Life after death

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.

Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Alex Jacob » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:10 am

David writes:

"It isn't matter. It isn't consciousness. It isn't a spiritual essence. It is staring at you in this very moment."

"The magic of spirituality cannot be found and enjoyed until you divest yourself of all fantasy, religious or otherwise, and stand completely naked before reality. At the moment, you are swirling around in all sorts of pretty dresses, somehow believing this to be the path to reality."

It may be pretty impossible to say anything, really, about 'what is around us'. And it may be a better meditation to suggest just looking at what surrounds us, taking that in, or being moved by it. Just to look at what is around me, without defining necessarily, is something I also do (but Heaven knows I must be doing it wrong, at least as far as your church is concerned).

Yet this question (what is all this stuff?) seems very relevant as the basis of understanding just what in the heck you-all DO mean by the word 'spiritual'. I've read you and Kevin for some time now and I was greatly surprised to hear that you are not 'materialists' in the conventional sense. Now, Kevin has taken off on a really open-ended definition that allows a 'metaphysic', which with some tweaking and a nudge could be employed to support and explain almost anything one wanted. But, you say that it all must be amenable to 'reason', but this is a reason that cannot be expressed in words? In clear, simple phrases?

It isn't matter, it isn't consciousness, it isn't spiritual essence---then what the fuck, Brother David, is it? The rational, straightforward description please!
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Kevin Solway » Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:06 pm

brokenhead wrote:
Kevin Solway wrote:If consciousness survived death then I would expect dead people to be able to communicate with us in a way like we are doing now. They've had long enough to figure out how to do it.

Out of the blue, you would expect dead people to communicate with us if some part of them survived physical death. Why? That's not just narrow minded - it's illogically so. Does a butterfly linger around caterpillars?

It's not "some part" of a person surviving death that I'm talking about — I'm talking specifically about a person's consciousness. If consciousness survives the death of the brain then consciousness is something that the dead share with us. In other words, they are still in the same boat that we're in, since they still possess consciousness. You ask why they might want to communicate with us. Well how about compassion? They might want to help us. Or how about the desire for truth and knowledge? They might be able to learn something from the wise among us, and escape their ignorance and suffering — which, unless they've all magically become Buddhas, they will still be experiencing.

I don't believe the dead influence or communicate with the living. But I would love them to make an exception in your case just so I could hear that new tune.

There's nothing unusual about me changing my tune with regard to empirical matters. I always change my opinion with regard to such things so that my opinion will accord with the evidence that is presented to me.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby David Quinn » Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:20 pm

Alex Jacob wrote:David writes:

"It isn't matter. It isn't consciousness. It isn't a spiritual essence. It is staring at you in this very moment."

"The magic of spirituality cannot be found and enjoyed until you divest yourself of all fantasy, religious or otherwise, and stand completely naked before reality. At the moment, you are swirling around in all sorts of pretty dresses, somehow believing this to be the path to reality."

It may be pretty impossible to say anything, really, about 'what is around us'. And it may be a better meditation to suggest just looking at what surrounds us, taking that in, or being moved by it. Just to look at what is around me, without defining necessarily, is something I also do (but Heaven knows I must be doing it wrong, at least as far as your church is concerned).

Yet this question (what is all this stuff?) seems very relevant as the basis of understanding just what in the heck you-all DO mean by the word 'spiritual'. I've read you and Kevin for some time now and I was greatly surprised to hear that you are not 'materialists' in the conventional sense. Now, Kevin has taken off on a really open-ended definition that allows a 'metaphysic', which with some tweaking and a nudge could be employed to support and explain almost anything one wanted. But, you say that it all must be amenable to 'reason', but this is a reason that cannot be expressed in words? In clear, simple phrases?

It isn't matter, it isn't consciousness, it isn't spiritual essence---then what the fuck, Brother David, is it? The rational, straightforward description please!

It can't be described in such a manner. Not only is reality too slippery and formless to admit of description, but describing reality isn't the function of reason. Reason's function is to dissolve the many veils of abstraction which subconsciously cloak the minds of ignorant people and prevent them from really seeing what is right in front of them. One such veil is the belief in "matter".

When the mind is free of abstraction, seeing the nature of reality is natural and effortless.

