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All Is Physical


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In reply to an earlier post on 20 Oct 2012 19:12:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Oct 2012 07:11:42 BDT
Tom M says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 20 Oct 2012 19:14:15 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 20 Oct 2012 19:21:35 BDT
Wayne,

"No thanks, I don't see the point."

Why?

"Maybe the question is why do you not think that there is anything beyond the physical?"

For the simple reason that I have seen nothing to suggest it does. If something comes to light then I'll re-evaluate that position.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Oct 2012 19:31:20 BDT
kraka says:
Hi Thuleatan,

Greetings, firstly i must congratulate you on opening a very interesting and fascinating thread, not belonging to any religion most of the endless circular arguments of scriptural interpretations hold little interest for me. Thanks also for the background to your user name, i read some of Tolkien some 50 odd yrs. ago and over looked that as a source, mind you much of it is now forgotten. Shame really as the creation of the middle earth is nothing less than stunning.

I am in complete agreement with your statement that we are *extraordinarily complex* in many ways, and this is why for me it is very challenging, without the correct education to express experiences for which my language skills are inadequate. If i may, let me try and clarify and refine my perceptions on this fascinating subject a little further. Basically in my previous post i defined awareness and consciousness (for simplicity i will disregard thought) as being non-material and separate from mind but that they do influence and interact with the mind. Now as you must agree these are two functions that occur deep within ourselves and this alone gives us an accessabilty problem, external observation is not going to furnish much information. No scientific apparatus has the ability to detect either of them let alone analyse their attributes, the brain and mind is much easier to investigate. I do not accept that the mind is the *most*essential part of what constitutes my inner *self*, by that i am not referring to the brain functions. These are functions that are not only fundamental to our life but also intimately part of us all, and yet to most of us, and science practically unknown.

We are born, nurtured and educated and our sight and senses are turned towards the outside world and apart from what goes on inside our own minds we explore very little else of what is inside us. I have heard many people use the word *consciousness*in the sense that they are familiar with it, but are then very silent when asked to define it. It is almost a buzz word that's bandied around on these boards.

Now here's the logic, *awareness and consciousness* is an internal function and cannot be accessed externally-----but can be accessed internally. SIMPLE but true. Self knowledge through self awareness is a long term stringent discipline akin to a scientific exploration of the deeper levels of our own self. For most of us our gaze is fixed on the outer world and we literally get lost in it. we are taken up with it totally and completely, how many in this busy demanding life turn their gaze inwards. Consciousness is a knowable thing filled with as much wonder as you will find in the external world, and whatever you do do not confuse mind with consciousness. One could reason that space and its contents can be imagined to extend beyond the scope of our mind, ever bigger and bigger, reverse that getting ever smaller and smaller. their is a universe outside of us and a universe inside of us. One created ( outside physical) one uncreated ( inside spiritual) pure uncreated spiritual energy, awareness and consciousness is the bridge between the two.

Don't believe me, seek yourself, journey inwards.

Religion is not for me, but my own experiences deep within myself convinces me that scriptures(not just the bible) are true when it says "Seek ye the Kingdom of Heaven...........which is within you"

Trust me when i say that this has been put together rather poorly and all to briefly before you, but then it is not my intent to change your view of life only to show a personal experience that expresses the other side of the coin. My opinion is that man is composed of both physical and non-physical attributes, and untill science explores the secrets within there is a mighty big hole in their knowledge. For me Space is not the final frontier, it's man himself, because untill man reconciles himself with the truth of his own true nature he will be chasing his own tail around the universe carrying all his problems with him

Well that's me done this time round, whatever you think enjoy life and take care.........................kraka.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Oct 2012 19:48:34 BDT
kraka,

Good post - you do yourself an injustice, you express yourself well and without the preaching certainty of many.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Oct 2012 20:38:40 BDT
kraka says:
Hi John Rawlinson.

