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07:49pm 17/03/2004
 
 
Benjamin
About a year ago, I bought myself one of those little mini-cassette recorders for remembering ideas and thoughts I had while I was driving, and found writing to be a bit awkward. Here's what I'd recorded and then forgotten on one of them. (You know, recording something so I don't forget it doesn't do a whole lot of good if I then promptly forget that I recorded it, lol)

Awwww, just thinking shit. ... "What happens after you die?". I think it's a stupid question. I think "What happens after you die?" is about the same kind of question as "Where does your lap go when you stand up?".
I mean it's ... I don't know, "What happens after you die?"; That makes a lot of assumptions about time being a hardcore linear thing. I don't think we understand the way of things well enough to call that a fact, yet.

People think of death as something stopping ... but, ... I'm not so sure about that. You know, I mean, in order to say that something is stopping, you kinda have to know what it is that is stopping. But, ... that would mean understanding life, so that you would notice the difference, I guess. Otherwise, it'd be a moot point.

But it's such a complicated thing, with so many grey areas, so many things that aren't just a hard-line "yes or no" or "true or not true" or "alive or dead". I mean, you've got - even a corpse has life going on inside it, right? Bacteria and shit, you know? There's like, these electronic "echoes" that go on in your brain for a long time... Aww, hell, I hear tell that they had some chick with her brain basically shut off during surgery on part of it. She had one of those near-death experiences, you know? Recognized or identified some shit in the operating room, some tools or, you know, whatever they were using on her. But, you know, there was no brain activity during the time that she was reporting these things that she was able to speak about upon, you know, I guess "waking up" would be the word.
Fuck, I don't know.
I don't know, maybe it's a crock, but ... maybe it's not. I ain't cool enough to tell, but ...

Well, you got the law of conservation of energy. You know, "energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it just changes forms, and, you know, the same goes for matter" you know... and then you start getting into the nature of consciousness ... what is awareness? I ain't gonna try to answer that one, but I'm pretty sure that it's not something simply defined ... today. I hope it never is, I mean, There's gotta be some magic, right? And I haven't seen proof positive that that "consciousness" or "awareness" that most people think of as themselves... stops just because the flesh it's been driving around breaks down. C'mon, I don't die when I get out of my car, do I? You know, but I haven’t seen any definitive evidence that it doesn't stop, either. Well ... fuck. Hell, I ain't seen enough to be sure either way. But I'm pretty sure that "what happens after you die" is the wrong question.

I mean, hell, when you come right down to it, everybody that's alive right now, that's over the age of like, 20 - 30 ... Well, they have died, in pretty much every sense of the word. All the cells that make up their physical body have been replaced. The original ones may as well have been burned to ash, 'cause they don't exist any more. You know, um, psychologically speaking, all the old aspects of their personality, of their consciousness, have faded out and new parts have come in to take their place. Spiritually, aww, fuck, who knows? But I bet whatever it is bears little resemblance to what it was, if that makes any fucking sense.

You know, it's kind of hard to ... it's ... Life is a dynamic process, ever growing, every dying, ever changing. It is ... I don't know, in order to say that something's "stopped", you'd have to say that it "started". (Laughter) Good luck, heh, nailing down where life starts. Ok, -heh- yeah, right; I ain't touching that one! (more laughter)

I don't know, I just think the question's wrong. And I definitely think it's not ... something to get too upset over. I mean, in any way that you can die ... You have already died. Psychologically, spiritually, .. fuck it, - physically! What was you; ... no longer exists. Hehehehe....
Surprise! ... You're dead! (giggling)


... But you're still here, so apparently it didn't faze you too much. ... Hrmmmmm
So, ahhhhh... What the fuck are we so afraid of? I think I know, but that ain't getting said on this tape ... 'cause it looks like I'm just about home, and a shower feels like it'd be more fun that talking to this little fucking grey box any more. (Laughter)
mood: just thinking...
music: Cut.Rate.Box - Leave This World (-:] DigitalGunfire.com [:-)
 
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(no subject)
 raptorgirl
 
02:21pm 18/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Kit Kat LeNoir
Hey, I just sent you an e-mail about the gnome. Looks like he's yours for the next few weeks. :)
 
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(no subject)
 spc476
 
12:38am 19/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Captain Napalm
As part of our rather one sided conversation tonight (sorry, but I do find it most difficult to carry on a conversation in a noisy club), some comments.

One—there are several orders of infinity, each progressively larger than the previous (yes, there are orders of infinity). The first, the number of integers. The next larger set, second order of infinity, are the set of real numbers (there being an infinite number of reals between 0 and 1, for instance). Next I believe is the set of complex numbers, and a few more, but that's it.

