Anoying things about immortality

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manored
 
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 12:05 am
I believe in both immortality and in the existence of everthing, what gives birth to a third peturbing belief: I will eventually do everthing, like gouging my own eyes out or wacthing the same movie 30.000 times. Thought the idea of doing everthing involves feeling all sorts of ways then doing those things, and I dont think I could fell happy for watching the same movie 30.000 times... could I? Smile
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 07:52 am
@manored,
If you had dementia..one good film would be fantastic..
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 07:55 am
@xris,
Remind me of a joke..Doctor informs patient."bad news im afraid you have two things wrong with you,aids and dementia" "could be worse doctor i could have aids"
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 07:57 am
@manored,
 
MuseEvolution
 
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 08:17 am
@manored,
Yes immortality would come with nasty side effects, but I cannot shake my convictions that the benefits (for myself at least) would overwhelm those side effects.
 
manored
 
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 10:44 am
@MuseEvolution,
MuseEvolution wrote:
Yes immortality would come with nasty side effects, but I cannot shake my convictions that the benefits (for myself at least) would overwhelm those side effects.
I agree, althought if I am correct its not likely we have a choice Smile
 
StupidBoy phil
 
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2009 02:00 am
@manored,
I suppose you would have to define for me your concept of immortality and why you believe that it's a quality of all beings (or only yourself, if that's the case)
 
manored
 
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2009 09:54 am
@StupidBoy phil,
StupidBoy wrote:
I suppose you would have to define for me your concept of immortality and why you believe that it's a quality of all beings (or only yourself, if that's the case)
My concept of immortality is not living forever as we know life but merely not ceasing to be conscient. Because the universe if infinite (if you disagree tell me why and we can discuss that too) everthing will, and is, happening (same here) wich means that the conscience of who dies as we know dead will end up somewhere else. As if it is for everone or just for me, I cannot prove the existence of anyone else so I cannot prove it happens for everbody, but I believe its likely it does.
 
StupidBoy phil
 
Reply Tue 27 Jan, 2009 10:21 am
@manored,
First, let me apologize for how long it's taken me to respond. Life is of course very busy, and while philosophy is my passion, I don't have as much time for it as I might like.

Quote:
My concept of immortality is not living forever as we know life but merely not ceasing to be conscient. Because the universe if infinite (if you disagree tell me why and we can discuss that too) everthing will, and is, happening (same here) wich means that the conscience of who dies as we know dead will end up somewhere else. As if it is for everone or just for me, I cannot prove the existence of anyone else so I cannot prove it happens for everbody, but I believe its likely it does.


I think the basic area where we're going to bump heads here is over the concept of consciousness. You're taking consciousness for granted, as a thing that is inherent in all beings (we'll skip over the issue of whether other beings outside yourself exist, as it's a separate topic and not important to this discussion). Not that this is a strange belief, the belief in conciousness is widespread, even in philosophical circles; I happen to be in the minority that believes it to be illusory.

To start, I think we need to define what we mean by consciousness; this is no easy task we assign to ourselves. Generally, we consider consciousness to be characterized by some sort of self-awareness. This, however, does not seem to be enough of a distinction in an age of computers. After all, computers can certainly be aware of themselves; they can even engage in introspection (think virus scans or defrags). They are capable of recognizing complex patterns both in sensory terms and in a more esoteric sense, such as their ability to learn patterns like the fibonacci series or the cantor set.

Obviously, most people would not consider computers to have a consciousness, per se. We consider AI to be inferior to our own consciousness, not just as a matter of degree, but as a matter of type. By this I mean that we don't consider computers to be merely less conscious than ourselves (but still retaining some degree of consciousness), but to be fundamentally different. We are conscious, they are not. While this is not something that we've come to out of necessity, it is an important distinction if we're going to have consciousness defined as something at least similar to our average usage. Of course, refining our definition further could be the work of an entire book; consciousness, like most concepts, is incredibly complex and confounding. Many philosophers have began with the lofty intention of defining consciousness or being, none have come to an unassailable definition.

What we have so far is not enough to define consciousness, but it is enough to refute its reality. Not beyond all doubt, but with enough certainty to assume the truth of our denial of consciousness. Indeed with as much certainty as induction will allow. In order for us to categorically deny the possibility of a consciousness that incorporates those elements that we've already assigned to it, we must merely accept physical determinism. I will attempt to show the necessity of physical determinism as briefly as possible. Again, you could write a book on the subject, but I believe the bulk of it can be conveyed in a few short paragraphs.
Imagine that you knew nothing about the laws of physics. You are informed that I am throwing a ball, but you're not given any further information about it. If I asked you to predict how that ball was going to act, you would quite naturally have no clue. Now imagine this same situation, only now you're given the understanding of inertia. If I asked you to predict the action of the ball now, you would respond that it should travel in a path following it's direction at the moment of release and continue on for eternity. You would be hard pressed to convey more than that, since you still do not know the speed at which the ball is released or it's rotation, nor do you have any conception of friction, gravity, entropy or any other natural law.

