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Dean Pomerleau

The Ultimate Purpose of Life

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I am by no means an expert on Wittgenstein, but I did very much enjoy reading David Kishik's book Wittgenstein's Form of Life. Part of what I liked about the book was that it wasn't afraid of getting down and dirty with issues that usually pop up in philosophy 101 and not in technical treatises, things like what the ultimate purpose of life is. He has a wonderful chapter where he looks at Wittgenstein, Augustine and Tolstoy on the meaning of life that, strangely, has some bearing on CR practices I think. At least when I think about why I'm attracted to CR, I've been thinking of it through the lens of this chapter. It's based on an earlier essay of his "Wittgenstein on Meaning and Life."

 

Here is a section that I think sums up the main point:

 

"We don't want to say that meaning is a special experience, but that it isn't anything which happens, or happens to us, but something that we do, otherwise it would be just dead" (PG, 156). So maybe, one will suggest, Tolstoy thought that life is meaningless because he expected to find a special experience of meaning. But meaning, Wittgenstein explains, is not something that happens to us but simply what we do: writing that life is meaningless, going to the market to buy some apples, baking a pie and eating it, talking about your day, praying, hoping, loving--all these form patterns in the weave of a life. The meaning of any of these patterns, like the meaning of any word that we use in our language, is not something extraordinary, something extra on top of ordinary life or everyday language. It is simply what we do--we speak, we live. How we speak and live is the meaning of language and life.

 

 

Our lives are filled with ordinary tasks that, to some degree, we can shape. In some ways I feel like CR is being obsessive about things that are trivial instead of things of ultimate concern. Does it really matter how many grams of broccoli I am eating in this meal? Isn't a bit ridiculous that I'm investing so much time and energy into weighing and calculating everything? Doesn't this start to look like someone who has traded in important concerns and beliefs for unimportant ones? And in a way it is.

 

But it is the sum total of all of these ordinary actions that is our life. When we talk about the meaning of life it's this concrete reality that we are talking about full of birth and death and war and peace, but also full of doing the laundry, accounting, taxes, conversations over coffee, email, watching TV, etc. If we are going to try to have an examined life, it means critically examining all of the ordinary stuff we do and trying to think about how we want to do them, what shape we want to give them. The brass tacks philosophical question of how we should live means figuring out how to organize all of these ordinary activities.

 

A lot of my personal heroes also spent an unusually large amount of time thinking about their diets. Here I'm thinking of someone like Gandhi who was a self-experimenter and an amateur health nut in his own way. Indeed he wanted to be a doctor and only became a lawyer because of family pressure and expectations. I often wonder how his life would have been different if he had become a doctor and I think he would have been a pretty good doctor and it fit his personality and interests better than law. He was constantly tweaking his diet and trying out new diets. You might even say he was a serial fad dieter. But I think there is a link between his critical examination of what he was eating and the critical examination of other aspects of his life. It seems to spring from the same place in his personality.

 

We normally don't think of Gandhi as a philosopher, but in a way he was in the oldest sense of trying to figure out what the good life was and how we should live. As far as I'm concerned, get got closer to the truth than anyone else I can think of. I'm curious what he would think of CR.

 

Eating is a big part of what we do. It's the stuff of life. By carefully examining and critically examining how I eat, I'm giving form to my life.

 

---

 

I had the privilege of eating breakfast a couple of times with Peter Singer, attending some of his lectures, and asking him some questions. I asked him a very philosophy 101 question: At some point in the distant future the sun will die, expand and swallow up earth and all of human history will be destroyed (assuming we haven't invented AI robots that travel to other parts of the universe...). At that point the state of the universe will be exactly the same as if no humans ever lived. At that point the state of the universe will be exactly the same whether I lived a good life or a selfish, evil life. Given that the ultimate result is the same either way, what benefit is there to living ethically?

