The bodily Soul According to the RAMBAM

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Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 05:20 pm
*Before reading, know that the word that the RAMBAM uses for soul is "Nefesh". According to Kabbalah this is the Animal soul that is found in the Body. It is the same type of soul that Animals have and the RAMBAM explains this in his first of eight chapters. Know that there are higher souls than this but this is the root of them all in the world.*

According the RAMBAM, the (bodily) soul is one.
The RAMBAM then begins dividing the soul into 5 aspects, but reminds us that these are 5 powers of the soul, but the soul is one.

The 5 divisions are as follows:

Nutrition -- This is the part of the soul that is responsible for mindless bodily functions. It is what causes our heart to beat, digestion to occur, and our lungs to breath and all other bodily processes. Neural Science places this "Power" in the Medula Omblangada or the Brainstem. A dead creature does not have a beating heart because the soul is no longer causing it to beat. This is Micro-Instinct.

Reception -- This is the part of the soul that recieves information from the outside world. It is the part that receives the information from the 5 senses. This is what is known as consciousness.

Immagination -- This is the part of the soul that manipulates the Reception in order to produce new ideas. It can produce impossible ideas and possible ideas; it is up to reason, logic, and knowledge to determine which is possible and which is not.

Character -- This is the part of the soul that causes us to desire positively and negatively. It causes us to want to be close to and attain some things and be far from and reject others. This is the place of the Macro-Instinct

Intellect -- This is the part of the soul that makes up reason, logic, and knowledge. The RAMBAM devides this part into Abstract and Concrete.



Now the RAMBAM asks "Which parts of the soul can we change? Which part can we control?"

In order to arrive at the conclusion the RAMBAM asks what parts are absent while sleeping.

The answer is Reception and Character.

The RAMBAM then procedes to speak about Character, and what is the ideal character and how to go about correcting one's character.

I wont go too deeply into this but the main idea is:
All character traits have two extremes and the range between them.
Humility and Pride/Greed and Generosity/Anger and Patience/.. ETC.

He continues to state that the middle point between the two extremes is the perfect balance. One should always strive to bring ones character to the Middle. In order to accomplish this, one must over emphasize and work on the opposite exteme until one arrives in the center and then one must try and maintain the balance.

He writes "Know, that the best way to aquire a Character Trait [internally] is by performing acts that one with this Character Trait would [externally] perform. One should continue performing these acts until one attains the Character trait [Internally]"

He also writes that it is better to perform many small actions at many different times, than to perform one big action. Such as one that is overly greedy, should give charity in order to aquire the trait of Generosity. But he should not give one large lump sum. Rather, he should divide the sum into several small sums and give them them out over time. Character is aquired through Habbit. Good Character traits and Bad character traits. He defines a Good Character trait as the balance between two extremes and a bad character trait as an imbalance between the two.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 05:30 pm
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Binyamin Tsadik;25495 wrote:


I wont go too deeply into this but the main idea is:
All character traits have two extremes and the range between them.
Humility and Pride/Greed and Generosity/Anger and Patience/.. ETC.

He continues to state that the middle point between the two extremes is the perfect balance. One should always strive to bring ones character to the Middle. In order to accomplish this, one must over emphasize and work on the opposite exteme until one arrives in the center and then one must try and maintain the balance.



This sounds very similar to Taoism, and to Buddhism's Four Noble Truths, the Middle Way and the Eightfold Path.
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 05:46 pm
@TickTockMan,
Very similar, but the RAMBAM develops the idea in far more depth.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 08:18 am
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Quick clarification here....

Binyamin Tsadik wrote:
*Before reading, know that the word that the RAMBAM uses for soul is "Nefesh". According to Kabbalah this is the Animal soul that is found in the Body.


Aside from the kabbalah saying there is this 'soul'. Do you (or does it) have any other justification or reasoning to say that such a thing exists?

Thanks Smile
 
nameless
 
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 02:41 pm
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Binyamin Tsadik;25495 wrote:

According the RAMBAM, the (bodily) soul is one.
The RAMBAM then begins dividing the soul into 5 aspects, but reminds us that these are 5 powers of the soul, but the soul is one.

