can never justify a nonsensical proposition. Or are you just ignoring the ultimate questions on purpose? Your approach is already flawed if you assume in your premise that there is a difference between “us” and “the world”. This presumption can only lead to a circular argument for the idea that we are different from the material world, i.e. that we have an immaterial soul. Likewise, the very presumption of the categories “I” and “the world” can lead you through circular reasoning to the idea that I = the world. Making no presumptions, the worlds of physics, chemistry and biology instead tell us that there is no clear border between I and the world; it is a continuous existence of behaviours, chemical reactions and subatomic forces. Reality is much too complex for us to simply say I.

    I’m gonna give you something more to ponder and not just offer sceptical refutations of your own thoughts.

    Imagine the mind as being a mirror. At the edges of the nervous system, your mind interacts with the outside world. This interaction takes the shape of the nervous system reacting to everything that is flowing towards it. Because it is directly reacting to the environment, it becomes an inverted copy of the environment. This means that what we have in our minds, is in one aspect identical to everything else in the universe; our mind is identical to the universe. If you think about it, your mind contains all of the universe. Think of Venus, the Andromeda galaxy, every single quark in the universe; all of it exist only in your mind. Of course, that is only how it appears from our point of view, in reality, there is a source for the things in your mind, your mind is not the universe, but a mirror on the universe.

    The mind is a metaphor. Thoughts, desires, personalities are metaphors containing vast amounts of complex processes, sometimes contradictory, that change over time. No one word can capture all of this. Instead, we must form our understanding from the details. A bottoms-up approach as I like to call it (as opposed to e.g. 1 single God, from which an increasing complexity emanates). Thoughts are not Dings an Sich, not things in themselves. They are complexes of details inseparable from their environment. In your mind, they represent Dings, but this knowledge, each perceived Ding in your mind is relative to everything else you know and is therefore dependently-arisen, empty of substance and existing only as relations between the empty things. This emptiness, sunyata, is a common belief is Eastern philosophy. To me, it makes more sense to say that epistemology is relative and empty. Our knowledge is empty, because the nervous system does not contain Dings, but a thoroughly relative network of parts of things. These parts correspond in some way to the parts of the universe, both the parts without the body and the parts within, including the nervous system itself. The categories we use for separating the self from the rest of the universe is better understood as a relationship between two empty concepts. To understand all the parts of the universe is impossible, the universe is simply bigger than the brain; its parts and the relationship between the parts simply does not fit inside the brain. Nonetheless, this is the most honest approach to understanding.

    Consciousness is not an eternal Ding, like e.g. a soul. It is instead a product in the now. The brain produces in each instance of time a new mind. However, we don’t perceive it as being reborn each millisecond and the reason is that each new state of flow in the brain is continuously passing through the network, which contains all our knowledge of our self and all our memories, bridging the gap between each new mind, creating the illusion of something eternal. But, simply comparing your present self with yourself at the age of 1 year reveals the falsehood of the illusion. With the illusion of an unbreakable chain going back in time, the idea of an unbreakable chain projecting into the future arises, leading some people to believe an eternal substance will continue on, maybe even independent of the brain, but unfortunately, if the brain flow ceases, no new minds will be created and we will cease to be.

  22. Shriram Says:

    All I can see is your knee jerk reaction to saying that oh you are promoting immaterialism that is all. You can assume my story is not true, this is not going to make any difference to me, for how can you know if it is true or not, only I can.

    Ok fine as per your theory consciousness is produced every moment so what, that does not explain to me what caused my dream , you are just stating your own position that is all.

    Now you are asking me if I am promoting “Nonismism?”,
    Fact of the matter is that when we are trying to find out something we should first of all be free from all biases, then take all points of view and investigate further if necessary.

    If you are giving it such a name be my guest, I do not care for names.

    Now as per your explanation for a precognitive dream, you are saying that it is derived from a working memory, I say no.

    Since this is a place I have never been to, this is a person I have never met and also this a story I have never heard. Hence I can conclude memory is not the cause for my precognitive dream.

    In short your model for mind or consciousness does not explain this hence I discard it and I seek further.

  23. enleuk Says:

    You misunderstood. Working memory or short-term memory is not exactly memory, it is what you are experiencing in the present, it’s called a memory because the thought lingers there for a few seconds up to ten mins. The current thought in the present is in a loop, you are conscious of it as a single fact or sequence of stimuli, but in reality it is repeated many times per second. This thought is copied to your long-term memory (memory in the everyday sense of the word) through repetition many times per second. This copying is ongoing while you’re experiencing what you’re experiencing in the present so whatever you are currently experiencing is also already in your long-term memory.

