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Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox

Amos 27 Aug 03 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Les in Chorlton 27 Aug 03 - 12:58 PM
Amos 27 Aug 03 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 27 Aug 03 - 03:33 PM
John MacKenzie 27 Aug 03 - 03:42 PM
Peter T. 27 Aug 03 - 04:35 PM
Bill D 27 Aug 03 - 04:37 PM
jacqui c 27 Aug 03 - 05:03 PM
Amos 27 Aug 03 - 06:42 PM
akenaton 27 Aug 03 - 07:24 PM
Amos 27 Aug 03 - 08:32 PM
akenaton 27 Aug 03 - 08:46 PM
Billy the Bus 27 Aug 03 - 09:15 PM
mack/misophist 27 Aug 03 - 09:24 PM
akenaton 27 Aug 03 - 09:41 PM
Mudlark 27 Aug 03 - 11:06 PM
mg 28 Aug 03 - 12:52 AM
Allan C. 28 Aug 03 - 01:52 AM
Amos 28 Aug 03 - 02:04 AM
Grab 28 Aug 03 - 08:19 AM
Amos 28 Aug 03 - 10:54 AM
Bill D 28 Aug 03 - 11:37 AM
fox4zero 28 Aug 03 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Les in Chorlton, Manchester 28 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM
Allan C. 28 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM
Amos 28 Aug 03 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,John Hardly 28 Aug 03 - 02:52 PM
Amos 28 Aug 03 - 04:09 PM
Allan C. 29 Aug 03 - 12:15 AM
Mudlark 29 Aug 03 - 01:22 AM
Amos 29 Aug 03 - 09:11 AM
Bill D 29 Aug 03 - 10:31 AM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Aug 03 - 10:35 AM
Amos 29 Aug 03 - 10:53 AM
Bill D 29 Aug 03 - 01:48 PM
Allan C. 29 Aug 03 - 02:21 PM
Little Hawk 29 Aug 03 - 05:01 PM
Amos 29 Aug 03 - 06:55 PM
GUEST 29 Aug 03 - 07:07 PM
Little Hawk 29 Aug 03 - 07:12 PM
akenaton 29 Aug 03 - 07:21 PM
Amos 29 Aug 03 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,Wolfgang 30 Aug 03 - 07:58 AM
Amos 30 Aug 03 - 09:31 AM
Peg 30 Aug 03 - 10:26 AM
Bill D 30 Aug 03 - 11:06 AM
akenaton 30 Aug 03 - 11:11 AM
Little Hawk 30 Aug 03 - 12:22 PM
Amos 30 Aug 03 - 01:09 PM
Amos 01 Sep 03 - 09:52 PM
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Subject: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 12:51 PM

DEATH

In the last analysis, it is our perception of death which decides our
answers to all the questions that life puts to us.

                   Dag Hammarskjold


A powerful proposition. For consideration: is there a relation between your perception of death -- what it is, what it must be like, how it works-- and how you choose to respond to events in your life?

Where do the living get their perceptions of death?

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: GUEST,Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 12:58 PM

Oh, just a bit. People who believe they are going somewhere else may just tend to behave slightly differently to those who do not.

Where do we get ideas from? Parents knees and books. Why, when their are so many books in the Library, do some people decide to believe one to the exclusion of all others? Why do some people consult a car maintenance manual to understand cars and religious books to understand natural history?


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 02:36 PM

Good points, Les.

I think a distinction must be mad,e though between thoughts about death (vague concepts picked up second hand) and what Dag H says in the quote -- a perception of death. I don't know for sure whether DH meant to make such a distinction or not, but it is al ot more interesting to assume he did.

I love your question!! I guess it is because to some religions all natural history is a religous phenomenon.

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 03:33 PM

Rather a queer statement isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 03:42 PM

Scopes


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 04:35 PM

I think the original quote is misguided, a sort of 50's existentialism. For a start (and in spite of Heidegger) most people are not oriented towards or away from death. They assume they are going to be alive unless proved otherwise -- especially in our society. Second, people faced with death who does not have a strong belief system seem to be stunned or abashed, and certainly not given any answers. Death raises far more questions than answers, and the answers are not forthcoming (unless, as I say, you have strong beliefs one way or the other). Faced with death and dead people, I have learned nothing except that death seems to have nothing to recommend it (as Woody Allen said, I don't mind dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens).