If by saying that the 'soul' is 'one' means that it is a 'monism' (like 'god' is 'One', then there can be no features, no qualities, no powers, no divisions, no limitations, ineffable, inconceivable...
I have found 'Soul' to be Conscious Perspective, who we are, and 'autonomous bodily image' is an artifact of egoPerspective, a 'subset' of Soul. It is as ego that we imagine an 'us' to 'have/posess' a Soul.
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 03:19 pm
@nameless,
Oneness does not mean an absence of division.
You must train your mind to stop thinking physically.
Look at a clock, or a Computer, or a Human Being.

All of these examples are One but comprise of several parts working together. It is the fact that all of these parts work together that makes it one.

The Soul discussed here is a unity that comprises of several different powers.

RE: Evidence for the Soul
I was not speaking about the higher souls in this section, I was just clarifying that the Soul the RAMBAM is speaking about is the "Nefesh" Which is the bodily soul. The evidence of this is that you are reading what I am writing right now.

Read carefully the 5 powers of the Soul and see that they exist. There is evidence for each of the 5 powers. Just know that this soul is the soul that is found in all animals. It is the soul that is connected with our animal body.
 
nameless
 
Reply Tue 23 Sep, 2008 07:51 pm
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Binyamin Tsadik;25614 wrote:
Oneness does not mean an absence of division.
You must train your mind to stop thinking physically.

No I don't must anything.
And yes, classically, it does. One is One! Period. Indivisible. Irreducible. As I have stated.
The mind is a physical thing, dualistic in nature, and cannot in itself conceive of Oness/monism/perfect symmetry!
Perhaps you have a different 'experience' of Oneness? Would you care to define 'Oneness' as you/he uses it?
My experience (and that of all the mystics throughout the millennia, not to mention modern physics) validates Oneness as I have offered. You/he must have a different definition? Love to hear it.

Quote:
Look at a clock, or a Computer, or a Human Being.
All of these examples are One but comprise of several parts working together. It is the fact that all of these parts work together that makes it one.

So, you are speaking from a completely mundane understanding. A car is 'one' car, composed of many parts. So? It seems unworthy of a philosophy context in discussing such a mundane concept.

Quote:
The Soul discussed here is a unity that comprises of several different powers.

I would have to see good definitions and evidences.

Quote:
RE: Evidence for the Soul
I was not speaking about the higher souls in this section, I was just clarifying that the Soul the RAMBAM is speaking about is the "Nefesh" Which is the bodily soul.

That isn't evidence, it is a definitional example; there were 12,000 souls at the ballgame. In that context, 'people' are interchangeable with 'souls'. Mundane, so?

Quote:
The evidence of this is that you are reading what I am writing right now.

This is evidence in support of my definition of soul; Consc9ious Perspective. That is the complete set. Perhaps there are many 'subsets' on a continuum, from the obvious and the mundane to the arcane, the Oneness that is 'experienced' in 'enlightenment'....

Quote:
Read carefully the 5 powers of the Soul and see that they exist.

Everything exists.
That these five 'qualities' are called of the soul is a personal slant. TThese 'qualities' can be attributed to commonly mundane features without getting all about the 'soul'. Unless your definition is merely of the body as soul. They all describe the body and bodily functions. Dividing them and attributing them as divisions of a 'soul' seems unnecessary and poorly evidenced as such. Unless by 'soul' you mean 'body'.

Quote:
There is evidence for each of the 5 powers.

Of course there is evidence of these five qualities, in and of themselves, with simple biological explanations. To hoo-doo-ize them with all this 'soul' talk seems ... 'strained' at best.

Quote:
Just know that this soul is the soul that is found in all animals.

You cannot tell me to 'just take your word for something', to "just know" this or that. I 'know' nothing.
Make a point, support it rationally, logically, with evidence, and I will examine your point, critically and thoughtfully, and come to my own (conditional) understanding.
I can play that same game; "just know that I am god..." capisce'?
Please link me to some science that speaks of 'soul' in animals, or people, for that matter. Mystically speaking, there is no 'soul' in anything/anyone, we ARE soul. Anything 'more' is, solely, ego!