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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Alex Jacob » Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:14 pm

'Reality' seems to get more and more difficult for anyone to describe, especially physicists, so they work with language-symbols and approximations. They also describe it as 'slippery and formless'. But maybe they are not struck by the question: how is it possible that any of this is existing? And yet, they are working within a realm of 'stuff' that has constants. There is unlimited things that one can do with this 'stuff' that you are chary of describing. Yet, this is not what you are interested in, though it seems you devote so much energy to all the productions of reasoning and the producers of reasoning, some of which stray so far from your objective---which is, in fact, a kind of mysticism. Yet, this mysticism of yours is in fact quite particular to you, and you have your own sets of rules, your own grammar, something of your own lexicon.

All that happens in front of us is beyond description, it seems to me. It is simply too outlandish to be possible, and yet it is there, and we are happening in it.

Myself, I see a platform for being, and I see being as eternal, never having begun and never ending. 'I' go in and out of that, and I think we all do. In my life, in the story of my life, my dharma is to move through it and to avoid creating negative reactions. The rest in a very real sense is beyond my control.

And in my personal case, what I look for, what stands out to me, are people---living human beings---who respond within the creation in a similar way: ethical response, moral response. That happens in such a wide gamut of different circumstances, among divergent people. Enlightenment could be a sort of satori experience as one looks over this wierd stuff staring back at us, but in the longrun it is expressed by changes in one's behavior, the proper measure of 'enlightenment'.
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Life after death

Postby Iolaus » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:22 pm

David,

I wonder what you think I don't understand.

All of it.

The thing is, you quite often make grand pronouncements that you don't explain. I think that I have conversed with you and read your conversations, and indeed I had learned quite a bit from this forum a while back, and that I understand your truth fairly well.

If, as you claim, you understand my truth "pretty well", then you should already know this.

That seems a bit new. As for me, I do believe in matter, and I am not at all sure there can be anything else. I think God is material. Perhaps Jehu will change that.

It isn't matter. It isn't consciousness. It isn't a spiritual essence. It is staring at you in this very moment.

There's really no such thing as a spiritual essence, is there?

All right, I see what you mean.

Talk to us about the magic of spirituality. I don't know why you use words like spirituality. You do seem like a materialist to me.

A perception borne out of the religious fantasy-world you are currently in.

You do not believe in a consciousness or a soul or a spirit outside of brains and bodies. You doubt or do not find important that there could be entities much different than us, perhaps much greater than us. This means you have a small view of the possible, and do not even imagine the immense possibilities that this universe contains. There is absolutely nothing strange about the idea that there are subtle energies, and not just the gross ones our five senses and our recent sense extenders have found. In fact, the sense-extenders should be a really strong clue that we are on a certain track, that the pattern of discovery will continue and will uncover marvels, and that we have not hit bottom. And you call this religious fantasy.
But if the world keeps spinning and civilization doesn't fall, I think things will begin to fall into place, and materialistic reductionism will fade away,

Alex,
All that happens in front of us is beyond description, it seems to me. It is simply too outlandish to be possible, and yet it is there, and we are happening in it.
Myself, I see a platform for being, and I see being as eternal, never having begun and never ending. 'I' go in and out of that, and I think we all do.

Yeah! Even sober!
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby David Quinn » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:57 pm

Alex Jacob wrote:'Reality' seems to get more and more difficult for anyone to describe, especially physicists, so they work with language-symbols and approximations. They also describe it as 'slippery and formless'.

That is something else altogether. The reality I am pointing to cannot be approached by scientific concepts and methods. It is far too immediate for that.


But maybe they are not struck by the question: how is it possible that any of this is existing? And yet, they are working within a realm of 'stuff' that has constants. There is unlimited things that one can do with this 'stuff' that you are chary of describing. Yet, this is not what you are interested in, though it seems you devote so much energy to all the productions of reasoning and the producers of reasoning, some of which stray so far from your objective---which is, in fact, a kind of mysticism. Yet, this mysticism of yours is in fact quite particular to you, and you have your own sets of rules, your own grammar, something of your own lexicon.

You are completely wrong in this. The reality I am pointing to is the very same one that Nietzsche, Buddha, Kierkegaard, Lao Tzu and Jesus pointed to, even though each of them had their own way of using language.

Apprehending this reality has nothing to do with language or symbols, other than our need to mentally use such tools as a springboard to access this more immediate understanding.


All that happens in front of us is beyond description, it seems to me. It is simply too outlandish to be possible, and yet it is there, and we are happening in it.