 

Singer's response (I'm paraphrasing) was that to him a universe in which we all act ethically towards one another and a universe in which we all act unethically to one another are still two different universes even if in the long view they end up being identical. He would rather live in a better world and it matters to him that we live in a better world and so it matters that we act ethically.

 

Personally I found that answer a bit unsatisfying, but I trust that he's the better thinker! When I was in high school I encountered the Sartre quote, "No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point." I've always found that a deeply threatening concept and the test that any "meaning" worthy of the name needs to pass. Apparently it's not such a threatening concept to Signer who seems content with finitude.

Edited by Thomas Gokey

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Mary Oliver

 

Summer Day

 

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/07/13/the-extraordinary-years-have-become-the-normal-years-scientists-survey-radical-melt-in-the-arctic/

 

The climate models were right and things are approaching a point of no return. I have been contemplating this wrt the meaning of our lives. What can we each do to help our Planet that gave us life.

 

1. Join NRDC, SIERRA CLUB ETC. and be as active as possible and generous with monetary support.

2. Become more politically active by supporting candidates who are trying to do something about climate change and actually volunteering for such efforts.

3. Reducing our carbon use

4. Influencing others in our circle, Facebook, Twitter, cr society etc.

 

Anything I missed? It is an awesome problem and requires each of us to do our best. What could be more meaningful than that?

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What can we each do to help our Planet that gave us life?

 

1. Join NRDC, SIERRA CLUB ETC. and be as active as possible and generous with monetary support.

2. Become more politically active by supporting candidates who are trying to do something about climate change and actually volunteering for such efforts.

3. Reducing our carbon use

4. Influencing others in our circle, Facebook, Twitter, cr society etc.

 

Anything I missed?

 

Quit eating animals! I know, you'll claim that is subsumed under #3. But each of the other three items in your list look pretty much equivalent to me - get socially involved to advocate for preventing climate change. But that is just circular. Someone (everyone) has got to do something beyond just advocating that something be done (and pumping up other advocates to do more advocating) if we are going to slow down climate change. Basically anything with direct impact for solving climate change is subsumed under #3. The rest is just slacktivism

 

--Dean

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/07/13/the-extraordinary-years-have-become-the-normal-years-scientists-survey-radical-melt-in-the-arctic/

 

The climate models were right and things are approaching a point of no return. I have been contemplating this wrt the meaning of our lives. What can we each do to help our Planet that gave us life.

 

1. Join NRDC, SIERRA CLUB ETC. and be as active as possible and generous with monetary support.

2. Become more politically active by supporting candidates who are trying to do something about climate change and actually volunteering for such efforts.

3. Reducing our carbon use

4. Influencing others in our circle, Facebook, Twitter, cr society etc.

 

Anything I missed? It is an awesome problem and requires each of us to do our best. What could be more meaningful than that?

 

1. Grow our own food in environmentally friendly ways, such as with the help of chickens.

2. Eat the eggs and the chickens.

3. Die young from arterial sclerosis eliminating our carbon footprint.

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Todd,

 

1. Grow our own food in environmentally friendly ways, such as with the help of chickens.

2. Eat the eggs and the chickens.

3. Die young from arterial sclerosis eliminating our carbon footprint.

 

I'm so glad you have retained your sense of humor. I presume you're referring to our ongoing discussion about eggs that suggests 1 → 2 → 3.

 

--Dean

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Mike,

 

Your wrong Dean. Only political action will ultimately solve the problem, period. Yes we need to act individually, but it won't work if the action is not collective. 

 

I may have overstated my case - I admit. But you're wrong too. Sadly, none of your four recommend actions:

1. Join NRDC, SIERRA CLUB ETC. and be as active as possible and generous with monetary support.

2. Become more politically active by supporting candidates who are trying to do something about climate change and actually volunteering for such efforts.
3. Reducing our carbon use
4. Influencing others in our circle, Facebook, Twitter, cr society etc.

