My Review of "The Myth of an Afterlife"

Discussion in 'Consciousness & Science' started by Ian Wardell, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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  2. LetsEat

    LetsEat Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to contribute this. I'm reading through it now, good stuff.
     
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  3. tarantulanebula

    tarantulanebula New

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    Our "self" is not static, it is moving.
    The "childhood me" is not "me", it is only a shadow projected by "me" when I was moving along the time.
    My "self" is always moving, only the "move" represents my "self", not the "me" in any specific time point in the known past or envisioned future.
    Based on this, there is one thing very important: you can't detach our "self" away from the "now", because our "self" moves with the "now". And the "now" always changes in regard to time, date, but it is an existent concept, just please notice it is not static but it is moving, just like our "self".
    All the "you", "him", "me" in specific time, like the childhood "you" when you were learning walk, the teenage "me" when I was beholding a pretty girl, and so on and so on, are only shadows that our "self" left when our "ego" was moving past that specific time.

    So, if this "move" stops, "we" won't exist any more, even if our "shadows" still exist in the history of us. Also, this "move" of our "self" must be continuous, for example, erase all my memories and push me reincarnate into another body completely wiped clean, the previous "me" won't exist any more. "Moving" and "continuity" is two necessities of our "self", our "ego", we can't live without anyone of them. If talking about one's self in a specific period of time, that "self" carries no "moving" attribute thus is not his true self. One's true self is always moving with the time "now", even if it makes our self inconsistent and vulnerable, it is its trait, as long as the inconsistency changes are continuous, which means there is always a reason and explanation why you change from that kind of person in the past to this kind of person now, you will always be you, although you leave different shadows in the time line.
     
  4. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    Thanks Tarantula. You're saying there is no persisting self, but you haven't actually provided an argument backing up this position.

    BTW, myth of an afterlife doesn't touch on anything like this! It's virtually devoid of philosophy.
     
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  5. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Alternatively....

    https://www.bernardokastrup.com/2016/04/conquering-fear-of-oblivion-in-15.html

     
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  6. tarantulanebula

    tarantulanebula New

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    Thank you for the paragraph quoted by you and the thoughts provoked. It is good to see different opinions but I totally disagree.

    The "childhood me" is definitely not my "self", as my "self" can't be defined without making sure what is "now".
    Our "self" can't exist without time's moving, notice that not only requires "time's existence", but also requires "time is moving from now to next".
    We only exist in "now", sure, this implies that we can't remain completely the same, the things I like today might disgust me tomorrow, but please just accept it is always this inconsistent trait that forms our "self".

    Also, the "past me" are all the shadows when my real "self" (always moving along the time) move along that specific time point. The me in the static and fixed history are not my "self", as my "self" requires "time's moving" to be existent.
    The reason you feel the "you" in your infant photo is "yourself", literally, is that, "that shadow - the infant you - in a specific time in the fixed history" is the shadow projected by you when you were moving along that time, not by anyone else, so you literally feel that was "you", but notice, you only feel the infant you is your shadow left by you when you were moving along that time, the "real yourself" is always the "you" in "now", which can't exist without "time's moving".

    We all can't exist without "time's moving", even if our shadows can. Sure, our shadows, like the infant you, the teenage me, etc. always exist in the fixed history, as a static photo or something similar, but our "true self" is not represented by our "shadows", it needs to keep moving along the time, and making sure what is immediate just now, what is exactly now, what is next moment. Sure, the fact that our "true self" moves everlastingly makes it difficult to measure our states, as our states change every single second, but please just accept this truth, that it is our basic trait that we "move", not a static picture fixed in the history.
     
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  7. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    This:
    I cannot make head nor tail of. You appear to be appealing to an emotional sense that we constantly change as time goes by. But you need to provide actual arguments.

    Saying please accept your position does not suffice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  8. nbtruthman

    nbtruthman New

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    This opinion of Kastrup's is common among non-religious spiritual believers. If this "I" or "real me" is changeless during physical life, wouldn't it also always be changeless (and therefore not really experience time)? If it is always changeless, how can it be complex and differentiated and interesting, in any meaningful way? Self awareness, consciousness, inherently involves change in consciousness from moment to moment.

    Even if it is just a matter of the time scale considered and this "I" really is complex and differentiated and interesting and of course experiences time, whatever its essence is, it must be completely alien to the human personal self. To call such a being the "real me" seems a gross mischaracterization. And I don't see how knowing this being survives physical death in any way can assuage the fear of oblivion of the human self.
     