You need to worry less about "description" and focus more on understanding and direct awareness. For those who are aware of the nature of reality, the ability or inability to describe it is a non-issue.

In truth, there is nothing outlandish about reality, other than our thinking it to be so.


And in my personal case, what I look for, what stands out to me, are people---living human beings---who respond within the creation in a similar way: ethical response, moral response. That happens in such a wide gamut of different circumstances, among divergent people. Enlightenment could be a sort of satori experience as one looks over this wierd stuff staring back at us, but in the longrun it is expressed by changes in one's behavior, the proper measure of 'enlightenment'.

I would agree with that. Enlightenment and satori aren't the same thing. A satori is what is known as a "peak experience", a momentary glimpse into either fundamental nature (very rare) or into an approximation or echo of fundamental nature (more common). It is what promising beginners can experience.

By contrast, a person is enlightened when his mind has undergone a permanent revolution and no longer has the capacity to escape satori, although it can still be dimmed and pushed to the background when one is distracted or agitated.

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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Ryan Rudolph » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:18 pm

Kevin,

they are still in the same boat that we're in, since they still possess consciousness. You ask why they might want to communicate with us. Well how about compassion? They might want to help us. Or how about the desire for truth and knowledge? They might be able to learn something from the wise among us, and escape their ignorance and suffering — which, unless they've all magically become Buddhas, they will still be experiencing.


Kevin, despite your expertise on many other areas of philosophical thinking that I respect, your positions on death and dying don’t seem to be well thought out. Maybe you didn’t spend much time on it, or maybe it didn’t interest you, or maybe you simply accepted the Buddhist explanations at face value. However, in my view, these explanations lack imagination and an open consideration of the possibilities. And not that having a well thought out position on death and dying is of the most importance, but it is of some importance so I like to spend a lot of time on any issue that directly impacts consciousness at a deep level.

Now to respond to your counter-argument, I suspect that intervention by beings of a higher order would actually cause more harm than good, as it would probably cause most people to adopt more superstitious views than they have now as a means to explain what would appear to be ‘violations of causality” even though that might not be so, but this is how most people would interpret such events, as such encounters wouldn’t make sense compared to their daily experience of things. Moreover, Compassionate intervention by higher order beings is also redundant to a certain degree, meaning sage minds are pretty much destined from birth to achieve sage status if they passionately seek out the truth for most of their early lives, and I believe that through trial and error, absorbing text, constant reflection, and learning from delusions from oneself and others, a psychological transformation happens on its own. And this is not something that can be taught by beings of a higher order through intervention in a quick manner. It is a long process that consciousness needs to go through for itself.

And if you look at some of the early sages, they didn’t have as many text influences or other philosophers to learn from, but their relentless interest of other people were their mirrors of reason. They learned through the negation of delusion both in themselves and the other, and this happens very naturally to those with a spiritual hunger. Also, I think that there is a certain beauty in allowing the process to unfold without intervention.

And what concerns me is when you use terms such as “oh, we’re all just worm food” now this statement may prove that you have very little ego, and that you’ve faced your fear of death. Good job bud, but what I don’t like about it that it is very unimaginative. Some of the best parts of poison for the heart were very poetic, metaphorical, and just outright imaginative. And considering that you do believe that the cosmos is infinite, in my opinion, infinity implies great possibility, especially considering that we live in a very mysterious universe that we don’t fully understand.

Now, for you to confidently assert your certainty of our own mortality, there is a certain smugness, and lack of thought that is required to come to such a hard confident conclusion like that. Like I have said, coming to those sorts of conclusions requires many material assumptions about the nature of the cosmos. Assumptions that I already challenged with counter-arguments based on empirical evidence, Basically, I’m not willing to follow you down that half Buddhist inspired, half atheist inspired rabbit hole, it goes nowhere, and it can only lead to a close-minded smugness towards the subject of mortality. Myself, I think I’m going to stick with an open-minded agnostic uncertainty of what is possible; it makes so much more sense to me.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Rhett » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:40 pm

Ryan Rudolph wrote:Now, for you to confidently assert your certainty of our own mortality, there is a certain smugness, and lack of thought that is required to come to such a hard confident conclusion like that. Like I have said, coming to those sorts of conclusions requires many material assumptions about the nature of the cosmos. Assumptions that I already challenged with counter-arguments based on empirical evidence, Basically, I’m not willing to follow you down that half Buddhist inspired, half atheist inspired rabbit hole, it goes nowhere, and it can only lead to a close-minded smugness towards the subject of mortality. Myself, I think I’m going to stick with an open-minded agnostic uncertainty of what is possible; it makes so much more sense to me.

