Life after Death

The ultimate oxymoron is life after death. That would contradict the meaning of both.

When I die there will be no experience—no regrets or joyous reunions, for there will be no apparatus to manage or attend such consciousness or effort. Even if “spirit” carried on in some idea or another, it is a mindless, blank stare at a static white board without sensory perception for eternity, as unaware as the universe is of itself. Biology fills the void for a time. Life is a symptom of our universe, but it is not intentional, nor has any ideas at all about how it happens. Funny, just like you and me.

Biology is a byproduct of the universe—a symptom. The cycles are endless. The earth is like a slow motion chia pet. Humans have been on this cosmic stage about 20 minutes. Imagine a time-lapse from beginning to end—it would be no mystery.

Taking a Hindu version at face value, if I am here to grow to perfection through repetition, over and over and to resolve the unsolved desires and issues of karma, why would I have ever been born in the first place, having had no karma to be born with?

I have possibly however, inherited such a thing from evolution, that monkeys rang up my karmic credit after they received it from their progenotes, and so on and so on, all the way back to the spawn of life. If it ever died out, nothing would ever know it ever was a thing at all.

That which truly exists must exist all the time, but the body does not exist all the time. Therefore, it cannot be real.

The ultimate oxymoron is life after death. That would contradict the meaning of both.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs escaping the faith trap.

100 thoughts on “Life after Death”

  1. Hmmm… I do see life after death in nature because every dead thing is giving birth to something new – for example – a decaying tree stump births a myriad of new life forms – so for me nature speaks to life in the round – if my dreams speak truth transmutation (which may or may not have a personal aspect) is probably the rule for life on earth – for humans and all other species – but elsewhere who knows.

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  2. One way to make the end easier to understand could be to equate thoughts with consciousness. It is widely accepted that thoughts take place while synapses in our brains are activated by electrical impulses. Once the heart stop and the energy providing oxygen is no longer pumped to the brain, the synapses stop, thoughts stop, awareness stops, consciousness stops, end of story. End of life. From that point onwards the individual’s existence is reduced to what others can recall. What remains in school yearbooks, newspaper articles, artifacts somehow connected to the deceased… whatever takes place after death is not life in any way, shape or form, only a shadow of what the individual has left behind.

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    1. Maybe. Where do ideas come from? Tesla stated he had no idea, that his brain was a simply a receiver, supporting the single consciousness model, which actually can make a lot of sense with the Big Bang. That is an event moment still banging. We’re not separate from it.

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    2. If by ‘easier to understand’ you mean ‘dumbed-down’ then I see your point.

      But it seems to me smearing the often poorly defined term ‘consciousness’ into the even more poorly defined term ‘thoughts’ then explaining it all away with a ‘widely accepted’ correlation between the latter and a hard to observe physiological phenomenon is losing a lot of nuance and denying a lot of doubt for the sake of clarity and certainty.

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      1. It can even be further dumbed-down for enhanced certainty.

        Amputate an individual’s leg, life goes on.

        Remove the brain, not so much.

        The afterlife existence is exactly as the pre-life existence; lights off, no one home.

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        1. Theoretically, I can remove the heart from an adult human being, and for just as long as I keep blood circulating the person remains being a living person because their brain is still functioning naturally.

          You cannot do the reverse of this experiment.

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          1. The reverse is also true. I had a friend who was brain dead for several days and his body was alive on the machines. Not sure that analogy works all the way, but I see the point.

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            1. Sure. Same as if the heart of your theoretical patient was tossed out.
              Several years ago, the autopsy report of a totally brain-dead patient named TK, who was kept on life support for nearly twenty years was published in the Journal of Child Neurology. He remains the individual kept on life support the longest after suffering total brain failure.

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            2. No, not the same at all. Your friend was dead — machines were just keeping his body twitching… no more alive than a frog’s leg hooked up to a battery.

              TK was dead all those 20 years.

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            3. So on a heart lung machine and a functioning brain you’d be alive?
              The problem as I see it is our eagerness to segregate the whole into parts. It works for specialty studies but that is not how anything actually is. Nothing lives segregated from the body.

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            4. Technically, yes… you just have a terrible quality of life 😉

              Human life.

              I know where you want to go with this train of thought, and the Panpsychist in me says consciousness might just be something (or a function of something) we’re not even aware of yet.

              Interesting times.

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            5. the Panpsychist in me says consciousness might just be something (or a function of something) we’re not even aware of yet

              I don’t really have a stake in panpsychism, but I do have a stake in not claiming to understand how something we can’t even define works. In particular I’m intellectually offended by treating something as irreducibly subjective as consciousness as something completely explicable with objectively derived and defined laws.