Quote:
It is the soul that is connected with our animal body.

Common misunderstanding derived from the fallacies of western philosophical errors from Aristotle onward. And to support this erroneous nonsense requires ever greater complexities, do to the ever appearing paradoxes that error manifests.

Quote:
Now the RAMBAM asks "Which parts of the soul can we change? Which part can we control?"

All ego, ego, ego! "We control"?? Really!

Are you 'attached' to the thoughts of your Rom Bom? Are you a 'believer', and do you identify with his thoughts. If so, I cannot discuss this further, as long hard experience has taught me that discussing a believer's beliefs will be fruitless for all concerned. Try telling a Xtian that Jesus probably never actually walked the earth, or a Jew tha Moses was most likely fictional, or the 300 years of slavery in Egypt probably never happened, or the parting of the Red (mistranslated from 'Reed Sea', if I remember corectly. Much shallower..) Sea. One will reference history and archeological evidence or lack of, and the other will wave his bible and get all emotional, and then kill you. We do kill and die for beliefs quite easily, dont we?
So...
Ball's in your court...
Peace
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 04:33 am
@nameless,
I wasn't entering into a confrontation with you, I was trying to explain what the RAMBAM was speaking about.

Physical oneness is what?
Is a rock one?
Or is it made up of several different elements and compounds. Oneness is based on function.
Saying that God is one is not saying that there is only one God, it is saying that God is unity.
This aspect of the soul works in unity. It is one soul that is expressed in different ways.

The Nefesh is the body, yes. It is what is found in the brain. The RAMBAM lived 1400 years ago. There was not yet neural science. The body is physical, yet we all have a concept of existance. This consciousness is the Nefesh. It is the soul found in all animals. Ours is obviously a different consciousness.
The Rambam himself says that the soul and the experience of being a mosquito is different than the soul and experience of being a Horse. It is a different Soul but the same type of soul. He explains it with an analogy.
A candle, the moon, and the Sun are all light. But their light is different.

I dont understand what your problem is with the RAMBAM's definition of the Animal soul and its powers.

He doesnt deny the other higher souls.

Now about control. It is not ego to say that we have control over our actions and decisions. It is fact. What part of our Nefesh, can we change? When we work on ourselves to be better people, what part of this soul are we working on?
That is the question.
If you examine all of the 5 parts you will see that there are only 2 parts that we can change.
The Nutrition is subconscious so we therefore do not have active control over it. And those martial artists that do, can only speed it up or slow it down, they cannot change its nature.
The sensory is controllable because it is our decision what we focus on. We can close our eyes. We can think of specific things.
The Imagination is not changeable or controllable. We can use it, but this power stays the same from the moment we are born to the day we die. we can train ourselves to use it better or be more familiar with it but it itself does not change. He proves this because when we sleep the Imagination is still active. This means that consciousness does not effect it. The Character is changeable and controllable. And this is what the RAMBAM identifies as most of our work when we are trying to better ourselves. He states that an unhealthy character is an imballanced one. And the rest of this book is how to modify ones character to be healthy. The last is the intellect which is only changeable through knowledge. The intellect itself (intelligence) is not changeable. It is the same today than it is tomorrow. We can learn and get closer to truth but the Intellect itself as a power of the soul does not modify itself.

According to Kabbalah this is the definition of Nefesh. The next level is Ruach which is identified with the heart and with feeling. The next level is Neshamah which is connected with divinity and with the higher worlds and it is a section that most people are not in touch with. The next two levels are Chayah and Yechidah and are far more complicated to discuss. Yechidah is the level where all souls meet into one.
They are related to a candle. The Nefesh is the wick, the Ruach is the flame next to the wick, and the Neshamah is the flickering flame. The chayah is the halo around the candle and the Yechidah is the place where the candle rises to, where the smoke goes to, it is where all other candles meet.
This is obviously an analogy so dont take it literally at all.
 
nameless
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 02:24 pm
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Binyamin Tsadik;25674 wrote:
I wasn't entering into a confrontation with you, I was trying to explain what the RAMBAM was speaking about.

