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Theory of the Soul

Started by Chelagoras The Boulder, July 08, 2015, 09:06:28 AM

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Doktor Howl

Quote from: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on July 10, 2015, 07:58:57 PM
Quote from: Doktor Howl on July 10, 2015, 07:11:58 PM
I choose to believe in a soul, because I choose to believe in an afterlife.  I choose to believe in an afterlife, because I refuse to acknowledge a belief system in which something as cool as me disappears forever.

There's no science in that, of course, just a few 55 gallon drums of ego.

Of course, the effect is the same.  If it's your "soul" that gets stained by committing bad acts, or your brain which grows accustomed to them is - to a non-neurologist - irrelevant.  Same as the idea that my love for my wife is just a big pile of oxtossin burbling about in my brain.  The oxytossin thing makes more sense intellectually, because love waxes and wanes over time.

But, again, the end result is the same.  I am all for neurological research into behavior.  But I'm not going to stop thinking of my feelings for Jenn as "love" in favor of "bog-standard brain chemistry".

I feel like that's a slightly different argument; we already have a vocabulary for "love" that pretty much everyone agrees on, even if not everyone agrees on the mechanism that causes it. If we want to study love or write poetry or songs or a philosophical dissertation about love, we can do that, and we can all be understood, because for the most part we all agree on the phenomenon and the language we use to describe it.

What Chelagoras seems to be attempting, if I understand him correctly, is to take a word that is a bit like love except which has a more abstract and nebulous meaning, and define it to mean something it is not generally taken to mean.

I know.  I just don't know enough about any of this to refute either position, so I posted my opinion.

To my mind, my soul is "me".  I am well aware that there is plenty of evidence that "me" is just a meat machine with some interesting quirks.  Doesn't mean I have to like it.

And being 1/2 Good American™, that means I can pull my underwear over my head and bellow "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU".

If I was fully a Good American™, I'd vote to have this sort of Godless nonsense de-funded, because knowledge is BAD and DANGEROUS and can only lead to moral degeneracy.  Why, if I knew how my brain worked, I'd just do something else to spite it!  And that only ends one way.

Molon Lube

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

Quote from: Doktor Howl on July 10, 2015, 08:07:32 PM
Quote from: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on July 10, 2015, 07:58:57 PM
Quote from: Doktor Howl on July 10, 2015, 07:11:58 PM
I choose to believe in a soul, because I choose to believe in an afterlife.  I choose to believe in an afterlife, because I refuse to acknowledge a belief system in which something as cool as me disappears forever.

There's no science in that, of course, just a few 55 gallon drums of ego.

Of course, the effect is the same.  If it's your "soul" that gets stained by committing bad acts, or your brain which grows accustomed to them is - to a non-neurologist - irrelevant.  Same as the idea that my love for my wife is just a big pile of oxtossin burbling about in my brain.  The oxytossin thing makes more sense intellectually, because love waxes and wanes over time.

But, again, the end result is the same.  I am all for neurological research into behavior.  But I'm not going to stop thinking of my feelings for Jenn as "love" in favor of "bog-standard brain chemistry".

I feel like that's a slightly different argument; we already have a vocabulary for "love" that pretty much everyone agrees on, even if not everyone agrees on the mechanism that causes it. If we want to study love or write poetry or songs or a philosophical dissertation about love, we can do that, and we can all be understood, because for the most part we all agree on the phenomenon and the language we use to describe it.

What Chelagoras seems to be attempting, if I understand him correctly, is to take a word that is a bit like love except which has a more abstract and nebulous meaning, and define it to mean something it is not generally taken to mean.

I know.  I just don't know enough about any of this to refute either position, so I posted my opinion.

To my mind, my soul is "me".  I am well aware that there is plenty of evidence that "me" is just a meat machine with some interesting quirks.  Doesn't mean I have to like it.

And being 1/2 Good American™, that means I can pull my underwear over my head and bellow "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU".

If I was fully a Good American™, I'd vote to have this sort of Godless nonsense de-funded, because knowledge is BAD and DANGEROUS and can only lead to moral degeneracy.  Why, if I knew how my brain worked, I'd just do something else to spite it!  And that only ends one way.

