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Death
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Desu Offline
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Post: #1
Death

What are your thoughts on what happens when we die? Is there an afterlife? What does it mean to die versus being alive? What does the word "death" even mean?

I feel that the final problem in philosophy is death. It seems like virtually every religion comments on the nature of death in some sense, whether to cope with it or to speculate about the afterlife. Every culture seems to have ritual behaviors built around death. Every living thing is constantly evolving toward prolonging death and maintaining their existence. Most people seem to fear death a lot. Most people would beg to have their life or something they cared about spared until the very end.

Maybe we can elucidate death by asking other related questions. I think starting with "What is death?" is a good place. Anyone 6 or 7 years old and older could probably give you some kind of definition or describe what death is. Even though you would get a lot of related answers, it's difficult to really capture something like death because you're essentially trying to put into words a state of non-being. Language is primarily a tool used to describe events, objects, and experiences in the world around us.

Personally I think death is simply a state of non-experience. Right now, as you're reading this, you're experiencing a number of things: the feeling of clothes on your body, air moving in and out of your body, the photons streaming out of the computer display or phone display, perhaps you're listening to music, perhaps you can hear the hum of the fan in your computer tower, maybe the environment is noisy, maybe you're eating something (taste), the weight of your own body being pulled by the Earth, maybe you're tired, or stoned, or a little hyper after chugging some coffee... All kinds of things.

Also, right now, there are a lot of things you are not experiencing. Right now, I'm not experiencing being angry, or tired (it's 11:00 AM and I just drank some coffee), I'm not in pain, I'm not flying through the air, I'm not talking to anyone, I'm not hungry, I'm not listening to a band (I'm listening to some space music), I'm not really dwelling on anything other than this post, I'm not experiencing having sex, I'm not experiencing being in school, I'm not experiencing washing the dishes, I'm not experiencing eating... There's an arbitrary amount of things I am currently not experiencing.

I think that's what death is. It's a state of not-experiencing something at time X. I'm already dead in a lot of ways. It's just, when we say death, what we really mean is the state of non-experience of everything.

It's true, I am breathing, my organs are all working correctly, I'm hearing and seeing things, I'm thinking thoughts. In a scientific sense, I am alive. But metaphysically, I'm dead in quite a number of ways, in fact, an infinite number of ways. I would argue the world can be arranged in an arbitrary number of ways. I can only experience a limited amount of things at any given time. Therefore there is an arbitrary number of things I cannot experience. I'm already dead.

One thing that bothers me is that thinking about death is very self-reflective and differentiating. When we say die, it hones in on one person, one being. Going back to what I was saying about other people's lives being as vivid and as real as my own... I want to ask this question: What happens to the world when I die? Where was the world before I was born?

I was born in 1990. Before 1990, I did not exist. My sense of identity, my experience of the world, my thoughts and feelings, my story, it didn't exist. Where was the world before that time? Common sense tells me it's always been there and things were happening, people were alive and interacting with each other, history was made, wars were faught, people ate food and drank liquid, they had hobbies and played sports, people fell in and out of love, they went for walks and felt the breeze, they went to work... It was all happening, but I will never, ever experience those things, so for me, they aren't even real, they may as well have never happened.

It's true that I can infer the existence of such things by looking at the byproducts of the past. For example, I never knew my grandfather, he died before I was born. I know my father however, I have his number, and I know he's at home. I could call him, and he would answer and I could talk to him. I could go visit him, see him, hear him. I know that people birth other people through sexual reproduction, I can infer that my grandfather did indeed exist because I can look at my father and interact with him and see that he is "real".

I'll cut right to the point though: I can't access your world. The only world I have access to is my own. I don't know what it's like to be you, or anyone else, or a dog, or a horse. You could talk to me about it, you could try your best to describe, but I will never be able to fully understand what it's like to be you, with your thoughts, your feelings, your memories, your story.

How can I know that you are even real? I know I'm real because I have thoughts and feelings and experiences. But what about you? How can I know you're real if I can't access your reality. I can never see through your eyes, feel your feelings, think your thoughts. I can never access your phenomenological world.

It's weird, why am I trapped in this body, with this story, with these thoughts, here on Earth, at this point in time? Why am I me? Why am I not you? Why am I not my parents or one of my friends? Or an 11th century European medieval peasant? Why am I right now, at this point in time, me? And I'm assuming that's all I'm ever going to be while I'm alive, is me. From birth to death, I will know of nothing other than me.

Is anyone else out there even real except me? How can I know?

If consciousness is really a thing, and other people are really alive and aware and experiencing things, why am I not also experiencing those things as well?