              We can objectify our body, including our brain. We can objectify certain mental processes to some degree (e.g. by verbalising the internal monologue some people equate with thoughts). But we can’t step outside our own consciousness, even so as to be able to describe it meaningfully.

              To objectify something we must make it the object of our consciousness. So it’s more valid to say the brain (as an object) is a function of consciousness than visa-versa.

              How does it feel to be conscious?
              It doesn’t.
              Consciousness isn’t something we feel. It’s what feels.

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            6. Never heard of him, but it seems to be have been a fuck-up on the part of the hospital. They only used a “confirmatory test, a brain-flow study.” Seems that only reads if there is blood flowing to the brain.

              Lazar points out that he and his peers perform brain blood-flow tests to support the diagnosis of brain death “only when we cannot for some technical reason complete the neurologic exam at the bedside.” The bedside clinical exam, he says, is the “gold standard,” and brain blood-flow studies should never be used to replace the exam, only to confirm it.

              https://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2008/04/13/when_brain_death_isnt_terminal.html

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            7. They only used a “confirmatory test, a brain-flow study.”

              According the the Medscape article I linked to they used a PET scan – which should have disclosed any cellular metabolic activity, at least down to the resolution of the scan.

              The apologist medicos quoted in the piece say things like “The likely explanation for such ‘recoveries’ from brain death, according to experts, is that these individuals were never brain dead in the first place.” and “no legitimate reports of patients recovering brain function when the criteria for brain-death determination was used appropriately“, which is kinda circular if you’re starting from the position that brain death is irrecoverable.

              I guess using the term ‘brain death’ is tautological if we’re using it to define death. If we used something more realistic like ‘lack of detectable brain activity’ then it would become clearer that we’re talking about the limits of diagnostic technology and not the limits of human life. And even that definition wouldn’t find favour with cryogenics researchers.

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            8. The article you link to was shielded behind a paywall. Appears, though, they got their facts wrong. The hospital buggered up.

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            9. Appears, though, they got their facts wrong.

              Bit hard to say from where we’re sitting, but if I had to choose between the medical ‘facts’ as presented in Medscape and those in a Canadian tabloid …

              The article you link to was shielded behind a paywall.

              Another ‘Brain Dead’ Patient Wakes Up Just in Time
              Anita Slomski
              3-4 minutes
              Was It Really Brain Death?

              Twenty-one-year-old Zack Dunlap from Oklahoma appeared on NBC’s Today Show in 2008 to tell an incredible story of hearing a physician telling his parents that a PET scan confirmed that he was brain dead after a catastrophic brain injury. While he was being prepared for organ donation, however, he moved his arm purposely in response to stimuli. Dunlap recovered, went to a rehabilitation hospital, and ultimately went home 48 days later, very much alive.

              Earlier this year, 13-year-old Trenton McKinley from Alabama and his parents hit the media circuit to talk about the miracle of Trenton awakening after being declared brain dead from a vehicle accident—1 day before his organs were scheduled to be harvested.

              The likely explanation for such “recoveries” from brain death, according to experts, is that these individuals were never brain dead in the first place. “Errors have been made where people declared brain dead were later found to have spontaneous movement that should not have been possible,” says Robert M. Sade, MD, professor of surgery and director of the Institute of Human Values in Health Care at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. “In virtually all those cases, brain-death determination was not done correctly. If you don’t go through the exact protocol for brain-death determination, you’re likely to have patients diagnosed as being dead by neurologic criteria who are, in fact, not brain dead.”

              A more typical brain death error is the 2011 case of a 55-year-old with brain injury who was treated with hypothermia to try to optimize neurologic recovery. He was declared brain dead 24 hours after he was rewarmed—which was too short a period of time. During preparation for organ procurement, it was noticed that he had regained some brainstem reflexes—he certainly wasn’t fine—and, therefore, wasn’t brain dead.

              When the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) updated its guidelines for determining brain death in adults in 2010, a committee of experts searched the literature and found no legitimate “reports of patients recovering brain function when the criteria for brain-death determination was used appropriately,” says Ariane K. Lewis, MD, associate professor, department of neurology and neurosurgery, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, and a member of the AAN’s Ethics, Law, and Humanities Committee.

              But at the same time there is no way of knowing how many people recover from brain death because they are usually quickly removed from life support or become organ donors.

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            10. The PET scan is the blood flow scan. It’s unreliable in isolation… as per the expert I quoted said.

