02/02/2017 at 7:37 pm #4656
How do we know the state of being nothing at all after death is an infinite duration, not a finite duration?
I get that consciousness is lost at death. Consciousness is the result of particles/matter being in specific arrangements and after death those specific arrangements are scrambled. Neuroscientifically, as the brain dies, cell by cell, the mind dies with it. The amount of damage corresponding to the amount of mind lost. No immaterial soul, nothing surviving, total annihilation.
But how do we know that the state of undergoing nothingness/nonexistence/oblivion/nonbeing after death is infinite in duration – what demands one would never start existing again randomly out of nothing? In the same way the universe has been stated as plausibly coming out of nothing. What is prohibitory to a self/connectome coming into existence again if we can’t be aware of all the possible ways infinity will express itself?
For instance, perhaps this Boltzmann’s Brain type recurrence could happen during the infinity after the heat death of the universe. Heat death equilibrium may not actually come to pass (physicist Sean Carroll has verbalized how it’s not a guarantee the Big Freeze will occur on his blog) and some other fate of the universe could be, allowing unknown possibilities. Additionally, we don’t know if the universe has always existed or if it had a beginning (Again, expressed by Sean Carroll in his newest book).
Random fluctuations of vacuum energy after the heat death of the universe could pop a universe into existence or pop your atomic arrangement/neuronal configuration into existence, allowing the chance of you reoccurring. With a universe that’s infinite in spacial and temporal extent, everything that’s physically possible for it happens an infinity of times. So maybe there’s not an eternal oblivion, but a temporary oblivion for us after we die (and before we were born).
Also, it doesn’t remind me that it’s a necessity for something to have to survive of you after death, for you to exist after death. Nothing has to be carried along or continue that’s you, provided the universe/reality has the nature of popping things into existence repeatedly into infinitude/producing endless copies of everything existing ever.
Books should be done which focus on the physics case against an afterlife, now that the neuroscientific case against existing when the brain dies is pretty complete. I definitely agree with the neuroscientific consensus that consciousness ceases at death. But what I’m not sure about is that it ceases forever at death. It seems like an assumption that once consciousness is shown to stop existing at brain death, that that entails it permanently stops existing at brain death.
We don’t know for sure what happened at and before the big bang. The universe may have existed for infinity before 13.7 billion years when it appeared to pop into existence with nothing before it. We also don’t know how the universe will end. There’s plausible ideas but it’s still up in the air. Heat death equilibrium where nothing happens may not be eternal. A random of fluctuation of vacuum energy may come from the void and bring a new universe into existence.
My point is that considering we don’t know either direction, backwards in time before the big bang and infinitely forward in time after the universe appears like it’ll die, we can’t say whether the individual existed before its present experience called life. We also can’t say whether the individual will exist after it’s present existence it’s experiencing.
The infinity before birth is indeterminate, as to whether you existed (possibly zero times, possibly three times, or possibly a beginningless amount of times). The infinity after death is indeterminate as whether you’ll exist again (same thing, possibly zero times, possibly 2,622 times or possibly endless times).
When I say “you” existing again after death I don’t mean your identical connectome, necessarily. But just that the experiencer that was a particular arrangement of atoms called a human is the same experiencer as whatever physical system it may be after it was that particular connectome.
I actually would like to be entirely confident that I’ll be irrevocably annihilated for all eternity at death. Because I feel like it’s probably the case of what’ll happen. But I just feel like too much is being left out by only using neuroscience to answer the question.
If the exact arrangement between the atoms in your brain and body were recreated after you died, how do you know for sure it wouldn’t be you that comes back into consciousness? What in science tells us it would be someone who isn’t you, someone else who simply experiences themselves exactly as if they were you?
I can accept you’re lost at death (consciousness can’t exist without sufficient blood flow and when the body dies no blood is pumped to the brain, not to mention the brain itself is dead anyway, and, your atoms are left in a disordered arrangement which isn’t conducive to permit consciousness to subsist), but what makes you permanently lost at death?
What stops a fluctuation of nothingness or the vacuum from popping you back into existence (perhaps in uncountable eons of time)? Exactly what is the self anyway? What makes you, YOU? To know whether you’ll exist after death, at any time after you die, you have to know exactly what you are, from a physics standpoint. If I popped into existence out of nothing once, why can’t it happen again, and again, and again? In a naturalistic, materialistic, scientific, physical sense – no spookiness or woo. The nature of infinity is that everything happens an infinite amount of times. Anything which isn’t ruled out by the laws of physics necessarily happens.
It’s not that I can’t accept the real world or live in the real world, rather, it feels like this question and topic, and related quandaries haven’t been delved into. It seems like people take it on faith that they cease to exist FOREVER once they die, with little backing evidence from the physics community. It’s really a physics question now, neuroscience has already made its case and it’s definitive. Now it’s physics’ turn.
So yeah, just wanted to share some of my rumination on how to break down the physicalist/independent world from us narrative that so much of culture adopts nowadays. This’ll lead them into the rabbit hole, once they take in these sorts of ideas.This post has received 2 votes up.
02/04/2017 at 9:16 am #4665
Aurora CarlsonKeymaster110 votes@aurorac
Hello Psychedelicacy! Thank you for sharing, this was a very interesting read!
I have a question for you: How do you know that the following (quote from your post) is true:
“Consciousness is the result of particles/matter being in specific arrangements”
As far as I know, most physicalist scientists today believe that the brain creates consciousness, but it has never been proven nor explained. I wonder if you have ever thought about it…This post has received 1 vote up.
02/05/2017 at 1:23 pm #4674
04/10/2017 at 9:14 am #5374
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