View Poll Results: Is Consciousness (Soul?) Exist Non-Corporeal

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  • Yes

    3 23.08%
  • No

    8 61.54%
  • Maybe

    3 23.08%
  • Something else is going on with physics

    1 7.69%
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Thread: Argument: 'Do souls exist?' - Is consciousness exogenous to physical matter

  1. #11
    Cooler than Jesus NedLudd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    I basically believe in what is called Strawsonian physicalism, that experience is the fundamental stuff of reality. Subjective experience can't exist in materialism and dualism is nonsense so I think basically that we are high level patterns that have evolved in a white noise of experience.
    Why can’t subjective experience exist in materialism? Subjective experience is all there is since it’s impossible (for us) to directly observe or experience reality. Any decent model of materialism would acknowledge that all we do is interpret the signals delivered by our unreliable organs.

  2. #12
    Societal egress and ennui Catoptric's Avatar
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    This article discusses something on a similar level. We have yet to comprise a model of the universe which explains everything.


    https://www.academia.edu/37711629/Un...card=thumbnail

  3. #13
    Ieilaelite pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaDaMan View Post
    Define soul.

    I find myself in agreement with Schopenhauer on the existence of an apriori will in evey living thing..."Schopenhauer expounds a theory that all things outwardly are the manifestation and objectification of an apriori will. Such a will is the thing in itself and the unconscious and primordial guiding force behind all our actions and explanations."

    We could call this "apriori will" the soul.
    I suppose you could call that the soul, but Schopenhauer's idea of metaphysical will was definitely as something that is uniform for every individual conscious experience of it. He saw consciousness as an emergent property of this will, with no real purpose or ability to choose. I think that would contradict most peoples' notions of the soul.

    Personally, I find it interesting that Schopenhauer could see that physical reality and experience are products of a will, but couldn't conceive of this will as anything but an unchanging and unconscious force with no purpose or origin. I think his view was a little narrow-minded and anthropocentric tbh... perhaps as a result of being caught up in the enlightenment, which advanced our thinking by rejecting the dogmatic theology that had resulted from the political conflicts of the reformation, but over-corrected by making atheistic philosophy the end and rationalizing experience to meet that desired outcome. That's how you end up with gems like "the will is free, but we do not have free will".

    I find myself looking through more of a panpsychist lens:

    "It is a natural and near-universal assumption that the world has the properties and causal structures that we perceive it to have; to paraphrase Einstein's famous remark, we naturally assume that the moon is there whether anyone looks or not. Both theoretical and empirical considerations, however, increasingly indicate that this is not correct."
    — Donald Hoffman, Conscious agent networks: Formal analysis and applications to cognition, p. 2

    I'm somewhat in agreement with Bohm in that I think the observer effect plays a fundamental role in the functioning of the brain; I think the origin of that effect is the True Will which we possess as conscious agents. True Will is the central concept of Thelema, the religion/philosophy of Aleister Crowley. And like Crowley I don't think that conscious agents must necessarily be physical entities with brains and sensory organs. Matter comes from consciousness, not the other way around. I think the True Will is highly individualized and represents a set of decisions/actions that is aligned with the ideal or divine, our link perhaps to a "higher dimension" of platonic mental template that forms the framework of our existence. Reality (what we experience) is the result of the complex interplay of countless "conscious agents" interacting in that medium, which itself is probably the True Will of Abraxas, to use a literary metaphor.

    Quote Originally Posted by NedLudd View Post
    Why can’t subjective experience exist in materialism? Subjective experience is all there is since it’s impossible (for us) to directly observe or experience reality. Any decent model of materialism would acknowledge that all we do is interpret the signals delivered by our unreliable organs.
    Just the way you say that acknowledges that there is a reality outside of subjective experience. What makes you think there is?

    And the existence of a priori knowledge pokes a huge hole in the notion that all we do is interpret unreliable signals. What organ delivers the signal that 2+2=4, and why does it deliver that in the same way to every conscious being, no matter how the organs or brain are structured?