              The hospital buggered the diagnosis. The kid was never brain dead.

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            11. The PET scan is the blood flow scan.

              It detects oxygen metabolism, which is often used as a proxy for blood flow. But it still detects it in the absence of blood flow.

              The hospital buggered the diagnosis. The kid was never brain dead.

              That’s only tautologically true. He wasn’t dead therefore he wasn’t brain dead.

              In another case described in the Medscape article a patient “was declared brain dead 24 hours after he was rewarmed—which was too short a period of time”, so now to be properly brain dead you have to be brain dead for more than a day.

              ‘Brain dead’ has been the gold standard for ‘dead’ since the 1970s, but the American Academy of Neurology last updated its criteria for brain death in 2010. So it’s pretty clear ‘brain dead’ is a moving feast. Presumably all brain death declarations before 2010 were ‘buggered up’ by current standards and when the standards change again the current declarations will be ‘buggered up’ too.

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            12. But it still detects it in the absence of blood flow.

              Exactly. The hospital used just one test, blood flow (through the PET scan), and messed up their diagnosis. The kid was never brain dead.

              As stated quite clearly in Nature Reviews, Neuroscience: Death, unconsciousness and the brain

              Brain death means human death

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            13. Exactly. The hospital used just one test, blood flow (through the PET scan),

              PET scans don’t test blood flow. They detect oxygen metabolism at the cellular level which is used as a proxy for blood flow because the latter is needed to provide oxygen for the former. So it’s not just there was no detectable blood flow. There was no detectable brain metabolism.

              As stated quite clearly in Nature Reviews, Neuroscience: Death, unconsciousness and the brain

              Brain death means human death

              Because that’s the current convention.
              A century ago medical textbooks would have clearly defined human death as cessation of the heart.

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            14. used as a proxy for blood flow

              Exactly, the hospital buggered their diagnosis. They tested for blood flow using a PET scan.

              The kid was never brain dead. Which part of this aren’t you understanding?

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            15. What do you not understand about proxy?

              The ‘kid was never brain dead’ because he got up and walked around. As ‘brain dead’ is currently used to define irretrievable death (as was heart cessation once) he wasn’t brain dead via tautological definition.

              Doubtless in the early 20th century if someone recovered from a stopped heart the doctors would say “Then his heart wasn’t really stopped. See, it’s beating!”.

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            16. No need to get snarky.

              Just do better research next time.

              Don’t race to post something as an “example” which a two second google search will reveal is not, in fact, an “example”…

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            17. I’m not getting snarky, just frustrated at your persistent refusal to understand the obvious and clearly stated.

              “Brain dead” is a diagnosis made by doctors using current diagnostic standards and technology. It’s subject to all the usual limitations of human fallibility, technological resolution and reliability and the efficacy of the standards. All of that limits our ability to equate it to irretrievable death of the human being.

              But hubristic organisations such as those who publish Nature Reviews, Neuroscience make absolutist statements like “Brain death means human death”. So they’re not defining it according to any measurable metabolic function. They’re defining it according to whether the patient recovers.

              So that Zack Dunlap appeared on TV talking about his brain death proves to whoever wrote the Nature Reviews, Neuroscience article he wasn’t brain dead. If, however, he’d failed to respond to the last minute stimuli (or no-one noticed when he did) and he’d had his organs harvested that would have equally proved he was brain dead.

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            18. Here’s some 2013 research showing it’s possible for cats to enter a coma in which there is no brain activity detectable with current methods then recover without lasting ill effects. There’s no reason to think the same thing wouldn’t apply to people, but it’d be hard to get ethical approval to test it.

              What’s particularly interesting about the article is that it shows how arbitrary current medical definitions of ‘brain death’ are.

              “There is virtually no systematic investigation of the cerebral cellular mechanisms at work during coma and attempts to compare pathological and pharmacological etiologies are scarce. It is therefore no surprise that the outcome from coma is often predicted on a statistical basis.”

              “Moreover, the discovery of this novel brain state and its underlying mechanisms draw attention to the difficulties in establishing clinical brain death and could thus revive discussions about the usefulness of depth recordings as an additional assessment criteria for brain death, as suggested by Walker in 1977 [43], to establish the irreversibility of brain damage not only from the scalp level.”

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            19. Just to spell it out for you.

              Pet. Scans. Do. Not. Test. Blood. Flow.