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 04:37 PM

One of the defining aspects of being human is that we can contemplate our own death and what happens before & after we exist. This contemplation is what leads to theories of afterlife. Some can emotionally tolerate the idea of "nothingness", and some cannot...and I strongly suspect that those who cannot will simply look for (or accept) the most 'comfortable' explanation.

I don't believe I am going "somewhere else"...but I still want to live this life as the best person I can be and hope that others can do the same.
Most of my 'perceptions of death' now have come from my own internal consideration of what I have been told versus what seems reasonable and likely. I have a great deal of difficulty in imagining "not being here" any longer. I am inexhaustibly curious about what will happen to the curious planet and its crazy inhabitants and I don't want to go till I know!
...but I shall, nonetheless, and I doubt I shall be widely missed. Perhaps all the thousands of posts in Mudcat will be the best record of my essential character.*grin*


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: jacqui c
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 05:03 PM

I agree with you Bill as I always want to know what happens next and the idea of not seeing how things unfold is frustrating.

While reading this thread I was thinking that, when we die we are kept alive by the people who survive us and the influence we might have had on other lives, for good and bad.

I have my own perception of what will happen when I die and it probably is a way of coming to terms with my own mortality. Like everyone else I've experienced the death of people close to me and have found it difficult at first to accept that I won't ever be able to see that person again. Like any loss we have to go through the various stages before we come can to an acceptance of the death and yes, I do think that the way that we deal with death does reflect the way that we deal with life. We have to accept that we will die, we just don't know when and we should make every day count, because it might be the last one that does.

Maybe that is the way to work out your true priorities. If you knew that you would die tomorrow, next week, next month what would you do and not do? Working on that I've given up on housework!!!


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 06:42 PM

Interesting that this thread itself is now appearing to fulfill its own assertion -- that is, those posting to it are responding to it based on their perceptions of death. Anyway, I suppose there are as many ways to view death as there are opinions -- some see it as a blank wall, a zero point; others as a transition to some other-worldly state. Some see it as just a phase in a repetitive cycle. Some people think of it as a sort of summer vacation between levels at a university that never seems to hold graduation ceremonies! :>) Some see it as a sort of emulsifying blending back into the molecular river of space time. Some fear it as a sort of enforced haling before some kind of highly critical judgement. Some are certain it is an opportunity to review one's own decisions for oneself, a kind of break from some sort of stretched-out productivity....

Chacun a son gout , I guess.

And Jacqui, an interesting question. I'd start finishing every undelivered message I could think of, especially those of esteem and affection.

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 07:24 PM

I see death as tha most important part of the natural cycle,as you all know every living thing must die ,plants ,insects,fungi...everything.
Regarding personal perceptions,I believe the answer lies in the human ego. Most people just cant bear to think that one day they will be gone and the world will keep turning. It scares them too much to think that they are no more powerful, in the long term, than other animals or even plants.Also after theyv taken that truth on board it brings a load of questions about our society, that most people dont want to think about...Best wishes Ake..


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 08:32 PM

Why should the part labeled "Stop" be more important than the part labeled "Start" or the part seen as "Continuing" ?? They are all in separable phases of the life-cycvle, and anyone who locks in to one of them is pretty sure to go through all three...

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 08:46 PM

I simply made that statement because folk tend to close their minds to the idea of death,instead of embracing the cycle in its entirety.
Peple have been filled by superstition and fear over the centuries and find it hard to be rational...Ake


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 09:15 PM

It's all a 'Bit of a Dägg' really - He was a fine guy!

Cheers - Sam


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: mack/misophist
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 09:24 PM

It seems obvious to me that people are afraid of death because it's an unknown. It's the not knowing that hurts. Many could come to terms with going to hell, if they knew that's what was going to happen. It's just that damned uncertainty.


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: akenaton
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 09:41 PM

misophist...People have been conditioned to fear death through the different religions ,and especially Christianity. In the older cultures (Aberigional,American native,ect),death was excepted with peace and without fear.
All one needs for peace of mind is a knowledge that each one of us is a tiny part of a huge machine and our deaths wont stop the engine....Ake


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Mudlark
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 11:06 PM

At this end of my life I take my perceptions of death from the natural world I live in. I am somewhat literal minded and I have always had trouble getting my mind around the concept that matter doesn't disappear, just its forms. But the idea of returning to stardust appeals, and after 40 years a gardener, compost seems as good a way to look at death, and the hereafter, as any.

