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Old 08-16-2009   #31
Russell Nash
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I know who you are
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Old 08-16-2009   #32
Russell Nash
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

Somehow, I agree with Khalil Gibran: "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth." By being a father I finally accepted a responsibility of being here (not committing suicide), although not knowing why, or what for. I also agree with Malone that hope is probably the best candidate for being here a little longer. I hope for so many things, and even though this hope could be senseless, it does help me.

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Old 08-18-2009   #33
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

I'm not sure if I meant that hope is a good reason for being here,merely that it just is the reason that we are.Even if we know rationally and in our full senses that hope is fundamentally delusory,there are very few of us that are immune to it.Clearly hope is a biological mechanism that nature has impemented in us in order to prevent ourseleves from pressing the eject button.This is why I,for one,sometimes grow angry when I catch myself indulging in fanciful notions regarding future possibilities that I know are unlikely ever to materialise,but which my brain throws up (in every sense of that phrase) in order to make me get out of bed in the morning.Incidentally,this is a theme dealt with wonderfully by Leopardi throughout his poems and prose.
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Old 09-26-2009   #34
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

Here are two books mentioned by This Space and they might be related to the topic:

Lethe: the Art and Critique of Forgetting

http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/...taf?ti_id=4116

The Fall of Sleep

http://www.fordhampress.com/detail.h...=9780823231188
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Old 03-18-2010   #35
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

Quote Originally Posted by With Strength I Burn View Post
Isn't it essence that defines our existence?

If you allow me to change the order of the words in this line for the following one: “essence our existence defines that isn’t?” And I ask you: does it have a meaning for you? The answer would probably be: no, it does not. Well, reading it again, you own line doesn’t have any meaning for me either. I have no idea what are the meanings of “essence” or “existence” for you, or if defined, these two words mean the same thing for everyone else. You may say that I’m reducing your thought to a simple language problem, yes, and you would be right.

We perceive reality (whatever it is) through our senses, and our brains do not duplicate reality, they recreate it as they understand it, later to communicate it (a reality conceived, not the true reality) to someone else by mean of symbols: ideograms, words, sounds, whatever, through a given language. Languages create words that do not exist in reality, and they also create theoretical entities like “ideas” (for example, does the idea of “white” truly exist in our brains, or even outside of them?”) that do not exist beyond human invention either. Take, for example, the words “bottom” and “less”, both words describe something, “the bottom of something”, and “less than expected” but, do both words together which form another English word exist? Do the word “bottomless” refer to something real? The language has created words that are completely disconnected from reality. Other words that may not have a meaning could be: “soul”, “ghost”, “God”, “evil”, and so forth, the list being too long. On the other hand, we don’t know what ideas are. Where are they located for instance? As told in the article, are they distributed throughout 12 neurons? Therefore, is this neural activity among 12 neurons an idea? Well, if this is so, according to which voltages we have among them, we could have not only one, but many other different “ideas” (with the same collection of 12 neurons). We keep using these words in our daily life knowing that 1) everybody understands them, and 2) they do have a certain and definite meaning. Both are wrong.

Quote Originally Posted by With Strength I Burn View Post
Whether existence precedes essence is one thing, but we know for sure essence and existence are mutually exclusive based off evidence. Many people have had MASSIVE brain strokes permanently losing their accumulated knowledge, personality, and so forth (AKA their "essence").