              What they look for is cellular metabolism of oxygen, which is used as a proxy for blood flow. If you hook a corpse up to life support and pump oxygenated blood through its brain a PET scan will not show any activity even though there is blood flow. If you’re doing a PET scan on someone when their heart stops it will continue to show neuronal activity for several minutes even in the absence of blood flow. So PET scans are arguable better measurements of brain death than anything that could directly measure blood flow.

              When a medico makes the call ‘brain dead’ they’re looking at various markers which, in combination, indicate very low statistical likelihood the patient will ever regain consciousness (assuming the measurements have been done correctly). But they can’t completely rule it out. There is no particular reason to believe the hospital buggered it up in the case of Zack Dunlap. It’s completely possible his case was a statistical outlier that confounded the standards.

              When those who write medical guideline saying “brain death is human death” they are also making a statistical call but representing it as an absolute. They aren’t stating a scientific fact (though they pretend they are). They’re promoting a pragmatic policy that seeks to ensure ICUs and life support machines aren’t all tied up at the insistence of families like that of Terry Schiavo who refuse to accept their loved ones won’t recover.

              There will be some cases in which every feasible measure of brain death will still fail to accurately indicate irrecoverable human death. Hopefully that’s a vanishingly small proportion of cases but that proportion will change as both diagnostic and emergency medicine technologies change.

              Doctors have been misdiagnosing death for the entire history of medicine. No matter how good medical technology and hospital standards get that’s unlikely to change (except, hopefully, in frequency). In the meantime those running the medical system have to make policy decisions to deal with that uncertainty. That’s where you get absolutist statements like “brain death is the same as human death” even when the best possible measures of brain death don’t map perfectly onto what most people consider ‘human death’. Calling out the hospital in cases like that of Zack Dunlap in the absence of any evidence they ‘buggered it up’ is scapegoating medical professionals to protect the reputation of imperfect policies.

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            20. Right – the hospital was careless, using only a proxy to test for blood flow, finding none, and then declaring the patient brain dead based on that.

              A two second google search revealed that.

              Your “example” was nothing but an example of hospital incompetence.

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            21. Right – the hospital was careless, using only a proxy to test for blood flow,

              Where does it say they only used PET?

              Where do they say they were using PET to test for blood flow rather than neuron activity (as opposed to tabloid journalists or their critics making that assumption)?

              Yeah, I can find people insisting tests need to be performed over more than 24 hours to confirm brain death, but from what I can tell that’s the exception rather than the rule when organ donation is involved. Sounds to me hospitals are trying to resolve conflicting guidelines there.

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            22. YOU said they used a PET scan.

              Mate, listen, I’m not interested in this. Move on.

              You presented a case which wasn’t what you thought it was. No problem. Just do better research next time before racing to drop a “I got you!” example.

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            23. No dude. You’re sticking by your own tabloid based wrong assumptions in the face of abundant well referenced technical information to the contrary. If you want to move on with your ignorance intact that’s your prerogative, but insisting I haven’t done my research when the opposite is true is a hypocritical attempt to inflict your own ignorance on other blog readers.

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            24. Your “example” was nothing but an example of hospital incompetence.

              And as the authors of the 2013 PLOS study point out, existing diagnostic guidelines still can’t definitively determine brain death.

              But you can bet when they fail it’ll be ‘hospital incompetence’ and not inadequate guidelines that gets blamed.

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            25. Curious … do these people that recover from a “brain dead” diagnosis return to “life” with the same functioning capabilities as before their accident (or whatever brought on the diagnosis)? Or is there some type of impairment that (conveniently) isn’t mentioned?

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            26. Not sure what’s ‘convenient’ about it. You’ll never fully recover your brain functions after an alcohol bender either, but I don’t know whether it’s ‘convenient’ to not mention it afterwards.

              No one recovers all their functions after a severed spinal cord either, but we don’t generally harvest their organs if they’re talking to us.

              Fact is every day from our early 20s onward our brains are a few cells closer to death. Or a lot of cells if you play a football game or fight a boxing match.

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            27. Didn’t answer my question.

              And why latch onto my use of the word “convenient”? I used it because when discussing controversial topics (here and/or elsewhere), individuals who support certain things often “conveniently” leave out certain facts. This is NOT a personal slam. It is a general statement.

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            28. OK Nan, I’ll bite.
              Who left out the ‘facts’ about impaired function and in what way was it ‘convenient’ to them?

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            29. The “convenience” part has nothing to do with anyone’s comment. It connects to my original question. So let me try again …

              IF a person has been declared brain dead but then returns to life, do they have any impairments from the event? And if so, are these impairments “conveniently” not mentioned by the medical community?

