Death and Dying

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:13 pm

I agree with you, Kmich. And two impressive videos, kudos to the people doing this with and for the dying. Incidentally, this conversation helps me since I'm considering a new career path as "Casemanager dementia" where you help patients with dementia and their family to get the professional care they need, support them in whatever way possible. Often of course starting in the home situation when dementia kicks in, and all the way down the dark road till the end over a period of years. Very practical work but also a strong personal involvement of course. Not sure if I'm cut out for this :? but I'm drawn to it anyways.

Somewhat aside, a cute movie based on a true story:

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Re: Death and Dying

Postby kmich » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:54 am

Parodite wrote:I agree with you, Kmich. And two impressive videos, kudos to the people doing this with and for the dying. Incidentally, this conversation helps me since I'm considering a new career path as "Casemanager dementia" where you help patients with dementia and their family to get the professional care they need, support them in whatever way possible. Often of course starting in the home situation when dementia kicks in, and all the way down the dark road till the end over a period of years. Very practical work but also a strong personal involvement of course. Not sure if I'm cut out for this :? but I'm drawn to it anyways.


Be patient, calm, but persistent with the assortment of bureaucratic, personnel, resource, and regulatory obstacles, and I sure that you will do just fine in the work you are drawn to, Parodite.

Thanks for the movie. :)
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:51 am

Parodite wrote:I agree with you, Kmich. And two impressive videos, kudos to the people doing this with and for the dying. Incidentally, this conversation helps me since I'm considering a new career path as "Casemanager dementia" where you help patients with dementia and their family to get the professional care they need, support them in whatever way possible. Often of course starting in the home situation when dementia kicks in, and all the way down the dark road till the end over a period of years. Very practical work but also a strong personal involvement of course. Not sure if I'm cut out for this :? but I'm drawn to it.

That's a decent description of what I do as a professional guardian.
“Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks among His people to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses His creation.”

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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:48 pm

kmich wrote:
Parodite wrote:I agree with you, Kmich. And two impressive videos, kudos to the people doing this with and for the dying. Incidentally, this conversation helps me since I'm considering a new career path as "Casemanager dementia" where you help patients with dementia and their family to get the professional care they need, support them in whatever way possible. Often of course starting in the home situation when dementia kicks in, and all the way down the dark road till the end over a period of years. Very practical work but also a strong personal involvement of course. Not sure if I'm cut out for this :? but I'm drawn to it anyways.


Be patient, calm, but persistent with the assortment of bureaucratic, personnel, resource, and regulatory obstacles, and I sure that you will do just fine in the work you are drawn to, Parodite.


Thanks. Yes, patience, calm and persistence in that context seem to me indeed the way to go there. Patience is not my strongest point especially when it concerns bureaucratic processes of sorts or unwilling people that find it hard to deviate from a habitual track even when a better alternative is in front of their nose in plain daylight. My wife claims I lack political and tactical skills to get my usually good ideas effectuated... and she is always right of course :P On the other hand I'm very good in personal coaching, explaining, helping people find solutions where I'm very patient, pleasant, calm, focussed and dedicated. My background is in IT, from cobol programming which died off pretty fast because I didn't like it and wasn't good enough, to webediting jobs, to IT support on a highschool and recently IT service management for a nature preservation organization. But I'm a bit done with computers, always was kinda love-hate thing. Also being glued to a desk longer than 3 hours gives me itches.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:51 pm

Nonc Hilaire wrote:
Parodite wrote:I agree with you, Kmich. And two impressive videos, kudos to the people doing this with and for the dying. Incidentally, this conversation helps me since I'm considering a new career path as "Casemanager dementia" where you help patients with dementia and their family to get the professional care they need, support them in whatever way possible. Often of course starting in the home situation when dementia kicks in, and all the way down the dark road till the end over a period of years. Very practical work but also a strong personal involvement of course. Not sure if I'm cut out for this :? but I'm drawn to it.

That's a decent description of what I do as a professional guardian.


Cool. :) Just curious who employs you, people like you?
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:03 pm

Parodite wrote:
Nonc Hilaire wrote:
Parodite wrote:I agree with you, Kmich. And two impressive videos, kudos to the people doing this with and for the dying. Incidentally, this conversation helps me since I'm considering a new career path as "Casemanager dementia" where you help patients with dementia and their family to get the professional care they need, support them in whatever way possible. Often of course starting in the home situation when dementia kicks in, and all the way down the dark road till the end over a period of years. Very practical work but also a strong personal involvement of course. Not sure if I'm cut out for this :? but I'm drawn to it.

That's a decent description of what I do as a professional guardian.


Cool. :) Just curious who employs you, people like you?

PM me and I'll go into detail. My clients are private pay, usually designated incapacitated by the court and with a net worth of 500k+. Either their family is out of town, or there is friction in the family about who controls the family estate. One needs to be friends with elder law attys to get clients. If you don't have a steady stream of referrals from lawyers you will fail.

Poor clients are served by social workers on a medicare scale, which pays poorly.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:59 pm

kmich wrote:I have never been able to make much sense of the materialist position that I somehow miraculously or serendipitously emerged from totally non-conscious matter. The ontological problem of how subjective experience can spring out of totally insentient matter is left unexplained, but would require a miracle akin to a virgin birth if this were true. Some materialists become upset with me when I point this out.


I think that nature itself is more to blame for this conundrum of how subjective experience emerged from insentient matter than materialists. Science actually discovered how nature is creating this problem for us; materialists just don't recognize nor understand the discovery.

