Immortality

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Would you like to be immortal?

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Immortality

Post  Guest on Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:23 am

From my silly post in the science versus religion thread I've come to read this about Unamuno:
"Main themes in Unamuno's work are the conflict between life and thought, the tension between reason and Christian faith, and the tragedy of death in man's life, the horrendous void of non-being, in which reason offers no consolation. As a philosopher Unamuno did not create a systematic presentation of his thought. He objected strongly to academic philosophers and stressed that the deepest of all human desires is the hunger for personal immortality against all our rational knowledge of life."

I'm not sure if I'd like to be immortal. I don't know if we die and there's no afterlife but (I think) I have assimilated/accepted it (it has taken me really a lot of years since I started thinking about it). Somehow now, I even see the no after life as a blessing. But there's something about not-being that I find too difficult to even understand.

So what would cause you more horror
to have to live forever
or to stop being (forever)?

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:29 am

I am also thinking that we need goals in life (some people more than others). Even if you want to "enjoy" life while it lasts, if we know in the end we are not even going to remember what we've lived... isn't it a bit like taking away the goal? (Not that the goal should be in afterlife- no ) I feel like something's missing.

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:09 am

pinhedz wrote:In his book "The Myth of Sisyphus," Albert Camus proposes that the human condition (which you might summarize as "Life's a bitch, and then you die") is an absurd situation, and he poses the question "Why don't we just kill ourselves?"

His answer is that the "absurd man" is an incorrigible rebel, who refuses to accept his condition, even though he knows that there is no escape from it.

So, you live your life just out of stubborn, ornery cussedness.

And Sisyphus is happy with his rock, because it's his very own rock. cheers
I'm reading the book begins with this by Pindaro:

"Not you eagerness, soul mine, by an immortal life, but worries the feasible resource"
(in Spanish - "No te afanes, alma mía, por una vida inmortal, pero agota el ámbito de lo posible")

I like that cat

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:17 am

"The myth of Sísifo

The title of the test comes from a afflicted personage of Greek Mythology . In him, Camus discusses to the question of the suicide and the value of the life, presenting/displaying the myth of Sísifo like metaphor of the useless and incessant effort of the modern man, who consumes his life in squalid and dehumanized factories and offices.

Of this form Philosophy of absurd raises, that maintains that our lives are insignificant and they do not have more value than than we created. Being the so trivial world, Camus it asks, alternative what is to Suicide ? The test begins: is but no a really serious philosophical problem: the suicide .

Sísifo, within Greek Mythology, like Prometheus, made get upset to the Gods by its extraordinary cleverness. Like punishment, it was condemned to lose the view and to push perpetually Rocky crag giant mountain arrives thus until the top, only so that it returned to fall rolling until the valley, and indefinitely.

Camus develops the idea of " man absurdo", or with one " sensitivity absurda". He is that one that is perpetually conscious of the complete uselessness of its life. This one, affirms, is the unique acceptable alternative to the unjustifiable jump of faith that forms the base of all the religions (and even of Existencialismo, that therefore Camus did not accept completely). Taking advantage numerous philosophical and literary sources, and particularly Dostoievski, Camus describe the historical progress of bring back to consciousness of the absurd one and conclude that Sísifo is definitive the absurd hero.

In its test, Camus affirms that Sísifo undergoes the freedom during a brief moment, when it has finished pushing the rocky crag and not yet it must begin again down. In that point, Camus felt that Sísifo, in spite of being blind, knew that the views of the landscape were there and must it have found edifying: " One must imagine happy to Sísifo", it declares, reason why it saves apparently it of his suicidal destiny.