As the information that you're given improves and as your understanding of the laws of nature increases, you begin to become more accurate in your predictions. Soon, it will become apparent that the information about the ball and it's speed and rotation are not enough. You also need information about matter and energy along the path that the ball will travel; the ball will travel farther at higher altitudes than it will at lower altitudes (less air density, therefore less friction). We will then reach a point at which even knowing the disposition of the matter and energy along the path of the ball isn't enough. In our search for a perfect modeling of the path of the ball, we will begin to see interference with the particles along the ball's path by particles outside of that path. We will need more information about the matter and energy that could be affecting the matter and energy along the ball's path. In order to accurately reflect this, we need information on the matter that's acting on the matter, and this continues until we reach a certain point.

A horizon will appear beyond which no matter or energy can chain it's way into affecting the path that the ball travels. This horizon will be at a point at which it would take light (the fastest moving thing in the universe) longer to travel to a position on the ball's path than it would for the ball to pass through that point. Similarly, we need our understanding of the laws of nature to be refined in much the same manner. At this point, we will have realized our goal. With a perfect understanding of the laws of physics and sufficient information about all particles and energy inside of our deterministic horizon, we can perfectly predict the path of the ball.
This works for more than just a ball though. The same system would work for a pin dropping or a mote of dust wafting through the air. In fact, it will work for all matter or energy. Given the disposition of all matter and energy in the universe, it would work for the whole universe. It follows that this actually runs in both directions; if I know the disposition of all matter and energy interior of our deterministic horizon for a given path, I can work backwards from there, and model the actions that have already happened in much the same manner.

In order for this to work, there are 3 main tenants that must be held true. The first is that the laws of physics must cover all actions in the physical universe. This is actually pretty self-obvious; if an action can be described, there is a "law" for that action. Our second tenant is that matter must exist; if we subscribe to idealism, determinism becomes much more difficult to defend. It may still be possible, it's an avenue I have not fully explored, but for the purpose of our brief description here, we will say that we must be materialists. The third tenant is that the laws of physics must either be constant or they must change in a non-random manner. At this point, we reach another deep question, namely, is there a difference between a static law and a predictable dynamic law? Can a series of predictable changes in a dynamic law be incorporated into a single static law? For that matter, could multiple laws be combined under the headinging of a single law? After all, gravity and inertia are always going to work together, can we not combine the two into a more general law of physics?

These are questions for another day, however. Accepting these 3 tenants, and through the use of our analogy, we can see the necessity of determinism. Having decided that determinism is necessary, we can continue on to apply this determinism to things other than balls. We can apply it to any matter, large or small, from sub-atomic particles to, say, people. We are a complex chain of reactions, the same as the ball traveling through the air, the same as the computer I'm typing this on. The idea of conciousness as something above and beyond simple cause and effect cannot coexist with the idea of determinism. If a mind exists as something above and beyond the flesh it's housed in, it cannot have any interaction with physical matter; for it to do so would cause an action that cannot be predicted, which is impossible under our system of determinism. Our actions, our very thoughts, are just a byproduct of an incredibly complex system of chemical reactions.

As such, if we deny the possibility of consciousness and a mind beyond the physical world, we deny your theory of immortality. The consciousness cannot be immortal if it does not exist.

Now I realize that the groundwork that I've laid out here is horribly incomplete and brief; as I said, just the discussion of physical determinism could be the subject of it's own book, not to mention the discussion on the laws of physics, the inter-relation with consciousness or the possibility of idealistic determinism. I apologize for this brevity, but I hope that you can still follow along the basic pillars that I've presented and understand the concept as a whole.
 
manored
 
Reply Tue 27 Jan, 2009 10:47 am
@StupidBoy phil,
Thats a nice explanation, but physical determinism cannot be accepted for this matter, and the reason is simple: Less we achieve omniscience, we cannot attest that the universe is working according to the laws of physics we know, but to achieve omniscience we would have to be outside the observed universe, else it would not be possible to achieve omniscience because the observer would be observing its own mind wich would be changing according to the conclusions took from observing his own mind: a paradox. And, off course, if the observer was observing the universe from "outside", then something outside would exist that he was not observing, that could interfere with both the outside part and the observed one.

So proving the inexistence of conscience with physical determinism is kinda being absurdly optimistic: accepting that nothing exists beyond what we know.
 