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  9. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    Eh? To quote my longer review:

    //We need to distinguish between two distinct uses of the word "change". On the one hand there is what I shall refer to as alterational change, and on the other hand, there is existential change. These two types of change can probably best be understood by the use of an example. Hence, as a table ages it changes by acquiring scratches and so on, this is alterational change. It also has changed if we smash the table up and replace it with a similar one, this is existential change.//

    When we say we are the same self throughout our lives, one means it doesn't existentially change. Clearly it alterationally changes all the time.


    Then your position is radically opposed to common sense.
     
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  10. tarantulanebula

    tarantulanebula New

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    The idea of "existentially change versus alterational change" corresponds to the idea of "existence of our shadows versus existence of our true self".

    The historical "me" are all my shadows projected by me when I moved along those time, those shadows will always exist in the history, they doesn't existentially change, but they change from one moment to the next, like you said, alterational change.
    It is only talking about our shadows. As to our "true self", the situation is different, "existentially change" is not ruled out. Even if history always exists, as long as our "true self" no longer be able to keep moving, keep changing, our "true self" ceases to exist.

    A set of state (temperament, personalities, fear, joy, emotions, sensations, feelings, etc.) is a necessity of our "self", but doesn't sufficiently make us "our true self". Another necessity is that this set of state needs to keep moving along the time, specifically moving from "now" to the next moment. The historical "me" each of which consists a set of state, are only shadows left by my "true self" when I moved along that time, but my "true self" is always in "now", and always keeps moving, keeps changing, otherwise, "my true self" will disappear, even if the shadows will exist forever.
     
  11. tarantulanebula

    tarantulanebula New

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    Sorry, shadow is not a proper word to convey my meaning, as shadows usually change with their hosts. I want to say historical "us" (like infant you, teenage him, adolescent me, etc.) are traces of us moving along the time but fastened in those time forever. I should have used another word, but English is not my mother language so I'm not sure.

    Perhaps I should use "fixed slideshow"? "film"? "fixed frame"? "track"? "trace"? "vestige"? "relic"? "remainder"? "residual"? "penumbra"? "leftover"? ....
     
  12. tarantulanebula

    tarantulanebula New

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    I'm not emotionally obsessed by anything. Just want to remind that many people confuse "a set of states" with "our true self".

    "A set of states(temperament, personalities, fear, joy, emotions, sensations, feelings, love, dislike, desire, etc.)" is only one of many necessities to compose what we are, but not all that sufficiently define "our true self".

    "A set of states" needs to be moving along the time, and always be in "now", making sure what is "immediate just now", what is "next moment", to be "our true self".
    Without "time's moving", or without our sense of "now", this set of states literally is only a trace we left when we moved along some specific time point.

    One might feel unsafe or unstable or erratic, if facing the truth that "our true self" can't be detached away from "time's moving", and can't live without "now is going on", since "our time" probably won't keep moving forever, and also we change every single moment along with our "now" changes every single moment. But it is the truth.

    On the other hand, to imagine that as if "our true self" has been fixed in some historical time point forever makes one feel safe to fasten, observe and preserve "our true self"'s existence and states. Unfortunately, this is a mental escaping from the hardwired fundamental between "our true self" and "time's moving", and is not the truth.
     
  13. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    I see it as more of an intuitively self-evident observation.
    Systematic philosophy is not one of my strong points, and I get that human beings are, on some level, a process in time.

    However, a rather large amount of convincing NDE (and lucid dreaming, OBE, etc.) evidence seems to indicate that a personal 'self' can still exist in a realm (or state) in which time is far less one directional than it seems to be in everyday life. And I say 'seems' because there is also much PSI evidence that indicates time being a far more complicated affair than a simple yesterday flows into today, flows into tomorrow, flows into the next day, progression. Many branches of physics agree with this.

    Peace.
     
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  14. tarantulanebula

    tarantulanebula New

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    Agree!

    Since I can only imagine my "self" in unidirectional linear time flowing. As to when in other time flowing schemes, whether my "self" still be able to exist, I don't know.

    I've never seen the evidence or the perspective that "my self in a time flow not or not only from now to next moment", so I naturally feel it is hopeless to expect such a kind of existence of myself.

    However, to say that "I strongly know our self can/can't exist in some time flow patterns other than that of one directional of which we are familiar", are both dishonest to myself. I can only admit that I don't know. But any time flow pattern other than that of one directional is literally hard to imagine, speaking to me. :D

    Thank you for reading my poorly written English. I often express one meaning repetitively using different sentences, just because I can't express my meaning freely and easily, English is not my mother tongue. So sometimes my verbose writing could be impolite, I apologize. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  15. nbtruthman

    nbtruthman New

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    I was commenting on Bernardo Kastrup's statement.

