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Author Topic:   Existence After Death
AricVader
Junior Member (Idle past 3118 days)
Posts: 6
From: Grand River, Iowa, United States
Joined: 09-14-2010


Message 1 of 163 (581286)
09-14-2010 9:56 PM


I would like to open with the fact that I have followed many threads on EvC for nearly a year now. I really love the knowledge here and see many smart individuals out there that have helped me understand quite a bit. This is my first post and I would like some answers on what I think and what others think about. Here goes.

I have never really been a Christian because of all the claims made and how many can be falsified but I have always considered myself and very spiritual person. I have the tendency to think deeply about many of life's grand questions and one of them has been "life" after death.

The conclusion I have come to is that our reality is made of energy and matter. If everything is energy and matter then thought and memory would have to be a form of energy. Now, I like to think that in death these energies just change form (energy cannot be created or destroyed) and one simply enters a different state of mind so to speak. More recently I have began to dissect this conclusion and believe there are some flaws with it but would like to see some facts on it (for or against) or different logical approaches.

So if anyone has any facts or comments on this issue that may be able to help me understand the issue more I would appreciate the information. Above all I will always try to strive for the truth even if I do not like where it leads me.

P.S. The whole idea that there is "nothing" after death seems very logical to me as well but is a bit disheartening.


Replies to this message:
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AdminSlev
Member (Idle past 2927 days)
Posts: 113
Joined: 03-28-2010


Message 2 of 163 (581509)
09-15-2010 9:50 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Existence After Death thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Larni
Member
Posts: 3990
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 3 of 163 (581528)
09-16-2010 5:29 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by AricVader
09-14-2010 9:56 PM


AricVader writes:

The conclusion I have come to is that our reality is made of energy and matter. If everything is energy and matter then thought and memory would have to be a form of energy. Now, I like to think that in death these energies just change form (energy cannot be created or destroyed) and one simply enters a different state of mind so to speak.

Thought and memory are just electro-chemical impulses (with some quantum effects thrown in for good measure): when the power supply is disrupted the solid state storage medium (our brain) is fundementally altered.

The state of all the fields that make up your brain and collection of processess that manifest as consciousness are disrupted and cannot be recovered.

With nothing to maintain the physical process i.e. the brain all the processess that make up our personality stops.

Like smashing a hard drive with magnets. It can't do what it used to do.

A bit bleak but there you go.


This message is a reply to:
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frako
Member
Posts: 2814
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 4 of 163 (581582)
09-16-2010 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AricVader
09-14-2010 9:56 PM


you probably get a grate ride when your neurones don't have enough power to fire properly but i think AricVader covered it pretty well

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greyseal
Member (Idle past 2148 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 5 of 163 (581596)
09-16-2010 2:39 PM


it's not the energy, it's the structure
If you're going to talk life after death, then you have to assume one of two rather fanciful things

either

a) there is some part of you that is eternal, outside of the brain infact, as otherwise when your brain goes away the electrical dance therein that thinks it is you will sublime away into the ether

or

b) any mathematically perfect (or at least turing-complete) signal such as that within your brain somehow fundamentally alters reality in such a way that it cannot cease to perceive itsef - i.e. once the pattern is, it is for all time

the two are pretty similar in outcome but are different in their methods. Don't even ask me to explain the second one as it's a bad retelling of some philosophical numbers game that a sci-fi book I'd like to read was written about, but I can't recall it enough to find it.

If our universe as we know it is some gigantic turing-complete hologram running on some enormously complex machine, then there's no reason why the energy signature which makes up 'you' can't be held and recreated or stabilized in some non-corporeal format which would be, by definition, outside of the current universe. But it's a pretty long shot.

If you want real life after death, there's only two ways to actually bring it about

1) don't die - this so far has been rather difficult to do, but in the future we may be able to stop and even reverse the aging process. not growing old isn't the same as immortality, but it's close enough if you're careful

2) have a backup

some people would complain about #2 - when you're dead, they say, you died. A copy carries on, they say, but you-you died.

The problem with that is it implies some sort of body-mind duality which is, quite frankly, impossible to maintain. I'm talking of course about a mind-upload. Backup your memories, your personality and store it safely. Bite the big one when you want, you can always download into a new clone or instantiate yourself into cyberspace and carry on.

If you do not believe in some non-corporeal you-ness which cannot be duplicated (i.e. you're a rationalist who doesn't believe in the soul) then there is no reason to assume you cannot create a copy of "you". Things get complicated, but look at it like this:

When you were born, you weren't who you were now. Infact, every molecule in your body gets replaced over some span of time, so if you believe that you can't be copied then you're already dead, you died years ago.