If you did not offer the RamBam's thoughts/words, the OP, for critical examination, what is the point of this thread? Proselytizing? Teaching? Noting a historical oddity? This is a place for critical examination of anything and everything offered. That is the nature of this forum and philosophy in general. If unwilling to 'defend' your offering in the context of philosophical critical examination, again, what is your intent?

Quote:
The Nefesh is the body, yes. It is what is found in the brain. The RAMBAM lived 1400 years ago. There was not yet neural science.

Yeah, the Buddha could have benefitted from the understandings that modern science can provide also, like so many other thinkers throughout history...

Quote:
The body is physical, yet we all have a concept of existance.

Are you saying that 'concepts' aren't 'physical'? or that the 'physicality' of the body somehow is contextually juxtaposed to our having a "concept of existence"?

Quote:
This consciousness is the Nefesh. It is the soul found in all animals. Ours is obviously a different consciousness.

That is a shame, as the obvious is never, ever Truth/Reality, other than the 'reality' of the shimmering holograms flitting through 'our' brains.
The obvious is that the sun orbits the earth. As a philosophical stance, the "obvious" has been discredited long ago.

Quote:
The Rambam himself says that the soul and the experience of being a mosquito is different than the soul and experience of being a Horse. It is a different Soul but the same type of soul.

All Souls are unique qua Perspectives. All souls are Conscious Perspectives.

Quote:
He explains it with an analogy.
A candle, the moon, and the Sun are all light. But their light is different.

Thereis no inherent difference; photons are photons. It is Perceptions, the Perspectives, us Souls, that see it differently.

Quote:
I dont understand what your problem is with the RAMBAM's definition of the Animal soul and its powers.

It is presumptuous to state such as anything other than simple speculation, and mostly idle (sans experiment, sans evidence) speculation at that. It seems tantamount to 'teaching' the 'facts' about monkeys going to 'heaven'... First, lets find and examine whether there is a 'heaven' at all before making the assumptive leap to the question of 'monkeys' and 'souls'.

Quote:
Now about control. It is not ego to say that we have control over our actions and decisions. It is fact.

Yes it is ego, and your emotional (-ly dismissive) cry that it "is fact" exposes the 'egoic beliefs' and 'emotional needs' that muddy the waters in a logical, rational conversation..

Quote:
What part of our Nefesh, can we change? When we work on ourselves to be better people, what part of this soul are we working on?
That is the question.

The 'ego' part. It (egoPerspective) judges the present moment of creation/existence as 'wanting/insufficient' and assumes to 'fix it' to the superior hubristic expectations of the ego's image of 'will'.

Quote:
If you examine all of the 5 parts you will see that there are only 2 parts that we can change.

I clearly understand the Perspective that you suggest, the "Idiots Guide to How You Can Improve Everything in Your Life" train of thought...
I understand it, but modern science doesn't agree, millennial enlightened wisdom doesn't agree, and, oddly enough, neither do I. Coincidence?

Quote:
The Nutrition is subconscious so we therefore do not have active control over it.

Even the so called 'subconscious' is far from a scientifically decided 'fact', quite the opposite, these days. It is only hypothetically posited, no more...

Quote:
He states that an unhealthy character is an imballanced one. And the rest of this book is how to modify ones character to be healthy.

So, just another 'self help' book/guru, like Richard Simmons?


Quote:
The last is the intellect which is only changeable through knowledge.

Einstein said that intellect/intelligence "has nothing to do with knowledge, it has to do with imagination!"

Quote:
...The next level is Ruach which is identified with the heart and with feeling. The next level is Neshamah which is connected with divinity and with the higher worlds and it is a section that most people are not in touch with. The next two levels are Chayah and Yechidah and are far more complicated to discuss. Yechidah is the level where all souls meet into one.

Not unlike the 'cakras' of Kundalini, and other metaphors/analogs..

Quote:
They are related to a candle. The Nefesh is the wick, the Ruach is the flame next to the wick, and the Neshamah is the flickering flame. The chayah is the halo around the candle and the Yechidah is the place where the candle rises to, where the smoke goes to, it is where all other candles meet.
This is obviously an analogy so dont take it literally at all.

