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What is a soul/mind
Dizzy Egg
Member #10,824
March 2009
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In complete seriousness, if you're an Atheist and also able to comprehend that as near as damn it everything is made of little charges of energy, how do you begin to comprehend you're own soul/mind, I mean, how is that constructed physically.

Answers please.

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Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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TL;DW (too long, didn't write)

Nothing matters and what if it did

Dizzy Egg
Member #10,824
March 2009
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I'm about to ask and learn what does TL;DW mean...

EDIT:

Too late don't worry!...?

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gnolam
Member #2,030
March 2002
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Dizzy Egg said:

how do you begin to comprehend you're own soul/mind

How I comprehend that I am mind? The mind is me, it's as simple as that. Nothing to comprehend, really.

(Ask a grammatically incorrect question and you'll get a purposely misunderstood answer. ;))

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bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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I personally believe that our brains are just extremely complicated biological computers. :o I don't really believe in "souls", and consider our mind like a highly sophisticated operating system running our body. In short, I have no explanation[1] for our "consciousness", but I don't really require one either. I think that, like God, "souls" are something that we came up with to explain something that we can't understand [yet]. I don't believe they exist in the literal sense, I don't believe there's anything particularly magical about "life", and I think that we're just an exponentially complex biological (AKA naturally occurring) machine.

References

  1. I'm sure this word was there originally, but somehow I eated it. :(
Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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"I think, therefore I am." I was working on an AI program a few years ago, but I had to give it up. Every time the computer failed to think, it bamphed out of existance.

Seriously, I think "consciousness" is just a weird artifact, much as we find flowers attractive, but they're meant for the bees.

Nothing matters and what if it did

gnolam
Member #2,030
March 2002
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"I think, therefore I am." I was working on an AI program a few years ago, but I had to give it up. Every time the computer failed to think, it bamphed out of existance.

"I think, therefore I am" is an implication, not an equivalence. ;)

<insert joke about $OUTGROUP being proof that existence doesn't mean thinking here>

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Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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There is no soul. There is no mind. Everything is predetermined, and if you could understand all the variables, you would know exactly what I was going to eat for lunch tomorrow. :-X

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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if you could understand all the variables, you would know exactly what I was going to eat for lunch tomorrow.

We know perfectly well you're going to eat kangaroo sandwiches just like you always do. :P

Nothing matters and what if it did

Paul whoknows
Member #5,081
September 2004
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Let me tell you why you started this thread. You did it because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

____

"The unlimited potential has been replaced by the concrete reality of what I programmed today." - Jordan Mechner.

Striker
Member #10,701
February 2009
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"how do you begin to comprehend you're own soul/mind, I mean, how is that constructed physically."

After the teaching of Yoga, the soul is a very small particle. To control the material body it has a spiritual body with the same form like the material, and this is congruent with the material body. Both, the spiritual particle and the spiritual body are immaterial. You can`t see or measure them with material senses. When the material body is damaged (dead) they still exist, and are free to take other forms.

LennyLen
Member #5,313
December 2004
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Do you know what I'm talking about?

Indigestion?

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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Do you know what I'm talking about?

Sounds more like a TV preacher/huckster to me.

Nothing matters and what if it did

Mark Oates
Member #1,146
March 2001
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bamccaig said:

I personally believe that our brains are just extremely complicated biological computers. :o I don't really believe in "souls", and consider our mind like a highly sophisticated operating system running our body.

There is no soul. There is no mind. Everything is predetermined, and if you could understand all the variables, you would know exactly what I was going to eat for lunch tomorrow. :-X

I generally agree with these two statements. My addition would be that, even though the soul is simply nothing more than an emergent property of a complex system, that doesn't mean it is something to be discarded as irrelevant or dismissible.

Though the whole concept can be somewhat stripped of its supernatural other-worldliness, it's a truly remarkable creation none the less and should be treated with the same indulgence.

Trezker
Member #1,739
December 2001
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My belief is that the body is what doesn't exist, only the soul is real.
There is no physical world, that's all just imagined.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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Trezker said:

My belief is that the body is what doesn't exist, only the soul is real. There is no physical world, that's all just imagined.

But if I punch you in the nose, we can both agree it's bleeding, right? "Reality" is what's commonly agreed on between people (although it can be twisted with appeals to immature wishes).

When babies are born, the whole universe does revolve around them (getting diapers changed, getting fed upon demand etc.). As people grow more mature, as demanded by shared experience of "what is", it becomes more distant, not just me, my family, which gets extended to "the hood", then my town, my state, my country (most "patriotism" is stuck on this) and in creationist fashion, to my species. Maybe we'll get to the Star Trek stage and insist "my planet" is the epitome of existence simply because we want that.

Most of the arguments here seem to stem from that, IMAO.

Nothing matters and what if it did

Johan Halmén
Member #1,550
September 2001

There is no soul/mind. Only some complex brain functionality.
There are no computer games. Only some complex patterns of 1 and 0.
You can't actually see objects. You only receive light of various wavelenghts and intensity.
You can't actually hear anything. You only react to waves of varying air pressure.
There is no love. Only desire meant to assure procreation.
There are no smart ideas. Only smart guys.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Years of thorough research have revealed that the red "x" that closes a window, really isn't red, but white on red background.