The standard scientific understanding is that everything we know about the world, our sensory experience as well as all abstract thought arises in the brain. As such, the entire cosmos as we know it, included the itch in your toe, is part of that experiential reality. This includes of course what we call and perceive to be "the physical world". It takes the brain billions of neural connections and and zillions of dynamic electro-chemical patterns in various functional interconnected areas to produce our experiential reality, "the physical cosmos with us in it". You could call it an emulation, a representation, a model, or a translation of the world.

If you observe and study the brain (your own brain if possible preferably to make the point), that "brain" of course is as much representational as anything else that is modeled and part of the experiential interface. Now if you are a materialist of the type that doesn't take that scientifically accepted fact into account.. by believing that "the physical brain as observed" is also the actual brain that does the modeling, you obviously end up in a nasty conundrum because you reverse causality and end up trying to explaining consciousness backwards. Analogously a self-conscious video camera that can only know of itself and the world in terms of video output as displayed on an internal screen. It can look inside itself, outside itself.. but all it will ever have is the model to work with as displayed on the experiential screen where it can see itself existing-in-the-world. If you then, mistakingly of course, take those images to be the source material that actually produces the representations... you are stuck in the famous mind-body conundrum.

I sense that not only the atoms that form the molecules of our body emerged from the rise and expansion of our cosmos but also our emergence as experiencing beings as well. You are right, Endovelico, the universe does require a witness because we are of the universe and we exist to do just that. But if we are of the universe in this way, how can we be at all separate? And if we are not separate, what does our death mean? Maybe “I” does not exist in the way we believe it does? Are we a stable “entity” or rather a complex web of ever changing processes and relations, a series of endlessly evolving participations in A. N Whitehead's “actual occasions?”


To me, the mystery of the subjective conscious self that happens to be "me" amongst potentially zillions of other "me's" that are equally subjective but different, has no direct relation to the mind-body problem or the clash between "materialism versus spirituality" which is just the result of a little magical trick that nature imposed on us, well, as a natural consequence. The real conundrum is why this particular self-conscious me that is me, is not the self-conscious me of somebody else. Not that it would solve anything to be another person's me, the question would still be the same in relation to other me's. The bulk of the people will argue along the lines of "duh.. you are not another me in the same way that object (a) does not equal object (b)." But that doesn't satisfy me at all, on the contrary it begs the question even harder. Yet there are enough other people who feel the question is valid, even though the answer escapes us entirely. But I like to speculate on it. 8-)
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby kmich » Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:29 pm

Parodite wrote:I think that nature itself is more to blame for this conundrum of how subjective experience emerged from insentient matter than materialists. Science actually discovered how nature is creating this problem for us; materialists just don't recognize nor understand the discovery.

The standard scientific understanding is that everything we know about the world, our sensory experience as well as all abstract thought arises in the brain. As such, the entire cosmos as we know it, included the itch in your toe, is part of that experiential reality. This includes of course what we call and perceive to be "the physical world". It takes the brain billions of neural connections and and zillions of dynamic electro-chemical patterns in various functional interconnected areas to produce our experiential reality, "the physical cosmos with us in it". You could call it an emulation, a representation, a model, or a translation of the world.

If you observe and study the brain (your own brain if possible preferably to make the point), that "brain" of course is as much representational as anything else that is modeled and part of the experiential interface. Now if you are a materialist of the type that doesn't take that scientifically accepted fact into account.. by believing that "the physical brain as observed" is also the actual brain that does the modeling, you obviously end up in a nasty conundrum because you reverse causality and end up trying to explaining consciousness backwards. Analogously a self-conscious video camera that can only know of itself and the world in terms of video output as displayed on an internal screen. It can look inside itself, outside itself.. but all it will ever have is the model to work with as displayed on the experiential screen where it can see itself existing-in-the-world. If you then, mistakingly of course, take those images to be the source material that actually produces the representations... you are stuck in the famous mind-body conundrum.

Yes. You are addressing the fundamental questions, Parodite. Scientific method requires an object of investigation. If one is wishing to study subjective experience, that must be turned into an object, a “brain” if you will, which alters it ontological reality and produces the confusion you present. A conundrum is inevitable, although I do not think that nature is tricking us as much as we are tricking ourselves through our own cultural biases. Many cultures are radically non dualistic where subject - object, mind - matter distinctions are not seriously considered. In these cultures, the world is infused with spirit and the spirit infuses the world, and one ignores this reality at ones peril. The mind-matter splits and our assorted resolutions that we create can strike such people as very peculiar and ominous. An example by the Lakota Sioux Holy Man, Lame Deer in his response to the world of the White Man:

"All creatures exist for a purpose. Even an ant knows what that purpose is not with its brain, but somehow it knows. Only human beings have come to a point where they no longer know why they exist. They don’t use their brains and have forgotten the secret knowledge of their bodies, their senses, or their dreams. They don’t use the knowledge the spirit has put into every one of them; they are not even aware of this, and so they stumble along blindly on the road to nowhere - a paved highway which they themselves bulldoze and make smooth so they can get faster to the big, empty hole which they’ll find at the end, waiting to swallow them up. It’s a quick, comfortable superhighway, but I know where it leads to. I have seen it. I’ve been there in my vision, and it makes me shudder to think about it."