Understood.
Shalom
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Wed 24 Sep, 2008 04:53 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
If you did not offer the RamBam's thoughts/words, the OP, for critical examination, what is the point of this thread? Proselytizing? Teaching? Noting a historical oddity? This is a place for critical examination of anything and everything offered. That is the nature of this forum and philosophy in general. If unwilling to 'defend' your offering in the context of philosophical critical examination, again, what is your intent?


Discussion

nameless wrote:
Yeah, the Buddha could have benefitted from the understandings that modern science can provide also, like so many other thinkers throughout history...


The Rambam would have said the same thing just in different words. You are critiquing his terminology about the soul. I'm saying he didn't have modern terminology to express it any different.

nameless wrote:
Are you saying that 'concepts' aren't 'physical'? or that the 'physicality' of the body somehow is contextually juxtaposed to our having a "concept of existence"?


I am saying that the conciousness of existance and the coordination of the body for life is the animal soul's responsibility. Please look at the Instinct thread to read my definition of the Animal soul.

nameless wrote:
That is a shame, as the obvious is never, ever Truth/Reality, other than the 'reality' of the shimmering holograms flitting through 'our' brains.
The obvious is that the sun orbits the earth. As a philosophical stance, the "obvious" has been discredited long ago.


Some conclusions can be made based on common sense. "It is obvious that it is raining outside".


nameless wrote:
All Souls are unique qua Perspectives. All souls are Conscious Perspectives.


The world looks different as a mosquito. A mosquito searches for sents and blood. That is its existance. Thus it is obvious that it requires a different soul.

nameless wrote:
Thereis no inherent difference; photons are photons. It is Perceptions, the Perspectives, us Souls, that see it differently.


That was my point. They are all light just as a soul is a soul but the light is still different

nameless wrote:
It is presumptuous to state such as anything other than simple speculation, and mostly idle (sans experiment, sans evidence) speculation at that. It seems tantamount to 'teaching' the 'facts' about monkeys going to 'heaven'... First, lets find and examine whether there is a 'heaven' at all before making the assumptive leap to the question of 'monkeys' and 'souls'.


The RaMBaM never speculated.

nameless wrote:
Yes it is ego, and your emotional (-ly dismissive) cry that it "is fact" exposes the 'egoic beliefs' and 'emotional needs' that muddy the waters in a logical, rational conversation..


How can we hold people accountable for their actions if they have no control over them? How can we have courthouses and lawyers and sentences and Jails. It is not Ego to say that I have control over my actions and it is not Ego to say that I can change my character because I have a certain degree of control over it. What is rehab, or psychology if we can't change? What is Alcoholics anonomous and why is it so successful in helping people change? I cant have a logical conversation with an idiot, stupidity muddies the watters!

nameless wrote:
I clearly understand the Perspective that you suggest, the "Idiots Guide to How You Can Improve Everything in Your Life" train of thought...
I understand it, but modern science doesn't agree, millennial enlightened wisdom doesn't agree, and, oddly enough, neither do I. Coincidence?


Who is not bringing proof now? "Modern science proves you are wrong" That's a blanket statement if I ever heard one. Alcoholics Anonymous is a very successful "self help" book. Look at the results. And the RamBam is speaking from millenial enlightened wisdom. And You are Egotistic.

nameless wrote:
Even the so called 'subconscious' is far from a scientifically decided 'fact', quite the opposite, these days. It is only hypothetically posited, no more...


I didnt say subconscious was a fact, I said we are not conscious of our heart beating. It is controlled by the brainstem, a part that we dont have conscious control over. Although Martial Artists have been able to slow their heart rate at will.

nameless wrote:
So, just another 'self help' book/guru, like Richard Simmons?


Not another 'self help' book. An introduction to a 2000 year old book of teachings from the Tannaic Sages.

nameless wrote:
Einstein said that intellect/intelligence "has nothing to do with knowledge, it has to do with imagination!"