If you complain that dying and recovering from a backup is "death" then what is memory loss? I argue that somebody dying and recovering from a backup and waking up in the hospital in a new body, having lost some days or weeks, is much the same as some person getting a huge bump on the head and losing their memory. To all observers that count (your friends, you yourself), "you" are still alive...

Now we're not able to do anything about aging (much...) yet, and we certainly can't back up our brains, so it looks like when you die, that's it. poof.

If it's any consolation, you didn't know it before you were born and you won't know about it after you're dead, so it's not really worth stressing about. Live


Replies to this message:
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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 163 (581607)
09-16-2010 3:48 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AricVader
09-14-2010 9:56 PM


First, let me welcome you to the forums! I find this topic extremely intriguing, as I've myself put a great deal of thought into the issue of of mental immortality, which seems to be the type of immortality about which you're speaking.

The conclusion I have come to is that our reality is made of energy and matter. If everything is energy and matter then thought and memory would have to be a form of energy. Now, I like to think that in death these energies just change form (energy cannot be created or destroyed) and one simply enters a different state of mind so to speak.

Let me ask you: Into what other form might these 'energies' change that would allow them to continue performing the functions of the mind's thought and memory systems?

Recall that while all things may share the similarity of being matter and/or energy in composition, they differ in the arrangement, special functioning, and relationships of the composite parts to other parts—themselves being also matter and/or energy, of course. We may recycle our old television set and end up with parts of it in other products now available for sale, and while we may say that parts of our TV are existing after being recycled (dying), it is something of a stretch to say that we still have our same old TV; what we have no longer looks like a TV, it no longer functions like a TV, no one would buy it as a TV, and we'd be hard-pressed to identify the new products that now contain parts of our old set.

In short, form and function often go hand-in-hand. When we destroy the form of the matter on which the energies operate to give us the mental functions of thought and memory, we quite undoubtedly destroy also the functioning of the matter and so render the ability of the energies to perform the functions of thought and memory defunct—much like the recycling of the electrical components of our TV makes them incapable of harboring an energy system that can produce a nice colored picture and good sound.

Do I find immortality of thoughts, memory, and ultimately the mind to be ridiculous? Not at all. In fact, I firmly believe that the possibility exists to maintain at least a large portion of the self after the brain inside which that self resides ceases to operate. However, it would also seem that such cannot occur simply through the transference of the matter-energy states into other forms, but that these matter-energy states must be held, at least in part, to the structural-relational 'blueprint', as it were, of the original design if they are to perform an even minor number of their original functions. I believe we can keep the functions of the mind living, but not simply through haphazard redistributions of the original matters and energies.

Jon

Edited by Jon, : Commas...


"Can we say the chair on the cat, for example? Or the basket in the person? No, we can't..." - Harriet J. Ottenheimer

"Dim bulbs save on energy..." - jar


This message is a reply to:
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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 163 (581609)
09-16-2010 3:58 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by greyseal
09-16-2010 2:39 PM


Re: it's not the energy, it's the structure
The problem with that is it implies some sort of body-mind duality which is, quite frankly, impossible to maintain. I'm talking of course about a mind-upload. Backup your memories, your personality and store it safely. Bite the big one when you want, you can always download into a new clone or instantiate yourself into cyberspace and carry on.

If you do not believe in some non-corporeal you-ness which cannot be duplicated (i.e. you're a rationalist who doesn't believe in the soul) then there is no reason to assume you cannot create a copy of "you". Things get complicated, but look at it like this:

When you were born, you weren't who you were now. Infact, every molecule in your body gets replaced over some span of time, so if you believe that you can't be copied then you're already dead, you died years ago.

If you complain that dying and recovering from a backup is "death" then what is memory loss? I argue that somebody dying and recovering from a backup and waking up in the hospital in a new body, having lost some days or weeks, is much the same as some person getting a huge bump on the head and losing their memory. To all observers that count (your friends, you yourself), "you" are still alive...

Silliness. I am me. A clone of me would be my clone, and would have the same desires to live as myself. It would be murder to kill either one of us, and neither of us would be willing to die knowing the other is going to continue living in our stead. When something is copied, a new one of that something is created and becomes an entity distinct from the old. To move our thoughts on to an alternate medium (i.e., hard disk, network, etc.) would be to create a copy, and then kill the original. The only way to avoid this is to find a way to move the information after death, thereby ensuring that all aspects we desired to copy were copied from the individual and set into the new medium. Then we may say that the entity picked up where it left off and is thus a revival of the old entity that had died—a reincarnation in a new form of the copied properties of the individual.

It has nothing to do with duality; it has to do with unique individuality—all individuals believe themselves unique, even when confronted with an identical copy.