Parodite wrote:To me, the mystery of the subjective conscious self that happens to be "me" amongst potentially zillions of other "me's" that are equally subjective but different, has no direct relation to the mind-body problem or the clash between "materialism versus spirituality" which is just the result of a little magical trick that nature imposed on us, well, as a natural consequence. The real conundrum is why this particular self-conscious me that is me, is not the self-conscious me of somebody else. Not that it would solve anything to be another person's me, the question would still be the same in relation to other me's. The bulk of the people will argue along the lines of "duh.. you are not another me in the same way that object (a) does not equal object (b)." But that doesn't satisfy me at all, on the contrary it begs the question even harder. Yet there are enough other people who feel the question is valid, even though the answer escapes us entirely. But I like to speculate on it. 8-)

No doubt there is the private “me” of subjective experience as a fundamental existential reality we all share, Parodite. I cannot experience the world directly out of your frame and you cannot do so out of mine. I wonder though if this is not the result of what A. N. Whitehead described as an “excess of subjectivity” due to the forceful trajectory of human life that deepens our individuality as we fulfill our assorted purposes, but, in the process, lose sight of the totality we owe our lives and emergence from.

The problem, I believe, arises from the conventional thinking that our world is best understood as a collection of given objects and relations that we are in the business of discovering and understanding. This is often an unconscious legacy of our creation myths that describe a world as already having been brought into being by a discrete act of creation.

What if the universe is not a given set of given objects and relations, but rather a dynamic of events in an a stream of constant transitions subject to conscious choice and experience in a constant unfolding with our participation? What if things we call mind, matter, body, and brain are only abstract conditions we have designated for these events and not their substance?

This also gets into some of the process thinking of William James, Henri Bergson, and Alfred North Whitehead as well as contemporary scholars like David Ray Griffin and Christian De Quincey. The primary work in this kind of thinking is Alfred North Whitehead's "Process and Reality," probably one of the most abstract and difficult book I have been trying to get through. One also hears echoes of process thinking in Physicist John A. Wheeler’s controversial “Participatory Anthropic Principle” which suggests that the universe requires a participation of conscious observers for its ontological foundation.

In these understandings, the experience of “me” is a dynamic, participatory series of transitions that includes an endless web of unfolding process and relations. You and I are not objects, but instead are ever evolving, changing processes grounded, emerging, and inseparable from the very fabric of the cosmos.

What would this say about death? Obviously the body dies and our life ends. But asking what our death is is the same as asking what does it mean when a fire goes out. Does the fire go into absolute nothingness, become a "fire" in some "fire heaven," or, instead, does it continue to participate in the further, ongoing, process dance of an unfolding, experiential cosmos?
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:58 am

kmich wrote:Yes. You are addressing the fundamental questions, Parodite. Scientific method requires an object of investigation. If one is wishing to study subjective experience, that must be turned into an object, a “brain” if you will, which alters it ontological reality and produces the confusion you present.


Yes, that is saying the same thing. The observing eye cannot observe its own act of observation without splitting itself in two and still being "one and the same" so to speak. It is impossible.

A conundrum is inevitable, although I do not think that nature is tricking us as much as we are tricking ourselves through our own cultural biases.


With nature tricking us I meant that it is inevitable and natural for us conscious human beings to experience the world with us in it, as-if there is a mind-body duality (as well as a hard problem when you try to squeeze "mind from observed matter" for the reasons I mentioned). That sensation of a mind-body duality arises naturally (and serves a functional purpose), it only becomes a conundrum when you look in the wrong direction causally. As when you would start with observing smoke and then boggle your mind for millennia (which indeed philosophers and scientists to did and do even till today) how on earth smoke can produce fire. It really is as simple as that I'm afraid. It goes against the 2nd law of thermodynamics as well btw.

A good site with some nice cartoons: http://cns-alumni.bu.edu/~slehar/. Or start just here.

One of the pictures from his site is enough to summarize the situation, of what is actually happening illustrated with visual perception:

Image

Our known physical world is of course the colorful world in his head, the model/representation/translation.. But he also sees himself in that colorful world, as part of the representation. The gray reality in the picture that surrounds this colorful bubble of experience... is of course the greater reality in which that conscious bubble is somehow embedded. But we actually don't know how to represent that gray reality... what dimensions it has..."what it is like". Most likely not just color, form, contrast and movement arise in that colorful bubble, but also space and time are models that arise in the brain... as everything else that occurs there..

What can be said about the gray world represented in the picture surrounding the colorful experiential bubble? That's a discussion outside this thread, but I find it the most interesting discussion. I maintain that reason and science are the best guides there still.. You can for instance make some reasonably good guesses about things, such as saying that things that appear similar in the experiential bubble, for instance the bricks in your wall .. are also similar "whatevers" in the gray, experience independent world but probably very different from those bricks. With in principle crazy possibilities that ten similar bricks in my bubble are representations of 10 similar gray elephants... so to speak. Our brain may use a grammar where similar gray elephants are always are translated into yellow stone bricks. Just using this example to emphasize the need to think out of the box here, even rather literally out of the experiential box.

Many cultures are radically non dualistic where subject - object, mind - matter distinctions are not seriously considered. In these cultures, the world is infused with spirit and the spirit infuses the world, and one ignores this reality at ones peril. The mind-matter splits and our assorted resolutions that we create can strike such people as very peculiar and ominous. An example by the Lakota Sioux Holy Man, Lame Deer in his response to the world of the White Man:

"All creatures exist for a purpose. Even an ant knows what that purpose is not with its brain, but somehow it knows. Only human beings have come to a point where they no longer know why they exist. They don’t use their brains and have forgotten the secret knowledge of their bodies, their senses, or their dreams. They don’t use the knowledge the spirit has put into every one of them; they are not even aware of this, and so they stumble along blindly on the road to nowhere - a paved highway which they themselves bulldoze and make smooth so they can get faster to the big, empty hole which they’ll find at the end, waiting to swallow them up. It’s a quick, comfortable superhighway, but I know where it leads to. I have seen it. I’ve been there in my vision, and it makes me shudder to think about it."