Years of thorough research have revealed that what people find beautiful about the Mandelbrot set is not the set itself, but all the rest.

Onewing
Member #6,152
August 2005
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I think about you, therefore you are to me. Should I think of you no more, than no more you shall be. Forward declaration, paradoxes a plenty, we are merely objects of relativity.

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Mark Oates
Member #1,146
March 2001
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Trezker said:

My belief is that the body is what doesn't exist, only the soul is real.
There is no physical world, that's all just imagined.

That's a possibility I don't dismiss, either. If it turned out that that was the case, I wouldn't be surprised.

@Johan - By that, I guess you could say that the soul/mind is something of a macro definition for a complex system. I wonder... if our minds had the capacity to comprehend the complexities involved in such a system "at once," would it seem as grandiose? Is the apparent greatness of a soul/mind merely an expression of the mind's limitation to comprehend it?

Tobias Dammers
Member #2,604
August 2002
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Dizzy Egg said:

In complete seriousness, if you're an Atheist and also able to comprehend that as near as damn it everything is made of little charges of energy, how do you begin to comprehend you're own soul/mind, I mean, how is that constructed physically.

  • Atheism, in either meaning ("absence of a belief in any God", or "belief that no Gods exist") has nothing to do with a concept of a soul - both beliefs are orthogonal, that is, you can believe in some deity, or in the existence of souls, or both, or neither.

  • "Soul" is an ill-defined, highly connotated term. Everybody has their own idea what constitutes a soul, but those ideas vary wildly. If you want serious answers, you have to come up with a sound definition of "soul".

  • "Energy" is well-defined, but in a spiritual context, people often use it to mean something entirely different. In the scientific definition, energy is the potential to perform work - a system that contains more energy can perform more work, e.g. a rock at the top of a tower contains more energy than one at the bottom, which can be shown by dropping both and measuring the impact they make on the ground. The fact that energy and matter are interchangeable, from a physicist's point of view, doesn't have a lot of consequences on people's daily lives, nor does it say anything about the other, spiritual, meaning of "energy".

  • The "mind", another badly defined term. I assume you are talking about the 'software' that constitutes what we think and do. I'll go with what's the most likely scientific explanation: the mind is implemented as a function of the brain, there is nothing magical about it, and if you could read the complete state of a human brain and feed it to a simulator, you'd be able to fully replicate the mind. The results would probably still differ wildly from the real thing after that, because the copied mind would then be separated from the physical body, and that body influences the mind in incredible ways.

  • Consequently, when we die and the brain ceases to function, the mind simply goes away, just like a computer program is gone from RAM when you turn off the computer. There is no evidence that suggests that the mind continues to exist, except evolutionary wishful thinking (that is, our mind is pre-programmed for eternal life, with a strong survival instinct, and those don't go together well with the discovery of one's own mortality - a belief in life after death, despite a lack of evidence, is a convenient way out). BTW, a belief in life after death is also orthogonal to Atheism / Theism: you can believe in God, or in life after death, or both, or neither.

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weapon_S
Member #7,859
October 2006
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What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

The dissonance that breaks my darkness. The harmonies that break my dissonance. That's how I experience that >_> Could be sort of how you experience your brain's 'drive' to change. Slowly as you get older everything will seem more in place...

I generally agree with these two statements. My addition would be that, even though the soul is simply nothing more than an emergent property of a complex system, that doesn't mean it is something to be discarded as irrelevant or dismissible.

Same. The whole spiritual thinking might be sort of an emerging way of processing perceptions. I've heard (very much to my liking) that quantum physics and spirituality require the same kind of thinking. I thought I heard it in a fairly scientific context (hall talk at university?).
Johan has a good point. You shouldn't confuse the hardware and the software; the medium and the mediated. I think if there is a soul, its only physical measurable attributes are our actions. Like Mark said, I don't dismiss the existence of a soul. The mere thought that you are somehow connected to someone else, or even that your perceptions are exchangeable with someone else's, might lay at the basis of the concept(illusion?) of soul.
Just yesterday I was thinking of how a depressing thought I find it; to think there is some entity trapped in my body and miserable earthly life that will exist forever after I die.
That some cosmic entity enters my material form for the briefest of moments, makes what I remember as 'myself', and the next moment exists, maybe billions of miles away, as something entirely different, for each moment of my life; that I found a far less depressing thought ;D

Paul whoknows
Member #5,081
September 2004
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I was talking about The Matrix. Trezker is the only one in this thread who seems to know what The Matrix is, besides me, of course.

____

"The unlimited potential has been replaced by the concrete reality of what I programmed today." - Jordan Mechner.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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I'm not gonna adopt a philosophy just because some Hollywood fop wants to make money.

Nothing matters and what if it did

Paul whoknows
Member #5,081
September 2004
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What is real? How do you define real?

____

"The unlimited potential has been replaced by the concrete reality of what I programmed today." - Jordan Mechner.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
avatar

What is real? How do you define real?

Like I said above, whatever a majority of people can agree on. Anything else is hucksterism and it's time to grab your wallet and run.

Nothing matters and what if it did

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