Death can be said to be the cessation of conscious experience, but what is experience? We focus a lot on the problem of consciousness and the nature of qualia, but the problem of matter seems just as intriguing. I have a theory that experience and consciousness are inherent properties of matter in this universe. By arranging matter in a certain way (carbon compounds and other elements that make up the brain and body) in conjunction with the laws of physics give rise to experience. Sound, sight, emotions, it's all just the interplay of matter, and there's nothing inherently special about these things. There is no physical world and the mental world, there's just stuff and the forces of nature. The reason why things appear to be a certain way, why red looks red and not something else, is because that's just how our universe is structured.

When I die, that just means the matter that makes up my body is no longer configured in a certain way that gives rise to my experiences of the world I call "life". I think consciousness is just another kind of experience, like anything else we experience such as sound and taste and pain and emotions.

I'm just the universe. I'm just a subset of matter and forces and geometry of the total structure we call the universe known as me. When I die, that is simply the natural evolution of me, the universe.

The question of why I'm me still bugs me though. I recently read a pretty good story called The Egg that explores this question. It's quite short so I recommend you check it out. The essence of the story is that, I am everything and everyone. I am everything at every time period. I am the only thing that exists, but I am everything that exists.

Thoughts?

RIP GORE GOROTH

He was an hero. He will always be remembered.
03-29-2013 05:53 AM
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Potato Offline
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Post: #2
Death

Quote:The question of why I'm me still bugs me though.

YOU can't experience what someone else is experiencing, think what someone else is thinking, see what someone else is seeing, because then it won't be YOU, it would be another person. so you're stuck with your own conscious experience, because you are "you." and whether or not other people's experiences, which "you" can't experience, are "real," idk..probably just depends on your standard for what you consider real. that's just what i think...
04-01-2013 08:44 PM
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LedoS Offline
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Post: #3
Death

'It's just a ride..'
And I hope reincarnation is not compulsory...
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2013 02:03 AM by LedoS.)
04-02-2013 01:56 AM
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SoulRiser Offline
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Post: #4
Death

I saw a video the other day, of all the parts of the universe people have discovered so far. There are massive blank spots where they haven't looked yet, and when it zooms in, Earth is this microscopically tiny, insignificant speck in there... we're really, really REALLY tiny, and there is a TON of other stuff out there...

But for some reason it doesn't really make me feel insignificant or anything... because from my perspective, all that stuff is really far away, and I'll never see it up close for real. I may be tinier than an amoeba in relation to the rest of the universe, but I still see stuff from my perspective, and that's unique... I think anything that's unique can't be insignificant, 'cause technically everything is unique. Every asteroid is unique too...

I'm kind of mumbling... but I think my point is... if you could be someone else, then that someone else could be you... neither of you would really be unique then. You would be interchangeable and redundant. The universe is made up of bazillions of unique things, and each living one has a unique perspective. That's pretty cool. And none of those perspectives will ever be exactly the same to anyone else. And it'd be really awesome if someone/something out there is recording all of this for future reference... it'd make an awesome movie.

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04-02-2013 02:32 AM
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Lime Offline
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Post: #5
Death

Many, many wars were faught indeed. Razz

Or are you Scottish?

When we die, our world ends. But the physical universe, those individual atoms and molecules, goes on, regardless of whether it can be observed. Pretty much all there is to it.

Is there an afterlife? I have no idea. I do not believe in one, for lack of evidence.

As for "what is death" and all that, quite simply it's when your organs and brains cease to function permanently. Beyond that, I'm not interested. Why does it matter? We all have a fine enough understanding of death.
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2013 07:37 AM by Lime.)
04-02-2013 07:37 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Death

Death is null. It is the answer to the question of life.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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04-02-2013 08:05 AM
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Vatman Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Death

I know it's abit crude, and I forget who said it/exact wording....but I like the way it makes me feel.

"You didn't exist for the eternity up untill now, I don't see why you would be afraid of not existing again."

It may be counterintuitive, but I find some comfort in knowing that I am an anomoly of the ages... and from that perspective, it's almost as if you are creating balance by not existing. Hmm, if only I believed that.

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04-05-2013 05:13 AM
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thewake Offline
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Post: #8
Death



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04-05-2013 05:32 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #9
Death

So, the OP links from the concept of death back to the question of identity, and a bunch of other questions, like "the problem of other minds."

Even though each person is unique and alone in a certain sense, there are ways to get to know the states of mind of others, and to get to know universal or shared themes and experiences.

Just the fact that you know about things like being angry, or being awake, and you can write about being in those states or not opens the door to communicating with others about what those mean. Sometimes art, theatre, music, stories can all help communicate things and help one person share at least part of their experience with others.

One way to address the problem of "is it just me?" and the temporary nature of each moment is to start to think about your life, and other people's lives, as being a story, a progression of events linked by cause and effect, and interplay with the world at large.