    Deja vu occurs when the brain makes an error and forgets that the copying is currently ongoing. This seems to happen to most people. It’s happened to me a few times and I just asked my brother who said the same thing. The brain then looks at the long-term memory, seeing the place, person and story in the long-term memory, compares that to the place, person and story in the working memory and find that they are identical, then wrongly concluding that what is happening in the present, in the working memory, has also happened before. Since the thought in the long-term memory is not connected to a different date (it can’t be since it’s in fact happening in the present), the brain usually assumes that the memory is from a half-forgotten dream of unknown date.

    Do you understand what I’m saying? There is no memory involved at all, everything is happening in the present, but the brain erroneously thinks there is a link to a memory from the past, but that memory is in fact something that is only happening in the present; there is no actual memory. I realize that I’m not great at explaining this, but if there are question marks, ask and I will clarify, or just search for yourself for a description of deja vu. You say you seek further, but you still haven’t sought out an actual book on neurology to avoid having to rely on my amateur description.

    I don’t care much for labels either, but scepticism is a well-used label for what you’re describing as your attitude towards knowledge. I don’t think your method is as you describe it though, rather I think you’re filling in the gaps in your knowledge with unfounded assumptions about an immaterial plane of reality. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be 50% promoting agnosticism (I don’t know) and 50% promoting immaterialism (there must be something else out there).

    That’s why I wrote about my own view of reality. Not to address the topic of precognitive dreams/deja vus, but because I wanted to give you something more substantial concerning the broader topic of immaterialism than just refutations of a single phenomenon. I was hoping you would ponder my view and reconsider your 50% agnosticism, 50% immaterialism position.

  24. Shriram Says:

    So in short you are saying is that the phenomenon does not exist and that the brain is trying to connect the present moment to something in the past and that this is not done consciously but subconsciously giving the illusion of deja vu. So this amounts so saying that having the precognitive dream was chance.

    However the chance theory even if considered fails due to probability itself so I am sorry I am unable to dismiss this as chance.

    Coming to 50% agnosticism and 50% immaterialism that is also not my position, I am simply saying that I explore.

    I have no position, but you do hence you make the claims or assertions that there is no soul. I have carefully considered everything and every possible argument in materialism plus also looked at the various research supporting it. But after exploring things myself I see this is also not the final word as you claim. Hence I say that there is something beyond the known realm as well. Is it material or immaterial also is something I do not know either.

    Besides you have yourself said that there are certain things that are unexplained so I see this is one of them.

    Your second statement was that it is more probable that the explanation is going to be materialistic and sited examples. Actually I say that the explanation will be much more rational. Also rational explanations for any phenomenon have always super ceded irrational explanations. For example the falling of an apple is due to the law of gravity this is a rational explanation.

    Now considering all explanations with the materialistic model to the phenomenon I discard it since it does not explain the phenomenon. So in short it is not the final word.

    Perhaps this is the reason why you say I am an immaterialist since I am discarding materialism and you are calling it a refutation.

    It is strange that you call me that since a fanatic Christian called me a communist since I told him that I do not accept heaven or hell.

    In either case atleast we can agree to disagree that you take materialism to be the final page and I say it is not the final page.

    We can surely agree on this disagreement.

  25. enleuk Says:

    “So in short you are saying is that the phenomenon does not exist and that the brain is trying to connect the present moment to something in the past and that this is not done consciously but subconsciously giving the illusion of deja vu. So this amounts so saying that having the precognitive dream was chance.”

    No, that’s not at all what I’m saying. I’m saying that you never had the dream, that memory is the thing that does not exist. When you are experiencing something in the present, that thought gets instantly stored in the long-term memory. What’s happening in the present exists in 2 places in the brain, in the working memory and the long-term memory at the same time. If for some reason the brain forgets this fact, it will compare what’s going on in the working memory and the long-term memory, see that they are identical (they’re identical since they’re both what’s happening in the present) and it will go “Hey, this is in my long-term memory, that must mean I’ve experienced this before, but I can’t remember when, so maybe it was in a dream”.

    You also misunderstood what I meant by refutations. I refuted your claim to having a precognitive dream, I didn’t say you had refuted anything.

