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Is the afterlife arbitrary?

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I realize that the standard objectivist answer is that the afterlife/reincarnation is arbitrary, but is it really? 

After all, we know that consciousness is real, and we don't have the scientific explanation for it yet. Isn't it then at least a possibility that, if there's an entity which contains the essence of your consciousness, that entity might later come into a physical formation that gives you a life as a living being again? 

Edited by Severinian
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8 minutes ago, Severinian said:

. . . We know that consciousness is real, and we don't have the scientific explanation for it yet. Isn't it then at least a possibility that, if there's an entity which contains the essence of your consciousness, that entity might later come into a physical formation that gives you a life as a living being again? 

No. The notion is only a childhood brainwashing holdover. More is required for possibility than lack of surface contradiction. Isn't it possible that cellular life is possible only through attendance by a non-physical life force? No. 

Genuine inquiry about brain/consciousness - real possibilities

 

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Sev,

There is another formulation of immortality that does not invoke a conveyance entity and is argued as a certainty, not a possibility. That is Nietzsche's 'eternal recurrence'. This is not a situation in which the recurrence of one's self and same life would be felt as sameness to prior same-existence(s), but the situation of recurrence can be reasoned to. The argument goes that because the future is infinitely long, all the things composing the sequences of the world and one's life and person in it must eventually recur. Even granting the assumption of Nietzsche's day, that the chemical elements will be capable of forming the molecules of life for an infinite time to come, the recurrence Nietzsche envisioned is impossible. The failure is not realizing that there are different sizes of infinity. The infinity of real numbers is larger than the infinity of integers, such that the probability that a number picked randomly from the real numbers will be an integer is nil (zero). Similarly, the infinity of future hours (we are going along with as assumption in the setup for the doomed argument) is a smaller infinity of courses of hour-fires I can have in my fireplace and smaller than the infinity of life-courses I can have in front of any particular course of fire in the fireplace. The hour of life I have just now passed will never recur. 

 

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Your conclusions don't seem to follow from your premises. How is it relevant that there are different kinds of infinities? Nietzsche's eternal recurrence does seem logical, assuming that it's physically possible for things to turn back the way they were. After all, eternity is eternal... So sooner or later, it will happen.


But that's also a separate issue than the question of life after death. 

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On 10/11/2021 at 5:44 AM, Severinian said:

After all, we know that consciousness is real, and we don't have the scientific explanation for it yet. Isn't it then at least a possibility that, if there's an entity which contains the essence of your consciousness, that entity might later come into a physical formation that gives you a life as a living being again? 

Look at it this way.

 

Although we don't yet know exactly what consciousness is or how it works, we do know that it lines up almost precisely to brain activity.

We can measure waking and sleeping brainwave patterns, as well as that of various emotions and mental states. Technologies like fMRI imaging look pretty likely to eventually allow us to remote control our gadgets by thought alone, and possibly develop truly reliable lie detection. The reason any of that works is because changes in mental states have a very good correspondence to changes in brain activity.

Furthermore, breaking the brain in various ways leads to permanent mental changes. I assume you've heard of Phineas Gage, the railroad worker who survived the loss of his frontal lobe in a workplace accident and went on to be described by his friends and family as a totally different person.

Anyway. So if we can assume that the mind IS what the brain DOES in a certain sense (and I just outlined a few reasons why this seems quite likely) then we have to ask what happens to brain activity upon death - namely, that it all just stops.

 

So all of that taken together provides what I consider to be a pretty good inductive argument against any sort of afterlife. It's not irrefutably bulletproof, of course - and neither is any kind of REAL knowledge. But I have yet to come across any worthwhile bullets against it.

 

Memento Mori.

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On 10/11/2021 at 3:44 AM, Severinian said:

Isn't it then at least a possibility that, if there's an entity which contains the essence of your consciousness, that entity might later come into a physical formation that gives you a life as a living being again?

And what is this "entity which contains the essence of your consciousness"? Here you suggest a thing without evidence for that thing, which makes it arbitrary.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Arbitrary: there is an afterlife in Heaven where we will be reunited with our loved ones, or where God will meet our justice.

Wild speculation: maybe the huge filaments of galaxies we can see are analogous in scale to what sub atomic particles are to the human brain, tiny fundamental components of some greater superstructure, existing within the universe and still bound by the laws of the nature capable of recording and recreating the fact of an individual human consciousness. 

Logical conclusion: there is no reason to believe anything other than that your consciousness is extinguished upon your death.

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