              Again … it’s simply a curiosity question that I thought you (or someone) might venture an answer.

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            30. IF a person has been declared brain dead but then returns to life, do they have any impairments from the event?

              If the ‘event’ is declaration of brain death, no. As far as I know you don’t become impaired simply from someone making a declaration.

              But if you’re talking about the kind of trauma that would usually result in being declared brain dead I’d say most people end up seriously impaired, yes.

              But doctors, their equipment and the standards that regulate them are all subject to error, so I’m guessing there’s plenty of people who’ve been declared brain dead for reasons as recoverable as mixed up medical records, broken monitoring equipment or glitched data entry. I’d imagine some of them made complete recoveries.

              In the case of Zack Dunlap “Medical Director Amal Moorad: Anytime you have severe brain injury, you’ll never be the same again from a mental, emotional standpoint. Zack will be very close to normal, but not 100 percent, and only time will tell us.”

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            31. Just looked up PET scan. It wasn’t what I thought it was. It is the faulty test they ran — the blood flow test.

              So yes, the hospital buggered it. He was not brain dead.

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          2. You cannot do the reverse of this experiment.

            So far.

            But many of the very same people who insist consciousness is fully emergent from the binary on/off switching of synapses believe it’s just a matter of further technological advances until the mind can be transferred to a computer then, presumably, downloaded back into the appropriately grown physical matrix of a cloned body.

            I think there’s very little doubt the brain (and much of the rest of the body) is needed to run everything we currently know of with which the mind or consciousness can communicate, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that because it doesn’t communicate it doesn’t exist. Up until quite recently it was assumed people with what’s now called ‘locked in syndrome’ lacked consciousness.

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        2. Remove the brain, not so much.

          So consciousness also arises from the heart?
          Or have you dumbed down the discussion beyond all relevance?

          I’d have thought it might be an idea to at least trying to suggest what consciousness is before leaping to conclusions about what causes it.

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  3. Taking a Hindu version at face value, if I am here to grow to perfection through repetition, over and over and to resolve the unsolved desires and issues of karma, why would I have ever been born in the first place, having had no karma to be born with?

    There’s as many answers to that one as there are Hindu schools of thought. It’s only from the Upanishads onwards that karma is seen as something that can be individualised.

    Maybe the simplest answer I know is to render the minimalist translation of karma as ‘action’. If you believe in a causal universe you don’t ask about the actions causing your birth (except maybe as a child just before your parents give you ‘the talk’) because it’s an open ‘why’ question that ends only at a first cause.

    Karma isn’t something you ‘have’ or ‘do’, it’s what causes you to be. Once you ‘exist’ as something separate to everything else karma is further nuanced by intent, which is what causes it to accrue to what you imagine to be you.

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    1. I really like this “ Once you ‘exist’ as something separate to everything else karma is further nuanced by intent, which is what causes it to accrue to what you imagine to be you.”
      This ties into my thought about the fall of man and naming everything. That man was now separate from his environment.
      Two reasons I think possibly Joseph Smith had the experience; he suffered from inflation, and wrote this in his book on Moses —that after the universe had opened up before his eyes he realized that man was nothing, which thing he had never supposed. Mormons take that to infer worthless and incapable. I took it differently—that man is no-thing, which fits nicely with other esoteric experience. They’ve interpreted it based on their cultural bias, but he was right for the wrong reasons.

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      1. Yeah, as action within a contiguous universe karma is just the force for change. But when you’re separate to the universe you act upon it and are acted upon by it. So karma becomes a force for control whereby you push everything and everything pushes back.

        I figure in flow states you’re mostly just riding and becoming the waves of action, which is why it seems so effortless and egoless. The distinction between ‘self’, ‘action’ and ‘acted upon’ disappears.

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  4. I’m not so sure about life forms not being real because they are impermanent. As far as that goes, nothing is permanent. The mountain erodes. The rivers change their course. The stars that give us light, warmth, and life, are themselves impermanent.

    One thing I say a lot to my kids, “nothing lasts forever.” I’m pretty sure those worn out shingles on the roof are real, as my real self will have to get them replaced pretty soon. Ain’t sure I have the back for that job, may have to hire it out. Hopefully with a real roofing crew. 😉

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  5. We’re all connected as part of the same universe. Me, you, cows and water. All made up of atoms which originated from a singularity a very long ago. We as humans like to think we are extra special for some reason though. Why would we have an afterlife when cows. mosquitos and palm trees supposedly don’t?