The work closes with an appendix on the work of Franz Kafka, interpreted finally of similar way, in terms of a esteticismo, to its way, hopeful."
http://www.myetymology.com/encyclopedia/The_myth_of_S%C3%ADsifo.html

Is it, The Myth of Sisyphus, difficult to read, Pinhedz?
(They have it in the library)

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:37 am

Yes, pinhedz's English version is more understandable for me alien

now try it in Russian... confused

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Re: Immortality

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:45 pm

pinhedz wrote:"No, and it would be a horror ... maybe." geek

The third book of Swift's Gulliver's Travels describes (amongst other strange encounters) a race of humanoids who do indeed live forever- and it is indeed a horror: no escape from all the infirmities of age and decay. From memory, I think the race in question are the Strublungs- or something like that.
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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:25 pm

My mother is a bit strange, I think, because she believes in God and she also believes that death is the end (and it doesn't worry her). I ask her "why do you have a God then?". She answers that she likes to think there's someone helping us. She doesn't say anything about moral, I think, because she knows we don't need a God for that.

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Re: Immortality

Post  Andy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:48 pm

Friedrich Nietzsche, "The gay science" wrote:
341 The greatest weight.

—What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"

Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: "You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine." If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, "Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?" would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:21 am

Sorry for my ignorance. But the eternal return was expressed by Nietzsche and he himself thinks of it as something horrible? (I'm only asking).

It would be good to think in a way that your actions are important (that you are destined?) but to think they are eternally repeated is too much.

I remember when we studied philosophy in high school our teacher asked us what we preferred: to be destined or to have ground to "change" things. We answer the latter. (I feel I repeat myself on the same subject always but) I like to think now that what we are "destined" and that happiness is to say yes to it.

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:36 am

This is something that I have thought many times, that I only find beauty in necessity.

Now I should shut up before I keep raving on... alien

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:20 am

Now I understand why I posted this thread in the science section...

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Re: Immortality

Post  Andy on Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:47 pm

Vera Cruz wrote:Sorry for my ignorance. But the eternal return was expressed by Nietzsche and he himself thinks of it as something horrible? (I'm only asking).

Yes, so it would seem.

And thus, we come back to his own conclusion about Socrates in what is probably my favourite of his aphorisms:

Nietzsche, The gay science, 340" wrote:
340. The Dying Socrates
- I admire the courage and wisdom of Socrates in all that he did, said and did not say. This mocking and amorous demon and rat catcher of Athens, who made the most* insolent youths tremble and sob, was not only the wisest babbler that has ever lived, but was just as great in his silence. I would that he had also been silent in the last moment of his life, perhaps he might then have belonged to a still higher order of intellects. Whether it was death, or the poison, or piety, or wickedness something or other loosened his tongue at that moment, and he said: "O Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepios." For him who has ears, this ludicrous and terrible "last word" implies: "O Crito, life is a long sickness!" Is it possible! A man like him, who had lived cheerfully and to all appearance as a soldier, was a pessimist! He had merely put on a good demeanour towards life, and had all along concealed his ultimate judgment, his profoundest sentiment! Socrates, Socrates had suffered from life! And he also took his revenge for it with that veiled, fearful, pious, and blasphemous phrase! Had even a Socrates to revenge himself? Was there a grain too little of magnanimity in his superabundant virtue? Ah, my friends! We must surpass even the Greeks!

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Re: Immortality

Post  Andy on Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:49 pm

pinhedz wrote:If a 5-year-old asks for a puppy, and you tell him he can have one, but not until he is 6, that 1-year wait is 1/5 of his lifetime--which is like waiting forever.

But if you're 50 years old, one year is only 2% of a lifetime, so you could put yourself on a 1-year waiting list for something and your turn will come up before you know it.

If you were 1000 years old, a year's wait would probably feel like about a week. If you were millions or billions of years old, centuries would eventually be passing like seconds.

But no matter how fast time passed, there would never be any progress toward the "end," because there is no end.

