August Sand said…
Dude, I cannot believe no one has commented this. I find death extremely interresting and greatly appreciated this content.
My favourite part is the one about the pie thought in a glass. No one seems to understand that it is indeed a thought.
Thanks for some great reading!
Anonymous said…
I just can't say anything after reading this. One of the best texts I have ever read (and that is true)! Thank You for this incredible experience, You chenged my life.
Anonymous said…
I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I also appreciated the scientific style in which you write. I, however, feel it is my duty as a scientist to point out the following errors:

“Prominent scientists and philosophers have calculated that there is at least a twenty-percent likelihood that we are all, in fact, living in a simulation.”
**At least a 20% likelihood? Hmm. Don’t you think a source is needed to back up this claim? Citing sources lets readers know you didn’t pull facts out of your ass.

“Scientists are currently fitting deaf children with Cochlear brain implants that allow them to hear despite having no physical ear-drums at all...”
**My brain hurts after this one. We do not hear with our eardrums (I can’t believe I have to write that sentence). We hear with our brains… More specifically, we “hear” from our auditory cortex via a complex pathway from the peripheral, physical, system through the brainstem on up to the cortex. The physical system consists of (in order): outer ear, ear canal, eardrum, 3 connected bones of middle ear, acting as a lever (“hammer, anvil, stirrup” ala 2nd grade, remember?) and, finally, we hit the inner ear which is a snail-shaped hole in our temporal bone that houses all of our sensory cells. From here, the auditory input is spectrally separated and sent to the brain via the 8th nerve. If you had “no physical eardrums at all” (snicker) this may be surgical repairable. In NO WAY would you be eligible for a cochlear implant, which requires severe to profound sensory cell loss and also an intact auditory nerve (need to have a pathway for the electrical signal to be sent to the brain.

Be careful using examples you know nothing about: It makes you sound ignorant. Thank you for allowing me the space to correct you. Sorry to be such an asshole about it.

Bard said…

The sentence that you are referring to has no less than four hyper-links to sources for the statement. I could make some remark here mirroring your final one... but that would be tacky.

I agree "physical eardrums" is a sloppy sentence, but I seriously doubt that most people would assume I was saying that the fundamental processing of hearing occurs in the eardrum... though it is a rather bizarre (and for common usage at least, incorrect) linguistic distinction that you're trying to make, since we all often make statement like "I felt that thing with my fingers"... because making technically accurate and true descriptions of the fundamental brain processes responsible for the conscious sensation of feeling would be unnecessary and, frankly, absurd.

I was also not saying that the absence of eardrums was a qualifier for cochlear treatment, it was rather as an example to illustrate the fact that senses can be recreated absent the standard biological equipment.

I'm sorry you feel you have to be an asshole about these distinctions and I have to politely reject them as having any useful bearing on this article.
FrogPoopIsGood said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
This was one of the best articles I have ever read. You really made some issues a lot clearer for me.


tscrew said…
Wow, excellent article. By chance it kinda reminds me of the Sutra I'm currently reading: The Surangama Sutra.

Glandrid said…
This article has helped me make sense of the thoughts I've had about existence and death. Thanks!
StepVheN said…
Excellent article, very good indeed. I think you'd value some of my writings on the subject, and as importantly, the subject of selflessness.
Nabil said…
Thank you a million time for this article... Even if I am still reluctant to think that our consciousness can recreate itself in the infinite future, you are the first one I ever read whose toughts appear to be that close to mine, and that true... I feel like I am meeting my ''time traveler'' self, coming back from the day before his death to tell me what great sagacity he has acquired. Thanks again and sorry for my bad english...
Codehs said…
good use of quotes..
Anonymous said…
This post has summed up everything I have to say about living, dying and consciousness. However, you have said these things much more eloquently and detailed than I ever could!

I couldn't help but notice that the books you are suggesting don't really hit the mark or do this topic much justice. If I could be so bold as to suggest a few titles:

The Biology Of Belief by Bruce Lipton

The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot

And on the spiritual-ish side - anything by Jiddu Krishnamurti

And also the movie - What The Bleep Do We Know?
Anonymous said…
I can understand that cells in our body regenerate but is this true with the neurons? As far as i know (and Mr.Google kind of confirm it) the neurons are the only cells in the organism that do not regenerate.
Mary said…
Brilliant article, I found it utterly enlightening! Although I'm not sure about the universe being infinite, and so unsure about the possibility of our consciousness inevitably being reproduced somewhere in the universe. I'm no scientist though, the fact that the universe is finite and expanding is just something I remember from A-level physics so correct me if I am wrong? I'd be interested to find out if I've been misguided
Blake said…
This is plagued with poor philosophy of the Enlightenment era, ie choice theory, experience, skepticism, etc.

