Everything is either 'alive' or 'dead'.

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Riordan
 
Reply Mon 11 May, 2009 04:33 pm
At the most fundamental levels of the universe, there exists basic building blocks which has constructed our reality. We have all deemed ourselves as 'alive' and given this special meaning, some postulating that there is some 'greater' meaning to life due to it's special properties. However, I'd like to point out that we are no different from a rock, ecosystem, or orbiting Sun. How can we know this to be true?

All objects are constructed of strings.
Strings are either alive or dead (according to your perception).
All objects are alive or/and dead.

I contend that any labeling of matter to be alive or dead simply because of its atomic make up is arbitrary (IE a cell, plant, 'organic' atom). Life is merely an illusion -- it is just another system of the universe.

Interestingly enough, this truth would allow 'life' to come from nothingness without a creator -- which is something I also am a proponent of. What say you?
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Mon 11 May, 2009 04:42 pm
@Riordan,
Me says...

Well, I agree with the overall conclusion.
I don't know if we need to dive into string theory to get there but we don't really need to.

I'm just a bunch of molecules that bump together and create what I think is thought.
 
Riordan
 
Reply Mon 11 May, 2009 04:52 pm
@EmperorNero,
The problem here is that I don't enjoy thinking this way; however, it is the only conclusion I can come to. I am currently under the impression that the human experience we 'enjoy' is nothing but a lie set up by happenstance because our biological systems can only exist in the way that it does. At the most fundamental level, what does it mean for my own existence if I am no different than a rock? What does it mean for interactions I have with others? What does this mean for philosophy at general if we are all grasping for nothing?

These questions are, for me at least, answered with a sigh and rewarded with a void.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Mon 11 May, 2009 05:13 pm
@Riordan,
Riordan;62506 wrote:
The problem here is that I don't enjoy thinking this way;


It makes everything a lot easier. You are a blob of molecules, enjoy it while you can. It's your duty to make the best of it.
Don't see yourself as a rock, rather as a complex machine made of oxygen and carbon.
The solution is saying: So what? Structures are what you make of them. In a way it sets you free.
But that does not have to lead to moral relativism, like that Vichy character on the other place.
I am in the process of figuring out quite a elaborate deontological system of ethics.
Though I have to admit that I am quite a cynic outside of the theoretical world of internet debates.

I read a book once, playing in the future. Humans are pampered by the safety and comfort of modern life to a point where everybody starts figuring out that life is meaningless. And large chunks of the population start committing suicide.
 
Riordan
 
Reply Mon 11 May, 2009 05:28 pm
@EmperorNero,
Speaking from my own experience, the 'truth' of nihilism will only torture you. Interestingly enough, although there is no reason for me to do anything or to be morally coherent with the rest of society, I act one way or another instinctively. I am still altruistic to my own suffering and I was quite lazy before my realizations.

It has become hard to relate to most people because they cannot fathom life outside of their human experience. Most humans do not have an idea of what it is like to see or experience life objectively.

I believe moral relativism is true; but it would appear that our biology and raising has a stranglehold over our actions. Short of smoking marijuana to numb my own mind from terrorizing itself -- I haven't found much luck in being OK with a trivial nonexistence. I think my biology is fighting my intellect.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Fri 15 May, 2009 12:56 am
@Riordan,
The problem I have here is the use of the word "just". Life is another system in the universe. But is it just another system?

I mean -
I understand the idea of life as a physical system.
But why is it illusory?

A life dies. A plant dies. One system to another. One thing to another.
So?
The difference between life and death is real. If it is not, I would like to know. It would mean I wouldn't have to bother watering my plants.

What is the response to this? Who cares about the life of plants? I do.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Fri 15 May, 2009 01:39 am
@Riordan,
I'm with Riordan on this one.

Our bodies are made up of lots of cells that die and get sloughed off with very little attention on our part. Even parts of an organism can die while another part continues "living" well if you can call it living but yeah. Such as part of a plant. Some will argue plants are made up of many separate parts so it only appears that part dies but it's not really the whole plant.