Greetings, and many thanks for your most welcome post. My problems with posting are that i am profoundly slow typing with one finger and i have to keep stopping to correct errors and my train of thoughts run light years ahead of my fingers, some of which is lost by the time my fingers get there. I love to strive for perfection and because i left school with a poor knowledge of grammar i know that i have to take care to ensure that the sentences reflect precisely what i wish to say, one slight error and it can mean something completely different. So correct sentence structure, the right words in the right order, check spelling, and where should i place the commas and full stops. Sometimes i see posts that are so beautifully constructed with such precision of meaning that i am filled with envy. I should have dealt with learning all these skills when i was younger but wasn't using them then, and living life to the full didn't have time. Never mind i get by to a fashion, it's all very good fun.

Once again thanks, take care .......................kraka

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Oct 2012 20:53:52 BDT
DB says:
John
Let's go back to basics.
What are the attributes of something physical? How do you identify something physical?

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 00:03:20 BDT
ThulŽatan says:
Hi kraka,

I would say you're expressing yourself just fine :)

"Now as you must agree these are two functions that occur deep within ourselves and this alone gives us an accessabilty problem, external observation is not going to furnish much information."

I'm afraid I don't agree. I don't know what it would mean for awareness/consciousness to 'occur deep within ourselves' - in our foot? chest? centre of gravity? - and again, all the evidence strongly suggests that they are brain states. I do take your point about the accessibility problem, but I put this down to a necessary distinction between *observing* a physical system and *being* a physical system, a distinction that does not ascribe additional properties to that system. For both philosophy and science, heterophenomenology is a good practical approach to accommodating this inescapable limitation.

I think I share your amazement and wonder at the possibilities and depths of consciousness (I have recently started practising lucid dreaming, for instance - fascinating!) but I can't help noticing that you never explain what the non-material phenomena are introduced to account for, what they *are* if they are not physical, or how they can be known - you just assert that they are there. I appreciate that you freely admit you can't back up your claims, but I just wanted to make it clear that this is precisely why they are unacceptable. We know that a physical brain does all the jobs we refer to as things like 'thinking' and 'awareness', so there is simply no work left to be done for non-physical components to account for.

After all, how could a thing with no physical properties be said to 'do' anything?

To you also, enjoy life and take care!

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 04:07:20 BDT
light says:
Thuleatan,

I once heard about a certain tribal people who would teach their young how to control their dreams so that they could get themselves out of nightmares.

I'm interested in hearing what your goal is of practicing lucid dreaming? I think it could be similar to a meditation experience, no? Have you had any experiences yet?

I'm with Kraka on the matter of no education, so my posts will be simple, but this subject interests me so I'll try to do my best.

You said, "I'm afraid I don't agree. I don't know what it would mean for awareness/consciousness to 'occur deep within ourselves' - in our foot? chest? centre of gravity? - and again, all the evidence strongly suggests that they are brain states."

Wouldn't that be called mind states instead of brain states?

thanks light

Posted on 21 Oct 2012 07:30:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Oct 2012 07:53:51 BDT
Tom M says:
John

You have not explained how we could be only physical and have the free will to assent to the proposition that we are only physical, or are you suggesting that you, an only physical thing perform acts and have properties that are not subject to the laws of physics.

Pick one.

Have you determined that mathematical objects and the principles of logic are phyical things? Can we store them in lockers?

The brain works at the classical level of physics. It is determined.

Have you come up with a way to imagine not just triangles, but triangularity?

Have you come up with a way to show that an infinite series of conditioned causes is possible to explain their existence? Can you explain how an unconditioned cause , necessary to explain conditioned reality, must also be physical?

Do you think you know what physical is? Borde Guth and Vilenken have shown that ANY inflationary universe with a hubble expansion rate greater than zero must be finite in the past.

Please tell the world, for it doesn't take much reading in string theory to arrive at a pretty strong sense that its one hell of a mystery.

And as to physics... physical theory is mathematical and read through instruments dealing with events that happened in history... not immediate physical events. Physics doesn't study the real world. It is forever removed inescapably from the immediate world of experience.