This question is actually a reformulation of the "ZERO X INFINITY" question. So, because infinity is not a number, the answer to the question (just as in mathematics) is ... UNDEFINED. geek

Except for the fact that most people who belief in a form of afterlife that is related to the notion of some sort of eternal existence would probably argue that this existence is situated without the space-time continuüm.
For some reason it sounds a tad silly to speak of the 'age' of an immortal soul - should such a thing exist, of course.

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:57 pm

Yes, they speak of the soul (not in terms of age)... but what kind of life after life do they want or expect?

Like Leonard Cohen said (talking to Lady Midnight):
"whatever you give me
I seem to need so much more"


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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:14 am

^ Knowing the little I know about it I dislike Plato because of the world of forms or ideas. I don't like that he situated the highest form of reality outside the reality we live in.
Is my disliking too ignorant?

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:22 am

Andy wrote:
Nietzsche, The gay science, 340" wrote:
Whether it was death, or the poison, or piety, or wickedness something or other loosened his tongue at that moment, and he said: "O Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepios." For him who has ears, this ludicrous and terrible "last word" implies: "O Crito, life is a long sickness!" Is it possible! A man like him, who had lived cheerfully and to all appearance as a soldier, was a pessimist! He had merely put on a good demeanour towards life, and had all along concealed his ultimate judgment, his profoundest sentiment! Socrates, Socrates had suffered from life!
Unamuno, with whom I started this thread, said: "A man does not die of love or his liver or even of old age; he dies of being a man."

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:44 am

(^ the title of this thread and the poll are a bit confusing)

I had a book by Eduard Punset called "The soul is in the brain"

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:24 am

pinhedz wrote:If people were given a choice between living forever, or dying to go to heaven, which would they choose? silent

...that would depend on the definition of 'heaven'

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Re: Immortality

Post  Andy on Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:27 am

Vera Cruz wrote:^ Knowing the little I know about it I dislike Plato because of the world of forms or ideas. I don't like that he situated the highest form of reality outside the reality we live in.
Is my disliking too ignorant?

While I basically agree with you, there might be a very solid excuse for Plato.
It is often thought that Plato found it hard to accept that Socrates, the man he considered to be the most 'true' person in the world, was murdered through the wishes of the opinio communis.

Now you should realise that to the classic mind there's a very strong unity between the notion 'true' - 'wise' - 'just' - 'beauty'. To a classic mind it's incoceivable to be one and not the other - I think this notion was probably only first challenged by the findings of Gallileo Gallilei.

And so there's a certain logic in concluding that the unjust world couldn't be the true world either.
And there you have the opening scene of the search for the true world - a world beyond this world.

Plato's formulation of a world of ideas does have a somewhat conflicting effect:
- it's an optimism: he translates what was probably a very deep emotional and intellectual disillussion into a theory that allows him to overcome negativity;
- it's hard to see how this doesn't lead to a loss of interest in the "real" - i.e. empirical - world. Part of that explains why neo-platonism was such an appealing template for the early Christian thinkers to construct a Christian doctrine;

And this conclusion itself is rather reminiscent of Socrates: most socratic dialogues end so called appories - the conclusion that has to be drawn is that there is no conclusion, there remains a gap that isn't bridged.

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:50 am

But that must be the hardest part of accepting this is the only and real world... that it's not a just world

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Re: Immortality

Post  Andy on Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:34 am

In my personal opinion what would really be interesting would be NOT to be immortal but to know you would die 3 times.
Suppose you knew you died once before and what you were doing/being now really was your second chance - how would that change you?

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Re: Immortality

Post  Andy on Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:56 am

Vera Cruz wrote:But that must be the hardest part of accepting this is the only and real world... that it's not a just world

So I was thiking about this some more as I was lying in my bath thub - people need to have something on their minds at times like those.

I remembered what you had written here and it suddenly struck me how injustice played a role in the transition from the Socratic method to the full body of Plato's work - the first grand philosophical corpus in the history of the world, just sayin' - and than later on may have had a hand in the movement away from Plato as well.