As for the death of others, it is the acceptance of the finality of death that is difficult...that such mundane things as their clothing, and papers covered with their handwriting, can still exist, yet the genesis for all these personal "things" is inexplicably and emphatically gone.

With compost as my belief, I have no formal religious idea of afterlife, and yet...and yet...I've been visited a couple of times by the recently dead. Mental abberation borne of the above mentioned difficulty with acceptance? It sure didn't seem like that, but the subconscious is a wild and wonderful place...

In the end, I'm comfortable with not knowing. We don't even know, in intricate detail, how our own bodies work, a mystery among many. And if I had a chance at a time machine, I think I'd be more interested in taking a look at the past.


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: mg
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 12:52 AM

I would love to know that we just stopped when we die and there was no judgement day, purgatory, hell etc...I am a Catholic raised by a fire and brimstone Baptist mother..it should have made me very religious but I am marginal at best but still quite paranoid about it all. mg


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Allan C.
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 01:52 AM

It always seemed to me that if we accept the theory that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, then that energy we all have within us MUST remain (somewhere) after we die. The question (to which some of us CLAIM to have the answer) is where does that energy, a.k.a., spirit go? I don't have the answer and you can talk to me until you are blue; but I will never believe YOU have the answer either.

Philosophically, I see death as an adventure - a step toward the unknown. Perhaps when the time comes to face it, I may suddenly develop a different philosophy - many people do, I am told. But from the current vantage, I see nothing to fear.

Does this view skew my thinking about all other aspects of my life? I can only say, perhaps. Perhaps Dag had it figured right.


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 02:04 AM

IF humans are capable of experiencing separately from their bodies, and there is a strong thread of evidence to the effect that they are, one's cosmology would have to take that phenomenon into account. Including the notion that death as it is experienced by the body is NOT identical to the experience of death that the "I" goes through.

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Grab
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 08:19 AM

Allan, the "energy" meant in the theories of thermodynamics is a very different "energy" to what spiritualists/psychics are referring to! The former is measurable and quantifiable using standard physical methods. On death, all this energy that was stored in your body is dispersed - body-heat is dissipated into the surroundings, and stored energy in chemical reactions is used for food by various organisms or dissipated as chemicals break down naturally. The latter is utterly unquantifiable and cannot be detected by any instrument, and indeed its very existence cannot be demonstrated by any process.

Or in short, physical scientific principles don't apply when the concepts are religious, philosophical or metaphorical, rather than physical! :-) I agree with you though, there's no way anyone can know the answer, bcos there's no evidence either way. That's exactly why death is the great adventure.

From a personal POV though, if there is a judgement day and God's sitting there saying "you've been a bit bad but you can go to Heaven, but you've been a little bit worse so you can go to eternal torture", frankly I think I'll be organising the militia to go and beat the crap out of Him. My God is *not* a jealous God...

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 10:54 AM

Grab:

I'm not sure it works that way!! LOL!!! SOunds a bit anthropomorphic to me.

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 11:37 AM

"IF humans are capable of experiencing separately from their bodies, and there is a strong thread of evidence to the effect that they are, "

ummm..Amos.. there may be a bit of equivocation in the use of the word "evidence" among various opinions. As you might expect, I have a pretty narrow view of the matter.

..Allan C.refers to the concept that matter & energy are not destroyed, but merely change locus and configuration, but that hardly supports a theory that some sort of 'identity' remains after death.

There IS, however, lots of evidence that the mind is capable of rearranging its memories and neuro-chemical patterns in fascinating ways. (Hypnosis, visions during fasting, psychodelic drugs, trauma...etc.) 'Reality' become pretty slippery sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: fox4zero
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 02:18 PM

I was taught that the way to approach Death is to "run zig-zag and then kick him in the balls".

Larry


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: GUEST,Les in Chorlton, Manchester
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM

DEATH

In the last analysis, it is our perception of death which decides our
answers to all the questions that life puts to us.

                   Dag Hammarskjold

I am still wary of people who think they will get a second chance somewhere else especially when they have read some book and talked to some people that tell them they are special ......

....and so I agree with Dag.


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Allan C.
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM

I totally agree with your thoughts about identity, Bill. While some may be hung up on the concept that after we die we might be "reborn" as new humans, I see no reason why we should limit that idea to animate things or even to things on this planet. After all, it seems doubtful that gravity would have much effect upon that sort of energy.