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    1. I wouldn’t say that we are made up of atoms that originated from a singularity but were birthed in the nuclear furnaces of Stars. Most of the atoms and molecules that make up the human body were created after the Big Bang; carbon, etc. were all formed within stars and distributed throughout the universe from exploding supernovae.

      I love this analogy because it seems to imply that we are all “star-children”. All life forms, that is, all related in the most fundamental way: from the very atoms of which all things are composed. the absolute lowest common denominator.

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  6. as unaware as the universe is of itself

    Ah now, I know you know this not to be true, my friend! By the very fact that you wrote this sentence is evidence the universe wishes to know itself 😉

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  7. I would say this remark probably makes the most sense … but even it has its ramifications:

    Life is a symptom of our universe, but it is not intentional, nor has any ideas at all about how it happens.

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    1. It’s that way with everything. Can you tell me how you grow your hair? You know you do it, but even with a degree in trichology you can’t grow it any better than the lay person, you just do it. Such it is with omnipotence.

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    1. I like Schroedingers take on reincarnation — he can’t imagine how a man born in the future is not a continuation of his own life. Really it’s that simple, not a magical hidden reality, but what we are experiencing day to day.

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        1. It’s just as realistic as atonement and redemption for immutable attributes. There is e evidence your data remains in the system and is regurgitated (everything is electric bits of data anyway) but it adds to the story to appease some personality types.

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    1. It depends on where your particular culture draws the lines. In this line of thinking, if something can come and go and only be for a particular span of time, is it the ground of being? Is the illusory nature of forms of matter and particles (excitations of a field) real? Is the illusion real as a dream is real?

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      1. That sounds pretty subjective, so I will continue to accept reality. Numbers are an effective counter to reincarnation. There are roughly 8 billion humans on the planet; some have been here a hundred years, some born a second ago. Where could they have gotten a previously existing human soul – even one, much less multiples. Haven’t been enough humans living in all of history to accommodate! Guess we’ll just have to assume most of us don’t have a soul.

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        1. This is a case for a single consciousness model of eastern philosophy. Of course there is a way to explain anything. One thing I do like about it it solves the problem of evil, which really is just a way of separating events that are all one event anyway. The Big Bang is still in motion. It’s all one event.

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  8. Good try, Jim. This is MY understanding: Life is forever! Not biological life, no. But LIFE ITSELF. I do call it spirit, for lack of a better term, but really it is just life, in the state of being alive. Before birth! After death! I cannot say where it came from. I cannot tell you whre it is going! (Certainly not perfection as we imagine it.)
    You are right, life was once completely unaware of itself. It is still only starting to realize what it is. But Life IS. This is what “I” know.

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    1. Your life, your ego, everything about you and the entity will die. Nothing impermanent is real. Only that which is unchanging and exists when biology and other form does not, when ego does not, when life does not, could be logically real. The rest is illusory. You don’t exist any longer than that flicker in all life yet you call it rawgod. If it was real it would be permanent. You are an aperture of yourself which is all there is.

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      1. Yup. All right! Ego is first to go, then mind. But spirit is always there. It is just so hard to talk about in Earthly languages, particularly English, which is based in physical realities and Abrahamic religions. How does one say in English, I can trace my spirit back to the primordial soup. It certainly wasn’t rawgod that existed back then, and especially not the person with the initials JMM, that would be ridiculous. But something in me can still feel the soup, and say, “I’ve come a long way, baby!” Only, it doesn’t experience such human feelings. There is NO WAY to communicate that! (And, if I were to be even more honest with you, the primordial soup was not the starting point, just the most significant one for those on this four-dimensional plane of existence. And it wasn’t that long ago, as spirits have no time as we understand it.) Different worlds (non-physical realms) need different tools, different processes to make sense of them. For now, we are all stuck here, connected to the cosmos by our spirits, but generally without knowing that connection even exists–or for those people who do know, no way to travel between the two under normal circumstances. “My self” is even a loaded term, but that is a discussion for another time and place.

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        1. But spirit is always there”. But it’s not you or your spirit. When you are reborn do you have any recollection of rawgod’s past? Or why? Consciousness fills the neurons and the form of biology but upon death your bag of meat is not who you were, nor is what withdrew from you.