Is your theory of physicalism independent of physics? Which physical event showed you that only the physical can exist and that "being" and "physical" mean the same thing.

Physicists tell us that all matter is colourless, tasteless itty bitty bits right, so colour is impossible then if its physical right? Or are they wrong?

And... intentionality. Is purpose physical? How about meaning?

I appreciate your blind faith so far, but I don't share it. Perhaps you can show how your theory contends successfully.. or even partially with all of these issues that indicate you're just wrong.

This of course entails Heisenberg's most amazing feature of the universe, its intelligibility. Is that physical too? Who knew!

How about assumptions, for its clear thusfar that you're just working with assumptions that seem awfully unexamined. Are they physical too?

How about metaphysical facts?

How is it that you know all these things... recognizing that "knowing" implies the freedom to judge independently of physical determination (or the brain, to put it another way) and that your application of universals (words) apply a common entity to disparate entities.

How'd you get away with that?

Have you ever read any books on philosophy of mind? It kinda seems like you can't even recognize the questions, let alone the answers.

Some of the best minds in history..including modern history have for very persuasive reasons maintained a useful distinction betweeen mental acts and brain function.

Have you lost, or rather misplaced your mind?

And what could "you" mean in a physicalist universe of constant physical change. THere cannot be a stable "you" in a physicalist world. Byebye?

How can you disagree or help but disagree with what you agree with or disagree with, and why would you ever disagree with other mindless physical stuff only systems.

Physical-stuff-only-ism seems to have a lot of holes and no ordering principle for wholes in it. And even if you could answer the above...why bother? Are you saying that mindless , purposeless quantum events supply a moral purpose? Moral physical mindless bits?

Sounds a little fishy..

Inquiring minds want to know.

I'm so looking forward to the minions who will find this doesn't add to the discussion. Now if they were to vote that they didn't have a clue how it might add to the discussion, we might be getting at some relevant information.

Blind faith in mindless matter doesn't get very far. Is the blind faith physical too?

Theism is the sine qua non of intelligibility and coherence. It explains the physical.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 08:04:57 BDT
kraka says:
Hi Thuleatan

and greetings with many thanks for your opening compliment which added to John's makes me aware that i may be to hard on myself.

Also thanks for your post which i found interesting and in all honesty i am a little challenged in understanding a part of it as i do not own a good dictionary to explain certain words you used. I am not disappointed to learn that we are not in agreement with the main content of my post, i have no such expectations, my intent was to place a response to your OP that provided an alternative perception/experience that might add to the discussion.

When i said that Consciousness/awareness was deep within ourselves, i meant by this, within the skull in the region of the pineal gland but seems to be above the mind. This is the root of consciousness and is linked from there to the brain. only part of the function of consciousness is involved with the brain the higher function is spiritual, in fact outside of science consciousness has a long history and is often referred to as spiritual energy or, *the heart* the *soul* the *seat of being* and several other terms, unfortunately it has been hijacked into numerous new age books with all manner of dubious interpretations by writers with only their imagination to define it. It's almost a modern buzz word. I regret being unable to respond to your last sentence of the first paragraph as i do not have a clue what the word heterophenomenology means, it suggests something to do with phenomena?

Throughout my years i have had the odd dream that i would describe as one of significance where it seemed much more real than a regular dream and strangely at a later date became relevant to a real event, not precisely prophetic but vaguely in that direction and although they have stuck in my mind i tend to not attach to much significance to them. Does this in any way connect with your reference to *lucid dreaming* as this is the first time i have encountered the term. As Light says it sounds interesting.