By the way, I do understand the differences in the definitions of energies. Still, I believe the theory applies to the spiritual energies in much the same way.


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 02:26 PM

Well, Bill, you get into a vicious circle if you require spiritual phenomena to be constrained to mechanistic criteria. But aside from that, there is evidence, yes. The indication from the data I have seen is that viewpoint and material particles interact, but are different things. Thing is, it is powerful easy to create the opposite impression, as well. With something as malleable as a viewpoint, it is arguable that there is no way to get hard-edged repluication of evidence. Minds don't seem to work that way.   

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: GUEST,John Hardly
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 02:52 PM

finally "identity" is brought up.

I understand resignation to the unavoidable -- but what I find interesting in this discussion is:
1. How little we seem to believe in our own personhood -- though it's the greatest reality we have ever experienced, and
2. how much the discussion so far would lead one to believe (outside of one comment by m.g. about fear) death to be of little consequence, and
3. How absolute we are here that nobody could have an answer (or know any better than we do what's really up)....

....reminds me of the terrific quote I just read t'other day-- "An agnostic is someone who doesn't know whether there's a god, and says you don't, either." :^)

Finally (that'd be #4 I s'pose), that this is a gathering of intellectuals, and intellectualism is at least as aimed at comforting the uncertain as any religion is. *grin*


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 04:09 PM

I don't think it of little consequence -- it is certainly a simportant as anyother nameable event in a lifetime, wouldn't you think? If Dag's quote is to be taken seriously, it is a defining part of the whole string!

Personhood is an interesting thing, because it works in layers of construction, but there is always some center that is apparently an unchanging transcendant center no matter what other moral, cultural or tribal beliefs you buy in to. Your style and mindset may melt away after death, I believe, but the core of Thou remaineth undeterred to pursue other adventures.

'Course, Dag would say I am just defining how I am going to handle life's twists and turns.

Hmmm....


A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 12:15 AM

Now read the quotation while replacing the word, "death" with "life". The result seems to me to be equally as interesting an observation.


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Mudlark
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 01:22 AM

It seems that even the essential Thou may be in question. There is a lot of speculation verging on evidence that very early childhood does some profound rewiring.I resist that idea, myself.

Regarding reality...in a documentary on vehicle dwellers I saw an interesting card in the window of a bus..."Perception is not necessarily reality."


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 09:11 AM

That's for sure!!!


A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 10:31 AM

Allan C...."Still, I believe the theory applies to the spiritual energies in much the same way."

Amos.... "...require spiritual phenomena to be constrained to mechanistic criteria"

I see your point(s)...but I see nothing that convinces me that 'spiritual energies and/or phenomena' are anything more than linguistic twists in an attempt to come to terms with unusual manifestations of physical phenomena.
People DO have experiences that they need to interpret, and often they have religious, cultural and familial background templates already in place when these experiences (or ideas) occur. (many backspaces here)...

Why do we obviously *grin* intelligent, concerned people differ on these issues and concepts? This is almost as interesting to me as the question of WHETHER spiritual constructs have any sort of 'reality'. Are we hard-wired at birth to process information certain ways? Does excesses of various hormones partially determine our moral and 'spititual' values? I truly do not 'know', but every year I see more & more articles from medical research about DNA controlling more than we'd like to think.

The whole thing becomes a meta-issue, where the very discussion may depend on analysis of what basic precepts we accept, and why.

Or, as my wife says, maybe my 'receptors' were never developed due to my refusal to eat eggs & onions as a kid!~ *grin*


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 10:35 AM

"a sort of 50's existentialism" - what's the date ever got to do with whether a way of thinking is valid or not?


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 10:53 AM

but I see nothing that convinces me that 'spiritual energies and/or phenomena' are anything more than linguistic twists in an attempt to come to terms with unusual manifestations of physical phenomena

Psychic and spiritual phenomena -- events that are so labeled, anyway -- tend to stand outside the normal model of space time based on what is essentially Newtonian space-time, and they can be very disconcerting to minds whose filters are predominantly based on that view and model. Some explanations base themselves on the "unfathomed complexity" proposition which argies that the details of the phsyical universe, EMF vibrations and quantum phenomena are so complex that the explanation for these phenomena will be eventually found as that complexity is plumbed.

The other argument for the same discrepancy is the "incomplete model" proposition which says that a model which includes only matter, energy, space and time is incomplete and that in order to explain the anomalies one has to posit an additional component to existence, usually referred to as "thought", "spiritual energy" "elan vital", or other names depending on the bias of the proposer.

