I would use an analogy comparing the entire human body to a book.
If we were to examine a good book empirically, through a scientific microscope, and not see or understand the meanings of the sentences, of the paragraphs, of the chapters or indeed of the whole volume in its singular entirety, then we could never come to understand or to grasp the beauty and mystique of all of its wonderful meanings all in its marvelous pages. The leaves or pages of a great book are, in point of fact, living, breathing, "psychological" and non-empirical. But the scientific eye doesn't understand any of that.
I love this analogy. It is not surprising to me that things that humans create are such beautiful metaphors of who we are. Yes, we are a book and we can only by looking the book as a whole can we grasp the meaning of the book.
So too with the human body. The body houses things which can not be understood without the dynamic force of life that has been lived and experienced. For example, you can't know how much that new red bike that I got on my fifth birthday meant to me just by examining the structure of my brain.
So subtle and obvious at the same time.
Human meanings exist as potential interpretations of experiences. This "potential" is something like a soul.
Yes, I would agree.
So human meaning is transportable (transcendent) as well as hidden from the surface of reality. This is reason to believe in the "soul". Soul that is universal and non-empirical.
Yes, I agree. The soul expresses itself in a universal manner.
Things such as beauty and evil are things that can't be explained by the employment of merely physical formulations. Science will never explain things like friendship or music and without these things there can't be any real nations or peoples worth while.
The cosmos is not a physics lab but rather the human sciences have grown out of hidden, historical human values. Scientific facts are dependent upon the human soul.
Yes, it is the soul that drives science to look deeper and deeper into itself. To better understand who we are.
Thanks for sharing with me your view of life. I learn something new everyday.
---------- Post added 09-08-2009 at 09:06 AM ----------
Again, however you look at instincts, rationally, they connect you to a past and future devoid of your particular physical body.
Yes, I would agree. I think connection is a recurrent theme in human existence. Thanks for sharing your insights.
---------- Post added 09-08-2009 at 09:34 AM ----------
Good Discussion here, Thanks to Rich for sharing his thoughts...
The idea that there is a soul separate from the physical body/brain is an old one that's not likely to ever go away, no matter how much we understand about the human brain.
Yes, the soul is a recurrent theme. In my image, they are not really separate. The physical body is a manifestation of the soul. Two sides of the same coin. However, just vapor lingers after ice as melted, so does the soul.
My opinion is that it's a natural permutation of a being that is aware of its own existence and is intelligent enough to comprehend its own death. We see death and we're disturbed; as well we should be. But whether fear-based or otherwise, on the whole, I don't think many of us are ready to accept that this is all that we are, despite the fact all we can reasonably claim as knowledge know points to it.
Yes, I understand you perspective. Sometimes I ask myself why we do not fear sleep as we fear death. Can we be confident that we will wake up from sleep? We think we can. Can we be confident that we will wake up from death? This is the question.
I'm also struck again by this propensity to equate continuance to meaning, worth and/or value. Why is it that so many of us find the human being to be bereft of purpose and value unless we can come up with a basis, no matter how spurious, to buy-in that we somehow continue?
For me it is a simple observation and acceptance of life. We build things to show people. We create ideas to share with people. We like the idea of continuance. Why? Well, I think it goes to the concept of connection that Arjuna mentioned in his previous post. Why do we seek to connect? Why are there forces that draw us together (e.g. gravity, love)? We connect by sharing and what we share has persistence and therefore value to us. It is what I observe and I try to understand what I observe - not deny it.
Isn't the intelligent-yet-corporeal nature of our existence justification, itself, to imbue our lives with the richest and most precious worth there is? How is it that non-continuance (as enunciated here) robs us of meaning? Or conversely, how is it that continuance, of any kind, gives such value and meaning?
It reminds me of a quote from the movie/book Into the Wild
, where the protagonist, before he dies alone in the wilderness, writes in his diary that, he was wrong - life is about sharing. Why? Something I ponder.
that discusses and delineates the vast cache of knowledge we do have on how the mind operates - likely you still would remain unconvinced; no matter what.
Yes, I arrived at my view of the world by wondering through this forest and others looking for clues - for bread crumbs as Hansel and Gretal did. I dug deeper and deeper past the neurons, past, the molecules, past the atoms and electrons, past the quarks, deeper and deeper ... It is all connected. But how and what is doing the connecting. Past to present. Person to person. Neuron to neuron. Quanta to quanta? What is connecting everything? Neurons talk to each other. People talk to each other. Planets communicate to each other (via gravitational waves). Quanta entangle with each other. What is it that is pulling everything together and moving everything?
There is no fact, no theory and no hypothesis that can't be refuted away.
At the end, each of us forms our own belief system based upon who we are and what we have experienced. Each of us is different, and we share what we experience with others. This is the persistent aspect of ourselves. I believe it is universal that we are all peering at each other and everything around us. And we like to create new things and share those things. No different than a child playing with sand.
So too, with the workings of the brain: As long as it remains, to any extent, a gestalt, folks will come with with something, anything to buy into that which re-mystifies the processes.
I believe the mystery is always there. I don't deny it. Instead, I accept it. I look for clues to solve the mystery. The mystery begins the moment a baby is born and mysteriously begins to cry for its mother and food. From where did this cry come from?
Even then, once the electro-chemical code has been broken, mapped and perfected, many won't buy into it -
People will buy into it. But it is not deep enough just as the sun is not deep enough. There is something deeper. There always is.
genetic memory and instinct, rather than label them soul.
Yes, we can switch labels and names but the mystery remains. That is why people keep searching deeper. One chooses the label that is most accommodating to one's life. Some forget about the mystery once the label is applied while others keep looking. We can call it Zeus, God, the Universal Consciousness, the Gaia, genetics, there are many, many names.
So no, I'm not really on board with this, but there's a ton that I don't know or myself, misunderstand. It's always a good move, I think, to accept the possibility. I do; however, worry about what it means to buy into such notions (that one must have a continuing component to have any meaning). But I can understand this belief system and don't think it completely impossible -it just doesn't work for me.
Yes, I agree. And beyond this, everyone should give themselves lots of time
. Life is too long
to discover everything all at once. The mystery
keeps us active and busy and I am thankful for it. Life would be so boring without it.
I believe that the answers to most of our most deeply-held questions about continuance, the soul, the mind and nature of our existence are right in front of us; that accepting ourselves, as we are on face-value, is the most authentic and 'true' stance we can take.
Yes - we are what we are, and we are changing all the time. Life is a great discovery process, and here we are, on this forum, sharing with each other what we are discovering.
Thanks again to Rich for sharing and apologies for the length of this post.
Thank you for sharing with me your thoughts. I love learning something new every day.