    Sometimes the metaphor of the actor on the stage is used to refer to Earth human life. This ignores the actual experience of human beings. Humans (almost always), unlike the actors in the metaphor, have no memory of their previous "parts", and certainly not of their true identity. They literally are their parts - they are their personalities, egos, memories going back to childhood, and physical bodies. This is their "I". And as far as they are concerned the sufferings and joys they experience are of supreme importance.

    They are therefore justified in rejecting this New Age reincarnational/spiritual rationalization of Earth life for humans, that includes the choice of the next life by the soul "I" - the notion that "We" make these choices. An extreme example proves the point. There are millions of human beings born in times and places or circumstances where great suffering is almost inevitable. The "I" that deliberately chose a terrible life of predominant suffering is obviously not the "I" that experiences the suffering, since that latter, human, "I" would never choose such a thing. Therefore the human "I" must really be a fundamentally different being from whatever it is that is mistakenly called the "real self".

    To follow this rather bleak chain of reasoning, in this theory there really is no humanly meaningful form of survival of physical death. What survives is essentially another, very different being. I think I would prefer some other theory, but of course our preferences probably have no bearing on the actual truth.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  16. tarantulanebula

    tarantulanebula New

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    I completely agree with this statement. Also I want to add "relationships, hobby, phobia, love and hatred" onto "sufferings and joys".

    Our relationships are supreme important to us, erasing my memory and then I won't know who is who in my current life, then how could I bestow my love, like, dislike, hatred emotions? Without a clear sense and target to recognize, to love, to like, how could I still be me? Even if one day I could be enlightened and my soul be elevated somehow, I then would realize there is something higher and more important, I won't forget the importance of the relationships in my current life, they are forever important to me, anyone forgets the experiences in my current life, won't be "me", might be some other being. Our identities, memories are more important to the composition of "our true self" than we sometimes think.
     
  17. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    I don't think you come across as impolite. Also, I am an English speaker and I still battle to express myself clearly in writing sometimes! :)

    I think the idea is that there is constant, recognisable 'me' behind my transient thoughts, opinions, current body, age, etc. Bernado's little exercise seems to me (and 'me' :)) to be a method for bringing this into conscious awareness.

    Perhaps incarnation could be thought of as an entering into a state of semi-amnesia. When an amnesia patient regains their memory, are they a completely different being, or a fuller, more complete version of the same being, or one with context to the 'self' of accumulated past experience (over many lifetimes, perhaps) that never, despite the amnesia, left the building?

    Here's an interesting article on memory and sense of self:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/...self-that-remains-when-memory-is-lost/266662/
    Also, this stuff predates the new-age by a couple thousand years, at least.....
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  18. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Ian, this is some really good stuff (I read only the longer version). Many good points made, and pretty much all of them seem to me to be common sense (in the positive sense of that phrase). Thanks for sharing your review with us. Unfortunately, I haven't read the book which you reviewed, but based on your review, I am going to take your advice to "save [my] money and not buy this book".
     
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  19. nbtruthman

    nbtruthman New

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    Of course, life usually is a complex mixture of sorrows, tribulations and joys, but I think my "extreme example" of a life of mostly suffering (of which there unfortunately are many) still proves the point even if the analogy of the amnesiac were to fit a little. The point is that the true being, the true personality, the "true self" whatever that really is, decides on that next terrible life and knows what will happen, and still decides to temporarily wipe out all memory of Itself and incarnate. It knows that "It" will not experience the sufferings of that next Earth life. As far as "It" is concerned, It passes out and then awakens with the memories of the last Earth life It chose, and can then vicariously review those memories and supposed life lessons without really experiencing the physical and mental sufferings.

    Alternatively, some teachings claim the High Self is always present during Earth life, vicariously monitoring your "progress" presumably without actually experiencing your sufferings (or, obviously, "It" would not have chosen such a life).

    Whichever way you interpret it, isn't this quite a callous, cruel act? What other than an entirely separate and alien being could do such a thing?

    Good point. Its popularity today is mostly a New Age phenomenon.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  20. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    You appear to be identifying the self with one's mind, one's present interests etc. Such a materialist conception of the self won't survive, I agree. But I don't remotely agree that this is bad. Why would I prefer my present psychological state to when I was a child, or when I'm drunk?
     

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