Personally I think both things are true -- there is a lot to be unfolded and uncovered about the universe at a quantum level which will change how we look at things AND there is a major component which is spiritual rather than material in its nature and therefore has different qualities and laws than those which seem to govern particles and waves.

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 01:48 PM

"...minds whose filters are predominantly based on that view and model."

Yep..I can see that! And I immediately am asking how one GETS filters and whether 'filters' can be flawed...and how would one test for a flawed filter...etc..

"Personally I think both things are true ...... AND there is a major component which is spiritual......"

And in the final analysis, it comes down to that "I think", doesn't it? I am certainly aware that I have not proven that spiritual phenomena don't exist (that is, independently of subjective awareness of them)..but neither has anyone 'proved' that they do! To me, there are far too many implications to believing without a better notion of the nature what I would be believing in (if that makes any sense).

There are whole areas of Philosophy devoted to the relation of our linguistic constructs to 'reality', and though I am not deeply grounded in this, I see the general concern of the area. For some people, just being able to have a concept and verbalize a concept endows that concept with a certain 'existence', and gives validity to the debate. Needless to say, I am not in that camp.

Whether, indeed, further exploration of quantum mechanics will allow us to find the basis of phenomena we now call 'spiritual' is interesting....I wish I could expect to live to see a resolution: but what I personally expect, is that there will BE no resolution, and that some will continue to see, hear, feel, experience..and believe in, phenomena that I and my ilk cannot. (I get told regularly that I need to 'open myself' to the experiences...*grin*..which sort of means to me "give up and let your imagination go, like the rest of us") *shrug*....naaawww, if them spirits wants me, let 'em come GET me!


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 02:21 PM

All such discussions eventually boil down to the question of definitions of terms. When examining concepts such as death, about which we know nothing, or life, about which we may eventually discover we know nearly nothing, definitions cannot possibly be hard and fast. This means that our discussion can only remain on the level of opinion. Empirical evidence is not to be found on this plane. IMHO


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 05:01 PM

I think DH made a very good point, and it may indeed be the very crux of human consciousness, as he suggests. That's why religions and philosophies are so concerned with death, possibilities of afterlife, the transitory nature of things, and so on.

This is what happens to a consciously self-observant creature, which is what you have in the case of a human being. I don't think animals worry about death in an abstract sense...for them it is always NOW, so they only worry about an immediate threat or discomfort, but not about what may happen tomorrow, a year from now or twenty years from now.

This sets us humans apart. We fantasize and worry about possible futures, and a great deal of the worrying we do (if not most of it) concerns possible futures that never even come to pass as we imagined they might! In other words, most of our worrying is a waste of time and energy. :-) It would make more sense to take action than to worry, wouldn't it? Or if you can't do anything about a situation, then why worry, because the worrying won't help?

Now I can look at the way my ideas about death shaped my existence...

As a young child I hardly thought about it at all. I felt that my life was endless, so my attention was mostly on having fun, satisfying my boundless curiosity about almost everything, and avoiding various unpleasant situations. In other words, I was behaving a lot like a young, playful animal would. I was mostly carefree and happy, because I felt immortal.

As an adolescent I did begin to worry about mortality some, but I didn't believe in anything religious or any afterlife or anything like that at all, so my main attention was on a number of pressing problems:

How to avoid being bullied by other youngsters.
How to avoid being oppressed and harried by my father.
How to survive school, which I hated.
How to deal with romantic loneliness, which was driving me crazy.
How to be special and win the respect and love of other people.
How to tolerate being (apparently) utterly powerless in the face of those things.

Obviously, I was beginning to worry about death (an eventual end to my hopes and dreams) and passing time, since every week and month that went by without my finding my Mecca (a girlfriend) and my Medina (the respect of other people) signaled failure and doom in my mind.

Ugh! I hate to think of it now. What an awful state of mind I was in, giving over all my power to the approval and acceptance of other people. It was essentially the fact that I believed in death as a final end to my existence that I was in that pickle. Had I thought of myself as immortal, I wouldn't have been in nearly so bad a spot.

In my twenties I began an informal inquiry into religion and spiritual philosophies. All of them appeared to lead to the conclusion that death is not the end. I was very curious about that. They also led to a feeling of my own intrinsic worth regardless of the opinions of other people.