I think we had a booklet with a text of the same guy on my parents bookshelves... I loved it. Many others have pointed out/to the same thing... using their contemporary cultural context, language, symbols and experiences. Buddha, Jesus, J. Krishnamurti, U.G. Krishnamurti, recently Eckhart Tolle and probably thousands of others who just don't need taking the trouble putting things into words. When the conceptual mind is calm or even in total stand-by, but our senses and body functioning at full speed unhindered, the present always fresh and alive, quick anticipation and participation. In Indian lingo then "the big spirit" is present. In Western slightly poetic lingo I'd say "the present is bigger and much more alive". But since I'm told words don't matter... :P


Parodite wrote:To me, the mystery of the subjective conscious self that happens to be "me" amongst potentially zillions of other "me's" that are equally subjective but different, has no direct relation to the mind-body problem or the clash between "materialism versus spirituality" which is just the result of a little magical trick that nature imposed on us, well, as a natural consequence. The real conundrum is why this particular self-conscious me that is me, is not the self-conscious me of somebody else. Not that it would solve anything to be another person's me, the question would still be the same in relation to other me's. The bulk of the people will argue along the lines of "duh.. you are not another me in the same way that object (a) does not equal object (b)." But that doesn't satisfy me at all, on the contrary it begs the question even harder. Yet there are enough other people who feel the question is valid, even though the answer escapes us entirely. But I like to speculate on it. 8-)

No doubt there is the private “me” of subjective experience as a fundamental existential reality we all share, Parodite. I cannot experience the world directly out of your frame and you cannot do so out of mine. I wonder though if this is not the result of what A. N. Whitehead described as an “excess of subjectivity” due to the forceful trajectory of human life that deepens our individuality as we fulfill our assorted purposes, but, in the process, lose sight of the totality we owe our lives and emergence from.


Yes.. one strategy is the effort to get rid of this problem by trying to make it go away or at least look smaller as some sort of tragic byproduct... another strategy tries to elevate the self to Cosmic proportions to the point of delusional grandeur. Some people really come to believe they are God.. actually. Or "that we are all God". I find neither satisfying approaches.

The problem, I believe, arises from the conventional thinking that our world is best understood as a collection of given objects and relations that we are in the business of discovering and understanding. This is often an unconscious legacy of our creation myths that describe a world as already having been brought into being by an act of creation.


But it is also quite normal, a given, that our world is modeled as such by the basic grammar of our central nervous system; objects in space that change over time in relation to each other. A dynamic ever changing patch work of "similar differences and different similarities" (with thanks to David Bohm). There are cultural differences that make a difference too of course, but I believe some of the neurological grammar is too basic to change it, lest one uses drugs of sorts or suffers brain injury.

What if the universe is not a given set of given objects and relations, but rather a dynamic of events in an a stream of constant transitions subject to conscious choice and experience in an constant unfolding with our participation? What if things we call mind, matter, body, and brain are only abstract conditions we have designated for these events and not their substance?


I like David Bohm's toy model in his book Wholeness and the Implicate order. Participation is indeed a good term. But is is easy to dream away when there are so many unknowns and cognitive limitations. Maybe just poetry is the best we can produce here.

This also gets into some of the process thinking of William James, Henri Bergson, and Alfred North Whitehead as well as contemporary scholars like David Ray Griffin and Christian De Quincey. The primary work in this kind of thinking is Alfred North Whitehead's "Process and Reality," probably one of the most abstract and difficult book I have been trying to get through. One also hears echoes of process thinking in Physicist John A. Wheeler’s controversial “Participatory Anthropic Principle” which suggests that the universe requires a participation of conscious observers for its ontological foundation.

In these understandings, the experience of “me” is a dynamic, participatory series of transitions that includes an endless web of unfolding process and relations. You and I are not objects, but instead are ever evolving, changing processes grounded, emerging, and inseparable from the very fabric of the cosmos.


What I found is that most writers and philosophers easily get lost in general descriptions, describe consciousness as some sort of general process. But the whole point of "consciousness" is that it is not general as far as we know. It is particular, personal, subjective, completely exclusive of other subjective experiencing individuals. This might be some sort of an optical delusion of course... where somehow the indivisible wholeness of existence manages to create illusions of subjective experience and self here or there whenever the conditions are right. Unfortunately I don't but that theory one bit, and tend to see such philosophies to be more inspired by depersonalization/derealization type of condition.

What would this say about death? Obviously the body dies and our life ends. But asking what our death is is the same as asking what does it mean when a fire goes out. Does the fire go into absolute nothingness, become a "fire" in some "fire heaven," or, instead, does it continue to participate in the further, ongoing, process dance of an unfolding, experiential cosmos?


My guess is (I really have zil answers) that we are all just explicated forms of soul-strings (with a semi-poetic reference to string theory).. never born and never dying. Always there. But if you need to take some arbitrary starting point where us soul-strings came into being, or maybe were "launched" into this cosmic theater... our origins are in the big bang and we are all still there at the same time. Nothing is created, nothing is lost, just transformed, stretched, turned around, twisted, unwound..implicated-explicated back and forth in ever changing configurations and form. One soul-string can wind up being a certain human being.. but as easily unwind and be all over the place again rather literally. Only to curl up again into the form of a cat on planet-X. This would of course mean that human self nor consciousness should be overrated.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby kmich » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:01 pm

Parodite wrote:I like David Bohm's toy model in his book Wholeness and the Implicate order. Participation is indeed a good term. But is is easy to dream away when there are so many unknowns and cognitive limitations. Maybe just poetry is the best we can produce here.