Why did any of us happen to be born when we did? Well, it's basically just how things have played out. Part of what makes each of us who we are is the historical, cultural, and family context in which we grew up. This includes the influence of media and technology that was unheard of a few centuries ago, and in some ways even a few decades ago.

All of those things provide options that few people would have access to through most of history, or even in many parts of the world (though the world is quickly catching up in terms of connectivity.)

That has implications for identity. Through most of history, people's identity, beyond genetics, was largely influenced by a culture that provided answers, more than the options and questions and access to media that the world is filling up with. All of that can help provide more of a sense of continuity with the past.

Here's one video that plays with that idea:


Watch on YouTube

As more people have more records of the past -- or as any given person makes them and can dig them back up, it can become easier to see continuity, similarities and differences, and so on. The same thing can be accomplished by integrating the contents of one's mind -- reflecting on memories, writing about them, thinking about the feelings, thoughts, and experience one's had at different points. And then, by discussing those, it becomes possible to identify parallels with other people's lives.

By studying some artifacts from the past, it's also possible to identify parallels to one's own experience. Someone walking down a beach, getting angry, or having a feeling of success 2000 years ago has some parallels to those with you or with someone you're watching on a video today, and some differences. In other words, the past is gone, but its influence lives on in part based on the records people make, as well as ideas, feelings, and ways of being getting handed down through modeling, verbal storytelling, catch phrases, language, and so on.

There's more to say on all these questions, but here's a quick thought for now: the question of semantic, or word meaning. The word death, for example, can mean different things, as you get at in the OP. Physical mortality is one thing, while the fact that each minute, hour, or day that passes is, in a sense no longer "alive." Likewise, the future is "dead" in a certain sense until it happens. Likewise, some moments in life can feel more real, vivid, and alive than others.

There are so many things to discuss based on all these ideas, so that leads to the question of how to go about doing it. What videos, books, articles, films, and posts are worth reading or watching? What conversations can be the most productive in working out answers? How long does it take? Is it even worth the effort?

And then... how do those answers apply to how to live life, what decisions to make in any given scene?

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04-08-2013 12:04 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #10
Death

(03-29-2013 05:53 AM)Desu Wrote:  Is anyone else out there even real except me? How can I know?

If consciousness is really a thing, and other people are really alive and aware and experiencing things, why am I not also experiencing those things as well?

I'm real. So are some 7 billion other people on Earth at the moment. So were a bunch of people and other things that gave rise to all of us through history.

So, how do I know? How can anyone know?

I suppose the answer is to start somewhere. Again the question of what you mean by "real" comes up. It's possible for a person to be phony, as in, not real, even if in another sense they're real. But in terms of the question of whether other people's minds are real... there are various ways to come to "know" that.

Here's great TED talk that hits on this question from the angle of brain development as kids grow up:


Watch on YouTube

Any thoughts on that? Is she right to assume that the audience she's talking to have minds?

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04-08-2013 12:15 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #11
Death

Desu Wrote:One thing that bothers me is that thinking about death is very self-reflective and differentiating. When we say die, it hones in on one person, one being. Going back to what I was saying about other people's lives being as vivid and as real as my own... I want to ask this question: What happens to the world when I die? Where was the world before I was born?
The world as in the universe and Earth and your parents were around before you were born. The universe will be there after you die, unless you're around when *it* dies. I imagine that whatever's beyond the universe probably will last even longer.

Here's a question: why is self-reflection, differentiation, and honing in on one's own identity disturbing?

Thinking that one is the same as everything else, "I am everything," or "I am everyone," is in part a way of avoiding that differentiation and those questions of individual identity. People are different and unique in different ways, but it's true that common denominators exist with other people, it's possible to identify as human and for that identity to have validity, but who you are as a person matters, as well. When people avoid those thoughts, and want to merge with some collective identity, and avoid personal differentiation, there are risks of losing sight of who you are. But likewise, it's possible to err in the other direction and imagine that nothing else exists or one is more special and unique than is really the case. And yet, it's easy to err to far toward thinking one is the same as everyone else, as well. Dizzying, isn't it?

Desu Wrote:I was born in 1990. Before 1990, I did not exist. My sense of identity, my experience of the world, my thoughts and feelings, my story, it didn't exist. Where was the world before that time? Common sense tells me it's always been there and things were happening, people were alive and interacting with each other, history was made, wars were faught, people ate food and drank liquid, they had hobbies and played sports, people fell in and out of love, they went for walks and felt the breeze, they went to work... It was all happening, but I will never, ever experience those things, so for me, they aren't even real, they may as well have never happened.