I can't imagine Kevin saying he is certain of mortality, surely you've read him wrong. He would surely have said words to the effect he considers it likely based on the evidence that he has experienced. He would accept that it could happen at anytime now or in the future, or at no time, and that he can never predict the outcome for sure. And that he won't know if it's happenned.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Kevin Solway » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:54 pm

Ryan Rudolph wrote:Now to respond to your counter-argument, I suspect that intervention by beings of a higher order . . .

If consciousness survives death, there's no reason to think that it enters a "higher order". It might just as well enter a lower order.

would actually cause more harm than good, as it would probably cause most people to adopt more superstitious views than they have now as a means to explain what would appear to be ‘violations of causality” even though that might not be so, but this is how most people would interpret such events

If Socrates, or the Buddha, started writing emails to me, preferably in English, I would be happy about it. It wouldn't make me more superstitious. They would presumably be able to explain to me exactly how it is that their consciousness continues to survive and how they are able to write emails to me. I would probably win the Nobel prize for science.

They should all be given a vote in elections too.

You're only using your imagination to imagine that consciousness survives death, and then to imagine reasons why the dead can't or wouldn't want to communicate with us. I don't think that's very imaginitive.

Moreover, Compassionate intervention by higher order beings is also redundant to a certain degree, meaning sage minds are pretty much destined from birth to achieve sage status if they passionately seek out the truth for most of their early lives, and I believe that through trial and error, absorbing text, constant reflection, and learning from delusions from oneself and others, a psychological transformation happens on its own. And this is not something that can be taught by beings of a higher order through intervention in a quick manner. It is a long process that consciousness needs to go through for itself.

The more sages there are, communicating with others, the better for everyone.

Now, for you to confidently assert your certainty of our own mortality

The soul is immortal.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Ryan Rudolph » Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:10 am

Kevin,

If consciousness survives death, there's no reason to think that it enters a "higher order". It might just as well enter a lower order.


But it seems to me that consciousness naturally progresses to higher states of awareness with the help of technology. For instance: An illiterate cave man rolling a stone down a hill progresses to a man reading about cave men on the internet, while sipping on a coffee.

Moreover, if there were higher orders, they would be older than this realm, and therefore more advanced. For instance: perhaps this order unfolded from a deeper and older order. Our three dimensional universe could be just a ripple on an ocean, and that ocean is a deeper order of more complexity.

If Socrates, or the Buddha, started writing emails to me, preferably in English, I would be happy about it. It wouldn't make me more superstitious. They would presumably be able to explain to me exactly how it is that their consciousness continues to survive and how they are able to write emails to me. I would probably win the Nobel prize for science.


They would need to have three-dimensional form to participate in this world, but perhaps a deeper order also implies more dimensions. For instance: How would a four-dimensional being write an email to a three-dimensional unimaginative philosopher?

The soul is immortal.


But you’re measuring soul as a linear time based quantification exclusive to this finite world. However, I’m debating whether or not there is a transcendent eternal soul for enlightened consciousness. However, it is obvious that there is nothing for unenlightened consciousness, probably reincarnation or nothing.

You're only using your imagination to imagine that consciousness survives death, and then to imagine reasons why the dead can't or wouldn't want to communicate with us. I don't think that's very imaginitive.


Yes, but you are doing the same thing to imagine how it can’t happen. Both are speculation, speculation to which you seem to derive great certainty from. Btw, if I’m wrong, who cares, lights out anyway, but if I’m right, the jokes on you Solway…you unimaginative bastard.

Moreover, I just found it interesting how Socrates, a man who seemed to be a soul of great reason, courage and virtue, had no qualms about debating the possibility of an afterlife or lack of an afterlife by weighing out all the possibilities. And he seemed fairly fearless in his ability to accept either annihilation, or transcendence. Although, he clearly preferred transcendence, but should we fault him for that?