:lulz:
"I'm guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk," Charles Wick said. "It was very complicated."


zarathustrasbastardson

You either have soul or you don't
chaos is truth
radiate better

Reginald Ret

Quote from: Doktor Howl on July 10, 2015, 08:07:32 PM
Quote from: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on July 10, 2015, 07:58:57 PM
Quote from: Doktor Howl on July 10, 2015, 07:11:58 PM
I choose to believe in a soul, because I choose to believe in an afterlife.  I choose to believe in an afterlife, because I refuse to acknowledge a belief system in which something as cool as me disappears forever.

There's no science in that, of course, just a few 55 gallon drums of ego.

Of course, the effect is the same.  If it's your "soul" that gets stained by committing bad acts, or your brain which grows accustomed to them is - to a non-neurologist - irrelevant.  Same as the idea that my love for my wife is just a big pile of oxtossin burbling about in my brain.  The oxytossin thing makes more sense intellectually, because love waxes and wanes over time.

But, again, the end result is the same.  I am all for neurological research into behavior.  But I'm not going to stop thinking of my feelings for Jenn as "love" in favor of "bog-standard brain chemistry".

I feel like that's a slightly different argument; we already have a vocabulary for "love" that pretty much everyone agrees on, even if not everyone agrees on the mechanism that causes it. If we want to study love or write poetry or songs or a philosophical dissertation about love, we can do that, and we can all be understood, because for the most part we all agree on the phenomenon and the language we use to describe it.

What Chelagoras seems to be attempting, if I understand him correctly, is to take a word that is a bit like love except which has a more abstract and nebulous meaning, and define it to mean something it is not generally taken to mean.

I know.  I just don't know enough about any of this to refute either position, so I posted my opinion.

To my mind, my soul is "me".  I am well aware that there is plenty of evidence that "me" is just a meat machine with some interesting quirks.  Doesn't mean I have to like it.

And being 1/2 Good American™, that means I can pull my underwear over my head and bellow "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU".

If I was fully a Good American™, I'd vote to have this sort of Godless nonsense de-funded, because knowledge is BAD and DANGEROUS and can only lead to moral degeneracy.  Why, if I knew how my brain worked, I'd just do something else to spite it!  And that only ends one way.
:lulz:

Meat machines are hella interesting though, please refrain from calling them 'just meat machines'. That is like saying 'just special relativity', or 'just spacetravel' or 'just wasabi'.
Lord Byron: "Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves."

Nigel saying the wisest words ever uttered: "It's just a suffix."

"The worst forum ever" "The most mediocre forum on the internet" "The dumbest forum on the internet" "The most retarded forum on the internet" "The lamest forum on the internet" "The coolest forum on the internet"

zarathustrasbastardson

Premise complete
and then there's that other things called wanting
8)
chaos is truth
radiate better

Doktor Howl

Molon Lube

Chelagoras The Boulder

Quote from: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on July 10, 2015, 07:58:57 PM
Quote from: Doktor Howl on July 10, 2015, 07:11:58 PM
I choose to believe in a soul, because I choose to believe in an afterlife.  I choose to believe in an afterlife, because I refuse to acknowledge a belief system in which something as cool as me disappears forever.

There's no science in that, of course, just a few 55 gallon drums of ego.

Of course, the effect is the same.  If it's your "soul" that gets stained by committing bad acts, or your brain which grows accustomed to them is - to a non-neurologist - irrelevant.  Same as the idea that my love for my wife is just a big pile of oxtossin burbling about in my brain.  The oxytossin thing makes more sense intellectually, because love waxes and wanes over time.

But, again, the end result is the same.  I am all for neurological research into behavior.  But I'm not going to stop thinking of my feelings for Jenn as "love" in favor of "bog-standard brain chemistry".

I feel like that's a slightly different argument; we already have a vocabulary for "love" that pretty much everyone agrees on, even if not everyone agrees on the mechanism that causes it. If we want to study love or write poetry or songs or a philosophical dissertation about love, we can do that, and we can all be understood, because for the most part we all agree on the phenomenon and the language we use to describe it.