Jon


"Can we say the chair on the cat, for example? Or the basket in the person? No, we can't..." - Harriet J. Ottenheimer

"Dim bulbs save on energy..." - jar


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Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 8095
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 8 of 163 (581620)
09-16-2010 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AricVader
09-14-2010 9:56 PM


The conclusion I have come to is that our reality is made of energy and matter. If everything is energy and matter then thought and memory would have to be a form of energy. Now, I like to think that in death these energies just change form (energy cannot be created or destroyed) and one simply enters a different state of mind so to speak.

The voltage differences across the membranes of our nerves will go away as oxygen is deprived in the brain. This energy will be released as heat into the surrounding environment. The packets of neurotransmitters sitting at our synapses will break down and become food for bacteria and fungus, assuming you are not eaten by a larger scavenger. They will use this energy to fuel their own metabolism. If you are well preserved then these chemicals will slowly breakdown releasing heat back into the surrounding environment.

Overall, I would say that the sum of changed energy will be heat. Some of that will be harnessed by bacteria and fungus unless we are cremated or pumped full of formaldehyde.

P.S. The whole idea that there is "nothing" after death seems very logical to me as well but is a bit disheartening.

The truth often is.


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 Message 1 by AricVader, posted 09-14-2010 9:56 PM AricVader has not yet responded

  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1930 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 9 of 163 (581644)
09-16-2010 5:30 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AricVader
09-14-2010 9:56 PM


The whole idea that there is "nothing" after death seems very logical to me

"there is nothing after death" sounds a bit too much like "there is nothing before the Big Bang"

As far as I can tell, the only thing that gives rise to the passage of time is our own consciousness. There can be no "after" conciousness ends, and indeed, no "before". Which raises a few interesting questions...


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AricVader
Junior Member (Idle past 3118 days)
Posts: 6
From: Grand River, Iowa, United States
Joined: 09-14-2010


Message 10 of 163 (581683)
09-16-2010 10:29 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Larni
09-16-2010 5:29 AM


Yeah, it was this comparison to how a computer works that got me thinking that my conclusion was wrong. While I do believe that there is nothing after death, I do hope that I am wrong. Maybe there is something underlying that has not been scientifically witnessed yet, similar to how general relativity changed Newtonian Physics. I can always hope. :)

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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AricVader
Junior Member (Idle past 3118 days)
Posts: 6
From: Grand River, Iowa, United States
Joined: 09-14-2010


Message 11 of 163 (581684)
09-16-2010 10:37 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by greyseal
09-16-2010 2:39 PM


Re: it's not the energy, it's the structure
While I like to think one of these two possibilities is how it is, I have to agree with Jon on the clone idea. Unless a clone is made after you die and possesses all the memories up until your death, You will know the difference and know that your clone is not "you".

For example, if I see an identical me across the room that is the same as me in every way, he may think everything exactly as I do but my mind will still be my own and his mind will still be his own.

P. S. Does anyone know of any scientific experiments on the subject? Maybe measure changes in different forms of energy after death. I have heard of experiments that measure mass change at point of death but that has only been by word of mouth, I could never find any trustworthy sources.


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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6668
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 12 of 163 (581688)
09-16-2010 10:53 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by AricVader
09-16-2010 10:29 PM


I can always hope.

Why? Why do you want to live forever?


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
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Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 1254 days)
Posts: 3808
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 13 of 163 (581691)
09-16-2010 11:19 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Theodoric
09-16-2010 10:53 PM


Theodoric writes:

Why? Why do you want to live forever?

Perhaps he hasn't lived long enough to know better.


Have you ever been to an American wedding? Where's the vodka? Where's the marinated herring?!
-Gogol Bordello

Real things always push back.
-William James


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Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 163 (581702)
09-17-2010 12:08 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Theodoric
09-16-2010 10:53 PM


Theodoric writes:

Why? Why do you want to live forever?

It seems reasonable to assume that almost everyone alive wants to live.


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lfen
Member (Idle past 2964 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 15 of 163 (581705)
09-17-2010 12:55 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by AricVader
09-14-2010 9:56 PM


Well, matter is energy E = mc2. There is also space and time or spacetime. Matter, energy, space, and time can be measured, quantified, and described in mathematical terms.

So what is consciousness? Because we are conscious we can discuss these things. But we have not yet quantified consciousness. Erwin Schrödinger believed consciousness was singular. The non dual teachings in Buddhism and Advaita state that consciousness is not its contents. General Semantics points out that a thing is not identical with itself. That is for matter/energy change is constant. So what is birth? and what is death? Two identifiable points in a process. But the process exists before, during, and after those events.

The question is who are you? Who or what dies? or What is death? What ends, and what begins. What we know as the individual life ends. The question about the consciousness that is aware of this is not so clear cut.

Edited by lfen, : pasted the formula E = mc2 in place of my typed E=mcc


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