1. Hmmm . . .
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    01 Oct '07 15:48
    When people talk about the soul, or the self, that has eternal life what do they mean? That is—specifically—what is the content of that soul/self? If the soul/self represents some individualized essence, what exactly is the content of that essence?

    For example—

    Your name? (e.g., if you get to heaven, etc., will you have the same name?)

    Your memories?

    Your personality traits?

    Your emotions?

    Your thoughts? (Including the thought “I”—and all that you think about that.)

    Your will?

    Your sense perceptions?

    _______________________________________

    When people hope for individual eternal life, what aspects of themselves exactly do they expect to live forever? If not all of the above (except maybe for name and sense perceptions), how will they know they are still the same individual person? Similarly, by what aspects will they be able to recognize anyone else—if they will?

    If only part of you gains eternal life, which parts? Which parts do not?

    If all of the above, then what differentiates the soul/self from the ego-self-construct that is a product of our self-looping consciousness?

    _______________________________________

    Another way of asking the question—

    What exactly is the content of the individual “I” that people (self-referentially) speak about in terms of an after-life?
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    01 Oct '07 16:06
    Originally posted by vistesd
    When people talk about the soul, or the self, that has eternal life what do they mean? That is—[b]specifically—what is the content of that soul/self? If the soul/self represents some individualized essence, what exactly is the content of that essence?

    For example—

    Your name? (e.g., if you get to heaven, etc., will you have the same name?) ...[text shortened]... b] of the individual “I” that people (self-referentially) speak about in terms of an after-life?[/b]
    "Soul" is a metaphor for the trillions of electric impulses that make or thoughts, feelings, memory, etc. When he die, they stop working.
    Assuming that a "soul" is something more would be saying that someother unknown, neverseen mechanism would be driving our "self".
    But the connection between brain and feelings, emotions, body, etc has been proven.

    If I am wrong and there is a "soul" indeed, then it not made by any form of matter or energy known yet.
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    01 Oct '07 16:441 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    When people talk about the soul, or the self, that has eternal life what do they mean? That is—[b]specifically—what is the content of that soul/self? If the soul/self represents some individualized essence, what exactly is the content of that essence?

    For example—

    Your name? (e.g., if you get to heaven, etc., will you have the same name?) ...[text shortened]... b] of the individual “I” that people (self-referentially) speak about in terms of an after-life?[/b]
    The soul seeks to be One. One with truth, love, justice, peace, etc.

    The rest is all ego.
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    01 Oct '07 16:51
    Originally posted by serigado
    "Soul" is a metaphor for the trillions of electric impulses that make or thoughts, feelings, memory, etc. When he die, they stop working.
    Assuming that a "soul" is something more would be saying that someother unknown, neverseen mechanism would be driving our "self".
    But the connection between brain and feelings, emotions, body, etc has been proven.

    If ...[text shortened]... nd there is a "soul" indeed, then it not made by any form of matter or energy known yet.
    I’m certainly willing to accept that it—like a lot of our substantive terms—is a metaphor for some ongoing process. I think your response, however, raises the question of correlation versus causation. That is, what exactly causes that particular sequence of neurological activity that leads to a particular thought-complex?

    For example: I decide to listen to a particular piece of music. To say that such a decision was arrived at via a specific pattern of electrical impulses is to describe the mechanism, not the cause.

    How do we get from relatively simple scenarios—such as various survival responses in the face of a perceived imminent threat, or the decision to put on more clothes when feeling chilled—to vastly more complex ones, such as how I choose to write this response, or to compose a symphony, or to pursue metaphysical questions? Vastly complex chains of thinking that include recursive loops of self-reference?

    All of that is the subject of cognitive research, which does not require an assumption of individual eternality, which is the point of my questions here.

    It seems that those who believe in some individual after-life do posit a kind of individualized “ghost in the machine”: a “spirit-ized” soul, or a “spirit-ized” body of some kind. Hence my questions about specific content.
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    01 Oct '07 16:55
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    The soul seeks to be One. One with truth, love, justice, peace, etc.

    The rest is all ego.
    Is the soul then simply an urge, or a process? Not an entity of some sort? If an entity, what is the content of that entity? What content does the soul/self entail that is different from the content of the ego-construct?

    Basically, you have said what you think the soul does, but not what the soul is.
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    01 Oct '07 17:00
    I'd very much lke to get into this later, hold those thoughts.
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    01 Oct '07 17:02
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I’m certainly willing to accept that it—like a lot of our substantive terms—is a metaphor for some ongoing process. I think your response, however, raises the question of correlation versus causation. That is, what exactly causes that particular sequence of neurological activity that leads to a particular thought-complex?

    For example: I decide t ...[text shortened]... ” soul, or a “spirit-ized” body of some kind. Hence my questions about specific content.
    That's the beauty of complexity.
    Your question about the cause I can't answer. It's kind of a butterfly effect. Something very, very small can cause a completely different and unpredictable final effect. It's extremely hard to study with our current knowledge of neurology. But ultimately the cause would be some other electric impulse that went right instead of left in an intersection.

