How can life have meaning in a mechanical universe?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    A compelling argument that is well argued. I was thinking something very similar the other day.
     
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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    It all depends on how we take this nothingness from which the universe poofed. Is it the nihilist's negative nothingness where nothing is possible. Or is in fact a spontaneously creative substrate existing outside of yet generating spacetime itself. If it could actualize everything in our universe, from neutrinos to 57 chevies, what else is it capable of? And did it go away after the Big Bang exploded from it? But how could an infinitely creative nothingness "go away"? Physicists call it the quantum vaccum. A greek philosopher called it the Aperion. Lao Tzu dubbed it simply the Tao or the Taiji. Hindu gurus called it the Brahman. And the gnostics called it the Pleroma. Whatever word we use for it, it seems we are forced to admit the existence of this transcendentally unitive and timeless state that permeates and strings together all the dimensions and universes as one reality:


    "The Way has attributes and evidence, but it has no action and no form. It may be transmitted but cannot be received. It may be apprehended but cannot be seen. From the root, from the stock, before there was heaven or earth, for all eternity truly has it existed. It inspirits demons and gods, gives birth to heaven and earth. It lies above the zenith but is not high; it lies beneath the nadir but is not deep. It is prior to heaven and earth, but is not ancient; it is senior to high antiquity, but it is not old." (tr. Mair 1994:55)
     
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks..I have the feeling though it will fall on deaf ears. There are none so deaf as those who refuse to hear anything except what they've already heard.
     
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    "At every place in the universe—again, think in terms of the quantum vacuum—you have this pure generativity, which is infinitely dense with the possibility of new forms. So in every moment, we are again reconstituted—but in moments of transformation, what is flaring forth is a radically new form. One way to say this is that those forms are all there, just ready to come in, but they have to be invited. This is also a way to think about the unmanifest in relationship to personal spiritual transformation. It has to be desired and has to be awakened. But once it comes in, you really are new. It isn’t as if the ego strains and makes it to another form of ego. It’s rather a death and a rebirth in the form of a new organizing principle of your life, of who you are. So that would be my way of talking about the unmanifest. The universe is all one vast display that’s flaring forth out of the unmanifest or the quantum vacuum. It’s incessant vibration in and out. These are ancient spiritual ideas now resurfacing within science."--"Brian Swimme On Emptiness And The Quantum Vacuum"..http://magazine.enlightennext.org/2009/07/21/brian-swimme-on-emptiness-and-the-quantum-vacuum/,
     
  8. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    I think we have the same or similar conception that there was (still is) a "somethng" from which the universe emerged. As a spiritualist, I'm thinking in terms of spirit or aether. The wave function seems to fit my conception of an aether. Although I occasionally defend Christianity (religious experience), I think of God as an Infinite Intelligence of the kind described in Theosophy. We are created in God's image in the sense that God is the Holy Spirit, and we are spirits temporarily inhabiting a physical body. At least that's my interpretation.

    But you're right. The nihilists assume nothingness and consequently have too little to create singularities and universes. Nihilism is just this dogmatic and hateful bias that is dishonest in its observance of science. If nihilists, atheists, skeptics were honest, they would admit that there is a wave-function phenomena that can be inferred from the data, yet it cannot be detected. If they were honest, they would admit that there is a problem with universes exploding out of nothingness.
     
  9. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    As did your god. Six of one/half dozen of the other...

    At least we know the universe exists.
     
  10. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

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    Mazulu

    One of these things doesn't belong in the same intellect as the other(yet there they are), IE they are from the mind of an ignorant, blind, hipocrite. You are a troll, by definition. You disparage their moral fiber and character unjustly", which you consider a fine thing in regards to philosophies different from your own(intolerance)and you create a caricature of nihilism to destroy with your intolerance, ignorance and misplaced scorn(troll).

    We don't even see any why at all. Whatever caused the Big Bang is beyond our knowing on this side of that singularity. We do, however, have a pretty good picture of how the Universe has acted since then.

    Actually, if it cannot be detected or measured it is idiotic to think it exists anyway. There are reasons to think Dark Matter and Dark Energy exist even though they cannot be seen or measured directly, we have substantial indirect evidence of their influence on the Universe. For your deity? Not so much as a peep.