Parodite, we can speak metaphorically, which is essential in any attempts to point to what we do not directly know. Yes, David Bohm is a serious out-of-the box thinker. One of the best. A good summary of his mind/matter thinking is available in his 1990 article "A New Theory of the Relationship of Mind and Matter" (PDF).

His wholeness and implicate order model seems to attempt to remedy the objective indeterminacy of QA by positing such things as a guidance equation to the Schrödinger one. His causal interpretation suggests a determinism though that I am not entirely comfortable with. His dialogues with J Krishnamurti are fascinating, and he apparently followed up on those by developing what has been known as the "Bohmian Dialogue." I gather the he and JK had a falling out though. I have known people who knew JK, and he apparently could be a petulant, difficult character at times.

Parodite wrote:What I found is that most writers and philosophers easily get lost in general descriptions, describe consciousness as some sort of general process. But the whole point of "consciousness" is that it is not general as far as we know. It is particular, personal, subjective, completely exclusive of other subjective experiencing individuals. This might be some sort of an optical delusion of course... where somehow the indivisible wholeness of existence manages to create illusions of subjective experience and self here or there whenever the conditions are right. Unfortunately I don't but that theory one bit, and tend to see such philosophies to be more inspired by depersonalization/derealization type of condition.

You are right, although I would phrase it differently. There are two, fundamental sources of knowledge: the objective and the subjective. The objective is the scientific assessment of objects to understand and predict their interactions and relations. It is the determination of fact. The subjective, on the other hand, is the experience of meaning.

The determination of fact requires the assessment of particular variables, a function, if you will, of the "head." Meaning, on the other hand, is an opening to experience, a function of the "heart." For example, it is a fact that I am married to the same woman for over 30 years. That can be determined by anyone viewing the marriage license. Our love, however, is true not because there is some objective data for support, but that the love is experienced as meaningful by us. I once saw a lecture with Neil Degrasse Tyson. On the one hand, he presented the findings of science, the matters of denoted, scientific facts. On the other hand, his passion, his experience of deep connections to the cosmos, was something I could experience with him in their profound meaning. The scientific facts in the lecture were carried and made meaningful by their experienced connotations.

In defense of philosophy, I find that reading those authors can deeply challenge my habits of understanding. When I accept that challenge, I am forced to loosen my grip on my accustomed understandings, and that opens my my heart to meaning, awe, and wonder - to that experience. In this way, I have often found them helpful.

Parodite wrote:My guess is (I really have zil answers) that we are all just explicated forms of soul-strings (with a semi-poetic reference to string theory).. never born and never dying. Always there. But if you need to take some arbitrary starting point where us soul-strings came into being, or maybe were "launched" into this cosmic theater... our origins are in the big bang and we are all still there at the same time. Nothing is created, nothing is lost, just transformed, stretched, turned around, twisted, unwound..implicated-explicated back and forth in ever changing configurations and form. One soul-string can wind up being a certain human being.. but as easily unwind and be all over the place again rather literally. Only to curl up again into the form of a cat on planet-X. This would of course mean that human self nor consciousness should be overrated.

Yes. If what we call self has content and boundaries that are composed of fluid, dynamic, and transitional conditions, our experience of a fixed, determined self may be an illusion. If that is true, how we understand death may be also. I do not have an answer to that also, but I expect the answer is in the realm of truth of meaning that is experienced through an opening of the mind and heart and not so much through the determination of objective relations. In a sense, I believe that I will understand when I am willing not to know, I am not to be confined by an established views, and I am not having my vision obscured by a maze of my accustomed, conceptual templates. In this way, I intend my pilgrimage into the meaning of death as an experienced journey. I believe that is where it best belongs, but I remain open to whatever science has to offer on matters of fact.

I came across yesterday evening an interesting account of Carl Jung who provided one of the earliest reports of NDE. I find his experiential journeys into the mind as documented in his papers as particularly helpful:

Carl Jung's Near-Death Experience
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:23 pm

kmich wrote:I came across yesterday evening an interesting account of Carl Jung who provided one of the earliest reports of NDE. I find his experiential journeys into the mind as documented in his papers as particularly helpful:

Carl Jung's Near-Death Experience


Just had a NDE. Made a pretty long nice reply and hit some wrong button... sorry, all is lost :lol: I think the Gods just spoke. :(
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:42 pm

Well, the Gods had mercy. I feel loved. :D

kmich wrote:Yes, David Bohm is a serious out-of-the box thinker. One of the best. A good summary of his mind/matter thinking is available in his 1990 article "A New Theory of the Relationship of Mind and Matter" (PDF).


Yes. I think it is also in his book The Undivided Universe.

His wholeness and implicate order model seems to attempt to remedy the objective indeterminacy of QA by positing such things as a guidance equation to the Schrödinger one. His causal interpretation suggests a determinism though that I am not entirely comfortable with.


It goes back to the Bohr-Einstein debates I think, where Einstein claims that "God doesn't play dice", and Bohr responded with "Don't tell God what to do". 8-)

His dialogues with J Krishnamurti are fascinating, and he apparently followed up on those by developing what has been known as the "Bohmian Dialogue." I gather the he and JK had a falling out though. I have known people who knew JK, and he apparently could be a petulant, difficult character at times.