 

is going to amount to a hill of beans when it comes to slowing global climate change (GCC). At no time in history has humanity faced, yet alone solved, such a global, pervasive problem as climate change. Human psychology, and as a result, political will, is just not wired to deal with a problem like GCC - due to its long timeline (therefore never urgent relative to more pressing issue), its required for very-long delayed gratification (something humans are terrible at even on the scale of hours or days, to say nothing of decades or centuries) and its requirement for universal cooperation across all nations (something we've never pulled off before, and appear to be going in the opposite direction now). 

 

Sadly, I'm with Bill Gates. Our only realistic hope is a clean-energy technology solution. Maybe political support for say, clean-energy research funding or tax breaks for renewables, could help a little. But the only way GCC is going to be solved is if smart engineers find a way to make clean energy dramatically more affordable (i.e. almost free) relative to fossil fuels. Only with new and dramatically better energy solutions will countries like India and China choose, based on rational economics, to ramp up to First World standard of living using clean energy rather than coal and other fossil fuels. Hopefully it will come in time to be like cell phones, which enabled Third World countries to skip installing landline telephones.

 

Either clean-tech and/or technology to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is what it is going to take. Anything short of that relies on human discipline and a sense of cooperative responsibility for future generations, which are two traits humans are sorely lacking.

 

Unfortunately, unless you are an engineer, there isn't much any of us can do personally to make a different. We can only hope that there will be sufficiently smart people with enough economic incentive to create such technologies.

 

I'm not usually a pessimist, but GCG is one thing I don't see us dealing with via grass-roots efforts or socio-political means before it becomes too late.

 

--Dean

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>  I'm not usually a pessimist, but GCG is one thing I don't see us dealing with via grass-roots efforts or socio-political means before it becomes too late.

 

 

Cheer up.

 

There's a potent solution to GCC with fair and increasing odds.  A nuclear war induced nuclear winter could be a major game changer and it is a solution that can be realized in a flash.  Though be prepared for a need to refocus diet on minimizing cancer risk to maximize longevity.

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Todd,

 

There's a potent solution to GCC with fair and increasing odds.  A nuclear war induced nuclear winter could be a major game changer and it is a solution that can be realized in a flash.  Though be prepared for a need to refocus diet on minimizing cancer risk to maximize longevity.

 

Apocalypse Now! All we have to do is elect the man with the funny hair and we'll be well on our way to global cooling...

 

--Dean

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Mike wrote:

The climate models were right and things are approaching a point of no return. I have been contemplating this wrt the meaning of our lives. What can we each do to help our Planet that gave us life.

 

Does anyone ever wonder how big a coincidence it is that we live a precisely the point in human history where we could literally ruin things for all future generations, or create a utopia with seemingly unlimited potential, depending on the choices we make over the next couple decades? Global climate change is just one such momentous challenge / opportunity that humanity is facing right now and over the next few decades - a tiny sliver of time even when considering only recorded human history.

 

Ours is exactly the kind of situation where the options before us would be good to explore via simulation if we had the technology to accurately model mass human behavior and its effect on climate change. Heck, even Todd's nuclear armageddon would be a scenario that we would likely include in a simulation-based exploration of "what if's" to investigate if we had both the software and the hardware necessary to run massive, realistic simulations. 

 

The coincidence of our unique position in history, coupled with the motivation to run massive realistic simulations to explore options, combined with the rapid progress we're making in AI, simulation software & computing hardware is part of the reason I think it likely that we are in fact already living in a massive simulation now, created by people / AIs living a few decades in our future, simulating their past to see how they could have (or can now) change things to avoid whatever disaster is plaguing them, be it climate change, AI/robot apocalypse, nuclear armageddon, biohacked runaway viruses, nano-tech grey goo - pick your favorite doomsday scenario.

 

Replace "high fructose corn syrup" with "global climate change" in scenario #5 here to see what I'm talking about. Or alternatively, you should read Stones of Significance (pdf). And by "you", I'm not just referring to the human readers of these forums...