In my opinion, there are two possibilities for death - both equally likely - The first is that the brain simply shuts down, and consciousness dies with it. End of story. The second is that the individual enlightened consciousness merges with a higher order consciousness, and some sort of transcendent process occurs. However, I would suspect that if there were some sort of metaphysical transcendence, it would require almost a feminine sort of surrender - it would be a passive, open, surrender that would be necessary. Most humans would not be capable of that sort of loss of identify, it would simply overwhelm them, and they would resist it the entire way. Resistant minds would possibly be subject to reincarnation.

And that is just an intuitive guess if annihilation is not how it happens.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby brokenhead » Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:58 am

Ryan Rudolph wrote:In my opinion, there are two possibilities for death - both equally likely - The first is that the brain simply shuts down, and consciousness dies with it. End of story. The second is that the individual enlightened consciousness merges with a higher order consciousness, and some sort of transcendent process occurs. However, I would suspect that if there were some sort of metaphysical transcendence, it would require almost a feminine sort of surrender - it would be a passive, open, surrender that would be necessary. Most humans would not be capable of that sort of loss of identify, it would simply overwhelm them, and they would resist it the entire way. Resistant minds would possibly be subject to reincarnation.

And that is just an intuitive guess if annihilation is not how it happens.

I think there is very much to what you say here.

Consider this variation on it: There are two possibilities, as you say. The first one is as you describe. The second one is not a merging with a higher-order consciousness at death - that process is still some ways removed. What happens at death is the shedding of all that traps and overshadows the higher-order consciousness which we already possess. It is more or less developed, depending on how spiritually active we were in our mortal life. The surrender of which you speak occurs in this life. Or not. But you see, then, that both possibilities are not equally likely. Can you understand this point? It's like being in deep water. There is a chance you will make it and a chance you will drown. But reason alone should tell you that you had better swim.

I believe that it is possible that many people simply cease to be at death. There is no such thing as hell, unless not attaining the immortal existence to which you were entitled by birth counts as hell. At some point, you have to choose to accept your entitlement. It is always, always a volitional act. You have a lifetime to accomplish this single act of "surrender," as you put it. But if you believe that creature extinction happens at the inevitable point of physical death, and you hold on to that belief until that point, then you shall indeed be proven correct. But who is there to witness the vindication of your stubbornly-held belief? One thing is for sure - it won't be you.

There is no such thing as reincarnation. Sentience begins and ends with humans in this world. The next world holds higher things for us. If you believe it does not, really and truly believe it does not, and never surrender that belief, then neither life nor death should hold any surprises for you.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Iolaus » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:34 am

Gee, Brokenhead, I find that view almost as dismal as, say, a Southern Baptist one.

Really bizarre to think that this lifetime is adequate, and no reincarnation or other kind of life possible at death. What happens to babies that die?
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Iolaus » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:38 am

maybe you simply accepted the Buddhist explanations at face value.


I certainly wouldn't call them face value. Rather he has contrived that the words mean what they don't seem to mean, that words like reincarnation mean that you reincarnate as worm food, despite that the entire society from which Buddha came had long believed in reincarnation.

That being reborn means that your cells return to the earth and maybe your ideas are remembered for a few years by a few people. Or that being reborn refers to the way we are all reborn in every moment, which is interesting, but it is what Buddhism intends?
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Iolaus » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:49 am

If Socrates, or the Buddha, started writing emails to me, preferably in English, I would be happy about it. It wouldn't make me more superstitious. They would presumably be able to explain to me exactly how it is that their consciousness continues to survive and how they are able to write emails to me. I would probably win the Nobel prize for science.


1. they might be selective, and you might not be deserving.
2. they have likely moved on, and are not hanging around in the Gautama and Socrates personas
3. what communication is possible, is not easy or straightforward, as Ryan points out, another dimension.
Of the many hundreds, even thousands of good case histories of people who have had near-death experiences, many report desperately trying to communicate with us, usually to stop resuscitation attempts, but we were impervious.
4. but as to #1, it is not, it seems to me, a matter of simply being deserving, but of being receptive. That is the most important thing. Generally, the communication happens at critical times between people with a strong connection. And the receptivity does not appear to be entirely a matter of choice, but also of ability. It looks like a latent talent, either a nascent one in the human race, or more likely, an impaired on that has fallen into disuse, like the blind fish who have lived too long in a cave losing their sight.

You really do lack imagination, Kevin, since you suppose that this other world is just like this one, and feel that you have the right to demand that it be so.