    I put no faith in the anthropic principle, the Universe appears to be designed for us, but that is an illusion driven largely by the human feeling of being superior or important to the Universe as a whole, but the fact is we were designed to fit in it, not it to fit us. Another set of values would not necessarily preclude other forms of life, they would just be different, designed to fit in their Universe, not ours. Other sets might cause the infant Universe to instantly implode with no chance at life. And it is also possible that the set of values we have are the only values there could possibly be, that any Universe must have to come into being. But it's all speculation, we have the set of values we have and life evolved to meet the demands of that set of values, no other. But looking out on our Universe we see that even the conditions which we evolved to fit in are a minuscule mote of the various, hostile and deadly conditions that prevail in most of the Universe. The vast majority of the Universe(even of our own galaxy)is extremely hostile to any life, in the forms we know. So not only is the Universe not designed to hold you(and is rather well designed to kill you dead), only on a tiny world near the outer fringe of our galaxy, away from any large and dangerous stars and circling a stable star will you find these special conditions that allow Earth to have any life at all. So get over yourself, you are not important enough to design a Universe just to hold your specialness. You are a cockroach in a kitchen full of fire, spills, dropped pots and clumsy meat mountains that will squash you dead and won't even notice you're gone.

    Are you laboring under the impression that the Golden Rule was invented by religion? Delusion. But "Defenders of the Faith" presume they have a right to be intolerant, and they don't. Much of the social turmoil we are living through today is caused directly by the intolerance of the religious trying to suppress and destroy anyone who thinks differently, trying to codify their religious prejudices in law and demanding largess from the cultures the religions are in(tax free status, anyone? Oh, your a secular organization, no tax break for you). Religious intolerance has started more wars, killed more poeple and done more evil in this world than any other force. Even Communism is a religion of the state, often a cult of personality for the "Dear Leader" and his heirs.

    Magical Realist

    Enlightened self interest. In a society you will be tolerated only if you tolerate others. Some call it the "Golden Rule" and it is older than any present day religion.

    To be more than an animal means to behave better than base animal instinct would have us do. While intolerance is a natural reaction, to be human is to overrule natural, gut instinct with intellect and civilization. Intolerance is not conducive to being civilized, thus it is scientifically valid to get rid of it for the greater good, because enlightened self interest compels us to make the society we live in more civilized. Just because there are no universal truths or purposes does not mean we should act as if no purpose at all can exist. And the scientific viewpoint gives us good reasons to behave in a civilized fashion and expect others to do so as well.

    gmilam

    Precisely. And unless we find evidence for the existence for anything more than the Universe shows it is, we should not add it. If any of the theists want to say that god said "Let there be light" and the Big Bang occurred, fine. We don't know what caused the BB but neither do they.

    Grumpy

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  11. Balerion Banned Banned

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    I obviously wasn't implying that we fool ourselves, since I believe that we can have purpose without having intrinsic purpose. My point was that we can believe we have that intrinsic purpose whether or not we actually do. It doesn't have to be a knowing delusion.

    Here we go again with the personal definitions.

    Of course it's inevitable. Death is inevitable, but we manage to forestall it with medicine, so obviously inevitability doesn't preclude things you can hold off temporarily.

    It's teeth-pulling time again, I see...

    You're just repeating yourself, rather than actually making a case to support this claim. I'll try again: Why is it true that that if we are a part of the universe, the truth cannot be uncomfortable? What principle mandates such a thing?

    False dichotomy. If we drive into a brick wall and die, is the wall an evil entity that hates us? Why does the universe have to have an opinion of us? You talk about ego all the time, yet you're making this incredibly solipsistic claim that the universe is defined by our feelings in relation to it. I have no idea what would possibly give you the notion that we're important, or even relevant, to the universe's functioning.
     
  12. Balerion Banned Banned

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    We have a tendency to see ourselves as such because that's what we are. You can believe in God or a higher consciousness, but it won't change the fact that we are the product of chemical processes. Our very thoughts rely on the proper functioning of those chemical processes, and the health of our physical bodies. How else do you explain personality disorders, or dementia? How come we can predict such disorders based on our DNA?

    This view you've adopted is based on two things: First and foremost, your lack of education in the sciences. Because you don't actually know anything about how the body works or how the brain works, you are vulnerable to the nonsense you're regurgitating here. Secondly, your desire for there to be more to life than what we see. This religious drive of yours makes you reject anything that contradicts your worldview out of hand. You'd rather be in a comfortable dark than an uncomfortable light. In fact, you've gone so far as to say that truth can't be uncomfortable! It's no surprise you can't actually explain why you think this is so.

    That's just a lie. There's nothing else to be said about it.

    More fear-mongering nonsense. Wondering about the meaning of life is perfectly natural, and anyone in the field would tell you that. No one--literally no one--would say it means you're sick.