The emphasis of choosing death is almost non-sensical, to explain death in terms of experience nothing but a nod to an outdated Lockian metaphysic, and the emphasis of 'rationality' is some mish-mash of Locke, Hume, and other Enlightenment characters whose philosophy of experience, ie empiricism, is actually contradictory to contemporary science -- IE if you can scientifically prove experience is an illusion brought on by brain signals these conclusions are only as valid as the researcher empirically doing research. Thus, one can only conclude experience is an illusion by assuming it's not an illusion when looking at data. Contradiction.

As well your attempts to ridicule myths and religion actually play on an Enlightenment narrative of history between "irrational" and "violent" religions contradistinct to the "secular" and "rational" which was written by Hobbes. This "historical narrative," ie Myth, leads to conclusions like "religion" and "rationality" are a priori contradictory. In reality scholarship has been moving away from the term 'religion' for quite some time. Under a functional definition of 'religion' your appeal to Enlightenment era thinking itself would be coined as a sort of 'religion' as consisting of certain rites, symbols, and propositions, such as your appeal to "rationality" as an ultimate truth criteria and your having taken time to write about it.

I almost forgot "conscious" and other variations, i.e. "consciousness" are all from an outdated Freudian model that rests on assumptions that (A) Freud's methods worked (which we later discovered he lied about his patients due to clinical records we have from the psyche wards they ended up in) and (B) that Freud's non-empirical concepts like id, ego, consciousness, etc. are actually part of a legitimate scientific endeavor, when they're actually a pseudo-scientific approach to theorize from data at best, but due to his inability to account for data of his patients (ie his method made some of them worse) he falsified data and thus "consciousness" is nothing more than a mere assertion at best, a logical tautology of psychology at worst.

Of course a very simple response to this article might be, "You're all talk." Go spend some time at a hospital for a while. These ideas are a dime a dozen and those who fall into the Enlightenment trap have many a room at hospitals. And all their rooms wreak of fear when death comes knocking. All the yelling and screaming about rationality (which only means empiricism by its use) doesn't seem to console them.
Bard said…
Hi Blake,

I'm sorry that I don't have more time to formulate a more detailed response, but my time is short today.

At every point you have attempted, and failed, to shoehorn my arguments into the shape of other arguments which you have obviously studied and feel confident talking about. All that results is a mangled mess that represents nothing of my writing.
Basically, I'm saying that you fall into the category of people which I have seen many times online - people that have studied philosophy at university for a time, have gained a large number of references to draw upon and love quoting them in arguments. Unfortunately, you appear to lack the basic cognitive grasp of my argument. Your mind is clouded by the limited number of references which you have and cannot see past them to a new argument.

The result is that what you wrote to me represents a complete mess of nonsensical references that bear no relevance to my writing. It is quite simply, "philosophical graduate noise" - the kind of jargon-filled rambling that emanates from people who have a cursory understanding of a science or technology and then use the jargon to support nonsensical arguments online.

My advice is this: go back and remove all of the references in your email. Replace them with actual rational arguments against my arguments. Make it so that I am able to understand what your contentions are against my article and can respond directly.
Your Arguments should stand and fall on their own, not "supported" by a shopping-list of irrelevant philosophical references.
Bard said…
Again you have argued nothing. You have simply made claims without evidence to back them up.

Do you realise that saying "strict empiricism claims such claims in lieu of being not perceived are irrational" means absolutely nothing? I could say "strict empiricism claims that empirical evidence stands insofar as it can be traced in a direct line to the logical absolutes", but that again would mean absolutely nothing since it is merely me standing behind a reference, which I have misrepresented. All you are doing is quoting references without substance. If you want to succeed in philosophical arguments you will need to provide evidence. Rationally dismantle my arguments on their own merits.

I have argued with many such people as yourself and it always ends the same way: they are totally unable to back up their arguments with anything but the mis-use of references and end up saying "I'm not going to argue it for you". Why? Because you cannot.

"In short you treat philosophy, science, and reason as ahistorical things" - I love this sentence that you wrote. It sums up your arguments perfectly. You should re-read your own sentence a few times and think about how irrelevant and snide it is.
Now imagine that my argument was for the truth of the formula E=MC2. What bearing would the history of science possibly have on it's truth? None. The formula remains true irregardless of the historical context within which it sits.
This sums up your arguments perfectly. You seem incapable of considering an argument on its own merits, without dragging in many irrelevant and sometimes faulty philosophical viewpoints from the past.

The point is that you gave a shopping list of cherry picked philosophical points, stripped of historical context, in such a mess that it's all non sequitur. I'm not going to argue it for you, but for one instance and a reiteration, combining language of consciousness with empirical reason and scientific inquiry are mutually exclusive in more than one regard. For instance, scientific inquiry makes non-empirical claims, e.g. based on chemical reactions quicker than the eye can perceive we deduce mathematically that certain reactions occurred, whereas strict empiricism claims such claims in lieu of being not perceived are irrational. In short you treat philosophy, science, and reason as ahistorical things, as if ideas themselves are without a past, which can willy nilly be piece-mealed together despite the implied frameworks which make them intelligible.

I did enjoy your shopping list of ad hominems though, so here's mine to add onto it.
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