 

It's no wonder we appear to be facing so many challenges over the next few decades. It's been set up that way so they (i.e. the simulation creators) can learn from our mistakes / triumphs.

 

--Dean

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Dean political action would only mean a simple carbon tax. Yeah that simple and renewables would then kick ass and coal/oil would die a deserved death. The USA needs to take the lead. Once we do it the world would follow because the economics would shatter the current insanity!

 

Bernie almost made history by rallying a large and enthusiastic electorate. This could happen WRT climate change, it needs to happen. Yeah I get your point. Humans are wired to freak out when they see a dark, bearded, other lopping off heads and go ho hum when massive, historical Ice Melting is occurring on our rare and precious Planet EARTH! The hard fact for average humans is to get the point that climate change is way more threatening to them than even the dark skinned terrorist. We just can't go there emotionally so ok Your point taken, but I would like to think that we have evolved and many of us are there and realize climate change is real and we got to make this happen. Just tax carbon. Start out small and gradually increase the price. The power of capitalism will sweep in and push renewables to the levels required.

 

Hilary Clinton already knows this needs to happen, Obama knows it too. The problem is congress. Until we reinvent it through political action a President is helpless.

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Mike,

 

I agree a carbon tax would be a step in the right direction. But I'm afraid it will never happen unilaterally in the US, since it would (appear to) put the US at too much of a disadvantage economically for conservatives to support, particularly if it just involves us setting a good example while others (i.e. China & India) keep on modernizing via coal power. Even if the US unilaterally instituted a carbon tax, it probably won't work - given the global nature of our economy. Manufacturing would just go more overseas, and I'm far from certain "the world would follow because the economics would shatter the current insanity". 

 

The economics will only "shatter the current insanity" if someone invents new, cleaner and much cheaper sources of energy than fossil fuels. A carbon tax might hasten such innovation, which is what I think you are suggesting, but only if it is global and strictly-enforced. I too like to think that we (at least some of us) have evolved in our thinking about the reality of global climate change. But for most people, intellectual understanding is a lot different than, and not necessarily connected to, doing something tangible to fix it. Hence all the folks who crow about climate change while driving SUVs and eating cows at McDonald's raised on soy grown on farms that used to be Brazilian rainforest. 

 

The global equivalent of a precommitment strategy that enables us, in one of our more rational moments, to bind our future collective action so as to do the right thing regarding GCC might help, if we could pull it off. A binding carbon tax without loopholes might do the trick. But we've seen how well we're able to agree to and more importantly, implement and stick to global "binding" agreements on climate change. Until and unless there is a global "stick" to enforced agreed upon changes in carbon emissions (implemented via a carbon tax or other mechanisms), significant change is not going to happen. The people and the politicians are just too fickle, short-sighted and self-centered. And we know how popular giving more power to global bodies like the UN is these days, so such a global "stick" for reinforcing commitments to limit carbon emission isn't going to happen anytime soon.

 

Our only remaining "hail mary" is for a smart rich person like Bill Gates, or perhaps a brilliant kid tinkering in his garage, to invent the next energy miracle that sweeps aside fossil fuels due to its overwhelming economic advantage. It's really too bad Pons and Fleischmann got it wrong in 1989. I can still remember from my grad school days how exciting their announcement was, as well as all the utopian speculation about a world of clean, free energy. Cold fusion (or the equivalent) really would come in handy right about now. Who knows, people (probably cranks) are still working on it (here too), so maybe it (or the equivalent) could still happen.

 

--Dean

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Dean,

 

I think the problem could be fixed. Look at big Agra and the billions of subsidies to promote junk food so corporate America can create it cheap. Same thing could be done with renewables. Subsidize the hell out of them and f---! The rest of the world. Capitalism will solve the problem because once renewables are cheaper than non-renewables the entrepreneurs will go beserk to create more of it. If we can spend trillions and trillions of dollars on the totally ineffective Iraq war, and that cost will last for another generation at least, then damn if we can't spend this on renewables. The world will follow if we lead and make it happen. The Make America Great again slogan could even be used to promote the idea!