StupidBoy phil
 
Reply Tue 27 Jan, 2009 02:44 pm
@manored,
It has nothing to do with what we know. Obviously, it would not be possible for us to know even the path of the ball in our example; the amount of objects to be tracked is simply astronomical. The speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second in a vaccuum. Even given that it's slightly slower than that here on Earth, we can use that figure as a good measurement. For each second of travel, we would need to know the disposition of all matter and energy in a sphere nearly 600 million meters in diameter centered on that segment of the ball's path. It works out to 363,865 miles. This would, of course, require us to know the disposition of all matter on Earth. It is not possible for us to take a snapshot of the motion of every particle on the Earth, not to mention the entire moon and whatever space debris and radiation happens to be in range at any given moment. We simply cannot know all of this.
That does not mean that it's not there. There have, of course, been arguments that the things around us cease to exist when we are not aware of them. There are even more arguments why this is not the case. As we are taking this from a materialistic view point, we're going to take as a given the view that matter and energy exist independent of our awareness of it. Since it's there, outside of our awareness, acting in harmony with the natural laws, it's still leading to a determined result. Our ability or (in this case) inability to predict this result has nothing to do with whether that result is predetermined. I am unable to tell you what the 33rd millionth decimal place of Pi is, but I would not hesitate to say that it has a definite value. My understanding of it's value is not requisite to it having a value. In fact, it had a value long before humans had any awareness of the ratio of radius to circumfrence, indeed before we existed.
I think you're mistaken if you're suggesting that fact needs to be predicated on our knowledge of the fact.
Let me expand slightly on the concept of laws of physics. Imagine for a moment, that the universe is a big box. Let's say we drew a line through the middle of that box and split our universe into two sections. In one section, gravity is a force of attraction between two objects proportional to their combined mass and inversely proportional to the distance between them. In the other section, gravity is a force of repulsion between two objects proportional to their combined mass and inversely proportional to the distance between them. We could create a meta law to describe the gravity in both sections that was basically a combination of the two laws with additional text to designate the space in which each one was active.
Much like "i before e except after c or when sounding like a as in neighbor or weigh" is a single static rule describing a dynamic situation, the same could be done for any changes through time to a law, as long as that law changed in a predictable manner. For example, Let's say that there was a patch of our reversed gravity traveling through space. Despite the laws of gravity changing in each region of the universe as this patch of reversed gravity hit it, it would be a predictable change, and as such, could be covered under a single static rule.
The only time that a change would throw our system off is if it was truly random, because any change that could be covered by a dynamic law or a static meta-law encompassing that dynamic would still be determinate in nature.
So to reiterate what I said in the beginning, before I got off on this long-winded tangent, whether or not something is predetermined has nothing to do with our ability to know the end result of that determination.
 
manored
 
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 12:52 pm
@StupidBoy phil,
I kinda lost this in the wall of text Smile => We cannot be materialistics then discussing if immortality is real or not, because that would be simply casting possibilities aside. We cannot tell the true color of an object if we, for a moment, ignore the fact that the light that is upon it is not white, but colored.

We have a tendence to assume things dont exist because we cannot perceive then, but, from a logical point of view, there is really no reason for anything to not exist at all, in such a manner that the only way to prove it doesnt exists would be to certain of knowing everthing, what I do not deem possible. Off course this concept is unpraticable in ever-day life because our reality is rather stable, but things are different then we speak about after-life Smile
 
StupidBoy phil
 
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 01:11 pm
@manored,
Sorry, for some reason copy/paste from notepad removes the spaces between paragraphs. I can't actually sit at my computer with internet explorer open for long without getting in trouble, so I use notepad to write and then just log on long enough to post it. Will get back to you later today or tomorrow Razz
 
manored
 
Reply Fri 30 Jan, 2009 09:33 am
@StupidBoy phil,
Ok, no problem. I think there are probally some browsers out there with anti-boss feature Smile
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Sun 1 Feb, 2009 07:32 pm
@manored,
Consciousness has to do with perspective.
I type the same 26 letters on the keyboard countless thousands of times,
but each time a letter is typed it is in a differrent context.

No two events, however similar are ever identical because the second time
you watch a movie, it appears different because you are now watching it
within the context of knowing what the end will be.

Even living the exact same life 1024 times, would never appear the same
from the level of consciousness, because there would be a greater cosmological
context that has lived that life 1023 times previously.

The only way around this would be to completely wipe the consciousness clean
before each lifetime, which would then of course make that lifetime of consciousness
seem unique to the lifetime.

I do not think that it is meaningful to even consider any one event as completely
disconnected from any other event, so there has to be some sort of morphic resonanace between the 'separate yet the same' lifetimes. When we deconstruct
the notion of 'one event completely disconected from another', to do so we are
connecting them with this viewpoint.
 
manored
 
Reply Mon 2 Feb, 2009 10:50 am
@manored,
I agree, the issue is that living everthing means feeling everthing, including the horrible emotions we are very unlikely to feel in this human life. But I guess that is just like human life in a huge scale, isnt it? Smile

What troubles me most, thought, is this: If I will feel everthing, does this means that my personality will get twisted in all sorts of ways, or will there be things I will never chose to do independently of how many times the choice is before me? (Off course never chosing to do something is impossible given and infinite amount of questions, but chosing not most of the time would already have some meaning, I believe).

Perhaps I should just stop worring about the unfathomable future and enjoy the moment Smile
 
 

 
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