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          1. It is MY SPIRIT, and even YOUR SPIRIT, Jim, inasmuch as all spirits are joined together after death, and separated from before birth. As I keep on trying to say, obviously unsuccessfully so far, is that we are all a part of life, ONE WITH LIFE, including all living beings, not just human beings. Life is not just an idea, or a theory, Life is Real–an entity of sorts if only our minds were able to grasp that.
            But we do not think that way, we are almost totally incapable of thinking that way. WE ARE INDIVIDUALS, so we naturally think like individuals. But we are only individuals for the sake of relationship, and communicatiom. One being, totally alone, is incapable of consciousness, of communication. Relationship is completely necessary to achieve consciousness. And communication is necessary to create change. Without change there is no life.
            So, no, I will have no recollection of rawgod’s part, having first to define the “I” as the Spirit Being being that I am using to hold this conversation. The bag of meat, as you so potently describe it, is just the vehicle for the spirit on a plane that requires biologic life to exist. And this plane of existence, with apologies to Tildeb, is NOT the Prime Plane of Life. But what “that I” will have is the bit of wisdom our temporary spirits gain from relating to and communicating with other temporary spirits.
            Talking to you about the things of life “on this plane” are easy. We have the necessary language, the necessary common ideas, based on the biologic lives we believe we are living hereon.
            But once we start trying to relate on metaphysical levels when both beings have not had the same experiences, communication becomes difficult. Words are symbols, but if the symbolism isn’t shared, we may as well be talked one Romanic language and one Asiatic language, without a Rosetta Stone to help either of us. But it so happens, in our case, we do have the same language, but with different symbology. This is both a bust, and a boon. Bust, because it is difficult to communicate clearly; a boon, because if we try hard enough we can slowly learn the other’s symbology, and eventually learn true communication.
            What we are doing right now is trying to communicate. Sometimes we achieve it, sometimes we don’t. But as long as we continue to respect each other, and work on our communication, we are in a good relationship. If we lose our relationship, communication will likely end.

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            1. I hope you know I support you and your thoughts. Many have had glimpses into the things you talk about. Why is it so elusive? There have been a few able to maintain that state of awareness, but not many.

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            2. I know you support me, yes. You give me the opportunities to strut my stuff. You even make great comments that lead me to try to make better explanations. You are like a seditionist in the land of blind men, using a rare skill to bring light to a land of darkness. And I appreciate this greatly. I just try to make it sound like you are still on their side, so no one accuses you of being a traitor to their scientific gods. (Now I think you should delete these two comments so they don’t catch onto our methods, lol. Or not!)

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            3. I think science can tell us a lot about what we don’t know, simply based on the lines they are not willing to cross when the particle data starts to get illusory.
              Atheism for me was a clean slate. Super easy not to believe in Abrahamic monotheism, but is there nothing at all? I don’t really have any spiritual inklings, but I do know things are not what they appear to be and that intrigues me enough to listen to every point of view, which really is all there is.

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            4. Ah, if only. That is all I am asking for, in the long run. To hear, and to consider. I don’t care if Tildeb believes me or not, all I want is for him to be open to thoughts beyond his experience. He may not know this, but I love him because he represents the epitome of present day “dark age thinking.” He cannot believe in spiritual evolution without believing in spurit, despite believing in evolution. Where does he think I got the term from. Darwin saw biological evolution, and he got clobbered for such blasphemy. Now Tilldeb is clobbering me for my scientific blasphemy. But he cannot see the parallels. His loss. To be honest, andI do not mean thus as an insult, you seemed to belike him when we first met. And I am taking no credit for this, but a few years ago I started to notice cracks in your armour, and watched you grow as a person. It waslike watching a whole new spirut being born. I found the orocess amazing. (If I was wrong, and you were open all the time, I apologize for not seeing that.)

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            5. Well, like I said atheism turned out not really to be a destination, but a way point. I’d been fooled so badly for so long I refused to attach to any belief, and I dare say most of atheism is o form of belief. Belief in the opinions and expert celebrities of the sport without having first hand knowledge or conclusions. All books about book and opinions about opinions. So I did this journey without them and have had my own glimpses of what lay behind our perceptions. What’s funny is there is no secret hocus pocus or hidden knowledge—it’s all right out in the open. The problem is we’ve been trained from our youth to see the world in a certain way, particularly that we are all separate bits that can be measured apart from the whole. No ecosystem operates that way, and if we zoom out a bit, we can clearly see it’s all one thing. But that level of magnification doesn’t suit our level of comprehension or what we’re willing to accept because of the ego.