But...it was a long struggle to move from a scientific objectivist who thinks death is the end and physicality is all there is to a spiritual philosopher who thinks death is simply a doorway into further life.

It took until I was about 50 before I actually became pretty much independent of relying upon other people (their love, their opinion of me, their respect for me) for my happiness...or upon outer objects (which give a brief sense of happiness when you acquire them, but it doesn't last long).

I no longer have to be "a success" at anything to be happy. I no longer need to be famous or even well known. I no longer need some particular special possessions or property. I no longer need a lover to be happy. I no longer need a reputation of some kind to be happy. I need a certain basic level of comfort, of course, where necessities are met, but that's pretty obvious and there are practical ways of managing it.

I am happy (much of the time) because it is natural to be happy, and because I am that I am, as someone else said, and that is the total justification of exactly what I am, and it is not going to end with my physical death...

I'm just going to leave this stage at that time, that's all, and you won't see me around if you still have a part to play here.

Yup. One's ideas about death are absolutely crucial to one's consciousness.

Cheers!

- LH


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 06:55 PM

Bill:

Well, I can assert my beliefs as true for others as well, if you prefer, but I was taught it was bad manners to do so. As to where one gets filters, they are by products of one's own creative power.

Pragma, noun: a term in S/W operating system technology for basic structures in logic which define what will consitute data to that system, and what will not; a logical definition of what will get in as recognized information.

To a large degree the "pragma" of your own mind are postulated constraints, held in place by your own energies and capable of being changed. They, in turn, define what kinds of perceptions will consittute data to your own consciousness in the universe. Some of these limits or filtering decisions are born out of voluntary agreement, some out of enforced agreement and some just out of the biggest miracle -- self determination.

They are not binary, and the "logic" they use is much different than computer science's version.

That's how it looks to me, anyway! :>)

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 07:07 PM

Great thread.

Thanks to those more articulate and probably wiser than me who have posted.

Bill D, you talk a lot of sense. It's a shame we can't prove it, but WYSIWYG wouldn't believe us anyway (silly moo)


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 07:12 PM

Yeah, that's right. Self-determination is the biggest miracle. Find a person who truly thinks for him/herself and you have found a rare person. Most people's "pragma", as defined above by Amos, are hand-me-downs from various other people...who may or may not know what they are talking about. One thing you can be sure of...they don't know all that there is to know yet and they probably haven't applied 5% of it.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: akenaton
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 07:21 PM

All this talk about "What is there after death".Well Iv seen lots of dead people and i can assure you they are just like any other dead animal.Its wrong to say, that because we dont Know for sure about an afterlife,this validates all the religious theries. We must try to think sensibly about this and the chances of "life after death" are miniscule.Little Hawks correct in my view,referring to the human brain being the problem.Its far to big for our own good and much too inclined to fantasy.Of course these traits are used unscrupulously by the organised religions,politicians,and power hungry war-mongers.
As i stated already the ego is the problem,people just seem to need to think that they are indispensibe..


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 29 Aug 03 - 08:28 PM

The chances of "life after death" are miniscule

Akneton, how did you calculate this probability and come up with the answer "miniscule", as a matter of curiosity?

The admission of a single datum -- that being is a spiritual rather than physical event -- raises its probability to near certainty. The admission of a single datum -- that all existence is material and life, including awareness of life, is just a compounding of mechanics -- reduces it to near-zero. But how did you establish that one of these premises was more persuasive than the other?


A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 07:58 AM

Subjective weighting, Amos, in a very similar way to you saying that there is 'a strong thread of evidence' to the effect that humans are able to experience separately from their bodies whereas I looking at the same set of data would say close to nil evidence.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 09:31 AM

Quite so, Wolfgang -- subjective weighting. Hard enough to shake it, even in the most mechanical of experiments.

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Peg
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 10:26 AM

The human intellect is what separates us from the so-called "lower" animals. Along with literature, art and music, philosophy and science, the ruminations about the nature of death are part and parcel of this experience we call life on earth.   Our brains are capable of considering it; therefore we consider it. And consider it. So much of what humans believe about the world around them has to do with what they have been shown, taught or given in this life. Their family, culture, climate, experiences, dreams, occupations, hardships and illnesses, loves and disappointments.

I have wrestled and struggled with a fear of death most of my life and it has been brought into stark relief in the last several years. I have at least begun to accept that it is inevitable. I still fear it's coming too suddenly or painfully.