    Again, absolute nonsense.

    No, people who need help get help. They aren't robots, they simply recognize that we're human beings who can have flaws and require help, whether it's in the form of medicine or therapy, They aren't ignorant or fearful like you are.

    So I'll take that as a no.

    I don't know the answer to that. And here's a newsflash: neither do you!

    More unscientific drivel.
     
  13. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    I think we have a soul, I think quantum mechanics can easily provide us with a soul. Let me explain.

    It is a scientific fact that consciousness emerges from the brain. But what is the brain? The brain is made of neurons. What are neurons made of? Molecules. Molecules are atoms. Atoms can be described by wave-functions.

    Wave-functions really do exist as part of nature, part of reality. In particle-wave duality, the photon is just a packet of energy, a particle. So why does light behave like a wave? Because the part of the photon (or quantum particle) that has wave properties is the wave-function.

    If quantum particles have wave-function, then so do atom, so do molecules. Neurons must also have a wave-function. And, indeed, so does the brain. In effect, consciousness exists as both a collection of particles (matter) and as a wave-function (spirit).

    When we die, we can't take it with us. Neither our belongings nor our intact brain. However, even without all of the atoms and neurons, part of our consciousness may survive as a significantly less complex wave-function.

    So how does a wave-function soul/spirit stay in the body? Same wave a wave can be confined to an infinite potential well. If the well is destroyed, the spirit wave-function leaves.

    Why is it so hard for a spirit to prove it's existence? Because it's only a wave-function, and a greatly simplified wave-function at that.
     
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Grumpy said:

    It sounds like you basically derived your value for tolerance and altruism from your culture itself. Who afterall instilled in you the goal of being "civilized" and being better than the animals? Science didn't teach you that. It was your own culture thru your parents and teachers and peers who inculcated these values in you. We therefore have a set of beliefs of yours-namely that other people's differences should be tolerated-- that did NOT come from the empiricle demonstration of the scientific method. In fact ALL your values are based on beliefs you only inherited from being raised that way in your particular culture. Obviously this shows us that beliefs and truths are not ALL empirically demonstrable, particularly those involving moral and aesthetic judgements. That being so why do you look down on other people who are simply believing in the spiritual ideals they were raised to believe in? If it makes them more moral people, if it gives them subjective meaning in their lives, who are you to complain?
     
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Balerion said:

    Light is modified and even sometimes blocked by the medium it travels thru. Does that mean the medium is the source of the light? No.

    But I'm so glad you can explain how "we are the product of chemical processes." Step us thru this will you? At what point exactly are our thoughts generated by chemicals? Did our thoughts occur thru the linear succession of logic itself, or thru the physical sequence of chemical reactions in the brain? If thru the chemical reactions, then does that mean logic is only an illusion we deceive ourselves with? Furthermore, what is it about the chemical that enables it to turn into a conscious thought? Should we assume the chemical became conscious instead of ourselves? Do different chemicals create different thoughts? And could you read a person's mind by watching the chemical reactions occurring in their brains? Tell us oh bravely meaningless one what science says about all THAT.
     
  16. Balerion Banned Banned

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    You can go right ahead thinking that, but there's no evidence to support your claim. It doesn't even follow from the stuff you're talking about. You're just spouting nonsense.
     
  17. Balerion Banned Banned

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    But we aren't "traveling through" this medium, we are the result of it, and wholly dependent upon it. If you want to posit that there's something more, fine, but you've got all of your work ahead of you.

    Are these serious questions? Obviously you're trying to be sarcastic here, so what role in this am I supposed to play?
     
  18. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    Do you deny that the wave-function exists and is part of nature, part of reality? Some people think it's just a mathematical solution. Are you one of those?
     
  19. Balerion Banned Banned

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    I'm not a physicist, so I have no idea. I'm simply saying that you certainly don't have the answer, and that nothing you posit as a result actually follows from it.
     
  20. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    OK, I understand. Most people are not trained in quantum mechanics and therefore don't know what a wave-function is. Mathematically, it's a solution to the Schrodinger equation. A lot can be said about it, more than I have time to go into right now.
     
  21. Balerion Banned Banned

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    My understanding of wave function is not the problem here. It's your insistence that it's somehow akin to a human soul.
     
  22. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    You seem to have snuck around and avoided my question. Is the wave-function nothing more than math? Or does it exist?
     
  23. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Wow. You really have a short memory. Not only did I answer your question, but you acknowledged the answer. Now you're saying I avoided it? Stop trolling.

     

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