What Chelagoras seems to be attempting, if I understand him correctly, is to take a word that is a bit like love except which has a more abstract and nebulous meaning, and define it to mean something it is not generally taken to mean.
I dont feel i'm using any different vocabulary than anyone else would use to discuss this topic, i feel like my posts have been mainly in language anybody can understand. Also, i didnt mention love, Doc did.

I'm just trying to use narratives to explain the "extra little bit" that people always perceive as being "left over" after any scientific theory, whether psychological, neurological, philosophical etc. Now i'm not saying that any of these theories are flawed or that science is bad or any of that. What i'm saying is that whenever humans feel their actions are being determined, they tend to create meanings for themselves(the idea of a soul, or also free will or whatever) using stories because stories (or culture of any sort really, music, art, anything creative, etc) tend to be the programming language for our brains. Tell a story about a magic man in the sky who loves you, people will run that code for thousands of years and will fight you if you ever try to change it. Write up a beautifully researched doctoral thesis that explains and enlightens a fundamental question of existence and good luck getting anyone to even read it, let alone accept it, especially if it clashes with that first story. We do this with everything, we want to make meanings and find patterns to everything, including people, and when we do it to ourselves it tends to look like the stuff we attribute to what we call our souls. the whole three parts thing is there because its hard for people to make meanings divorced of context, therefore the meanings of others effect the meanings we make for ourselves, even if its to decide to be the sort of person to tell those fuckers to take their meanings and shove it.
"It isn't who you know, it's who you know, if you know what I mean.  And I think you do."

zarathustrasbastardson

'What do you see when you turn out the lights?'
chaos is truth
radiate better

The Wizard Joseph

Taken together I suspect that IF the soul exists, as such, then it is a part of something rather different than the world we find ourselves in and experiencing. Something that deals with space/time very differently than, say, an atom, but like an atom may be subject to a certain malleability under exceptional conditions. Going to REALLY think on this for a bit before I try to articulate at all further, but want in on the thread for sure.

The "story" element of the soul discussed here seems certainly key to much thought about the soul, but I wonder if that's entirely the purpose of what such a thing might "do" or perhaps a sort of defensive reaction to something not truly native to the this little piece of reality from which we draw the experiences of our lives. A reaction of sorts upon something made of "eternal stuff" dipped into linear time. If so then it must be in some sense measurable, but we may lack the ability to do so from our "position" in things.

I can say that there exist many sincere and credible case histories of apparent mind or memory transferrence from life to life and I'm fairly convinced something is going on, but a collective unconscious capable of some sort of memory locus or node would also possibly account for it.

What it is not is science. Not all knowledge is scientific, but all genuinely scientific knowledge must be measured and repeated. No two moments of subjective temporal experience are ever able to be either truly measured nor even once perfectly repeated, science is the best we've managed in the face of this. And so we have an enigma.

Just my basic off the top thoughts, but please note the big IF in first line.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
- Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

"You program the controller to do the thing, only it doesn't do the thing.  It does something else entirely, or nothing at all.  It's like voting."
- Billy, Aug 21st, 2019

"It's not even chaos anymore. It's BANAL."
- Doktor Hamish Howl

Rembo

My two cents: you do not need a soul to explain anything.
Anything the soul is supposed to do can be attributed to various other mechanisms.
TGRR said something about his reason to believe in a soul, in relation to a '55 gallon drum of ego', which I think is a great remark.

As Reginald stated, we may be meatmachines, but we are far from JUST meatmachines.
And, similarly, gravity is not JUST gravity, life is not JUST life, love is not JUST love, etc.
Value exists only in our heads, but why should that make it any less real? It's something we all (mostly) share, isn't it?
So, yes, you are only your 'bodymind', but, isn't that a pretty cool thing in and of itself?


This discussion reminds me of a discussion I once had, back when I had the illbegotten idea of studying philosophy.
This Dutch Dude gave a lecture about how something like altruism, isn't really altruistic. His reasoning was that since altruism, just like any other trait, was selected by the evolutionary process, it per definition had to give an advantage to the individual possesing the trait. Hence, altruism is selfish.
One of my fellow student made the counterpoint: Well, the tendency towards masturbation has been selected. Maintaining quality of sperm is just one of the benifits it offers. But when I'm alone in my room at night, and I'm horny, bored, or both, I do not think to myself: "Ya know what, I think I'll maintain my sperm quality""
His point is, that cognition basically creates another level, above reality. I think he said 'meta-level' :p
Our thoughts, perceptions of reality, are a product of our minds. Our minds are a product of our bodies, and our environment, in present and past. Those bodies are a product of your genetic codes, and again, environment. Those codes are a product of the evolutionary process and all that good stuff.