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See this video on the mathematical model which proposes that consciousness is fundamental and not simply an epi phenomenon as materialists insist. Furthermore the basis of the entire universe as primarily consciousness and matter as merely the epiphenomenon is being seriously considered by some physicists.

 

If consciousness is actually fundamental then that puts quite a whole new focus on spirituality as not silly hocus pocus, but rather a fundamental reality that is ultimately non-material, eternal and non local. The interesting take away is the ever growing recognition amongst some philosophers that science and serious religion may not be totally at odds.

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Thanks Mike,

 

Hoffman isn't bad. I kind of like his "desktop interface" metaphor for how our knowledge of the "real" world (if there is any such thing) is mediated through our senses - just like the icons on our desktop are a distilled, greatly-simplified representation of bits distributed on the hard disk of our computer, and aren't in any way "real". But in all the videos (including this one) I've listened to by him, he gets a bit fuzzy when it comes to connecting his ideas with (quantum) physics.

 

For much more coherent, scientifically credible arguments for idealism, I much prefer Peter Russell and Max Tegmark. Below are two of the best videos I've seen from both of them arguing that consciousness is primary (Peter) and reality is fundamentally information/mathematics rather than "physical stuff" (Max). Note that Max (an MIT physicist) was giving his talk at Google...

 

 

 

I love "Closer to Truth" - here is one of my all-time favorites - Alan Guth, discoverer/inventor of the inflationary model of the universe's early moments, arguing that we could very possibly live in a universe created in the lab by a superintelligence:

 

 

Lots of convergent evidence...

 

--Dean

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Who says the meaning/purpose in my(and your?) life is "merely" "subjective" "arbitrary" "preference"? My meaning, all meaning, is part of the very fabric and essence of existence. And, I am, after all, existence itself. Claiming any of this is arbitrary, assumes that there could be some alternative way things could be - but this is nonsense. What is, is what is - end of story. No imaginary God could claim any greater.

 

It's kind of pathetic to see how self-denying...self-negating...most everyone is. Like a bunch of sick ascetics or something. Are you all gonna start whipping yourselves soon too? I suppose it's an outgrowth of social control. Now God's gone, society has had to fashion a new method to maintain control: the postmodern "that's only your opinion!" to keep people in line works nicely. The ultimate in low self-esteem is hammered into you - you can't even trust your own meaning, purpose, LIFE. Ha! No thanks - I retain my godhood.

 

Furthermore: egoism combined with empathy can combine to form something like Peter Singer's "Point of View of the Universe" - there need be no contradiction there. I feel your pain, and because I don't like being in pain I don't want you to be in pain. Simple. Empathy aligns with the apparent reality of other beings' capacity to feel pain/pleasure, making empathy an accurate, instinctual-level, representation/reflection of reality. Then, right = pleasure and wrong = pain. "Right" and "wrong" being more complex manifestations/representations of pleasure/pain.

Edited by Brett Black

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Hi Dean, yeah Peter Russel thanks. His point reminded me of a Pitt Class I had with Dr. Paul Freeman who is a prominent low vision specialist who I have also had the pleasure of working with. IAC, THE LECTURE BLEW MY MIND!!! He in a very similar fashion as described by your source Peter Russel. described vision as totally brain phenomenon wherein we interpret a bunch of cable like data pulsing up the optic nerve to the brain. The retina takes the image and sends it almost as if by secret codes to the optic nerve and the visual cortex "interprets". There is no picture as such. The picture is broken down into electrical impulses reconfigured. So yeah the materialists say consciousness is an epi phenomenon that just so happens to arise from matter which itself has no capacity for it.