    I believe someday we can make intelligent machines, don't you?
  8. Hmmm . . .
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    01 Oct '07 17:23
    Originally posted by serigado
    That's the beauty of complexity.
    Your question about the cause I can't answer. It's kind of a butterfly effect. Something very, very small can cause a completely different and unpredictable final effect. It's extremely hard to study with our current knowledge of neurology. But ultimately the cause would be some other electric impulse that went right inst ...[text shortened]... left in an intersection.

    I believe someday we can make intelligent machines, don't you?
    I believe someday we can make intelligent machines, don't you?

    I don’t know. Depends, perhaps, on what kind or level of intelligence you mean. If one comparable to ours (and perhaps other species as well), then I would suggest that intelligence would have to include the same kind of (aesthetic) creativity as, say, a Jackson Pollock or a Brahms... I would also suggest that such an intelligence include imagination broadly—e.g., the kind of imagination that asks questions about the plausibility of an eternal life... 🙂

    ___________________________________

    What I’m really after here, though, is neither (a) the evolutionary origins of consciousness, nor (b) first-cause/prime-mover questions. What I’m after is what various people mean exactly when they use the word “soul” (or any other words implying some essential self, in particular some kind of essential self that endures individually after death).
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    01 Oct '07 17:27
    Originally posted by Starrman
    I'd very much lke to get into this later, hold those thoughts.
    Will do. You probably know my answer to all this. (Which is hinted at in the questions about content.)

    Welcome back, by the way.
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    01 Oct '07 19:53
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Is the soul then simply an urge, or a process? Not an entity of some sort? If an entity, what is the content of that entity? What content does the soul/self entail that is different from the content of the ego-construct?

    Basically, you have said what you think the soul does, but not what the soul is.
    I suppose one can try to objectify it, but I have to believe that like conscious and sub-conscious, for instance, it's probably better to define in terms of role.

    From what I've seen, it seems unlikely that any human has any real idea of what it "is".
  11. Hmmm . . .
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    01 Oct '07 20:12
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    I suppose one can try to objectify it, but I have to believe that like conscious and sub-conscious, for instance, it's probably better to define in terms of role.

    From what I've seen, it seems unlikely that any human has any real idea of what it "is".
    And yet many theists speak in very personal terms about an individual afterlife, in which some kind of “I-content” survives death. I have yet to hear anyone say anything like, “Well, some identifiable part of ‘me’ will have eternal life, but I haven’t the foggiest notion what ‘it’ is.”

    Now, I have said that trying to find “it” is like trying to shine a flashlight beam on itself. All our mental content is illuminated by (or, to wrench the metaphor, generated by) that flashlight, so none of that is “it”. And, like you, I would tend to think of “it” as process, not substance.

    But people who talk about the immortality of the soul, or the resurrection of the body, seem to have some substance in mind—and it seems to include a lot of the kind of mental content that I (again like you, I think) would identify as the stuff of the ego-construct. Hence my “content” questions.
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    01 Oct '07 20:29
    Originally posted by vistesd
    And yet many theists speak in very personal terms about an individual afterlife, in which some kind of “I-content” survives death. I have yet to hear anyone say anything like, “Well, some identifiable part of ‘me’ will have eternal life, but I haven’t the foggiest notion what ‘it’ is.”

    Now, I have said that trying to find “it” is like trying to shine a f ...[text shortened]... e you, I think) would identify as the stuff of the ego-construct. Hence my “content” questions.
    Do you think that they have some 'substance' in mind? or perhaps some parts, if not all, of their consciousness?
  13. Hmmm . . .
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    01 Oct '07 20:41
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Do you think that they have some 'substance' in mind? or perhaps some parts, if not all, of their consciousness?
    I just meant “substance” in the broad philosophical sense—i.e., what a noun ( a substantive) supposedly refers to. In this case, the “I” (or some content of that “I” ) as an entity. Or, as you put it, some parts of their consciousness "objectified".
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    01 Oct '07 21:06
    Originally posted by vistesd
    What exactly is the [b]content of the individual “I” that people (self-referentially) speak about in terms of an after-life?[/b]
    Good question. I'd be interested to hear answers from those, particularly, who hold to some dualistic irreducible view of the self.

    In terms of essential content of the I-creature that may transcend natural death, the following is what I have come up with so far:
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    02 Oct '07 08:50
    Originally posted by vistesd
    When people talk about the soul, or the self, that has eternal life what do they mean?
    I hope you have better luck getting answers to that one than I have in the past on this forum.

    My big questions are:
    1. If you go insane an hour before death, does your insane self get to heaven? Or: If you loose all your memory in old age, will you regain it in heaven.
    2. If your memories, general mental characteristics etc are not carried over to heaven then do you really have any motivation for getting your 'soul' into heaven?
    3. If you could send yourself as you were 10 or 20 years ago to heaven, would you do it?
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