    To clarify again, I’m a materialist because there are thousands of phenomena that have been demonstrated to have material causes, including why apples fall down. There have not been any phenomenon at all that has been demonstrated to have an immaterial cause. For each claim about an immaterial phenomenon the person making the claim has to provide the evidence. The default position is to disbelieve any claim, material or immaterial, before there is sufficient evidence to support it. In my view nobody has provided sufficient evidence for any immaterial claim, be it ghosts, reincarnation, a soul or god. Meanwhile there are lots of evidence for material claims. When it comes to the phenomenon of a soul, I am not the one making a claim. The soul is an immaterial claim and the default position is to disbelieve it until someone provides evidence for it. I’m not making a claim of my own so I don’t have to provide evidence for my claim, I am simply disbelieving claims of a soul on the basis that they’re lacking evidence.

    You say you don’t believe in an immaterial plane of existence, yet you persist in saying materialism has failed and therefore should be dismissed altogether, that materialism is not enough and that there is something beyond the material realm. If you would have said that you “don’t know”, that you are gonna wait for evidence before believing this, then I would have accepted it. But you claim that there is something immaterial and therefore you have to provide evidence for this position or it’s just a baseless assumption.

    So, yes, you are an immaterialist because you say there is something “beyond”. That does not compare to calling you a communist for not believing in heaven since communism is a political doctrine and not a position on the claims in the Abrahamic religions. I mean, you can be a communist and still be a Christian, but you can’t be an immaterialist and still be a materialist.

  26. Shriram Says:

    yes I know that you’re a materialist because you see material causes to the phenomena that does not there is nothing beyond what is known. Further more I did have the dream since I remembered it once I got up. So no your theory fails.

    Now you are refuting my claim that I had a dream, but it is something within my experience so in either case your refutation is not valid, all you can do is either disbelieve it or believe it. It is like me telling you that you do not have any experience of your life.

    Just as my experience is mine your experience is yours. And I can definite say I did have the dream, and I also remember that I woke up early in the morning after the dream and recalled it also, I remember the morning I did.

    Also please study communism, no one can be a communist and be a Christian.

    According to you if I say that there is something beyond what is known then I am an immaterialist. So many scientists have the same view that there is something beyond what we know. They will also have to accept that their knowledge is insufficient to explain what exists.If such people are immaterialists then yes you can call me one also.Such people are not dedicated to any idea let it be materialism or immaterialism.

    Again I can see knee jerk reactions “oh you are an immaterialist”. The reason why you have to say this and dismiss what I told you is because you want to fit everything into your own convictions and if something is not in your conviction you want to dismiss it.

    You are using the logic of “either you are with materialism or against materialism there is no middle way.” If that is the way you think then I am sorry I disagree with that.

    I really feel that I am talking to a computer since I see you repeating the same pattern of response over and over again. Personally I am just seeing this as a defense mechanism. This how I see it ” I am a materialist these are my convictions, these are the reasons for my convictions, you cannot disprove me.” Now all I see is that you have used your convictions so that you get some kind of stability. This is absolutely fine if your convictions give you stability it is totally ok with me. I am not here to convince you of anything.

    You can go ahead and have your last word, please note that I will not be commenting any further. For I am convinced that I have disturbed you so not planning on disturbing you any further, will not be answering any further questions since I am not convinced that I have not disturbed you.

  27. enleuk Says:

    I’m an anarcho-communist, let’s talk isms for a while shall we? No, let’s not.

    It’s fine, you don’t “disturb” my materialist world-view. I’m not gonna start believing in werewolves, don’t worry about it.

    You’re talking about a single phenomenon, I’m talking about the broader topic of metaphysics. You didn’t get my explanation of deja vu, I’m sorry about that, but you also keep defending yourself, I’m not the one on the defensive here, but I admit I’ve been repeating myself. I simply find it a fascinating aspect of how the brain works.

    You don’t even believe what I’m writing, but I’m telling you that you didn’t have the dream and you didn’t remember it as soon as you woke up. I understand if you’re defensive about something personal. Just relax a bit. Keep it chill😉

    You said yourself “It was at this instance that I remembered that I dreamed of this exact situation.”

    So, it didn’t happen until that instant, you didn’t have it in your long-term memory when it happened, because it didn’t get there until you experienced the scene and story right then. It’s not counter-intuitive even to think that the moment a thought gets stored in the long-term memory is obviously at the time we’re having the experience in the present. We have to think about something, consciously or subconsciously, to record it into the long-term part of the brain. Normally, the brain knows why the present has a copy in the long-term memory, otherwise we’d have deja vus constantly. But the brain sometimes glitches.