Why should any level of reality be given any more validy, or level of truthfullness, or value, over another? Focusing on the level most applicable seems like a pretty good way of handling it to me. For day-to-day life, at the very least.
The Hills in Discordia are Thornly...

minuspace

On the distinction between mind and soul, it reminds me of trying to reconcile the Buddhist concept of anatman (no self) with transmigration (reincarnation).  I think it's all in how you slice it.  Once we draw all these distinctions, we then look for a unifying principle:  enter soul.  The problem is that we would not be so concerned with these things had we not fallen from grace into sin, in the first place.
*LuciferX takes a wistful look at his costume

Edward Longpork

Quote from: Chelagoras The Boulder on July 08, 2015, 09:06:28 AM
so first i guess i should clarify what i feel the difference is between the soul and the mind example i gave above. The Mind, being an emergent process of the brain, would be a product of our awareness of a self, so even an animal that is aware of itself as an individual could be said to have a mind, yet these animals wouldn't be said to have a soul in the same way that humans have souls, tho some philosophers argue that different forms of life have vegetative souls or animal souls yadda yadda yadda. So then, my argument is that the soul is something far more abstract than the mind, yet is important for how we perceive and interact with others.

We're talking about the soul, so the best I can offer is to shoot another pot shot in the direction I saw you shoot. It's dark and foggy out, so it's impossible to know if we're aiming at the same target.

(This is a bit William James)

First, the soul is the self that remains after ego death - if you can shut off the procession of labels and judgments that the ego loves to bask in, what you've got left is the zen mind.

Second, that soul is just a component... Just as you describe mind as an emergent phenomenon of all these independent systems, GOD is the emergent phenomenon of all these independent souls.



Individuals are the fingers, god is the palm.

Chelagoras The Boulder

i can jive with that. I've been trying to revisit this concept after I had a better grasp on my idea of it. so far, here are my basic assumptions

The universe has no inherent meaning, only formless chaos.
There is only the meaning that we, as sapient life, imprint upon the universe, like finding patterns in a random sequence
This is the meaning of life, giving life a meaning

Therefore,

what we call a soul is the sum total of all those subjective meanings we give to other living things. Those meanings, viewed over a persons entire life, create a kind of story that persists for as long as that person is remembered.

I've actually run into the idea that we are all bits of god experiencing life as flawed imperfect monkey people, and I like it personally, but i'm not sure how that fits in with the ideas I laid out above yet.
"It isn't who you know, it's who you know, if you know what I mean.  And I think you do."

thewake

Quote from: Chelagoras The Boulder on November 04, 2015, 01:55:26 AM


I've actually run into the idea that we are all bits of god experiencing life as flawed imperfect monkey people, and I like it personally, but i'm not sure how that fits in with the ideas I laid out above yet.

Depends on how you define God.

Which kind of reveals the nature of the concept of God, it changes depending on what people want God to be.
"It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull."
--H. L. Mencken

minuspace

I think the premise of a universe that allows for the existence of meaning (however "subjectively" apprehended) is a universe of which meaning is inherent.
Quote from: Chelagoras The Boulder on November 04, 2015, 01:55:26 AM
i can jive with that. I've been trying to revisit this concept after I had a better grasp on my idea of it. so far, here are my basic assumptions

The universe has no inherent meaning, only formless chaos.
There is only the meaning that we, as sapient life, imprint upon the universe, like finding patterns in a random sequence
This is the meaning of life, giving life a meaning

Therefore,

what we call a soul is the sum total of all those subjective meanings we give to other living things. Those meanings, viewed over a persons entire life, create a kind of story that persists for as long as that person is remembered.

I've actually run into the idea that we are all bits of god experiencing life as flawed imperfect monkey people, and I like it personally, but i'm not sure how that fits in with the ideas I laid out above yet.