It is difficult to find words. Smug is inadequate.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby brokenhead » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:04 am

Iolaus wrote:Gee, Brokenhead, I find that view almost as dismal as, say, a Southern Baptist one.

Really bizarre to think that this lifetime is adequate, and no reincarnation or other kind of life possible at death. What happens to babies that die?

There is nothing dismal about it, Anna! If you got "no other kind of life possible at death" from my post, you didn't entirely understand it. Reincarnation is what does not happen. This life is the proverbial tip of the iceberg, except that analogy might lead you to assume that this life is in some way an apex. It clearly is not. As far as what happens to babies that die, I would think provision is made for them. Nothing of survival value is wasted.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby maestro » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:51 am

All this consciousness surviving death scenarios are no more than speculative myths.

Kevin's viewpoint is the most plausible one, an injury to the head or drugs can cause loss of consciousness. Brain damage can wipe out memories or change personality drastically, there is no reason to believe in consciousness surviving the end of the body.

There is no self in the body even while alive, so how can it survive death.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Alex Jacob » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:04 am

There is possibly only one means that I can think of to preserve the possibility of the continuation of our selves at death---most likely excluding the majority of that part of us known as our 'personality'---and that is through an unthinkable feat of miraculousness, carried out by the living spirit that has created us, and in whose living body we exist. We operate from the perspective, which could be erroneous, that what we perceive as reality and take as reality's primary platform---this realm of energy and matter in which we arise as the almost impossible outcome of random, material activity---may not be either the primary one or the true platform. I think this is the idea expressed when they (some Hindus, some Christians and transcendentalists) talk of a place of illusion, an illusory world, the world as a kind of dream, where the prospect of 'waking up' exists.

If it is true that the 'place' where we really exist and have our root, so to speak, is an eternal platform where life always exists, and by that I mean a limitless realm or place or living being, it seems that that limitless being can be confined by no rules whatever, can never be said to be conditioned, contained, constrained, and that perhaps it is illimitable, creative spirit engaged in infinite levels of creation, and as they say, a sort of Divine Lila (play).

I look at this body and know that it will disintegrate and exist no more, and we know how these bodies have come into this world and the degree that they are dependant on the world, and hence we speak of 'incarnation', yet I have always had the sense that what I am presently living---a life in this body, with this material trajectory, within a tragic script, directed by previous stories, impinged upon by karma---is not the platform of my real self, and that 'real self' is occurring in its real platform, that is an eternal place, insofar as the core of spiritual life is eternal, and what exists exists always, always has and always will (Is there an alternative?).

So, the intimation, the hints of 'everlasting life', may not be wish-fantasies, perhaps they are intimations of fundamental truths, but hold on people! If that is true, how are we to interpret the 'wish-fantasy' that our spiritual life, the life of the soul, is temporary and will terminate? What sort of desire-fantasy is it that inculcates such an outlook? Where has it come from and what purpose does it serve?

The meaning of being incarnated is that what we have to deal with is 'the material world', and in this particular instance it is a place called Earth, that has all sorts of special characteristics that define it, traits, history and evolutionary trajectory, movement, striving, and perhaps goal. We are only very marginally coming into the awareness of what even this might mean, and why it happened that this Earth is here and we are upon it, dealing with all this crap. And ideas about all this are accelerating, the winds are racing.

One of the things I do appreciate in some of David's recent discourse, is the idea that you really need to deeply consider just where you are, and what you are surrounded by. It can lead to an inner-state where the 'soul' is receptive to some of the so-called 'eternal truths'. And what the 'eternal religions' deal on are the eternal truths. And there are many and various conclusions about what life is and what its purpose is, and not just the limited vision of David or the QRS, so wrapped up in Buddhist dogma as they are (the defining 'structure' of belief as I see it).

I appreciate the seriousness toward religious, spiritual and existential questions as the QRS evince, it is just that I am fundamentally opposed to many of their premises and, of course, their conclusions. Plus, I do think they may all be gay, but that is another story...
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Loki » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:15 am

brokenhead wrote: As far as what happens to babies that die, I would think provision is made for them.


Can you elaborate on that?
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Ryan Rudolph » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:43 am

Maestro,

Kevin's viewpoint is the most plausible one, an injury to the head or drugs can cause loss of consciousness. Brain damage can wipe out memories or change personality drastically, there is no reason to believe in consciousness surviving the end of the body.