As to whether our consciousness continues on...part of me wishes   that to be true. Another part of me is satisfied that the idea that I have lived on this beautiful planet, thought the thoughts I have, enjoyed the people I have had in my life, that that is enough and the world and its inhabitants will somehow hold that small piece of existence that is/was me in some sort of perpetuity, as it does all of us. Some more than others, of course (Shakespeare, da Vinci, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John Lennon, Princess Diana, etc.) It may well be our awe at the memories of the works and peronas of such people which lends us hope that we too   might continue on in the hearts and minds of others.


Three documents which have led me to some intense musings on the subject include the films Waking Life and Donnie Darko and the book Death: the Great Adventure by Alice   Bailey.

The first purports a strong connection between the consciousness   that defines dreaming and that which defines the state of being dead, and suggests they are very, very similar...the idea that   one's consciousness continues after death in the same way we are sometimes able to enter and experience the dreams of others    on the astral plane, and able to see those who have gone on before us in dreams, would seem to support this.

Anyway, I highly recommend it.


peg


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 11:06 AM

Peg...your last sentence is long and the punctuation not all that clear. It 'seems' to be stating that ".. we are sometimes able to enter and experience the dreams of others on the astral plane..." etc. I would hope that I am wrong, and that you are not claiming that as a fact, but merely as a theory or idea.

Amos...woke up to your post about 'pragma'...pondering on it and the implications of the concept. But my off-the-cuff reaction is that 'pragma' and 'self-determination' merely add a level to the analysis, without providing substantial closure.......and perhaps that is the point. Perhaps there is, finally, NO solution to the question of ultimate/remote cause,(both in physics and in metaphysics) except linguistic constructs, some of which are easier to grasp than others.


"Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;
While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on."

....attributed to Augustus De Morgan


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 11:11 AM

Amos ...Surely Everything we do conscious and sub-conscious is a product of the brain..therefore everything is ultimately "physical".
I dont think anyone really knows how the brain works ,but as we find out more Im sure a natural answer will be found .
In saying that, Ihave had an experience of "mental telepathy" which could not have been coincidence..This experience gave me cause for thought ,but finally came to the conclusion that the power involved was natural ,not super-natural...I think we have a long way to go before we fully understand all the brains secrets   Ake


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 12:22 PM

That which we observe consciously and subconsciously is observed and in some way registered by the brain, but is not a product of the brain, no more than a radio program is produced by the radio. The brain is a tranmsmitter/receiver, it is not the source of the program.

People's beliefs are generally based on two things: direct observation and basic assumptions about the nature of reality. Those basic assumptions = faith. If someone assumes that reality is strictly physical, then his direct observations of it are interpreted only through that assumption. That appears to be your position, akenaton, and given that, your reasoning appears flawless within (and only within) its own established parameters.

When people observe something directly that confounds their basic assumptions, they are astounded. The end result of such an incident is: a) they change their basic assumptions b) they forget about it or discount it or explain it away as soon as possible and retain their basic assumptions.

Dead people, indeed, are exactly like dead animals (when we speak of the body)...a decaying hunk of meat and bone, devoid of consciousness. That's because the motivating consciousness has left the body. This is just as true of animals as it is of people, despite the fact that the consciousness of the animal is a bit less developed in some respects than a human consciousness.

Life force is immortal. Bodies are mortal. Life force uses a body for awhile, then moves on...and expresses itself in some other way. You can't destroy energy, you can only alter the way in which it is manifesting itself.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 01:09 PM

...Surely Everything we do conscious and sub-conscious is a product of the brain..therefore everything is ultimately "physical".


The reverse -- that the brain and all the activity is a by-product of consciousness -- is equally tenable. It is not certain at all that consciousness is a product of the brain. It does seem true that the brain acts as a filter and amplifier, but there is a big difference between the source of thought and the mechanisms it gets into being relayed.

Imagine getting confused and believing that conversations were coming out of the telephone, and concluding that it wasn't comprehensibvle because the wiring was so complex -- but nevertheless it was obviosuly the source of all communications because it is obviosu, you hold it up to your ear and it starts talking to you. I have been accused of being meretricious usinfg this analogy, but the point underlying it is important -- the correct source must be included in considering the problem, or the whole solution goes haywire.

A


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Subject: RE: Thought a Day: The Hammerskold Paradox
From: Amos
Date: 01 Sep 03 - 09:52 PM

Welcome back!

A


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