Part of this depends on how you define "I" -- yourself at one moment or phase of your life, or you throughout your whole life, birth to death. In other words, how do you conceptualize your Self, or which definition are you using in any particular sentence or process of thought.

To say "they may as well have never happened" is a slippery slope. Many events of history may not be relevant to you, a great may of them led up to you being who you are... your parents, grandparents, ancestors, the situations in which they lived, the languages they and others spoke, and so on. Maybe parts of history might as well never have happened as far as you're concerned, but don't forget the parts that directly led up to you being here. And those events and people are a big part of the "why am I here, now, rather than some other time?"

The world hasn't "always" been around -- at least in terms of the universe and Earth... just like any of us, they had a starting point that was caused by something else. What about existence as a whole, beyond the universe? That's a trickier problem. Smile

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04-08-2013 12:31 AM
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thewake Offline
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Post: #12
Death

This video may provide some insight:


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04-09-2013 03:40 PM
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Post: #13
RE: Death

Wouldn't you still be experiencing your time of not experiencing something?

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04-10-2013 05:26 AM
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Post: #14
Death

I believe that when we die DMT surges through our synapses and we dance with the machine elves a bit and float to the top of the dome with them, and then everything goes blank. Not very exciting, but I'm looking forward to the DMT.
I forgot who originally said this, but I like it a lot: "Death is just another night."
I think we're all just a product of the times, a reaction to the environments we we're exposed to.
on The Egg: I really enjoyed reading it, but I think humans are too insignificant in the universe for it to be true.
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It's just chemicals.
(This post was last modified: 04-10-2013 02:55 PM by itsurgrlcass.)
04-10-2013 02:38 PM
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Sunbourn Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Death

If death is the absence of experience, couldn't it be said that we were dead before we were conceived as well? Thinking about it this way, one could say that we die at negative infinity, are born at a certain point in the infinite timeline, and then die at some point in the timeline never to leave the state of death again for an infinite period of time. That is of course assuming that we only have one state of being. I've never been a supporter of the concept of reincarnation. My matter will be recycled when I die and go on to help support future life in my absence. The fate of my spiritual entity is a mystery that will elude me for my entire lifetime, and will probably elude me in the absence of my physical body as well.

The above user mentioned the DMT spike theory introduced by Rick Strassman. I think that the theory has a lot of credibility, though it has not been fully proven at this point. Our bodies definitely do produce DMT in small amounts. When we die, it is theorized to be released by the pineal gland in a massive dose leading to a DMT trip where our perception of time slows down and we can essentially create our own temporary universe. It would only last a few minutes, but to us it may last for what appears to be a significant number of years. It's entirely speculation at this point though. When I die, I'll let you all know how much credibility the theory has. I certainly find it preferable to the theories of ascending to a place called heaven where we meet the admin of our universe who judges whether or not we are fit to enter his grand kingdom or if we descend in to a fiery pit called hell.

For lack of a more convincing theory, I expect that when I die the above mentioned DMT trip will occur and then I will simply experience nothing for the rest of eternity.

I've thought many of the same thoughts you have. As a child I would sit and wonder why I could experience the world through other individuals eyes. I wanted to take hold of other characters in this universe and then go through it like a video game. I asked my mother why I couldn't see from her perspective when I was approximately five, and I don't believe she responded at all. My memory could be faulty in that respect though. I dropped the idea for a long time but it has come up again in my thought patterns recently as all good questions inevitably should, but I'm obviously as stumped as before. I feel that the answers above to this question actually jumps around it without actually answering it because to answer it directly would require some true mind bending beyond what any of us are capable of. Yes, if we saw it through other's perspective we wouldn't be us. We would no longer be unique. That's a given. That's not an explanation. It doesn't explain why my perspective was placed inside this specific body, rather than the body of somebody on the other side of the globe. For that there is no explanation. Only questions that lead to more questions.

Everybody around me could just be inventions of my own mind. I know that my mind exists and functions, but I have no solid proof that everything I see hasn't just been invented by my mind. Perhaps I live in a Matrix-type world where humans are just batteries for another life-form and we are presented with fictional worlds to substitute for not experiencing the physical world around us. It's a long-shot guess, but like the ever-persisting theory of intelligent creation there is no sure-fire way of disproving it. When one rebuttal is given, the theory can just be adjusted to accommodate for it.

Who am I? Who are YOU?
04-12-2013 04:42 AM
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Death



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04-12-2013 04:57 AM
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RE: Death

Im already dead seeing that death is inevitable.

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04-12-2013 09:43 PM
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thewake Offline
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Posts: 5,917
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Post: #18
Death

Here's a legit video, unlike the others I've posted:



Watch on YouTube

[Image: nAOqYk7.png]

[Image: USVWSwj.png]
04-13-2013 02:43 AM
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