For let's look at Aristotle's case, a man you know I admire a lot.
Aristotle was a student, friend and admirer of Plato - even in the passages of his work in which he directly formulates criticism to Plato's theories, he speaks of him in a very respectful way -, but unlike his teacher he wasn't a born Athenian. Aristotle was a Macedonian. You may be aware of this as it is relatively well known that Aristotle once taught the young Alexander the Great, who came also from Macedonia.

I'm not entirely sure about some of the details of this story, but I do recall that Aristotle had to flee Athens - I believe it happened 2 times, but could be wrong there - because of anti-Macedonian tensions rised to threaten him. I also seem to recall he spent at least one of his exiles in Asia Minor, present day Turkey. And there, bereft from all sources of teachings and inquiry he started studying things that surrounded him. Marine biology, the dynamics behind the leap of a frog that sort of thing.
And it is said that these studies did have a powerfull impact on Aristotle, leading him to evolve from a Platonic pupil into the teacher of a quite radically different from of rationality. Plato's system neglects, even denies the reality with the contigent single material beings. They are mere images of the Ideas, which hold their true forms. And so the wise one strives for knowledge of this Realm of Ideas.
But for Aristotle there is no super-world, no hypostate of truth beyond the world of which we have empirical knowledge. And thus it is absolutely crucial for the wise one to study the empirical world. And than, through abstraction, he will in time become able to learn about the first and most general principles which form that world.

Populism drove Plato's great example to be killed, leading Plato to formulate his hypothesis of the world of Ideas.
Racism drove Plato's greatest pupil into exile, leading him to rethink the Platonic teachings into a fundamentally different concept of what reason is and how it works.

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Re: Immortality

Post  Andy on Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:12 am

I will be going a bit off topic here, with your approval I hope.

What is really starting to intruigue me in philosophy is the question of what philosophy is.
That is to say: if we define philosophy as the conviction that we can rationally understand how the world functions - as opposed to understanding through "tales" like myths and religions -, what do we than mean with 'rationally'. How do we understand that term. What IS rational?

There are some interesting aspects about the history of 'reason' - what answers were formulated to the question during succeeding periodes in history.
Take the case of Aristotelianism. After the fire in the library of Alexandria, most of Aristotle's works were completely forgotten in the Western world.
Prior to +/- 12th century, peole really only knew Aristotle as a logician - the so called Organon. The Aristotelian writings were reintroduced in the West through contact with Arabic thinkers. At first you had Latin translations based upon the Arab translations but as the knowledge of Ancient Greek increased more and more texts were translated from a text in ancient Greek - which is an improvement, but still doesn't mean that what we know today as the Aristotelian corpus is a flawless copy of what it was originally.
This reintroduction of the Aristotelian corpus proved to be quite revolutionary for Christian thinkers, who probably never had been challenged so drastically and fundamentally. This movement went hand in hand with a newly refound autonomy for 'philosophy' - rational inquiry. For Augustine philosophy is a serving maid to faith, for Aquinas 'philosophy' is an independent and equally valid insight into reality as theology.
So it would seem reasonable to say that Aristotelianism had the effect of a reclaiming of authority by independent intellectual inquiry.

Fast forward barely 3 centuries to visit our friend Galileo Galilei.
What was so revolutionary about what he said? After all: Copernicus had already suggested heliocentrism and his position never was nearly as controversial as that of Galilei.
The key lies in the details: Copernicus proposed a mathematical method that would allow for more practical calculations.
The Church didn't need to have any trouble with that: according the Aristotelian worldview the heaven's are governed by perfect and ideal movements which are sublimely rational. The earth, in contrast, is governed by imperfect principles which are much less rational - but more understable to us as we are part of them.
So what Copernicus said, could be translated by the Church as: we, human, are unable to understand the brilliant reasonable principles that govern the realm of the Lord, but they are a bit more easily to understand to us if we use the heliocentric-hypothesis.
Or, more bluntly: man-made mathemics don't mess with the Lord's work, it's only used to help the limited mind of man.
What did Galileo say? That the earth really moved around the sun - not as a working hypothesis, but as a physical reality that could be concluded through man-made mathematics. Or: if philosophy finds that a phenomenon acts a certain way, the Lord will have to follow suit. God almighty trapped in the cage of a man-made device. It's not hard to understand the controversy.