I remember reading somewhere that science was unable to define what life actually was, in my previous post i suggested it as being consciousness, it is the wellspring of life within us all. When consciousness departs the mortal coil we are dead, i also suggested that consciousness was also connected to the breath. Actually scriptures say that we are made in the image of God and i believe that our own physical breath is modeled on the Holy Breath of God. Higher Consciousness is the the link between us, our soul and God. The nature of higher consciousness is absolutely non material, it is like a very, very *pure* uncreated energy that is alive, it is alive with God's Holy Breath which sustains it. The wellspring of life within. I have very little real knowledge of church, religions or scriptures, but here i'm on safe ground, this i have experienced, this i have knowledge of, i have been doing this for over forty years now.In my life i have travelled the world in the merchant navy and humped my way round it, have tried many things that promised excitement or a turn on, been into so many different scenes. I had an insatiable appetite for living but do you know the most exciting, fantastic, most fullfilling thing in the whole of my life has been, sitting motionless in deep contemplation of the most Loving Divinity that resides within us all. I can think of nothing that has enriched my life more than this, i could expand on this more but you may then think i exaggerate and that would devalue the truth that i tell you.

To any religious that reads this harken to Jesus when he instructs you to "Seek ye *first* the Kingdom of Heaven" and later adds "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you" This is the path He instructs you to follow, and every word is true. Or possible your own personal experience has something to add?

Your last sentence asks how could a thing without physical properties do anything...............more than you can imagine. Energy is power, it gives birth to matter then matter returns to energy. The most powerful force in the universe is God. you could say the primary state of reality is the permanant nature of God, the only impermanant part is the physical creation which because it is physical is destined to perish, that which has a beggining will have an end, birth ends in death. We are a reflection of this creation, we have a physical aspect which will perish and we have a permanant aspect.........our soul.

I hope i have been able within space and limited time succeeded in providing another perspective for possible further discussion. I am now only here infrequently so you may not see me for a few days but i will return, so i leave you with my best wishes until next time take care....................................kraka

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 08:36:16 BDT
Tom M,

Why couldn't a physical brain have the capacity to make choices? If that's what you mean by free will - if it isn't then you'll need to provide a definition for me, otherwise we'll just go around in circles.

I posted earlier on the evidence that indicates higher thought is associated with physical and measurable processes.

Simply because you cannot conceive of a highly evolved organ having reached the capability to perform abstract thought does not mean that it hasn't. It is you that is making the assertion that there is something beyond the physical and so I suggest the onus is on you to demonstrate it.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 08:41:39 BDT
Diane,

Observable or measurable directly or by its effect on something else.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 09:48:00 BDT
ThulŽatan says:
Hi light,

"I'm interested in hearing what your goal is of practicing lucid dreaming? I think it could be similar to a meditation experience, no? Have you had any experiences yet?"

So far I have had three experiences of what would qualify as lucid dreams. I find them significantly different from meditation, which I have also practised - I wonder if it's possible to meditate *while* lucid dreaming, though! I do it mostly out of curiosity about the experience, but am very interested in the creative possibilities - while lucid dreaming you essentially have free access to the modelling capabilities of your consciousness (which you don't have while awake... at least not without chemical assistance) and are able to 'write' your dream. In the first short lucid dream I had, I took a bus journey through a street that I was designing as I went along... it was amazing to be aware within the dream that I was creating the content by my own will, that the content was so vivid, and that the normal restrictions of reality did not apply to what I could create.

"Wouldn't that be called mind states instead of brain states?"

I don't know about 'instead of', but mind state strikes me as a reasonable synonym.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 10:19:17 BDT
ThulŽatan says:
Hi kraka,

I'm afraid you've lost me there by invoking a lot of unqualified, and I feel unnecessary, notions such as 'god', 'holy breath', 'uncreated energy' and 'loving divinity'. Again I would seriously doubt the existence (or even the meaning) of these things without information about what they exist as, and as they stand I don't think they pose any challenge to the naturalistic account of human life and experience. Still, thanks for sharing more about the beliefs you hold.

"I regret being unable to respond to your last sentence of the first paragraph as i do not have a clue what the word heterophenomenology means."

Yes, apologies for just dropping in this rather obscure term. The Wikipedia page is a fairly good introduction and summary - here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterophenomenology

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 10:50:31 BDT
"For the simple reason that I have seen nothing to suggest it does. If something comes to light then I'll re-evaluate that position."