 

 

 

The above link is about the double slit experimentation that continues to show great promise that consciousness is fundamental and not an epi phenomenon of matter. Mind effects matter even at great distances and instantaneously according to this exhaustive research. For those who practice mindfulness meditation this video will be especially welcome as it shows the power of attention. This is indication of why all great religions practiced contemplation and the perennial truth of this contemplation is identical whether it be the Kabbala of Judaism, or the Mu of Buddhism or the Hindu admonition "thou art that" or the Taoist "way", Islamic Sufism or indeed Christian Contemplatives throughout history.

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Mike,

 

I too have always hoped to find that consciousness can influence matter, and recently looked into the claim that conscious intention can influence the outcome of random number generators (i.e. bias the average slightly higher or lower based on a person's intention when averaged over a large set of trials).

 

Such a claim is made by both Dean Radin (featured in your video) and also by Tom Campbell - who's My Big TOE (Theory of Everything) also contents (as I do) that we are living in a simulation. In fact, below is a video I watched recently featuring Radin & Campbell together talking about biasing random numbers with the mind that prompted me to look into the claim.

 

Unfortunately it looks like claims they make that the work of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab shows the human mind can bias the outcome of random numbers is pretty bogus:

 

[A]ccording to Ray Hyman, “the percentage of hits in the intended direction was only 50.02%" in the PEAR studies (Hyman 1989: 152). And one ‘operator’ (the term used to describe the subjects in these studies) was responsible for 23% of the total data base. Her hit rate was 50.05%. Take out this operator and the hit rate becomes 50.01%. According to John McCrone, "Operator 10," believed to be a PEAR staff member, "has been involved in 15% of the 14 million trials, yet contributed to a full half of the total excess hits" (McCrone 1994).

 

From [1]: 

 

A Monte Carlo simulation revealed that the small effect size, the relation between sample size 
and effect size, and the extreme effect size heterogeneity found could in principle be a result of
publication bias.

 

Debunking the idea that the mind can control reality doesn't detract from the viability of the idea we live in a simulation. It doesn't even rule out the idea that consciousness (uniquely) collapses the wave function in quantum mechanics (although I'm skeptical of that too). It just means we don't have (purely) mental control over what happens in the simulation, which is congruent with my concept of the world as a simulation unfolding strictly according to the laws of physics created by folks who are simulating their history in order to explore what happened and what's possible (see here for more discussion).

 

--Dean

 

 

---------

[1] Psychol Bull. 2006 Jul;132(4):497-523.

 
Examining psychokinesis: the interaction of human intention with random number
generators--a meta-analysis.
 
Bösch H(1), Steinkamp F, Boller E.
 
 
Comment in
    Psychol Bull. 2006 Jul;132(4):529-32; discussion 533-7.
    Psychol Bull. 2006 Jul;132(4):524-8; discussion 533-7.
 
Séance-room and other large-scale psychokinetic phenomena have fascinated
humankind for decades. Experimental research has reduced these phenomena to
attempts to influence (a) the fall of dice and, later, (b) the output of random
number generators (RNGs). The meta-analysis combined 380 studies that assessed
whether RNG output correlated with human intention and found a significant but
very small overall effect size. The study effect sizes were strongly and
inversely related to sample size and were extremely heterogeneous. A Monte Carlo 
simulation revealed that the small effect size, the relation between sample size 
and effect size, and the extreme effect size heterogeneity found could in
principle be a result of publication bias.
 
Copyright © 2006 APA, all rights reserved.
 
DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.132.4.497 
PMID: 16822162

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http://arsspiritus.com/science-quotes-will-make-question-reality/

 

What some scientists who are well respected have to say that is indicative of a realty that they believed was fundamentally non material. From the site:

 

Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge… It has nothing to do with the individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. Indeed in a certain sense two “I”‘s are identical namely when one disregards all special contents — their Karma. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further… when man dies his Karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.” – Writings of July 1918, quoted in A Life of Erwin Schrödinger (1994) by Walter Moore

 

And this:

 

Max Planck theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory,which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.