I have read those dialogues, there are some youtube videos. I found they got very frontal-lobish and easily tiring. My first reading of JK were his diaries which I found awesome, almost a revelation of sorts. U.G. Krishnamurti (no family ties) became my later favorite, also because he is way more fun. :)

There are two, fundamental sources of knowledge: the objective and the subjective. The objective is the scientific assessment of objects to understand and predict their interactions and relations. It is the determination of fact. The subjective, on the other hand, is the experience of meaning.

The determination of fact requires the assessment of particular variables, a function, if you will, of the "head." Meaning, on the other hand, is an opening to experience, a function of the "heart." For example, it is a fact that I am married to the same woman for over 30 years. That can be determined by anyone viewing the marriage license. Our love, however, is true not because there is some objective data for support, but that the love is experienced as meaningful by us. I once saw a lecture with Neil Degrasse Tyson. On the one hand, he presented the findings of science, the matters of denoted, scientific facts. On the other hand, his passion, his experience of deep connections to the cosmos, was something I could experience with him in their profound meaning. The scientific facts in the lecture were carried and made meaningful by their experienced connotations.


The subjective-objective distinction can also be understood as: the subjective represents everything that I experience to occur inside my body, the objective I experience to occur outside my body. Fact and meaning seem to go hand in hand always. It also depends where your focus is at any given moment.

In defense of philosophy, I find that reading those authors can deeply challenge my habits of understanding. When I accept that challenge, I am forced to loosen my grip on my accustomed understandings, and that opens my my heart to meaning, awe, and wonder - to that experience. In this way, I have often found them helpful.


Same here. Philosophers though make more sense to me if they just talk about things. The nature of written text tends to make philosophy very brainy and vulnerable to "the holy book syndrome". If we just could find all truth... and put it away safely in a locker.

If what we call self has content and boundaries that are composed of fluid, dynamic, and transitional conditions, our experience of a fixed, determined self may be an illusion. If that is true, how we understand death may be also. I do not have an answer to that also, but I expect the answer is in the realm of truth of meaning that is experienced through an opening of the mind and heart and not so much through the determination of objective relations.


Yes. We can't stop change. Some things though, at least in their appearances, have a longer life span than others. Yet every moment is a resurrection during life, with death it won 't be any different?

In a sense, I believe that I will understand when I am willing not to know, I am not to be confined by an established views, and I am not having my vision obscured by a maze of my accustomed, conceptual templates.


Indeed.

In this way, I intend my pilgrimage into the meaning of death as an experienced journey. I believe that is where it best belongs, but I remain open to whatever science has to offer on matters of fact.

I came across yesterday evening an interesting account of Carl Jung who provided one of the earliest reports of NDE. I find his experiential journeys into the mind as documented in his papers as particularly helpful:

Carl Jung's Near-Death Experience


Yes these NDE accounts of people who had them are amazing. As for scientific matters of fact... they don't need to deter in any way, after all scientific facts are also but models within our experiential models.. that are models of... the pretty much Unknown. This may suggest that modeling itself is kind of core business. Modeling... creating...

Life is not a creation, but a creativity
- OSHO
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby kmich » Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:27 pm

kmich wrote: There are two, fundamental sources of knowledge: the objective and the subjective. The objective is the scientific assessment of objects to understand and predict their interactions and relations. It is the determination of fact. The subjective, on the other hand, is the experience of meaning.

The determination of fact requires the assessment of particular variables, a function, if you will, of the "head." Meaning, on the other hand, is an opening to experience, a function of the "heart." For example, it is a fact that I am married to the same woman for over 30 years. That can be determined by anyone viewing the marriage license. Our love, however, is true not because there is some objective data for support, but that the love is experienced as meaningful by us. I once saw a lecture with Neil Degrasse Tyson. On the one hand, he presented the findings of science, the matters of denoted, scientific facts. On the other hand, his passion, his experience of deep connections to the cosmos, was something I could experience with him in their profound meaning. The scientific facts in the lecture were carried and made meaningful by their experienced connotations.

Parodite wrote:The subjective-objective distinction can also be understood as: the subjective represents everything that I experience to occur inside my body, the objective I experience to occur outside my body. Fact and meaning seem to go hand in hand always. It also depends where your focus is at any given moment.

The way I look at it is this. We go through life participating in a continual series of transitional events. Events not being essentially substances of the body or otherwise. These occasions include a participatory process of an initial subjective, experiential, indeterminate immediacy. Once the experience is given form by choice, it is processed from indeterminacy to determinacy, from present to past, and it then becomes objective data. On and on we go. This is all process, transition, without boundary or substance. Where this goes in the process of death is the great question.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:28 pm

kmich wrote:
kmich wrote:
Parodite wrote:The subjective-objective distinction can also be understood as: the subjective represents everything that I experience to occur inside my body, the objective I experience to occur outside my body. Fact and meaning seem to go hand in hand always. It also depends where your focus is at any given moment.

The way I look at it is this. We go through life participating in a continual series of transitional events. Events not being essentially substances of the body or otherwise. These occasions include a participatory process of an initial subjective, experiential, indeterminate immediacy. Once the experience is given form by choice, it is processed from indeterminacy to determinacy, from present to past, and it then becomes objective data. On and on we go. This is all process, transition, without boundary or substance. Where this goes in the process of death is the great question.