Precisely - and I have 'seen' things to suggest it does, so I re-evaluated my position.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 10:53:39 BDT
Thuleatan,

You still haven't presented much in the way of discussion and seem to be unable to think outside the box you have made for 'existence', so perhaps you would give some consideration to abstract mathematical concepts such as negative and complex numbers which have no physical reality but still manage to 'exist' and further are used every day by everyone.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 11:16:21 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Such as?

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 12:08:30 BDT
ThulŽatan says:
Wayne,

You failed to engaged with a single point made in my opening post. Other posters did, so I could only conclude that you ignored whatever was inconvenient for your beliefs, and that's not my fault.

There is no 'box' for existence. If something were to be 'outside' it, ie. something had no physical properties, then what is it that differentiates this non-material something from nothing? That's the whole point, and the question the dualist needs to answer.

I have given abstract mathematical concepts plenty of consideration. Have you? If so, and they have no physical reality as you claim, it should be easy for you to tell us what abstract mathematic concepts *do* exist as, then, with no mention at all of physical properties. Go for it.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 12:17:44 BDT
richard says:
i strongly suspect that all is physical. the age old problem of the non physical interacting with the physical still remains as far as i am aware or of the non physical somehow gaining existence from the physical or having an existence separate from the physical . i can understand why many find it upsetting but that just seems to be the way it is.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 12:26:02 BDT
"There is no 'box' for existence."

Glad to hear you say it.

"If something were to be 'outside' it, ie. something had no physical properties, then what is it that differentiates this non-material something from nothing? That's the whole point, and the question the dualist needs to answer."

So you do have a 'box' for existence then? Make up your mind.

"I have given abstract mathematical concepts plenty of consideration. Have you?"

Three years at uni and a lifetime since then.

"If so, and they have no physical reality as you claim, it should be easy for you to tell us what abstract mathematic concepts *do* exist as, then, with no mention at all of physical properties."

Why should it be easy for me to tell you what abstract mathematics exist as? Since you hare the one that has defined existence as 'having physical properties', you should be able to explain to me why you think that '-1' or 'i' or infinity do not exist. Or if they do exist, what are their physical properties?

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 12:45:03 BDT
Wayne,

But you don't want to share what those are and I'm supposed to just take your word for it?

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 13:06:20 BDT
ThulŽatan says:
Wayne,

"So you do have a 'box' for existence then? Make up your mind."

What do you infer this from? I certainly didn't say it. I asked you a question, which you have ignored.

"Why should it be easy for me to tell you what abstract mathematics exist as?"

Because you stated quite clearly that they have no physical reality but still manage to exist. I had hoped the logic behind such certainty would be readily put out for debate... but I guess not.

I would suggest that mathematical concepts such as -1 and i and infinity exist in the following ways:
1. As terms read, written, spoken, or heard - all physical phenomena.
2. The quantities/relationships they refer to or represent need not exist (see 3), but can be applied to quantities/relationships that do.
3. As concepts without referents they exist in the same way as 'the average postman'; not as external entities but as neural activity in the brain thinking about them - again physical.

Which parts would you agree/disagree with? Where does the 'non-physical existence' bit supposedly come in?

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 13:07:06 BDT
Yes, you are. It is a funny thing but but everything in life is either experienced personally or someone tells us about it. Just because someone tells us about it does not make it non existent. So our experiences, our subjective knowledge, informs what is existent.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2012 13:20:40 BDT
Sorry about missing the question - it does seem as though you are defining existence as something with physical properties, in other words you define 'outer limits' to what existence is - essentially you are boxing it in to a narrow definition.

Regarding the mathematical concepts:

1. Middle Earth is read, written, spoken or heard - does that then mean that it exists?
2. Are you saying that something that has no existence can affect something that does? What state is this 'something that has no existence' in if it is does not exist itself?
3. This suggests that such mathematical concepts are 'invented' by neural activity - there was no such thing as a negative number until some Greek Philosopher made it up and nobody disagreed with him.
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  33
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Initial post:  19 Oct 2012
Latest post:  1 Dec 2012

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