Consciousness is not just a brain, it is the body as well. And the body is a sensitive instrument, while the brain is only the computer that receives information from the heart and the senses. For instance: when the enlightened mind feels something, it is felt with the entire body, not just the computer. That is why I don’t watch horror movies, or fast race car movies, it disrupts the heart center, it has nothing to do with the brain. The computer is only the receiver, the input mechanism. The computer is also the creator of cognition based on the passion of the heart. Moreover, the heart is the center of consciousness. And when the heart is in balance, the glands, the cells, and DNA is in balance as well. It is entire package. And yes, the brain is a vital part of that, and if it is damaged then the consciousness is handicapped. However, we have no idea what sort of subjective state would exist in the body of an enlightened individual with brain damage. That individual could possibly be trapped in a sort semi-conscious limbo state. I would imagine it would be a very hellish state though, it would be a subjective state still able to sense/feel the world in some capacity, but the brain would have a difficult time constructing coherent thoughts.

There is no self in the body even while alive, so how can it survive death.


No self is self. There still is a state of emptiness present, which is something. Something that is unknowable, and that is really all we know.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Ryan Rudolph » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:16 am

Brokenhead,

Consider this variation on it: There are two possibilities, as you say. The first one is as you describe. The second one is not a merging with a higher-order consciousness at death - that process is still some ways removed. What happens at death is the shedding of all that traps and overshadows the higher-order consciousness which we already possess. It is more or less developed, depending on how spiritually active we were in our mortal life. The surrender of which you speak occurs in this life. Or not. But you see, then, that both possibilities are not equally likely. Can you understand this point? It's like being in deep water. There is a chance you will make it and a chance you will drown. But reason alone should tell you that you had better swim.


In my opinion, you and Kevin are two extremes. Basically, you seem to be a little too certain that there is an afterlife, while Kevin is a little too certain that there isn’t. Both seem like beliefs to me, and I don’t want to go there. My goal is to die without any knowledge at all of what death is, or will be. As Socrates stated to the jury before his execution.

Belief is knowledge, and if your knowledge or expectation collides with your experience, then there is conflict and division. And that is the sort of thing that should be prevented at death. You want to go into death unknowing, uncertain, open, humble, and so on. Moreover, the goal is to die peacefully, and not in conflict with what is happening, so whether it is annihilation or transcendence, I want to be ready for either scenario.

Because a honorable death means something to me - as I came into this life kicking, screaming, and crying like a little school girl, and I don't plan to leave life in the same manner.
Last edited by Ryan Rudolph on Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby maestro » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:55 am

Ryan Rudolph wrote:No self is self. There still is a state of emptiness present, which is something. Something that is unknowable, and that is really all we know.


It seems you are trying to convey something like an observer, which is behind the body/mind.

A simpler explanation is that "the state of emptiness" is one part of the brain that observes the thinking/affective parts. This ability to self observe is what is being developed through self awareness meditation etc. There is no need to put this observing part at a higher pedestal (as in surviving the death of the body).
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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby David Quinn » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:49 pm

I personally think the clouds in the sky above me will reincarnate and be born again in other skies ......

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Re: Videos and criticisms

Postby Kevin Solway » Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:18 pm

Ryan Rudolph wrote:
If consciousness survives death, there's no reason to think that it enters a "higher order". It might just as well enter a lower order.

But it seems to me that consciousness naturally progresses to higher states of awareness with the help of technology.

So you're talking about technology. In that case, I would even more strongly expect that, if consciousness survives death, then the dead should be communicating with us through email and suchlike. It may be that the majority of the dead are snobbish and don't want to communicate with us, but there will always be dissenters and renegades.

An illiterate cave man rolling a stone down a hill progresses to a man reading about cave men on the internet, while sipping on a coffee.

Evolution can also happen the other way around. There's no reason that a species can't become less conscious and less intelligent over time, through natural processes.

If technology is involved, then it's possible that the technology can fail and turn us all into morons. Maybe that's why the dead aren't communicating with us.

Moreover, if there were higher orders, they would be older than this realm, and therefore more advanced.

Older doesn't mean more advanced. It can mean more backwards and decrepit.

Your ideas are becoming more and more like a bad science fiction novel.

If Socrates, or the Buddha, started writing emails to me, preferably in English, I would be happy about it. It wouldn't make me more superstitious. They would presumably be able to explain to me exactly how it is that their consciousness continues to survive and how they are able to write emails to me. I would probably win the Nobel prize for science.