Here, I see that you consider that our “essence” is what we call the sum of “knowledge”, “personality”, and “so forth”. I know a person who, after an accident, lost any memory of what she did before she was 12. Therefore, and for you, is she still her… after and before 12? If knowledge makes me be who I am, then would it be true that after reading a book by, say, Ligotti, I am a different man, or should I say I have a different personality as well? Does acquired knowledge change our “AKA essence”? Because, as you know, we keep learning and forgetting things all the time, does it mean that we keep changing who we are by adding or deleting fleeting memories as well? My mother, for example, had a MASSIVE stroke. Remember Captain Pike, from Star Trek, blinking a light to say yes or no, with the same idea, she answered me by closing her eyes, one meant yes, two times meant no. One of her cerebellums was annihilated in 90% or more, and the other one in 20% or so. Her midbrain was damaged, her brain stem too, and I don’t remember exactly what else, but her brain was untouched. Doctors said that she was already dead, and what I saw was not her, but a mechanical vestige of what she was (I don’t remember the exact words they used). She could tell me which arrow pointed right or left, by closing her eyes, she could tell me which ball was bigger or smaller, both examples allowed me to tell doctors that she still had certain mathematical knowledge of reality, she even remembered how many trees were planted in her house, or in what month she visited a doctor about 5 years before she had the stroke, which means that part of all of her memory was still intact. However, they kept saying to me that she was dead alive. So, was it not (according to you) that memory, knowledge, and so forth, makes who we are? Most scientists would not agree with the meaning of essence, or with other even more basic meanings.

Is it language, as I think, the real problem here? I tell you why I think so.

1)What is the middle of the number 10? Someone would answer immediately, 5. Why so? 2 times 5 make 10. Well, that’s too simple, and mathematics is another human invention to describe a conceived reality (that may not exist beyond our understanding of it, or without us). Put two of those baby cubes together. What is the middle of them? If you put both together the middle is an imaginary line that contains nothing. Mathematically speaking, the middle of 10 is not 5, but a number between 5 and the limit of f(x)=x when we approached it from the right side. The middle is a number between 5 and an infinitesimal number (that does not exist) after 5. But not 5. Here, you see, we are using simple mathematical terms in our daily life, like “half” as if our idea of half were real, or its meaning were absolute, or perfect.

2)How do we define velocity? If we say that we walked a block in one minute my speed or velocity was one block per minute. Excellent, but how do we define velocity in an ever expanding Universe? The answer is the same, but you can see that it is wrong. Moreover, equations that attempt to describe reality, like E=mc2 for example, was deduced considering that Space was static. If we introduce the expansion of Universe in the axioms it changes everything. Why don’t we do that? Basically we are not certain whether or not Space is really expanding. Have you ever seen the Empire State building being expanded in the last 50 years or so. Yes, I know, the Space is expanding between galaxies, yes? And Why is it so? Again, no answer.

3)
Finally, basic words like “death” or “life” would probably have no meaning. I’m still trying to find the person who (beyond a doubt) would affirm that my mother is dead. Is she dead? Prove it. She was buried, you can say. But, was that body all she was. If you say that yes she was, then you agree with a materialist theory that cannot be proved yet. That we are our bodies and brain, and that’s all. It is strange, because at least 2 billion people would think that there is life beyond the grave. So, I ask again, is my mother dead? Prove it. She is legally dead, but that’s all. We don’t know what life and death are. Is the sun alive? If someone doesn’t breath is dead? The other day I watch on TV, CNN, how a man was dead (not breathing) for almost one hour and then he came back to life. Was he dead? Is he alive now? I may add that the dreams I have about my mother, the memories I recollect once in a while are part of what she was. If I affirm that, can I be refuted? Who truly knows here?

Quote Originally Posted by With Strength I Burn View Post
They are simply left with their existence, which we presuppose is true based off the Cartesian cogito, without any essence; they start from stage one, learning their language, basic motor skills, and etc. again.
Descartes in his monumental work, from 1641, Meditationes de prima philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas demonstrator, writes: “I am, I exist”. See the difference between this thought and his Cogito Ergo Sum, “I think, therefore I am”, from 1637.

Quote Originally Posted by With Strength I Burn View Post
Thus, what happens to that essence? Isn’t there a gap of nothingness? The gap of nothingness is the nothingness that separates our past being and our future new one. It is just that: an abrupt nothingness between two selves. On the other hand, Death LEADS to a perpetual gap of nothingness that extends for all eternity. The destruction of a past self from a MASSIVE brain-stroke OR the destruction of memory through horrible experiments LEADS to a gap of nothingness between a past and future self. The past self is also in an eternal gap of nothingness, for there is no conscious being to harbor it any longer. We can agree that both Death’s long gap of nothingness and the gap of nothingness between two selves involve the relinquishment of the known.
Nothingness, like “bottomless”, is another of those words that do not exist beyond human invention. Where is “nothingness” in “existence”, in our Universe? There is nothing that can be called “nothingness” in our Universe. How strange is this English language that allows me to say that there is "nothing" that could be called "nothingness". Trying to find meaning with another word that is devoid of meaning as well. Yes, the word exist, in almost any language, but not in conceived reality, the reality that we perceive with our 5 senses (or 6 sometimes).