So on that note I want to bring up another aspect to this philosophical discussion.

If one of your arms was accidentally and quickly severed from your body would you still call it "your" arm while it laid on the ground at your feet? Here is the dilemma before you quickly answer yes.

You no longer have control over that arm laying on the ground. You can't make the fingers move or bend and you can't feel any of the sensations in the hand or fingers. So I honestly ask you, does a severed limb belong to you after it is disconnected from your body?

I say no, but people like to argue over ownership so if you want to talk about it in terms of that I will allow it but it's not very accurate. I could go back to the sloughing of cells to make my point but I'm not going to.
 
validity
 
Reply Fri 15 May, 2009 03:05 am
@Riordan,
It is a very interesting idea Riordan. While I agree that fundamentally we are all made out of the same stuff,

Riordan wrote:
However, I'd like to point out that we are no different from a rock, ecosystem, or orbiting Sun. How can we know this to be true?


I would disagree with this. There is something about life that presents a stark contrast with non-life. If a rock were placed in the far depths of space, it would remain a rock. Put a blue whale in the the far depths of space, it soon stops being a blue whale. You do not see isolated life, but you see isolated non-life. Life is a unique system of the universe.
 
nameless
 
Reply Fri 15 May, 2009 03:25 am
@Riordan,
Riordan;62499 wrote:
At the most fundamental levels of the universe, there exists basic building blocks which has constructed our reality

Really? Care to share? Support your assertion?
Are you referring to the 'strings' you mention below?

Riordan;62499 wrote:
All objects are constructed of strings.
Strings are either alive or dead (according to your perception).
All objects are alive or/and dead.

Nah... rubber bands! Wait, Lego blocks!! Oh well, we can let it be strings if you like. Or angel sweat?
All quite unsupported and unsupportable assertions on your part.
'Strings' are someone's unsupported and unevidenced theory, and your "alive or dead" dichotomy allowes no in-between states why? Biology does!
The foundation upon which you build your theory is shaky at best, unsupported logically and evidentially.

Quote:
I contend that any labeling of matter to be alive or dead simply because of its atomic make up is arbitrary (IE a cell, plant, 'organic' atom).

'Atoms' are neither 'organic' or 'inorganic'. A pile of sodium atoms is a reactive metal that bursts into explosive flame (massive exothermic reaction) upon contact with water, yet your lymphatic fluid, tears, sweat... is loaded with sodium atoms in the sodium chloride mix commonly called salt.
Usually, 'motion' of some sort is required in any definition of 'life'; like reproduction (why the masturdon died off so quickly! *__- ), or growth, or something along those lines. There is no one definitive definition of 'life'.
Learning some science will aid you in your attempt to use it in a philosophical discussion. Or at least research the bit of science that you want to present; understand it, be able to support it with evidence or logic or humor or poetry or something...
*__-
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Fri 15 May, 2009 03:51 am
@Krumple,
There is a whole plant and it is alive or dead. Suppose I regard the whole plant as a figment in favor of its parts. The parts are in turn figments, correct? We get to the one thing which somehow does not have parts. We can then base the identities of the things we had begun with in this - super string call it - and we have either whole plants as part of this super string. OR whole plants made up of many super strings.

Point being, whatever our metaphysics, we have identity somewhere, yes? "These whole plants" have some identity which is derivative of something. So, it doesn't matter that plants are an expression of - or part of - super strings. Whether you regard plants as having identity of their own or not. However they exist, they exist as such and as such they have attributes like alive or dead.

Long story short, even if whole plants are a part of something smaller, they have identity.

