I would like to post a conversation I just had on Google+. I understand how my statements may sound offensive but I see things as I see it. My opinion is not unheard of but I am not saying it is fact. However, my issue really isnt about what I said it is about the response it received from a guy who didn't like what I said but posted his opinions. I don't understand them and I was wondering if someone could explain what he means by his definition of consciousness and "objective reality"
Me-Many people are superstitious and will have their religions. They will believe things and blindly "drink the koolaid" if they are offered anything that is better than everlasting death of themselves and their loved ones. This is just my opinion. Just think about it. You, the very essence of you has a finale. And some people don't want to believe that. Some people will appear to claim to have telepathy and can speak to this invisible person (hallucination) they believe watches over them and what they do (paranoia) which by the way is the same theme as Santa Claus. Key in "You better watch out. You better not cry" . And some make bargains (prayer/telepathy) to obey and be good so it wont send them to the scary place. Oh and get no gifts like a mansion in the clouds. Looks cool but i don't know how that works. My point is it keeps me in awe how weird our culture is and how far behind we are from other cultures (overseas) who understand evolution and will accept it as a more factual explanation of we became and how we die."
Him-Personality and memory will (almost certainly) end. Those things are not "the very essence of you." Nor are they consciousness.
What I was talking about before, which was different from that, was the fact that we cannot model consciousness and so have no business thinking we know much about it. There's an unbridgeable qualia gap. We have no reason, looking at objective reality and all its processes including those occurring in the brain, to conclude that subjective consciousness should be occurring at all. As I said, in objective reality there is no I and there is no You -- there is only he, she, and it. We can describe all kinds of things about how the brain functions, but no one has ever posited any hypothesis about how any of this gives rise to someone inside -- an "I" -- experiencing anything subjectively. And I would suggest that no one ever will, that it is impossible.
As consciousness cannot emerge from brain activity by any conceivable mechanism, it must pre-exist brain activity, at least as a potential, and be a fundamental characteristic of existence comparable to space or time.
Do I believe that consciousness (although not memory or personality) endures beyond death? Yes. I as an individual will not, but I as an individual am an illusion anyway, a kind of distorted mirror thrown up by my brain. I -- the real I -- am the cosmos, and the cosmos was here before this body was born and will still be here, experiencing reality through all vehicles available (of which at the moment this body is one), after this body dies.
What is he talking about? Thanks.
Here are a few actual statements Deepak Chopra has made, for the sake of comparison with the list of randomly generated woo-woo above:
"Birth and death are spacetime events in the continuum of life."
"There are traditions that say the in-body experience is a socially induced collective hallucination."
"What you call a person actually is a pattern of behavior of a universal consciousness."
“If you have happy thoughts, then you make happy molecules.”
"There is no such thing as Jeff, because what we call Jeff is a constantly transforming consciousness that appears as a certain personality, a certain mind, a certain ego, a certain body."
“Spirituality is the experience of that domain of awareness where we experience our universality.”
"To be healed is to have the return of the memory of who we really are."
People actually pay to gobble up entire books full of this crap and they love it. No wonder Chopra left his mundane career as an endocrinologist and went into the quack business selling Vedic "alternative medicine". Vedic is described on Wikipedia as having a basis in "a unified field of pure, nonmaterial intelligence and consciousness whose modes of vibration manifest as the material universe." (Sound familiar?)
Woo-woo may not be tax-free like religion, but it still rakes in some big money.
I think we're just beating a dead horse at this point.
I quit May D.C. rest in piece. :)
Don't forget: "A wet bird never flies at night."
Objective reality basically means what it is; its objective. It wouldn't be reality if wasn't objective. Then it would subjective. Subjective basically means an opinion. Reality is not based on opinion but facts.
@ Keith Murphy,
Well said. But would you not say that, as subjective beings, our subjective nature automatically colors what is objective? Thus, it can be difficult (not impossible) to really discover true objectivity. Certainly, we can get as close to objectivity as our subjective nature allows, but do we ever actually achieve what is truly objective?
I think this objective/subjective opposition is something of an illusion - as if something which is subjectively true, isn't true. It can be objectively true that something is subjectively true.
We were born of stardust, and when Sol expands and vaporizes earth, then throws off its outer shell, before collapsing and becoming a white dwarf, we will return to stardust - that is the only immortality we can honestly expect.
"Do I believe that consciousness (although not memory or personality) endures beyond death? Yes. I as an individual will not, but I as an individual am an illusion anyway, a kind of distorted mirror thrown up by my brain. I -- the real I -- am the cosmos, and the cosmos was here before this body was born and will still be here, experiencing reality through all vehicles available (of which at the moment this body is one), after this body dies."
I see. So my individual consciousness is an illusion, I exist independently of my brain, and the reality is that my brain only distorts my vision of the cosmos.
If the brain is a shackle that holds us all back, you would think severe brain damage would unleash extraordinary cosmic powers, rather than impair our mental abilities depending on which part of the brain is damaged. But it doesn't work that way, does it?
But never mind that. Tell the guy to move to Kansas. He'll fit right in. His local school board will probably add the "human brain = ball and chain" theory to the biology curriculum. Then someone will grab a baseball bat and (with a few well-aimed blows) set him free to become the next Einstein, Mozart, or (heh) Chopra. Hopefully the batter won't get too carried away...
He still holds that there is a duality between mind and body, that the mind somehow exists outside the body and is therefore eternal. It does not matter how much he intuitively “feels” this. I also think his ideas on what "objective reality" is are....well...rather subjective.
Barry – I totally agree with reading books to seek other opinions rather than just ones that confirm our biases but "The Deepak"?
When you say “There is a lot of interesting information in there, which is very much science based in terms of quantum reality…” could you explain the “quantum reality” bit? Does D.C. claim to understand Quantum mechanics? (Feynman)
I admit reading Deepak is quite a departure - especially for myself, but yes. At some level he does understand quantum theory regarding energy fields at the subatomic level. However, where he takes that understanding is a completely different issue. Like I said, I am not in anyway promoting Deepak. What I was attempting to do was provide Shanna with a resource which would shed some more light on where the gentleman she was in conversation with was coming from - regardless of whether or not he was right or wrong.
The best way I can explain why I choose to read Deepak is not to take him as an absolute authority, but to be aware of the information that he presents - much like an atheist may not buy stock in what the bible says, but they are very much knowledgeable in what it says and where it's deficiencies lie in coherence. AND, atheists most often possess a great deal more of such knowledge than a devout Christian or fundie because they educate themselves on the information.
I have encountered people who do take Deepak very seriously and very devoutly - especially since he is promoted on pop culture shows like Oprah. So why not read him in order to better understand their position and hold an intelligent conversation or debate with them about their views?
Does this make sense? If it makes you feel any better, I have read Richard Dawkins The God Delusion, and I am some what informed of Hitchens (although have yet to read his God is Not Great). I don't agree with them entirely, but they are absolutely spot on regarding their problems with religion, in particular Christendom.