Quote Originally Posted by With Strength I Burn View Post
Furthermore, the key to my argument is our being (the whole constellation of our memory, passions, and etc.) defines our existence. Nothing intrinsic defines who we are.
"Nothing intrinsic defines who we are." With this line I agree completely.

The original idea (?) behind my thread was: is life worth living as it is? I may answer that after so many months I started this thread I'm still alive and that fact somehow (at least for me) answers the question.
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Old 03-20-2010   #36
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

Are you sure that these things that you call human inventions are really so? The word I would use is human discoveries. To me that describes their nature much more accurately. As in the case of scientific theories, further discoveries change everything just as new theories replace the old ones. In other words, I see the description of an ongoing process rather than some kind of destination. Does anyone else see what I see?

"A Mad World, MY Masters"
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Old 03-21-2010   #37
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. D. View Post
Are you sure that these things that you call human inventions are really so?
Dear Mr. D:

Do countries exist? Or, are they human invention...? Jacques Cousteau used to say that one doesn't see the frontiers that make our countries from the Moon. He was right. There is an urban legend that says that one can see the Great Wall of China from Space, but this was already refuted. One can barely see something, but only if one knows exactly where it is. So, do frontiers (countries) exist, outside our minds? The answer is no. Countries are human abstractions.

Does Team Canada, the one that played in the last hockey game, in Vancouver, exist? Well, it beat US hockey team. But does it exist, other than being a collection of individual players? No. Team Canada was a human abstraction to describe these players. But Team Canada is not a being that exists independently of these players. It is a name to describe these players.

Does even love exist? The answer is probably not. Love is a word to describe a process that contains chemical reactions, electromagnetic voltages, and so on, but that's all it is. There is nothing one can call "love substance" and put it in a test tube. Love, in consequence, is another human abstraction. It doesn't exist without our minds. There is no love substance in Nature. It is not something that one can see, touch, test, it is just a word that we use to simplify a description.

Other words follow the same rule: numbers, like: does Pi exist? Not in nature, only in our minds. In Nature there is no Pi, no perfect circle, and in everyday life Pi=3.14159 is more than enough. There are many, MANY, more words, that we use daily as if they were real. They are not. Justice. Evil. Self. Mind. Intelligence. Happiness. The list is too long.

The best example I can find is gravity.

Does gravity exist? And, what causes gravity...?

80 % of TLO members are going to say that gravity is a force.
15 %, that is a curvature of a 4 dimensional space time continuum.
5 %, that is a string.

If gravity is a force, what causes it to exist? The graviton! Yes, what is it? It was not yet discovered, and may not even exist, other than being a theoretical particle, like tachyons.

If gravity is just a geodesic in a 4d Space-Time continuum (my choice), then the Earth is not moving around the sun but is simply following the simplest path. Objects fall because they move to the place where they spend the less possible energy. But not because they are attracted by the Earth.

If, it is a string, then it is a mathematical vibration of an entity called energy, that we have no idea what it is. What is energy after all but another word to describe human abstractions?

But, you may say, that gravity exists, "come on Alberto, you see an apple falling..." Yes, I do, but I don't know why it falls, what is causing this fall. Nobody knows, we just have educated guesses. But still, you may say, but gravity exists. Well, I'm not sure. We may be calling an intrinsic property of beings (called attraction), that is natural, and due to beings itself, to an external force, mathematical geodesic, or a complex modern abstraction.

I see an interaction between bodies. I don't see gravity. We call it gravity to give this attraction a name, that's all.