Einstein was speaking about his own theories and that they were not based on Knowledge but he arrived at them through imagination. But knowledge does effect intelligent decision. "I know that it is raining outside so I will wear my raincoat today." The Intellect doesnt change, but its decisions can change based on knowledge.
 
nameless
 
Reply Thu 25 Sep, 2008 12:48 am
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Binyamin Tsadik;25758 wrote:
nameless wrote:

Yes it is ego, and your emotional (-ly dismissive) cry that it "is fact" exposes the 'egoic beliefs' and 'emotional needs' that muddy the waters in a logical, rational conversation..

How can we hold people accountable for their actions if they have no control over them?

We will have to evaluate behavior and deal compassionately with the misbehaver. A blow to the ego! Pow! Cannot judge the person.

Quote:
How can we have courthouses and lawyers and sentences and Jails.

Oh my! What a loss for the planet. No courthouses, but to perhaps determine the appropriate action to take with someone who misbehaves, compassionately. No lawyers? You have to be joling! No sentences? There goes the retribution aspect! Another blow to the ego! Pow! The 'sentence' might be therapy. Might be medication. At extremis, might be compassionate 'isolation' where he cannot hurt himself or others.. maybe a football helmet? Like an 'ill' or 'unstable' little brother, with compassion!
No jails? Whats your problem with that? Own a few? Warden? Jailer? No retribution no punishment at all! Last blow to the ego! Pow! and it's down for the count!

Quote:
It is not Ego to say that I have control over my actions and it is not Ego to say that I can change my character because I have a certain degree of control over it.

So, you keep saying, but, if you were able to recognize ego, I don't think that you would keep saying that. That is exactly the sort of 'belief' that ego thrives on and defends; by denial, the diversions and logical falacies (strawmen, red herrings, non-sequiturs...), the attacks with the ad-hom, the words put in one's mouth.. The symptoms of 'belief' are many. When you even say 'I' this or that, the 'I' is the ego (-ic image) refering to itself.
I notice that you glissanded over my point of the (sin of) prideful judgement that I pointed to. Understandable. Is 'pride' a virtue where you come from?

Quote:
What is rehab, or psychology if we can't change?

We do not but appear to 'change' (as a verb). We are new and different every moment!

Quote:
What is Alcoholics anonomous and why is it so successful in helping people change?

Why-ever you think. There is no 'why' beyond your thoughts.
'Cause and effect' are discredited as no more than a local Perspectival perception, not inherently fundamental in existence/Reality beyond your thoughts.
The critically updated understanding is not 'cause and effect' but; "two (or more) mutually arising features of the same event". Non-linear.

Perhaps someone reading might appreciate/understand the following;

"What good is no free will?

In the depths of the ego-death experience, an uncaring block universe appears to have complete control of the person. This is an unstable and untenable state, when one is dancing on the strings of a blind and dispassionate and non-personal mechanism, the block universe. The person in this state is not only abandoned into full existential isolation, but is forcefully being moved here and there by a machine, and the accustomed personal restrictions and ruts of thinking are gone.

The mind becomes released into a completely unrestrained freedom, while all conventional power of self-control, restraint, and stability is suspended. It's freedom in the radical sense of arbitrary chaos, lacking any guidance, lacking any system of values or regulations to steer by -- with moment-to-moment cybernetic arbitrariness. This is the very definition of mental and cybernetic instability, which is not the best state of mind for stable, mundane, viable existence."

Quote:
I cant have a logical conversation with an idiot, stupidity muddies the watters!

So, perhaps I'm an idiot and I'm stoopid, but at least I can recognize an ego... (this is an egoic statement, by the way)
Yours are the exact words (symptoms) of a threatened ego. The 'ad hom attack' phase. Point made.
I already told you that i will not discuss a person's 'beliefs'. Your religion is your religion, so long as you don't go all jihad on me, all's well. And, as I'd never want to muddy your waters, I guess that we'll just let it go...
Shalom

Oh;
Quote:
"Better one Bird in your hand than two in the tree"

I'd rather have my 'bird' in a 'bush' than my hand! :rolleyes:
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Thu 25 Sep, 2008 06:00 am
@nameless,
I opened a new thread because this discussion doesn't really belong here.

Do we have control over our actions?

Please post your side there.
 
 

 
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