They would need to have three-dimensional form to participate in this world

You are rationalizing bad excuses to try and keep your fantasy alive.

It is easy to have effects in different dimensions. That's all that is required to communicate.

The soul is immortal.

But you’re measuring soul as a linear time based quantification exclusive to this finite world.

I don't know what you mean by "this finite world". All things have causes and consequences, and thus continuity. That continuity is infinite.

I’m debating whether or not there is a transcendent eternal soul for enlightened consciousness.

You are debating whether consciousness survives death, that's all.

However, it is obvious that there is nothing for unenlightened consciousness, probably reincarnation or nothing.

There is the continuity of cause and effect.

-----

Iolaus wrote:
If Socrates, or the Buddha, started writing emails to me, preferably in English, I would be happy about it. It wouldn't make me more superstitious. They would presumably be able to explain to me exactly how it is that their consciousness continues to survive and how they are able to write emails to me. I would probably win the Nobel prize for science.

2. they have likely moved on, and are not hanging around in the Gautama and Socrates personas

If they have "moved on" and couldn't be bothered communicating with us, then they're selfish bastards.

Of the many hundreds, even thousands of good case histories of people who have had near-death experiences, many report desperately trying to communicate with us, usually to stop resuscitation attempts, but we were impervious.

This is perfectly natural when the brain is shutting down.

Sometimes when you wake-up in the middle of the night you will find that your body is entirely paralyzed. This is because some bodily functions are switched-off. That's what happens when the brain is shutting down.

Kevin, since you suppose that this other world is just like this one, and feel that you have the right to demand that it be so.

I know for certain that if there is "another world" (fittingly the name of a popular soap opera) then cause and effect will be in operation there, and it will also be connected to this world by cause and effect. In other words, it is the same world.

----

brokenhead wrote:As far as what happens to babies that die, I would think provision is made for them.

Catholics used to believe in a place called "Limbo" where babies would go when they died, rather than going straight to hell for eternity for being unbelievers. But the Pope has recently declared that "Limbo" is in fact a fantasy, and doesn't exist at all, much to the pain of many Catholics — and much to the pain of many dead babies too I would imagine.

---

Alex wrote:So, the intimation, the hints of 'everlasting life', may not be wish-fantasies

The wishes for everlasting life and consciousness are entirely wish-fantasies. If we had everlasting consciousness then you'd think that we would be a lot smarter than we currently are.

Most people have the level of consciousness of a person who was born yesterday — because, effectively, they were.
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Re: Life after death

Postby Steven Coyle » Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:27 pm

This will come off as beyond eccentric here, but I've been contacted by my deceased girlfriend during times of needed guidance. Say what you will. Instead of modern technology, it was through telepathy and soul transmigration (through communicating with her through crows in this instance). Common in advanced shamanism. She later, due to my stubborness, contacted my brother in a lucid dream, to get the message across. He had no previous knowledge of the events.
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Re: Life after death

Postby Iolaus » Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:16 pm

Ryan,

I'm nots ure what you think technologty has to do with it, nor why you assume only enlightened consciousness would continue.

Steve
This will come off as beyond eccentric here,

Well, not for me. I think there is plenty of evidence for such things. As for the others, no amount of evidence will suffice. That's how it seems to work.

Kevin,
If they have "moved on" and couldn't be bothered communicating with us, then they're selfish bastards.


Well, you were specifically asking for people dead thousands of years. It seems the more recent dead do the communicating. And that might be because one moves on. Even if the consciousness survives, the persona with its particular memories and lifetime are not repeatable, nor probably in the end after a bit of digestion, really all that relevant in the greater scheme of things.

This is perfectly natural when the brain is shutting down.

Sometimes when you wake-up in the middle of the night you will find that your body is entirely paralyzed. This is because some bodily functions are switched-off. That's what happens when the brain is shutting down.

Well, that's the way it is. No matter how good the evidence, you pretend that it is all about the brain shutting down.


I know for certain that if there is "another world" (fittingly the name of a popular soap opera) then cause and effect will be in operation there, and it will also be connected to this world by cause and effect. In other words, it is the same world.

Yes, cause and effect in operation, and connected to this realm in some way, but how it really works we don't know. Just because it's the same reality doesn't mean we can navigate in it if we don't have the tools.
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