Can we believe ourselves into being

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wayne
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 12:39 am
Is it plausible to think we can believe ourselves into immortality?
Can this possibly be the purpose of faith?

I really don't want this to get lost in religion, although some religious beliefs have bearing on this.

By observation, the power of positive thinking appears to be a real factor in life. We are able to achieve amazing goals in life by truly believing that they are possible. By my observation, it seems that most of us are able to obtain what we really want in life if we believe. Of course, some never seem to understand themselves well enough to realise what it is they truly seek. That is not the issue here.

It seems plausible to think that belief in an immortal soul could ,in fact, be the very power that makes it happen. One who spends his life developing faith in a life after death, would then experience that, by the power of that faith.
One who spends his life believing that there will be nothing after death, will then experience [ or non-experience ] that , by the power of thier faith.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 04:17 am
@wayne,
I am not that respectful of thinking. Thinking is the activity of neurons, it is always conditioned by the various factors. You need to go beyond thinking to answer questions of this kind. Of course thinking is useful and should be logical, sane, balanced, but the basis of real intention and the realm wherein you become real is definitely beyond thinking. You can convince yourself of anything, condition yourself into believing something, but that is not the same as discovering the unconditioned.
 
wayne
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 04:33 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;147774 wrote:
I am not that respectful of thinking. Thinking is the activity of neurons, it is always conditioned by the various factors. You need to go beyond thinking to answer questions of this kind. Of course thinking is useful and should be logical, sane, balanced, but the basis of real intention and the realm wherein you become real is definitely beyond thinking. You can convince yourself of anything, condition yourself into believing something, but that is not the same as discovering the unconditioned.


Should faith be considered as beyond thinking?
I don't understand ,discovering the unconditioned.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 05:37 am
@wayne,
You are asking, can your thoughts really determine the outcome for you after death. I suppose in a way it can - in the sense that way you think determines what you will become. So then if it is true that there is a life beyond this one then the way you think will have a bearing on it. But it is a big 'if', isn't it?

Anyway I don't really know if that is the question you are asking. What I was referring to as 'the unconditioned' is like this: we are socially-conditioned beings - we usually just see ourselves the way we have been told to see ourselves, in terms of the social roles we are in, and so on. Is there something beyond that, beyond the role and identity we play in life? That was, and is, something important to me - I don't know if it is for you. But that kind of questioning, that way of really understanding what makes yourself tick - that belongs to the realm of meditative discipline, not 'religion' as it is taught in this day and age. Through that, maybe, some aspect of the being can be found which is more essential than just the personality. This is not faith or religion as is usually taught, which is indeed just 'believe, believe, believe'. It is another kind of thing. And it can open up new perspectives on questions of this type.
 
wayne
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 05:47 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;147788 wrote:
You are asking, can your thoughts really determine the outcome for you after death. I suppose in a way it can - in the sense that way you think determines what you will become. So then if it is true that there is a life beyond this one then the way you think will have a bearing on it. But it is a big 'if', isn't it?

Anyway I don't really know if that is the question you are asking. What I was referring to as 'the unconditioned' is like this: we are socially-conditioned beings - we usually just see ourselves the way we have been told to see ourselves, in terms of the social roles we are in, and so on. Is there something beyond that, beyond the role and identity we play in life? That was, and is, something important to me - I don't know if it is for you. But that kind of questioning, that way of really understanding what makes yourself tick - that belongs to the realm of meditative discipline, not 'religion' as it is taught in this day and age. Through that, maybe, some aspect of the being can be found which is more essential than just the personality. This is not faith or religion as is usually taught, which is indeed just 'believe, believe, believe'. It is another kind of thing. And it can open up new perspectives on questions of this type.


I think we are talking about much the same thing. I see it as faith without defining god . Religion, I think, tries to define God.

When I first began learning to live my life this way, I likened the feeling to a sort of freefall. Does this sound familiar?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 06:02 am
@wayne,
Well, sure. I guess that is something that will be different for different people, but I can see how it would be like that. And, yes, religion certainly tries to define, or contain, God, within definite bounds, although there are those for whom it is necessary, so I don't generally bag it too much. But the spiritual way is much more a matter of self-reliance. It is something one has to teach oneself.
 
Lost1 phil
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 07:06 am
@wayne,
There is evidence to support the idea that we are what we think. It does seem to have a stronger connection to today then it does to tomorrow, which, thankfully, that one day leading into the next without our control tends to bring what we are today into the next.

I'm in total agreement with the idea that there is much power in positive thought. (There is equal power in negative thought but that's not the bases of this thread.)

Can thought have power after death? Can thought make something be after death? Is it possible to believe in an afterlife so strongly that you actually have the power to make it happen? I think not.

