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Consciousness is of Divine Origin
Thread Created at May 6th 2010, 7:22:05 pm | Started by Brent_Allsop
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Brent_Allsop replied 14 years ago (May 11th 2010, 7:49:14 pm)
Hi Les, This is a very interesting conversation. You and I think very differently about things. I've been around religious people lots, but most of them don't have much depth or reasoning behind their beliefs, nor do most of them have any interest in discussing things deeply. So it is fun to have a conversation with someone that thinks deeply on this stuff, and is willing to delve into it fully to help me understand it better. As far as what I mean by 'faithless', on the surface it is a blatant lack in faith in the ability of man to understand consciousness solely through his intellect. But it is also so much more than just this, and it'd take forever to cover it all. So let me see if I can touch on just a few examples to give a general idea. My understanding of your view is that all is dependent on God and man is crap. Evidently something made man fall from this grace, allegedly his 'choice'?, and there is some justification for why god is hiding from (many of) us, and from all the evil we know. It sounds like the purpose is so we can make a choice "To be for God, or against Him." And evidently the ones that want or choose something different end up in hell. Jesus must condescend to our hellish level and die (rather than him bringing us to his level and living) and a bunch of other stuff that I can never make any sense from. Another view is more that there isn't yet a God, and with god out of the picture (at least temporarily), all the intractable problems in the above vanish. First, you can hope that evil is relatively easy to overcome; it can be overcome long before anyone gets even close to god like powers, and that we are on the verge of overcoming the worst ones like isolation and death. Second, you have no fear that even for God, things (his children / creations) tend to 'falling' / and or God must descend to our hellish level. Instead, we can have hope that once we achieve a certain level of power, there will never be any more 'falling'. We can hope that if there are ever any beings at a lower level, for whatever reason, Gods will not have to hide from them, and Gods will not be required to descend to their hellish level. Instead we can have faith that Gods could easily uplift anyone to their level. We don't have to have hate (or whatever you want to call your and God's feeling and behavior towards those that want something different). We can have hope that we can work to find out what everyone truly wants, and have hope that getting it all for everyone is possible. So, for as long as anyone is still in hell / and or not getting all that they want, you spend eternity serving them, if necessary, and helping them till they finally fully understand what they really want, and you are able to help them get it. In other words – universal salvation for all, and nobody ever giving up till it is possible for all. Instead of man being 'punished' for his falling sins, he is eternally rewarded for is improvement and making the world a better place abilities, and for his progress towards God... So, in comparison, it seems to me that if any of the former view turns out to be true, it would be the most terrible and hateful thing imaginable. Believing in any such, instead of being faith, would be the abandonment of faith, and accepting something very terrible instead. As far as 'playing both sides of the fence' on what spirits are, we're probably just not communicating very adequately, otherwise it would be perfectly clear. Don't let the fact that we occasionally use terms like 'spirit' and 'spiritual' confuse things. 'spiritual' in this case is simply referring to the ineffable phenomenal qualities of nature, and 'spirit' is just our knowledge of ourselves made out of these phenomenal properties, this knowledge not having any referent. It is all dependent on the brain. it is also the realization that even if we do have a spirit, independent of the brain, it to is subject to the necessity that it must have knowledge of itself, if it is self aware, whether this knowledge has a referent or not... Brent Allsop
Les replied 14 years ago (May 10th 2010, 10:04:29 am)
Brent said: "I always struggle to better understand why people think this way (seems very faithless to me), and what they understand are the real limits to what we can scientifically discover about consciousness and why." Please expand on why you feel this view is faithless. If you mean that I lack faith in the ability of man to understand consciousness solely through his intellect, then you are correct. Brent also said: "For example, maybe you think that we could figure out everything about the mind, but perhaps the second coming is about to happen, long before we could ever make this much progress?" Interesting hypothesis. Indeed, I do believe in the second coming, but the timing of that event is not relevant to the conversation. Given an unlimited amount of time, man will still not fully comprehend how consciousness truly "functions" while he is isolated or separated