I want to say though that I think that the smaller the thing we consider becomes, it becomes no more real. Big things are not parts of smaller things. If you look through a magnifying glass, you see things in greater detail, but you see less of what was around it. Seeing in greater detail is great, but so is having more perspective. Our eyes are concave, right? There is a reason for that, right? I'm starting to wonder. Anyway, the big and the small thing are the same thing. That's my take.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Fri 15 May, 2009 12:16 pm
@Riordan,
Personally I think the only time self arises is when there is cognition of self awareness. A plant probably doesn't have any such cognition although it's cells necessitate the same stuff as our cells. Since we have the uncanny ability to be self cognitive we adjust our living to suit or seek benefit for continued life. I think to some degree animals have self cognition but most would probably call it instinct. I don't because I don't think we give animals enough credit. It wasn't long ago that the science community finally acknowledge that animals have the ability to feel pain. It almost seems absurd that we assumed they didn't.
 
Riordan
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 12:31 pm
@validity,
validity wrote:
It is a very interesting idea Riordan. While I agree that fundamentally we are all made out of the same stuff,



I would disagree with this. There is something about life that presents a stark contrast with non-life. If a rock were placed in the far depths of space, it would remain a rock. Put a blue whale in the the far depths of space, it soon stops being a blue whale. You do not see isolated life, but you see isolated non-life. Life is a unique system of the universe.


Does not every system 'die' if you take components it relies on? What would happen to our oceans if you did the same thing as you did with the whale? Does that make it alive?
A rock may not change if you put it into outer space, but what if you place it near the sun where it melts? Its system changes.

More to the point -- Everything is made out of strings. A good comparison of what I'm trying to get at is that all music is made of notes. We can label these notes and make different songs as we see them -- but this is just our perception of those notes. Much like a dot on a sphere, we define what those notes mean. A pattern of dots on the sphere has no intrinsic meaning other than what we give it. In the end, there are only vibrations.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 12:39 pm
@Riordan,
So what is life? do you think we could reproduce this life?do you think it is a formula of chance or design? We see none life in every cranny of the universe but never life, so it must be more than just dead.
 
Riordan
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 12:48 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
Really? Care to share? Support your assertion?
Are you referring to the 'strings' you mention below?


Nah... rubber bands! Wait, Lego blocks!! Oh well, we can let it be strings if you like. Or angel sweat?
All quite unsupported and unsupportable assertions on your part.
'Strings' are someone's unsupported and unevidenced theory, and your "alive or dead" dichotomy allowes no in-between states why? Biology does!
The foundation upon which you build your theory is shaky at best, unsupported logically and evidentially.


Actually, the idea of strings is very supportable using mathematics. Those who understand mathematics and its implications in practice will notice that these 'theories' are like buildings built off of previous knowledge. For instance: We cannot demonstrate that a^2+b^2=c^2 physically, but we know that it is applicable by applying it and predicting properties of the universe. 'String Theory' is the same thing, only far more complicated than what most individuals can understand. The mathematics provided by string theory is capable of predicting and understanding quantum mechanics of the many dozens of quantum particles flying around in space. The reason that strings cannot be proven is that because photons cannot bounce off of something that is so much smaller than itself. There is no possible way to see it other than proving it indirectly by mathematics and demonstrating predictions. Since every particle we use to detect some thing is many times larger than these strings -- we will never be able to observe them.

nameless wrote:

'Atoms' are neither 'organic' or 'inorganic'. A pile of sodium atoms is a reactive metal that bursts into explosive flame (massive exothermic reaction) upon contact with water, yet your lymphatic fluid, tears, sweat... is loaded with sodium atoms in the sodium chloride mix commonly called salt.
Usually, 'motion' of some sort is required in any definition of 'life'; like reproduction (why the masturdon died off so quickly! *__- ), or growth, or something along those lines. There is no one definitive definition of 'life'.
Learning some science will aid you in your attempt to use it in a philosophical discussion. Or at least research the bit of science that you want to present; understand it, be able to support it with evidence or logic or humor or poetry or something...
*__-


Actually, Atoms do not really exist -- they are a misappropriation of your ability to symbolize a system in a single variable. For instance: Lets say you have a car. We all have an abstract idea of what a car should be and we know when we see one; however, there is no 'car', this is just the name we give an abstract arrangement of smaller parts. In this same way, atoms are a system of quantum particles interacting with one another. For simplicity sakes, we label these systems with names so we can reference a working system -- but a system is nothing but smaller interacting parts. These 'larger' things are illusions -- mere projections of our imagination.