Lost1
 
salima
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 09:26 am
@wayne,
assuming there is an afterlife then, will there be thought? if thought is produced by the brain, certainly not. but if imagination and creativity and intuition are above linquistic thought, could they survive after death? and if not, what would there be left of us?

somewhere i read that thoughts go on after death and go about influencing whatever they are attracted to...kind of a spooky thought. that they become beings, they call them elementals, but that would be sort of off topic. would those old thoughts keep roaming around in the afterlife and bumping into us even when our brains have stopped living?

i tend to believe there is something we are doing besides thinking and dreaming that doesnt come from the brain ... but i dont know what to call it and i dont know where it is coming from. but i guess that is the thing we can keep doing after death. it is another question whether or not we will still think we are us when that happens...
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 10:07 am
@wayne,
wayne;147758 wrote:
Is it plausible to think we can believe ourselves into immortality?


Sure, but only in the context that "Anything's Possible". Past that, it gets iffy. I could; however, foresee a scenario wherein the essence (determination, will to live, insatiable desire to hold on - and through that belief) could muster up enough "energy" to 'stay together'. This is, admittedly, a concession; I have no reason to believe this is the case. But sure, I could see some plausibility there.

wayne;147758 wrote:
Can this possibly be the purpose of faith?


There's enough wrong with this question to confidently answer: Likely not. Remember, faith is a leap - a willingness to transcend <whatever> and adhere to an otherwise untenable ideal (at least in this context - there are many 'colors' of faith). What is the purpose of something we do? Well, we'd have to ask that particular feeler, doer or thinker. At least that's how I see it.

wayne;147758 wrote:
By observation, the power of positive thinking appears to be a real factor in life. We are able to achieve amazing goals in life by truly believing that they are possible. By my observation, it seems that most of us are able to obtain what we really want in life if we believe.


Yep, absolutely. Desire, will, drive and positiveness can combine - I believe - into a very strong force with which to be reckoned. I've seen examples of illness, great situational adversity and vast-odds be overcome with such will. You might could well be onto something here.

wayne;147758 wrote:
It seems plausible to think that belief in an immortal soul could ,in fact, be the very power that makes it happen. One who spends his life developing faith in a life after death, would then experience that, by the power of that faith.

One who spends his life believing that there will be nothing after death, will then experience [ or non-experience ] that , by the power of thier faith.


Yes, such is certainly possible. No, I don't believe it; but I need to keep my mind open here. My orientation is such that consciousness (and all that goes into comprising it) exists in the dynamics of bioelectrical interplay between the components of memory centers, sensory input, amigdala feedback, prefrontal reasoning centers and many more. As these combine, work together, staying constantly "charged" that sense of self therein lies. Now, tying this "theory" back to your notion: Yes, I have to admit its possibility.

Very nice thought there - great teaser and well worded.

Thanks
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 07:32 pm
@Khethil,
That is what the human being is, belief is what makes the being, still just a human left over with out it though?
 
wayne
 
Reply Sat 3 Apr, 2010 07:59 pm
@wayne,
This concept seems difficult to describe. It appears we have no words that adequately describe, think , belief, faith, all fall somewhat short of the mark.

The closest understandable concept seems the power of positive thinking, this concept is ethereal enough to leave us somewhat wordless.

I am finding everyones thoughts to be very interesting.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 08:52 am
@wayne,
wayne;147777 wrote:
Should faith be considered as beyond thinking?
I don't understand ,discovering the unconditioned.


Yes, faith is beyond thinking, as it is not thinking, but dogmatically believing when one ought not believe. In other words, it is beyond thinking in the same way as anything really stupid is beyond thinking.

The idea that you can think yourself into immortality is exceedingly stupid and silly. Wishes do not make things come true, and only fools believe that they do. It is even immortalized in a trite old saying:

[INDENT][INDENT]If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.[/INDENT][/INDENT]

Wishing for something simply does not make it happen, and so wishing for immortality is not going to make that happen.
 
wayne
 
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 09:13 am
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;149212 wrote:
Yes, faith is beyond thinking, as it is not thinking, but dogmatically believing when one ought not believe. In other words, it is beyond thinking in the same way as anything really stupid is beyond thinking..


Who said anything about dogma? How brilliant is it to use inflamatory words like stupid?

Pyrrho;149212 wrote:
The idea that you can think yourself into immortality is exceedingly stupid and silly. Wishes do not make things come true, and only fools believe that they do. It is even immortalized in a trite old saying:.


Just because you,in your great wisdom, do not believe something ,does not make it stupid. People have faith in themselves every day. Faith accomplishes much in this world. Oh and by the way, the word is Faith, not wish , different words, different meanings.


[INDENT][INDENT][QUOTE=Pyrrho;149212]If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.[/QUOTE]
[/INDENT][/INDENT]

[INDENT][INDENT]
Pyrrho;149212 wrote:


[/INDENT][/INDENT]
Pyrrho;149212 wrote:


Wishing for something simply does not make it happen, and so wishing for immortality is not going to make that happen.