from the source of that consciousness, which is God. Brent continued with: "Also, I wonder what you think of qualia vs causal properties of nature. Are qualia important? And if so, do you think a red quale is a property of the surface of a strawberry reflecting 700nm light, or instead a property of our knowledge of such, or something else entirely, or not important...??" A few thoughts here. First, I confess that I am not really grasping the meaning of Qualia. For instance, the most basic definition I can find for the word suggests that it simply means "what something is like." Also, it seems to have some root connection to the word "quality" which suggests that it refers to the specific character of a thing, or possibly the depth of character for one individual as compared to another individual's perception. By perusing the Representational Qualia Theory camp page, I came across the very brief statement "Qualia represent." Why not simply use the word representation, then? The short answer i find in the camp page is that this does not accurately reflect the mechanics of the phenomenal portion of the perception, yet I somehow don't see how the use of an obscure word makes the explanation any clearer. Then again, maybe that is just me. But back to your question about a red quale being representational or specifically the result of 700nm light. Imagine a single red strawberry placed before a white background. Observing this strawberry are two human individuals, and two video cameras from different manufacturers. Before I even get into the observations of the human participants, lets discuss the videos. If the video from each is played back on an identical monitor, there will most likely be a variety of differences in hue, contrast, texture detail, etc. These differences are simply the result of varying circuitry, varying lenses, parts made in china, and any number of slight, even microscopic variations in the manufacturing process. Now we know that each and every human is unique, having our own fingerprints, retinas, dna, and so forth. This is true even of identical twins. Why then is our difference in perception attributed to a problem of consciousness, rather than the simple and obvious fact of our differences in circuitry and construction? That is not to say that there is no "phenomenal" component in our perception. But, here is where I have a problem with Representational Qualia Theory. It seems, at first, to embrace the idea of a spirit, but then qualifies that statement as "spirit" being some phenomenal function of the brain. It calls our skulls "mortal prison walls", and says that "our spirits are still trapped behind this phenomenal veil of perception," but, if our consciousness and "spirit" are simply biological brain functions, then what exactly is trapped? What exactly is held in the prison? It honestly seems as if you are trying to play both sides of the fence with this one. Either there is a spirit, or there is not. As to whether the study of qualia is even important... I have no real objection to the study of the mechanics of the brain and perception, as far as the biological processes are concerned. However, I personally find the subject of "why" we have consciousness far more compelling than the "hows" of individual perception. It is the classic question of the philosophers of old. "Why am I here?" Quite simply, The Divine Origin stance is, "You are here to make a choice. To be for God, or against Him. To believe God, or reject him." The power of consciousness is in choice, not in perception, not in shades of red or green. Brent also said: "And do you think such ineffable qualities could ever be comunicated between minds / or spirits? Perhaps such could be done by God, or in some divine way, such that I could find out that your red is more like my green, or something?" Let me try to rephrase this question the way I think you mean it (correct me if I am wrong). Do I believe a device could be constructed that would show you what my personal perceptions in such a way that they could be compared to your perceptions? In a nut shell, yes. I believe that the biological functions of the senses ultimately boil down to electrical impulses that could be tapped into and shown on a view screen, or perhaps even sent into your mind. For instance, currently there are retinal transplants that can and do happen, but ultimately, I believe that a technique could be perfected for transplanting entire eyes. In that situation, I believe that things would look slightly different when viewed through the "new" eye, as opposed to the original eye. Likewise, I believe a method could be conceived of to transfer the impulses from my brain into yours. This would give you a picture of what I "view" through my eyes, but not necessarily a picture of what I "see." For instance, we are looking at the same cloud in the sky. You see a rabbit in its form, I see a horse. Being able to view the cloud through my eyes would not enable you to see the horse. You would likely still see the rabbit. You would not feel the emotions that I feel in connection with gazing up at the clouds, and remembering my youth. You would not hear the scripture, Mark 13:26 "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." And, all of these things, the memories, the scripture, are stored in my brain. But in the end, it is just useless data without the spirit to interpret it, and coalesce it into a coherent picture all in the twinkling of an eye. I hear your rebuttal already, that this is just a biological function which takes place in another part of the brain, however, life experience has taught me otherwise. Quite simply, the single most logical and reasonable explanation of consciousness, the existence of man, and all of creation for that matter, is the biblical account. Looking forward to more. :) Les