    Materialism seems even more implausible to me than the most ridiculous variations of literal interpretations of old religious texts.
    Last edited by pensive_pilgrim; 02-08-2021 at 08:36 AM.

  4. #14
    Cooler than Jesus NedLudd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pensive_pilgrim View Post
    Just the way you say that acknowledges that there is a reality outside of subjective experience. What makes you think there is?

    And the existence of a priori knowledge pokes a huge hole in the notion that all we do is interpret unreliable signals. What organ delivers the signal that 2+2=4, and why does it deliver that in the same way to every conscious being, no matter how the organs or brain are structured?

    Materialism seems even more implausible to me than the most ridiculous variations of literal interpretations of old religious texts.
    I think therefore I am, and therefore there is some sort of reality (maybe multiple realities for all I know), even if I can't know its true nature. It's possible that reality is wildly different from what our understanding of physics indicates, which could be the case if we're all in a simulation, for example. And I'm not sure what your point about 2+2=4 is, even chimps can do basic arithmetic. Even that's typically misleading though, our brains see things like a stick, or our own fingers, and see them as "one" object, even if their true nature is actually actually countless atoms and energy. That's separate from sensory input though, my point about that is that what we see, hear, feel, etc are all clumsy and prone to failure, and even the raw signals are prone to being misinterpreted by the brain.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    I said 'maybe' because I don't know.

    On one hand, the existence of a soul seems to be the default belief state for humans going back many thousands of years.

    On the other hand, humans have been wrong about a lot of things going back many thousands of years.

    And being right or wrong wouldn't even be a factor in such a belief persisting. Functional is far more important.

    Which kind of throws out tradition for judging the question -- not that I see anyone here going that route.

    I guess I'm a materialist, but what material are we working with? Since there are very large unanswered questions in physics, and others that might be answered but I don't understand, I think it's silly to rule out souls or panpsychism (did I get that right? matter proceeds from consciousness?). It would be much easier to accept if you could build something with this knowledge. For example, we could talk all day about the electromagnetic spectrum and the space around and inside us is filled with a gazillion emanations from the entire universe, but Maxwell's Equations combined with turning on the radio seals the deal.
    At this point, my drop of ocean water is mostly salt

  6. #16
    Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NedLudd View Post
    Why can’t subjective experience exist in materialism? Subjective experience is all there is since it’s impossible (for us) to directly observe or experience reality. Any decent model of materialism would acknowledge that all we do is interpret the signals delivered by our unreliable organs.
    Materialism as I'm speaking of it here anyway deals with hard physical matter that can't plausibly give rise to consciousness. What would it be about my atoms that give me a unitary subjective experience? It's akin to thinking that, say, the United States might be conscious. We really have no reason to think that the individual people that make it up can form some overmind. This is why some philosophers like the Churchlands and Dan Dennett believe that "consciousness is an illusion."

  7. #17
    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    This is like the question of when falling grains of sand turn into a hill. Different parts of our brains allow for us to get feedback from the 5 senses, to experience emotions, to remember the past, to perceive the future, to have a sense of time at all. If you're putting your brain back together piece by piece, at what point do you describe all the features as exhibiting consciousness? What seems special about it to me is the sense of Self and Other, but that is also characteristic of living beings we don't particularly associate with consciousness. Somehow the fact that I have (the sense of) agency contained specifically in this body, and nowhere else, is still perplexing even if you take the Self to be illusory. I think it was Watts that said we aren't "thrown into" the world as though from the outside, we're a product of the world, and part of it. But developing a sense of individuality means feeling thrown in.

    Really this is just a rehash of the question of whether matter can give rise to life, to that first bacteria. I don't know, but I think the "material", physics and fabric of the Universe is way weirder than given credit in the context of this conversation. For that I agree with @Starjots. Look at the language we use: matter is discounted off-hand as being a mere pile of blocks, like lumber and cement, meanwhile we have galaxies burning brightly in space containing orbiting planets, some with waterbodies - that's fucking crazy. Everything is, not just life. We also have trillions of (probably) unconscious living beings, bacteria, inhabiting each of us.