Any definition of 'life' is just acting as a reference point for a system which doesn't actually exist. It just describes complex interaction of strings.

---------- Post added at 01:51 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:48 PM ----------

xris wrote:
So what is life? do you think we could reproduce this life?do you think it is a formula of chance or design? We see none life in every cranny of the universe but never life, so it must be more than just dead.


Life is just a system -- like orbit. We are just as alive as anything else considering our quantum makeup.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 12:53 pm
@Riordan,
life is just system,tell me a similar system?
 
Riordan
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 12:57 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Ultracrepidarian wrote:
The problem I have here is the use of the word "just". Life is another system in the universe. But is it just another system?

I mean -
I understand the idea of life as a physical system.
But why is it illusory?

A life dies. A plant dies. One system to another. One thing to another.
So?
The difference between life and death is real. If it is not, I would like to know. It would mean I wouldn't have to bother watering my plants.

What is the response to this? Who cares about the life of plants? I do.


Life and Death exist as constructions in our brain for labeling certain systems. We happen to prefer a functioning plant because that is what we were 'raised' to enjoy. The plant just is, just like us or like our tides. If we were to blow up the moon, our tides would change to something else or probably stop. Is this a part of the Earth dieing? No, it is impossible because the Earth is not living.

Life and death are human constructs which do not apply to the rest of the universe.

The problem with most types of thinking is that it is human centrist. The folly in this is that most individuals will project the requirements and ideas applicable of a life system to the rest of the universe.

---------- Post added at 01:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:57 PM ----------

xris wrote:
life is just system,tell me a similar system?


A computer system. Any sort of robotic system we can construct. The tides. The ecosystem. The 'life span' of a star. The 'life span' of atoms.


Everything in the Universe is a system. The universe is a system.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 01:07 pm
@Riordan,
A robotic system is the same as life..Can it reproduce itself? is it self sustaining? can it modify itself under varying conditions?can it repair itself? is it aware of it existance? I dont think your robot can cry let alone imagine what life is..Sorry but you have not considered your statement for any length of time.
 
Riordan
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 01:16 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
A robotic system is the same as life..Can it reproduce itself? is it self sustaining? can it modify itself under varying conditions?can it repair itself? is it aware of it existance? I dont think your robot can cry let alone imagine what life is..Sorry but you have not considered your statement for any length of time.


Those things can be replicated and are not impossibilities. All of the things you mention are physical entities because they exist as physicality in our brain. The qualities you are mentioning simply suggest that it has different qualities.

You are guilty of looking at life through the eyes of a human (understandably). Watch what happens when you change the definition of life from a human centrist world to an orbital system.

Your qualities for 'life' are very arbitrary.

And please don't do yourself a disservice by saying I haven't thought about this at considerable length.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 01:24 pm
@Riordan,
Riordan wrote:
Those things can be replicated and are not impossibilities. All of the things you mention are physical entities because they exist as physicality in our brain. The qualities you are mentioning simply suggest that it has different qualities.

You are guilty of looking at life through the eyes of a human (understandably). Watch what happens when you change the definition of life from a human centrist world to an orbital system.

Your qualities for 'life' are very arbitrary.

And please don't do yourself a disservice by saying I haven't thought about this at considerable length.
These things can be replicated , can you give me examples?Whats this orbital system can you explain?Im not doing myself a disservice by saying you have not consider your reply , im making an observation you need to answer.
 
Riordan
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 01:42 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
These things can be replicated , can you give me examples?Whats this orbital system can you explain?Im not doing myself a disservice by saying you have not consider your reply , im making an observation you need to answer.


Orbit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a good start.
 
 

 
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