Brent_Allsop replied 14 years ago (May 7th 2010, 7:54:35 am)
Hi desidimona, Very interesting. The representational qualia theory predicts that science will soon be able to 'eff' these ineffable qualities. Such would obviously falsify all theories that predict effing of the ineffable will not or cannot happen, or that we don't have qualia, and so on. If science does eventually enable us to start effing the ineffable, it seems like to me this would also falsify much of what you and Les believe? If this happens, would you jump camps? Or how would it change your camp and what you believe? Would it give you more faith and hope about what we might be able to achieve, understanding wise (and ability to achieve immortality wise...)? Brent Allsop
desidimona replied 14 years ago (May 7th 2010, 6:38:58 am)
Brent Allsop says: "... do you think a red quale is a property of the surface of a strawberry reflecting 700nm light, or instead a property of our knowledge of such,..." The ancient Indian Advaita (Non-dualist) philosophy holds that Consciousness (called Brahman in Advaita) is "beginningless." This simply implies that the origins can never be known. The "can-never-be-known" aspect is equated as "Divine" by many (at least Indian) people. But strictly speaking, it means "historyless"! "Historyless" conveys that there is no invariant 'time' in which Consciousness functions but 'time' (and space) are appearings in Consciousness. That is to say Consciousness is prior to space-time. Consciousness ever functions in the 'now' without a past (not much unlike a thermometer which can measure the temp of only 'now', not yesterdays or of five mins later). With this very brief background on Advaita, I would like to refer to the quote above from Brent and submit as follows: Yes, as per Advaita, the properties exhibited by a 'cognized object' are vested in the "cognizer" and not (repeat NOT) in what is 'seen.' A detailed (to some extent) Power Point Presentation on "Object Cognition: Neuroscience and Advaita" is available at: http://beyond-advaita.blogspot.com/ It tires to explicate the Advaita view. Having said all this, I do not mean I support a "Divine" (God-head) origin. Even Advaita does not say so. Divinity or God is used only as an intermediate step to explain the illusory 'creation.' In the same breath, Advaita says 'you' are that god! When once the 'illusory' nature is understood, God is given up. Well, I think it was as far as the ancient Indian Sages could go. What I feel is 'advaita' itself was the boundary they could push their knowledge to in those days. That was the edge! That is why I proposed a camp to say that "Advaita" was the limit of Consciousness that the ancient Indians could reach. It is like saying that we can never see a star (sitting in our universe) that was born in some other universe which is, say, 20 billion years old due to light cone boundary. Present day Knowledgebase and instrumentation must be able to take us through 'science' to penetrate this boundary. thanks and regards, ramesam
Brent_Allsop replied 14 years ago (May 7th 2010, 4:19:25 am)
Hi Les, Welcome, and thanks for the contributions! It is great to have someone from this point of view to support and help everyone better understand this position. There is the so far leading consensus "Approachable Via Science" camp, which the new Divine Origin camp is now one of the many competitors to. I always struggle to better understand why people think this way (seems very faithless to me), and what they understand are the real limits to what we can scientifically discover about consciousness and why. For example, maybe you think that we could figure out everything about the mind, but perhaps the second coming is about to happen, long before we could ever make this much progress? Also, I wonder what you think of qualia vs causal properties of nature. Are qualia important? And if so, do you think a red quale is a property of the surface of a strawberry reflecting 700nm light, or instead a property of our knowledge of such, or something else entirely, or not important...?? And do you think such ineffable qualities could ever be comunicated between minds / or spirits? Perhaps such could be done by God, or in some divine way, such that I could find out that your red is more like my green, or something? Or am I making a bunch of completely bad assumptions about what the Divine Origin camp is about? Brent Allsop
Les replied 14 years ago (May 6th 2010, 7:22:05 pm)
Hello. I have started a new camp, and would welcome any questions or comments, so that I might further flesh out the camp statement. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Les