Are you aware that some claim that G (Gravitational constant) is not even constant? Do these people see the same reality as you, me, and other TLO members? Or that others, string followers, believe that gravity breaks down at one point, and doesn't follow 1/r2 anymore? Do these people see your "reality"? Mine? What proof do we "really" have that what causes the apple to fall is the same reason that moves the Earth around the Sun? Another educated guess. You know, Science, lately, has abandoned scientific procedure to become a faith. Because Science is not supposed to tell us to believe without proof. Some even say that Hawking is the Scientific Pope. A person that states he deserves the Nobel Prize for having discovered "nothing".

Finally to answer your question: Are you sure that these things that you call human inventions are really so? Yes I am 100 % sure that gravity, love, countries, do not exist outside our minds. These words simplify reality to an extent that they do not represent reality anymore.
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Old 03-21-2010   #38
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

Dear Alberto,Thanks for the challenging response to my question. However, M. Cousteau is only right from his particular perspective. True, from the moon one can't observe borders but countries exist anyway. They are both man-made creations and the normal end product of a long historical process. Countries share language or languages, customs, history and common attitudes. It is one of the ways that people who need to define themselves through things outside of themselves create their exterior definitions. It is also a natural way for us to relate to the world. More than one thing goes on at the same time. It's the same with gravity. How we experience gravity is very important to us. The theoretical explainations of gravity in its different aspects(planetary, local solar system or universal application) are of little real importance to most of us. However, different faces of what we call gravity exist all at the same time.I guess my only point is that things that we often think of as some kind of absolute are only one aspect of the phenomenon in question. Different faces - different aspects - of the same thing in question exist at the same time. We see these sides of the phenomenon when we change our point of view but, to take the example of gravity, the different, seemingly paradoxical aspects of gravity exist all at once. Our personalities and the circumstances of our life which cause us to look at certain things at a certain time in a certain way are as important as the phenomenon itself.

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Old 03-21-2010   #39
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. D. View Post
Countries share language or languages, customs, history and common attitudes. It is one of the ways that people who need to define themselves through things outside of themselves create their exterior definitions. It is also a natural way for us to relate to the world.
Yes, but do frontiers exist for puppies that travel from Canada to US or vice versa, at the back of a car? Not really, right? Frontiers, countries, are human inventions, abstractions you may say, that do not have objective reality. Being all men and women dead, countries disappear, but puppies likely not. The world (trees, mountains, stars) will likely exist without us, but human inventions, most certainly not.

The other problem, gravity, is more subtle. Gravity is also a human invention but that describes an objective reality. If I release this coin, it moves from one point to the other (falling, we say). But we don't know if it falls, or moves through a geodesic path, or else.

I'm not doubting an objective reality, but... will we ever know what lies beneath? What is the main structure of everything? I doubt it. I also doubt that there is such a thing as something behind everything. The best example I can find is the radioactive decay: we know that that atom is going to radiate energy but we can't know when. Probably Nature is just like that, we just have to accept it. The Universe just exists, it came into being, for no reason, illogically as it may seem, it just is. And we will likely never know why. Or if there is an answer to why. Perhaps there was no cause.

Radioactive_decay Radioactive_decay

Besides, this objective reality depends on our perception, and this perception is intimately related to language. That's why our vision of the Universe depends on languages, and these languages create many words that have virtually no meaning in reality (unicorns for example), but are useful for us to understand part of it.
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Old 09-11-2010   #40
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Re: The temptation to NOT exist

I've been saying may I be for you Lord, it is from being bullied so much, it makes you want to die, I thought today why don't you all come and kill me instead of slowly killing me with mental abuse, it is a long true story about a church, some bands, spies, which thank you Jesus I can prove, I've also been saying may I love the way the Lord wants . I've seen beautiful signs from Jesus, and felt Him saying not to be afraid I go Home like an arrow of light, I know the rapture is coming, maybe that will make you all feel better, and near Thanksgiving 2005 a drawing I know is from Jesus appeared on this wooden rocking chair, one of the things on it is an angel holding a book the Holy Bible I feel, it is written about at forums nick cave and a picture is there .
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