Yes, the past->?<-future relationship, or model. I think there is a not yet sufficiently understood reason of why we can't conceive of the present as the result of some past<->future interction or relationship. But I have an idea! :o :P More later...the future begs some action right now.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:08 am

Parodite wrote:
kmich wrote:
kmich wrote:
Parodite wrote:The subjective-objective distinction can also be understood as: the subjective represents everything that I experience to occur inside my body, the objective I experience to occur outside my body. Fact and meaning seem to go hand in hand always. It also depends where your focus is at any given moment.

The way I look at it is this. We go through life participating in a continual series of transitional events. Events not being essentially substances of the body or otherwise. These occasions include a participatory process of an initial subjective, experiential, indeterminate immediacy. Once the experience is given form by choice, it is processed from indeterminacy to determinacy, from present to past, and it then becomes objective data. On and on we go. This is all process, transition, without boundary or substance. Where this goes in the process of death is the great question.


Yes, the past->?<-future relationship, or model. I think there is a not yet sufficiently understood reason of why we can't conceive of the present as the result of some past<->future interaction or relationship. But I have an idea! :o :P More later...the future begs some action right now.


Past and future don't exist and therefore the present is not a product of either past, future or both. There is no causal nor participatory relationship between past and future because both are imaginary. Past and future are useful analytical models in physics and in our day to day life but they have no ontological value. One could argue that time is real as an experience and part of how the brain models reality but this is not the case either.

When time is erased from the equations, what is left? One could argue that time may be an illusion, but events do occur one after the other or at least in some orderly non-temporal fashion. But "one after the other" means you introduce time again. You could perhaps speak of "an order of change" instead. The word process is also suggestive of a temporal-sequential order so I'd choose to avoid it.

That the present cannot be understood as a past-future relationship is also easier to understand from another angle: the illusion of sameness. In our models of reality there are always things supposed to be constant, the same while they move through space-time. We give things (no matter if they are physical, spiritual, conceptual whatever) a certain permanence, a "right to exist" for at least a while. Reality being that nothing exists unchanged for any chunk of time. But we are used to this deceptive language. "A particle moves through space-time" is a good example. Or "How old is the Universe?". etc
If "all things change all the time" what does that mean? It means that we use paradoxes in describing reality. The moment [a] changed.. it isn't [a] anymore of course." And worse: there never was an [a] to begin with. Yet our world is construed of a dynamic relationship between many [a] [b] [c] elements, of animated differences and similarities from which we construct apparent constants. Our brains construe this model, that is both real (it just is what it is) and an illusion.

Death in this context is not something out of the ordinary. What is it without past, future and no absolute constants? It just is business as usual that is life.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby kmich » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:59 pm

Hi, Parodite.

There is a difference between saying something is an illusion vs saying that it is non-existent. I believe that is an important distinction to avoid confusion. For example, what we call "past" is a convention constructed in the present by inferences from available data, while the "future" is a construct made in the present through the projection of possibilities derived from such inferences.

If one were to say that there is such a thing as the past or the future existing separate from such conventions that would certainly be an illusion, i.e. a misunderstanding of the epistemology of time that forms the ontological basis of our temporal conventions. There is no "past" or ""future" "out there" waiting for us to discover them, but these are existing conventions that we create moment to moment to make sense of our world.

While the ontological basis of time can easily be prone to illusions and misunderstandings, I have never found the nihilistic position denying the conventions of time any more persuasive than those that deny the existence of the convention of "self." The issue really is whether or not the nature of their existence is properly understood. Removing time and sequence from any consideration or ontology seems an unnecessary and arbitrary negation. Skepticism is a dead end, and even the greatest skeptic of them all, David Hume, came to that conclusion. Conventions must exist and they have critical importance, but they exist as constructions, as ideas, and not as concrete, external realities.

Time, change, and sequence cannot practically be removed from the issues of life and death. For example, over the weekend a woman came to the ER having scalded her foot that developed an open wound that was swelling and draining. Since I do trauma and vascular surgery, I was called in to evaluate her. I examined the data and constructed her past. Brittle, non compliant diabetic with peripheral neuropathy and poor circulation. Wound occurred over 24 hours ago, and examination of the tissue revealed a suppurating wound with necrotic tissue. From all this data, I constructed a "past" that projected a "future" of a gangrenous foot that could result in amputation or death if not promptly treated. The "past" and the "future" and the sequences that I constructed certainly were not imaginary, and the situation was not remaining in a "sameness" but changing rapidly. The "past" and the "future" and the sequences I determined formed the essential element in a life and death matter.

You and I were both born and we will both die. Even though those considerations are present now only in our knowledge and memory, those temporal realities and their sequence cannot be dismissed any more than the fact that you an I, our children, our friends are all growing older and not getting any younger. :(
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:22 am

kmich wrote:Hi, Parodite.


Hi Kmich.

There is a difference between saying something is an illusion vs saying that it is non-existent. I believe that is an important distinction to avoid confusion. For example, what we call "past" is a convention constructed in the present by inferences from available data, while the "future" is a construct made in the present through the projection of possibilities derived from such inferences.


Yes. So far so good.

If one were to say that there is such a thing as the past or the future existing separate from such conventions that would certainly be an illusion, i.e. a misunderstanding of the epistemology of time that forms the ontological basis of our temporal conventions. There is no "past" or ""future" "out there" waiting for us to discover them, but these are existing conventions that we create moment to moment to make sense of our world.


Indeed. But it is a very important observation, it seems to me, that (at least for a number of activities) both past and future are useful and often necessary conventions... but they still operate and always operate in this "now-point" we call the present.