    Notwithstanding that we can't know what started all this, I wouldn't reject materialism. Matter and physics in itself is so esoteric it might as well be magic. I could totally imagine it giving rise to life and consciousness without constant outsider supernatural intervention.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Spartan26's Avatar
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    I believe so. I don't know if I can really differentiate from where emotion or intellect or consciousness ends and where the soul begins or how much one in the same they are but whether it's the glue that holds the former together, I believe there's something there. I've really spent the past 25+ years developing my soul. Somethings could just be pronounced as healthy lifestyle traits, maybe some mental. Prayer, fasting, contemplative study, service to others, shedding of some material comfort, corporate study & worship, forgiving others, offering praises instead of bitterly cursing, all of these have really molded me. Why I believe there's a soul (& God) is that I know my limitations and capabilities and who I am and there has definitely been an extension beyond what I'd otherwise be able to do or be.

    I have physiological and/or supernatural (if that's what one wants to call it) things over the years but certainly not enough to define it for me or them being necessary traits to continue my pursuit or belief. I have no idea where I'd be today if I hadn't made that my main priority. Which doesn't seem right to say as it's more like an app that runs in the bg while I'm doing other things. I really don't feel my soul. I'll getting nudging that I should be doing more but God presence in my soul makes me feel rooted, stable, and whole.

  9. #19
    Member Aurast's Avatar
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    Maybe.

    As far as I can tell there are no good reasons to believe that souls exist, and some good reasons to believe that they don't (for instance, if I damage your brain it changes your personality).

    Yet there are a lot of plausible scenarios of the "Descartes' demon" variety.

    Supposing someone created the universe, it's easy to imagine some reasons why they might want us to falsely believe in permanent death.

    Given that we have never observed the creation of a universe, I don't try to assign odds to why this one might exist or what our role in it might be.

    So maybe. But I tend to lean towards no.
    Last edited by Aurast; 02-26-2021 at 03:51 AM.

  10. #20
    Societal egress and ennui Catoptric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aurast View Post
    Maybe.

    As far as I can tell there are no good reasons to believe that souls exist, and some good reasons to believe that they don't (for instance, if I damage your brain it changes your personality).

    Yet there are a lot of plausible scenarios of the "Descartes' demon" variety.

    Supposing someone created the universe, it's easy to imagine some reasons why they might want us to falsely believe in permanent death.

    Given that we have never observed the creation of a universe, I don't try to assign odds to why this one might exist or what our role in it might be.

    So maybe. But I tend to lean towards no.


    Interesting approach and I agree with the idea that an "imprint" of conscious identity changes and what does it suggest of such traits if someone has "multiple personality disorder" and is such an identity considered conscious, if, during altered state, they are unaware of the other 'personality,' or does someone possessing such trait only maintain some crystalized identity that is unaffected by what could be considered a biochemical feedback loop?

    My proof for souls exists in very evident consciousness demonstrated through EVP (the end of the OP has links to very evident confirmation of this.)

    I suspect the nature/process of natural death is conducive to non-corporeal manifestation of consciousness, as otherwise the basis for "consciousness" may not transfer over to a quantum level of transmutation? In other words, I suspect someone that dies immediately upon impact in a vehicle collision might not have the chance for their limbic system to engage endocrine function for DMT release, and perhaps it requires a slow-ebbing process; which maybe explains the possible (if they aren't photoshopped) images of ghostly anomalies at car crash scenes which I haven't seen too many images of recently that demonstrate such anomalies, and maybe it was a product of a time period when the internet was relatively new, but I also wonder if the nature of using anything other than 35mm emulsion film and larger camera flash photography, impacts such likelihood of these kinds of images, as modern digital alters ISO sensetivity to the point that image saturation seems to be affected differently.

    It's difficult for people who haven't studied this subject in-depth to know for a fact that consciousness exists in this way; but it does. I know it does, and I wasn't creating the thread to validate a belief, as I know it exists.

    Also, the idea of consciousness interacting (holographic universe?) is an old idea, that might even be demonstrated in labs.
    Last edited by Catoptric; 02-26-2021 at 08:41 AM.

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