    Or, there is actually another hypothesis. The sense of familiarity is an emotion where chemicals are released from the center of the brain.

    “Familiarity occurs quickly, before the brain can recall the source of the feeling. Conscious recollection depends on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, whereas familiarity depends on regions of the medial temporal cortex.

    When these cooperating processes get out of sync, we can experience déjà vu, the intense and often disconcerting feeling that a situation is familiar even though it has never happened before. This feeling can occur when a brand-new situation is very similar to other events stored in our memory. For example, a Texas airport may seem vaguely familiar to you even though you have never been to Texas. It is possible the airport is strikingly similar to a single event stored in memory—perhaps you recently saw the airport in a movie or magazine. It is also possible that many memories of visiting similar airports create the sensation that you have been to this one. Déjà vu is a stronger version of this kind of memory error.

    The best evidence for a neural mechanism for déjà vu, which around 60 percent of people experience at least once, comes from studies of patients who experience it chronically. In 2005 cognitive neuropsychologists at the University of Leeds in England described two patients with recurring and persistent feelings of déjà vu. The patients refused to read a newspaper or watch television because they felt as if they had already seen it all before. They found it difficult to shop for groceries because they thought they had just purchased those items. The researchers discovered that these patients had damage to their frontal and temporal regions. Harm to these areas likely caused the patients’ familiarity circuitry to fire frequently, even when they were in a novel situation. In undamaged brains, déjà vu likely occurs because of processing errors in these same regions.”

    I don’t want the last word, I’d rather we just kept discussing it. I’m not gonna linger on the topic of immaterialism. I’m not saying that I can prove that souls don’t exist. I’m saying the burden of proof is on the person saying “there is something beyond”. Until somebody shows proof, I’m gonna stay at the neutral position of saying “I will believe claims that are supported by evidence.” So far, I only believe in material claims. I have yet to see evidence for a metaphysical phenomenon. Hence I disbelieve. It’s the same with atheism. I don’t have evidence that God doesn’t exist, but the burden of proof is not on me. The burden of proof is on the one claiming that Buddha is God, that Jesus is God, that everyone is God, that the universe is God. As an atheist, it is not up to me to prove that Quetzalcoatl didn’t create the universe. I’m simply taking the neutral stance of waiting for evidence. Materialism is just a label.

    “Also please study communism, no one can be a communist and be a Christian.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_communism

  28. John Says:

    I have read this discussion with great interest and would like to challenge the idea you have that you are the body, and thereby test my own conviction of the opposite, that you and I are not the body.

    My own conviction that I am not the body springs from the insight that an entity cannot observe itself, just as a knife cannot cut itself and a scale cannot weight itself. Therefore anything that can be observed cannot be our self. Since we can observe our bodies, we cannot be our bodies: we cannot simultaneously be the subject and object of the same experience.

    We can see our own bodies: arms, legs, torso. I can see my own lips and tongue… sorry I got carried away there for a second. Anyhow, we cannot see our own head with our eyes, so perhaps you would say that we are our heads. Until you close your eyes and touch your head and eyes with your hands. You will notice that your head is being observed through the sense of touch. Are we our brains then? Or whatever is inside our head? Perhaps, but I would love to hear what you have to say since you get the idea and probably sense that we can take this argument further to include any material phenomena that we can observe or make observable.

    It challenges our identification as a material entity and I would love to hear how this argument fits in your worldview, since I cannot imagine that you can maintain that you are your body after pondering it with some earnestness. I have a very limited imagination, but nonetheless…

  29. enleuk Says:

    It doesn’t fit with my worldview. I don’t see how it would be a logical necessity that an entity can’t see itself. not sure that you can compare it to a knife.

    You’re right that the eyes cannot see themselves (except in photos, mirrors, videos etc), but you can still touch your eyes, and smell your butt. I mean, I’m looking at my fingers as I type this. The nervous system can’t experience itself, the nervous system is the experience of its surroundings.

    there is however internal processing as well. the brain is not disconnected from the universe like a soul is. the chemicals and neurons are connected to the surrounding universe and to each other, through the chemical, biological and electrical fluctuations. we’re like waves in the water more or less, just a very self-aware arrangement of molecules in a vast space of elements.

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