It is a nice meditation and mental effort to try escape the present. I tried it just yesterday, but didn't succeed. There does not seem to be any conceivable way to escape the present. We always end up in the present, with all our conventions of past future and maybe's. The present is extremely dense too...Not sure what that density is made of though. Total emptiness/spaciousness or packed like a black hole. Can run but can't hide.

While the ontological basis of time can easily be prone to illusions and misunderstandings, I have never found the nihilistic position denying the conventions of time any more persuasive than those that deny the existence of the convention of "self."


I agree with that: there is not point in denying the conventions of time. Both past and future are contained in the present modus operandi.

The issue really is whether or not the nature of their existence is properly understood. Removing time and sequence from any consideration or ontology seems an unnecessary and arbitrary negation.


I think it is enough to accept that we operate in the present and that the conventions of time and sequential events also operate in the present. The present is changing all the time. It includes possible futures that stare us in the face and the changing landscapes of objective fact we leave behind. Our exodus from the past on our way to the promised land.

Skepticism is a dead end, and even the greatest skeptic of them all, David Hume, came to that conclusion. Conventions must exist and they have critical importance, but they exist as constructions, as ideas, and not as concrete, external realities.


Would be interesting to investigate our inventory of conventions. Must be a rich ecology.

Time, change, and sequence cannot practically be removed from the issues of life and death. For example, over the weekend a woman came to the ER having scalded her foot that developed an open wound that was swelling and draining. Since I do trauma and vascular surgery, I was called in to evaluate her. I examined the data and constructed her past. Brittle, non compliant diabetic with peripheral neuropathy and poor circulation. Wound occurred over 24 hours ago, and examination of the tissue revealed a suppurating wound with necrotic tissue. From all this data, I constructed a "past" that projected a "future" of a gangrenous foot that could result in amputation or death if not promptly treated. The "past" and the "future" and the sequences that I constructed certainly were not imaginary, and the situation was not remaining in a "sameness" but changing rapidly. The "past" and the "future" and the sequences I determined formed the essential element in a life and death matter.


Indeed, that's a well made point. It's how we do magic with magic.

You and I were both born and we will both die. Even though those considerations are present now only in our knowledge and memory, those temporal realities and their sequence cannot be dismissed any more than the fact that you an I, our children, our friends are all growing older and not getting any younger. :(


To me personally, this is not so much about acknowledging that conventions and various models serve us very well and many by necessity; this is indeed obvious. But when you want to think about death, i.e. when most likely all our conventions and oh so useful and often necessary models disintegrate together with our rotting body tissue.. it begs the question.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby kmich » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:05 pm

Parodite wrote:To me personally, this is not so much about acknowledging that conventions and various models serve us very well and many by necessity; this is indeed obvious. But when you want to think about death, i.e. when most likely all our conventions and oh so useful and often necessary models disintegrate together with our rotting body tissue.. it begs the question.


Yes, it does. Of course conventions, being ideas that emerge as forms derived from experience. change, disintegrate and reform all the time without the death of the body. What we call the "body," "life" and "death" are also evolving conventions derived from experiences that incompletely understood. Contemporary critical rationalism, quite content with the success of its current conventions, tends to dismiss, along with so many other mythic conceptions, the idea of anything except nihilistic conclusions regarding death.

Nevertheless I believe, if we wish to seriously inquire on the nature of death, it is important that the intellectual fashions and conventions of our age do not impose artificial limits. There are many, tantalizing hints, the works of Ian Stevenson, the near death research, and perhaps my own experiences with death and my associated visions. I would not elevate any of these to a set of conclusions, but they point a rough direction.

Even though I don't know, the question of death will not leave me alone. I can willfully distract myself and ignore it, but that only will work for a time. I always find myself returning to the study of the mythic that has been mostly emptied of any conscious relevance in our modern age, but whose visions have pervaded human experience through all the rest, for my guideposts.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby manolo » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:50 am

kmich wrote:
Even though I don't know, the question of death will not leave me alone. I can willfully distract myself and ignore it, but that only will work for a time. I always find myself returning to the study of the mythic that has been mostly emptied of any conscious relevance in our modern age, but whose visions have pervaded human experience through all the rest, for my guideposts.


kmich and folks,

This may be to do with my age, but an intellectual and emotional fascination with death has faded for me in recent years. In it's place is the realisation that I am in a practical process which involves a good deal of medical attention and hospital visits. I use the word 'realisation' advisedly as the experience is - err - real.

Alex.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:54 am

Shir Preda / "Farewell song"



Shir Preda / Farewell song

Now that she’s with another
I’m only left with the choice to not bother
I loved her so Oh I loved her
Though I’m not with her now she’s with another

Love is deceiving
It’s made me blind
All I wanted was her and just her
When she looked in my eyes
She made me forget who I am
And where I am going

From now on I’m not going to wait
I will go to the sea
I will look to the sun
Because her light in me has turned off
New love here I come
Outside, away from the noise, grows a flower.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:43 pm

Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris debated Rabbi David Wolpe and Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson in a panel discussion. The topic: "Is there an afterlife?" Moderated by Rob Eshman.

Outside, away from the noise, grows a flower.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Tue May 06, 2014 10:55 am

Outside, away from the noise, grows a flower.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Parodite » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:01 am

Outside, away from the noise, grows a flower.
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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Endovelico » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:06 am

Not to be forgotten...

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The atlas of civilization...

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Re: Death and Dying

Postby Heracleum Persicum » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:15 am

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