 

“…I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” – The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

 

“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

Where is Science Going? 1932

 

It of interest that it is generally theoretical physicists who study matter at its most fundamental level that come to these almost mystic conclusions about the ultimate nature of reality. Biologists, chemists not so much; however I took two chemistry courses at Pitt and the Professor who taught also worked at Gulf research, he was an Indian (India) and I once asked him how could matter do all this if it were just totally dumb? He answered that the notion is absurd and yet science insisted it was so.

Edited by mikeccolella

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Gotswami takes on materialist science and describes what he feels is our purpose. The fact that the observer is the observed makes a mockery of scientific materialism when it dismisses consciousness. Non other than David Bohm, a highly respected physicist who worked with Einstein also totally agreed with this. Gotswami discusses how the materialistic view is holding back scientific progress especially as it pertains to biology and evolution and how we humans are creatively evolving beyond our animal instinctual prisons determined by Darwinian evolution because of the quantum leap of consciousness.

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Mike,

 

I've watch that video of Amit (not to be confused with that other guru we're discussing, Amen) Goswami before. In fact, I've watched (almost?) all of Ian McNay's ConsciousTV episodes (and his wife Riana's too). Amit (and Ian) seem like nice guys. But I'm always frustrated by the vagueness of quantum-physicists-turned-gurus like Amit. Maybe it is inevitable given the fuzzy nature of the subject matter.

 

Even Peter Russell a few posts up (who I think does a better job than most connecting quantum physics to consciousness) has trouble pinning down in concrete terms what's really going on, beyond "consciousness is fundamental" and "consciousness is the ground of being" - very similar to Amit. Then they tend to go off into the woo weeds making claims about the power of nonmaterial human consciousness and mysterious free will to influence events in the material world, the "morphogenetic field of love" (Amit's term) and other crappy so-called "evidence" like the Sheldrake and Radin results debunked above.

 

At least Amit is honest, saying he's made some mistakes (e.g. in his marriages and personal relationships, and his ambition). That is refreshing coming from a guru like him. Throughout the second half of the video he bashes on scientific materialism, and then he starts to criticize societal materialism (i.e. consumerism), at 56:00. Ironically, moments later, at 56:30, he talks about selling "vitality" and he boldly promotes the "vitalized cosmetics" he's working on now (or was then) with a "Brazilian company". With a flourishing wave of his hands, Amit says at 56:45:

 

"a woman will put these cosmetics on, and she'll feel energized! And wouldn't you want to feel more energized before going out into the workplace in the morning?"

 

Hmmm... My BS meter went off the charts right about then...

 

I find Tom Campbell's model of the world (as a virtual reality simulation) with the goal of "reducing entropy" (aka "increasing love") a lot more appealing, because of its tangibility, plausibility, and it's ability to encompass the perspectives of spiritualists like Amit and other wisdom traditions and religions of the East. For new folks to this thread, see this post above.

 

Granted Campbell's My Big TOE model is pretty naive, and unfortunately he too buys into the woo of Sheldrake & Radin, including influencing events at a distance, psychic healing, intercessory prayer, etc. And unfortunately he hasn't quite closed the loop yet - i.e. he hasn't realized it is we, or more accurately our descendents or their machine, who created the simulation in which we live.

 

But at least Campbell's model is grounded in a metaphysics one can wrap one's head around, and you don't get the sense that he is trying to sell you anything, beyond his ideas.

 

From my perspective, consciousness is fundamental, and the ground of being. It's just not our consciousness that (currently) plays such a role in our world. In fact, our consciousness is currently weak and wimpy. It can only directly influence the crude, simplistic and fleeting worlds we currently create in our imagination (which are foreshadows of much richer mental worlds to come).

 

It is the consciousness of the entity one level above us, which is simulating us in its mind, that serves as the ground of (our) being. We are thoughts in the mind of this super-being / AGI, and we (or our descendants) are destined to eventually create (and inhabit) such elaborate virtual reality world simulations ourselves someday, once we've become completely digital entities. That is, if we don't destroy ourselves along the way...

 

--Dean

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