Yes, there are a finite set of infinite numbers.

Your argument that since God is a part of everything, and that God is infinite, that within each of us is infinity I didn't buy at the club, and I still don't. That's like saying that since the set of integers is infinite (which it is), and since 1 is an integer (which it is) then by extention, 1 is infinite (well, I suppose for significantly large values of 1). The number itself isn't infinite, but it is a part of an infinite sequence.

 
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(no subject)
 spc476
 
12:54am 19/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Captain Napalm
Part two (darn those LiveJournal entry limits)—that we're already dead.

Yes, the cells in our body are replaced every seven years so the physical body we have now is not the same physical body we had a decade ago. But we haven't died, at least, not in a sudden and dramatic way, just individual cells over the span of years. We still exist beyond the physical lives and deaths of our component cells. I wrote a bit about this in The Argo Paradox.

The upshot is that we are who we are because of both emergent behavior of our neurons, plus the pattern of those neurons. What happens when this pattern isn't maintained (i.e. we croak)? Who knows.

Me? I'm afraid of my ongoing emergent pattern not being maintained.
 
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(no subject)
 spc476
 
12:55am 19/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Captain Napalm
Okay, I blew the link. It's actually here.

 
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(no subject)
 kires
 
01:40pm 23/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Benjamin
- "But we haven't died, at least, not in a sudden and dramatic way, just individual cells over the span of years. We still exist beyond the physical lives and deaths of our component cells."

Yes! Exactly! Everything that we can see or measure, everything that we know about ourselves, all that we call "I" is no more, and no longer existing, can be said to have "died". That's what I was saying.

- "The upshot is that we are who we are because of both emergent behavior of our neurons, plus the pattern of those neurons. What happens when this pattern isn't maintained (i.e. we croak)?"

It's the "when" there that bugs me. It sounds so certain, so factual. Who knows that the pattern isn't maintained? Or that the measurable aspects of the pattern are what comprise the self? Personally, I'm thinking the pattern itself is more than we're capable of measuring or comprehending.

- "Me? I'm afraid of my ongoing emergent pattern not being maintained."

A scary thought, to be sure. My only answer is that there are too many other possibilities for the cessation of what we refer to as the pattern fading to be our demise. Ripples shrink as they spread, but do they ever really stop? Light dims with distance, but is it ever really completely gone? And if the "meat" is in the pattern itself, then would that, like lightwaves and ripples, change only in scope? and as far as scope goes, I'm pretty sure there are many many orders of magnitude above and below what we consider "viable". And lastly, The whole "after" thing... doesn't that assume a lot about time?
 
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(no subject)
 kires
 
11:01pm 22/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Benjamin
- "One—there are several orders of infinity, each progressively larger than the previous (yes, there are orders of infinity). "

I can see how there can be orders of infinity. However, I cannot see how any one order of infinity can be larger or smaller than any other. Infinite is, by definition, without end. There are an infinite number of numbers between 1 and zero, halves and halves of halves, ad infinitum. The orders of infinity are all equal, as they must be, if they all contain an infinite set of numbers. Besides, the orders of infinity do not cancel out or affect each other at all. The infinite number of fractions and/or decimal deliniations possible to draw between 1 and 0 is just as infinite as the infinite number of fractions and/or decimal deliniations possible to draw between 1 and twenty-three godzillion. The orders of infinity are, as they must be, equal.


- "Yes, there are a finite set of infinite numbers."
Not meaning to nit-pick, but please elaborate. I do not understand this statement.

- "Your argument that since God is a part of everything, and that God is infinite, that within each of us is infinity I didn't buy at the club, and I still don't. That's like saying that since the set of integers is infinite (which it is), and since 1 is an integer (which it is) then by extention, 1 is infinite (well, I suppose for significantly large values of 1). The number itself isn't infinite, but it is a part of an infinite sequence."

A fine point, I think. I would agree, were we digital and orderly, comprehensible, even to ourselves. However, our limitations are not clearly defined, and our natures are not digital in the slightest. But then, this discussion would be taking a rather hard left here, lol. Are humans best represented by a single integer, or by a range? Personally, I don't think that a comparison between a person and a sigle integer would be an accurate one, for the purpose of a piece of god being infinite as well. As for why... gimme a minute, this is gonna take a long time to write.
 
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(no subject)
 spc476
 
12:16am 23/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Captain Napalm
I found this decent introduction into infinities which explains how there can be different sizes of infinities, with a simple proof of why the set of real numbers is larger than the set of natural numbers.