And now look at the role of the Aristotelian worldview in both epochs described above: it is a source of illumination in the age of Thomas and a veiling obstacle in the age of Galileo. Pretty odd, no?

Or let's take a brief glimpse at Immanuel Kant.
In his Kritik der reinen Vernunft Kant procedes to draw a very grande picture of reason - all too often this will be conflated with 'the mind', be sure never to do so!
He has a somewhat dubble agenda, as he seeks to come to terms with 2 different sets of problems:
- the dogmatic school metaphysical tradition from people like Wolff that was in style when he was a professor - a discipline which claimed to have knowleedge about the nature of God, the immortality of the Soul and the unity of the World. Though earlier forms of criticism on the tradition can be found in Kant, it was only after David Hume's work "awoke him from his dogmatic slumbers" that he set out to attack this entire system fundamentally;
- but Hume's radical scepticism wasn't only helpfull to help him deal with dogmatic metaphysics, it also denied the possibility of Newtonian physics. Kant, a physician and devout scientist, obviously couldn't accept this. If Hume had to conclude Newton was wrong, than Hume must have made a mistake,

And so he sees himself challenged with having to formulate a theory of reason that would at the same time demonstrate the validity of Newtonian science and the impossibility of dogmatic metaphysics. Recently I read and expert from a letter he wrote around the time he came to conceive this project, saying he would need about 8 to 10 weeks or so to complete the task. It took him an entire decade of hard work.

But after finishing his Kritik der reinen Vernunft, he became aware of the fact that something was missing - one of the conclusions one could draw from it is that men, like all other elements, is entirely determined and as such no need of any ethics. What use would ethics have if how you act in reality is entirely determined?
Enter his second Kritik, in which he will have to study human freedom - that means: ethics.
Kants theory of ethics is original and influential, but comes with its own oddities and difficulties. For one: his rigid system almost forced him to postulate the existence of a God and the immortality of the soul as a final justification of the very existence of ethics.

So, in his opus magnum Kant draws a very substantial picture of what reason is and how it functions and has to conclude that we are principally unable to answer such questions as 'Does God exist' and 'Is there an immortal soul'. And yet a few years later his equally impressive theory of ethics inevitably has to postulate these very entities.
Scientists today might praise Kants work in the Kritik der reinen Vernunft but will probably scratch their heads when they see they have to postulate a deity if they want to follow Kants trail.
And to make things even worse: Kants tour de force set out to formulate the basis for the validity of Newtonian physics.
But Newtonian physics have themselves gone obsolete. How does this reflect on Kant? Do we have to conclude that the brilliant outcome he had found between radical scepticism and dogmatic knowledge can no longer be held?

Or just one more - to give you and idea of the type of difficulties we face when considering the history of reason:
- theology was long seen as the supreme science, the sacra doctrina or scientia divina. It start from a number of postulations, such as the existence of a creator-God. Present day scientists might object to that and claim that theology does holds to be real what should be proven, it doesn't demonstrate its essential thesis but uses it as a starting point without further questioning into it. That doesn't sound very scientific, very reasonable;
- and yet: science itself is based on axioms - non-provable theses from which all other conclusions are deduced. What's the difference, from a principle point of view, between articles of faith and axioms?

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Re: Immortality

Post  Guest on Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:33 am

^ hmmmm studying philosophy must be frustrating, no?

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Re: Immortality

Post  Andy on Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:44 am

If you are hoping for THE answer, than it probably is.
I find it absolutely intruiging.

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