I think you are confused, no mention has been made of wishes. Maybe you misunderstand the meaning of the word faith.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 09:35 am
@wayne,
wayne;149220 wrote:
Who said anything about dogma? How brilliant is it to use inflamatory words like stupid?



Just because you,in your great wisdom, do not believe something ,does not make it stupid. People have faith in themselves every day. Faith accomplishes much in this world. Oh and by the way, the word is Faith, not wish , different words, different meanings.


[INDENT][INDENT]
[/INDENT][/INDENT]

[INDENT][INDENT]
[/INDENT][/INDENT]

I think you are confused, no mention has been made of wishes. Maybe you misunderstand the meaning of the word faith.



In the context of this thread, it is really about wishing. Like most words in English, the word "faith" has multiple meanings:

Quote:
faith (fāth)
n.
  1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

  2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.

  3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.

  4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.

  5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.

  6. A set of principles or beliefs.
Faith | Define Faith at Dictionary.com


Having a belief in something because one wants it to be true is wishing for it.
 
wayne
 
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 11:08 am
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;149230 wrote:
In the context of this thread, it is really about wishing. Like most words in English, the word "faith" has multiple meanings:



Having a belief in something because one wants it to be true is wishing for it.



I didn't see that in any of those definitions, I guess you've added a new one.

Thanks deciding what my context was for me. Amazing how you can think for me like that.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 11:11 am
@wayne,
wayne;149263 wrote:
I didn't see that in any of those definitions, I guess you've added a new one.

Thanks deciding what my context was for me. Amazing how you can think for me like that.


You evidently want to believe in an afterlife. So you are wishing it to be true. And you are suggesting that doing so will possibly give you an afterlife. Hence my responses above.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 11:54 am
@wayne,
wayne;147758 wrote:

By observation, the power of positive thinking appears to be a real factor in life. We are able to achieve amazing goals in life by truly believing that they are possible. By my observation, it seems that most of us are able to obtain what we really want in life if we believe. Of course, some never seem to understand themselves well enough to realise what it is they truly seek. That is not the issue here.


I think this is tricky though, because if something is really impossible, we don't believe. And if something is improbable, we usually don't believe. You are suggesting that the belief causes the achievement, but you have only observed correlation.

I think people are naturally a bit optimistic and I think it's generally correlated with good health. But you know, there are millions of people who believe they will win the lottery.

Quote:
It seems plausible to think that belief in an immortal soul could ,in fact, be the very power that makes it happen. One who spends his life developing faith in a life after death, would then experience that, by the power of that faith.
One who spends his life believing that there will be nothing after death, will then experience [ or non-experience ] that , by the power of thier faith.
I think you lost me here...how do you know it happens?

I thought you were talking about "if we believe ourselves to be immortal, we will never die". I think that fits your framework just as well. But aren't there historical examples of people who have believed themselves immortal? I think it was Empedocles who supposedly threw himself into a volcano to prove his immortality (or something like that).
 
wayne
 
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 12:43 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;149274 wrote:
I think this is tricky though, because if something is really impossible, we don't believe. And if something is improbable, we usually don't believe. You are suggesting that the belief causes the achievement, but you have only observed correlation.

I think people are naturally a bit optimistic and I think it's generally correlated with good health. But you know, there are millions of people who believe they will win the lottery.


Faith is known to have a positive benefit in the lives of millions of people. I am merely suggesting the idea that the act of faith could have power beyond our understanding.

Jebediah;149274 wrote:
I think you lost me here...how do you know it happens?

I thought you were talking about "if we believe ourselves to be immortal, we will never die". I think that fits your framework just as well. But aren't there historical examples of people who have believed themselves immortal? I think it was Empedocles who supposedly threw himself into a volcano to prove his immortality (or something like that).


I'm not saying ,I know it happens. I'm saying that if it does ,faith could be the power that effects it. It is the soul that becomes immortal ,not the body.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 12:53 pm
@wayne,
wayne;149285 wrote:
Faith is known to have a positive benefit in the lives of millions of people. I am merely suggesting the idea that the act of faith could have power beyond our understanding.


I could see faith having a positive benefit, yes, though I'd be interested to see if you could be more specific. I'm having trouble pinning that down myself. But to judge faith on the whole don't you have to take the overall effects into account? Playing the lottery is known to have a huge financial benefit for many people, but I wouldn't suggest trying it because there's no reason to think it would benefit you (it's very unlikely). So, do we have any reason to believe that having faith in becoming immortal will make the soul immortal? Do we have any reason to believe that having an immortal soul is desirable?

The problem with something being "beyond our understanding" is that then we have no way of telling if it is good or bad, by definition.

Quote:
I'm not saying ,I know it happens. I'm saying that if it does ,faith could be the power that effects it. It is the soul that becomes immortal ,not the body.
If the soul can become immortal through faith, I don't see why the body can't. It's beyond our understanding, right?
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 01:32 pm
@Jebediah,
It may have been asked;
Can we believe ourselves out of being?
 
 

 
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