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            6. This is why, after reading a few of Richard Dawkinns’ book, I stopped reading all books on Atheism. He came across like an authority, yet his brand if atheism had nothing at all to do with mine. I delved back into my own mind, because my answers could all be obtained from me. It is why, no matter how authorian I sound, I try to remind others to look inside themselves, and find their own answers. (I have orobably not done that mych of late, with the discussions I have been having. I do still try to say that my knowledge is only knowledge for me, but that isn’t the same thing.) Fortunately, for me, since undergoing my acid experiences, there are very few people in this world who can write of where “my spirit” is at, so for me there are no “experts” to turn to. Almost everything I do comes from me, without outside influence. But having said that, I do find certain descriptors elsewhere, like the word “reincarnation.” I could not have come up with that word on my own.

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        2. You either know it or you don’t. Only fantasies like religion require faith, the rest is knowing and it’s impossible to explain to people who have no intuitive sense of being.

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          1. “They” keep asking for proof, which makes me sad. They want proof in this dimension, facts. There is nothing without facts. They will learn….
            I did not know you were a reader of The CommonAtheist?

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            1. I’m not looking for proof at all rawgod, just looking for good conversation. What I’ve written here was from a dream the other night and I thought it was a good topic. Could be 100% wrong.
              This topic interest me a lot, but like you said finding the exact wording is difficult. I hoping you’ll be able to do that someday in a phrase or two. Some type of reality equation equivalent to e=mc2.
              That’s one reason I think Hoffmans theory on perception and reality is so interesting.

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            2. Understood! It is not you I am accusing of wanting proof, just certain of your readers, and people in general who are like them.
              And I think you can tell from my enthusiastic replies that I enjoy these conversations. And speaking of dreams, a number of the pists I write on IndeasFromOutsidethBoxes are inspired by dreams, at least in that I will wake up with an idea in my head that just demands to be written, such as my Raping the Raped, All Over Again post of a few days ago. The title is exactly what I woke up to. That is one if the things I mean by “Outsude the Boxes.” My ideas can come from many sources, and unlike some others, I do not ignore them, but take them seriously. My body may be trapped on Earth, but it is always in contact with what I call the spirit world, not meaning ghosts and goblins, but the next few planes of existence.

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            3. Curious, where do the people in your dreams go when you are done dreaming them? Where will you go when you are done being dreamed?

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            4. Good question! I dream people I have never met in this life. Not even people like them. If I can state this properly, they are like people who were on the periphery of my woowoo experiences. My “being” was actually being absorbed into the commuinty of spirits that were just-died ex-biological beings, returning to the pool to be reabsorbed into the continuum that is life-beyond-death as we know it. Their minds were still somewhat intact, though on their way out. That is how real they are to me now sometimes. They are certainly not aspects of me-as-I-know-me, if that makes sense.(All this is brand new to me, inspired by your questions! Where others get their dream people from I have no idea.) So I guess when I am finished dreaming them they just move out of contact with my subconcious mind. However,, (and this too is new to me) this could be why I have so many recurring or sequential dreams. And I do have lots of those.
              Jim, do you ever have periods where you do not dream? I stopped dreaming altogether in the 80s and 90s. If I dreamt I had absolutely no recollection of them. I actually had to teach myself to “watch my dreams as if I were in a mivie theatre” in order to be able to remember them. Now, these 30 years later, I remember dreaming every night again, like when I was a child. It is so “normal” I forgot all about ever having stopped! Good questions. Not fully answered, but I am off on a new track again…

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            5. I haven’t had but a few dreams since my aha to atheism. It nearly shut down completely. This post was a dream I had the other day, though hard to record it without wandering. It’s hard to decipher the real from imagined, or if there is any difference in that state. One thing is constant—in dream, deep sleep, or wide awake, I am.

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            6. Funny. In some of my dreams, “I am not.” I don’t always recognize the entity that is leading the dream, though I am always the entity “watching the dream.” I eat a lot of dream popcorn, lol. Whether I am reverting to a pre-acid personality type, or what, I don’t know. I’ve been this me for over 50 years now. I can remember what I was like then, but only barely. Am I touching parallel dimensions where I did not take LSD? I don’t believe in them, but who knows. They do not need “my” belief in order to exist–if they do exist! Take that Tildeb!
              And time to go. Life calls. Thank you for a wonderful morning, Jim.

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            7. Don’t forget, tildeb, myself, and others are as crucial to every line of thought as well as your own. The best way to improve oneself is be allowed to persist in the folly. Too much arguing simply delays the process, which is what we have in the world today.

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            8. Yes, srgument can cause a person to strengthen their defensive position, depending on the person. But as you suggest, it is human to try. But being open to hearing “all lines of thought” is what I am all about. No need to believe them all, just to be open to them.
              Or am I misintetpreting something?

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