When I said, “there are a finite set of infinite numbers,” what I meant was that there were only a fixed number of infinite sets, which (after reading the above introduction) is incorrect—there are an infinite set of infinities, each larger than the previous one. Mind boggling, but mathematically true none-the-less.

Also, in one of the more theoretical computer science classes I took, that you can represent the totality of Windows XP (in class, any arbitrary program, but by extention, you could do this with Windows XP, or even a full Linux distribution with source code!) by a single line on a metal bar. Take a Windows installation CD, which is something like 700MB of data. Take that to represent a single number (which you can do—a byte is a sequence of 8 bits and represents values from 0 to 255; a 16-bit quantity can represent values from 0 to 65,535—every bit doubles the range). Now, if you treat that value as if there were a decial point to the left (again, going back to 8 bits, all 0 will represent 0, while all ones would represent 1.0) so now you have some precise value between 0 and 1. Given a bar, place a mark at that precise value and thus you uniquely represent that CD as a mark on a bar.

Obviously, the larger the bar, the easier it is to place that mark.

But if something as hideously complex as Windows XP can be represented by a single mark on a bar, I don't see why a human can't be counted as such, and if we are countable, then we fall right back to being a part of an infinite set, not being infinite ourselves.

 
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(no subject)
 kires
 
01:30pm 23/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Benjamin
Ok, got it. Here's the sticking point of this debate, I think. I used the term "infinite", which made sense to me at the time. However, that was an over-simplification. (Hey, I was sleep deprived and ranting, whadda ya expect?) I was thinking in terms of complexity and scope, not only measurable criteria. Mathematics as used by humans is limited by the symbols and measurements we are capable of comprehending, and this limits the concepts that can be expressed mathematically. Infinity as a mathematical concept is a poor analogy for people or gods. A better one is fractals. God is a fractal... or rather, the fractal.

Proving that one infinity is larger than another ... geeze. That's some convolutions of logic if ever I've seen them. Infinite means without end. The fact that infinite is "not finite" means we can't measure it. We humans only percieve things by contrast and border. In order to have one infinity be bigger than another, the scope of both would have to be known and compared. Since the very concept of infinity is to have no limit, then how can one be prooved larger? An example of this would be a 2 dimentional area, say, one foot wide, extending infinitely outward. Another area, 2 feet wide, also extending infinitely perpendicular, could be said to be twice the area of the one foot wide infinity. But prooven? The only thing that can be prooven is the difference in area between a section of one compared to a section of equal length of the other. But by then, we're not talking about infinities any more.
 
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YO
 flutewater
 
02:49am 20/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
vuvb
Think of someone you knew when you were in, say, 6th grade, or just a really long time ago - someone you haven't thought of since. Does a picture of that person form in your mind? Can you remember their name? Technically speaking, you're not using your brain at all to recall this. Memory cells die. You didn't have that image or name stored in your brain for this long. Same goes for when you recognize someone on the street you haven't seen for years. This is an area w/ very little research. The mind is totally seperate from the brain. Within out minds is where magic is alive. Our brains have limitations. Our brains are built in a way that allows us to see, feel, interact, etc, with everything around us (within our brains ability to comprehend). Whose to say that what we see is what another being would see? We could be be just swirls of energy to another entity. I'm gonna shut up. I always go off on Quantum physics lately. Then it gets complicated. I'm stuck myself.
 
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Re: YO
 flutewater
 
03:19am 20/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
vuvb
this is just a piece of my thoughts on life. we're all searching for the truth, or whatever you choose to call it, and we all go about it differently, on different levels. honestly, i don't think the truth is meant to be found, but, the urge to seek it is what keeps us going. i learn new things everyday, but, it's only a piece of the puzzle. i'm content w/ the hunt.
 
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Re: YO
 flutewater
 
04:45am 20/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
vuvb
Hey! I just noticed something. spc476 & my icon look alot alike. ha!
 
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Re: YO
 spc476
 
12:20am 23/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Captain Napalm
Yes, the physical cells that contain the memory have long since been replaced, but the pattern that represents the memory is still there, much like replacing your computer piecemeal over a period of a few years. It's still your computer, with your data, but the physical motherboard, drives and memory have long been upgraded.

 
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Re: YO
 kires
 
01:43pm 23/03/2004 (UTC)
 
 
Benjamin
- "It's still your computer, with your data, but the physical motherboard, drives and memory have long been upgraded."

Exactly my point.
 
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