Just who is it that experiences your life?

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby Weeks » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:03 am UTC

No, see, the experiencer experiences every experience separately, without being simultaneously aware of the other experiences. But it's the same experiencer, trust me. It's kind of like the Holy Trinity thing, except not that holy. Or something.
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby WibblyWobbly » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:13 am UTC

Philosophy is not my strong suit (I don't own a suit, actually), but are you essentially positing something like a Higgs field for experiences? And if so, what the hell does that mean?

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby Weeks » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:16 am UTC

I don't own a suit either, I'm just trying to interpret what androidbleepbloop is saying
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:59 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:Again, not Universal in the sense that that experience is shared by all experiencers, but that the one doing the experiencing in every unique perspective is, in essence, the Universe.

Uhh, what? If the universe is always the one doing the experiencing, doesn't it follow that there's only one experiencer, and therefore that every experience is trivially shared by all experiencers? In the same sense that if there's only one president, then it's trivially true that all cases of presidential action are performed by the same president.


I know it's put a bit derogatorily, but Weeks' response is apt:
Weeks wrote:No, see, the experiencer experiences every experience separately, without being simultaneously aware of the other experiences. But it's the same experiencer, trust me.


My argument, however, isn't "trust me." GrammarBolshevik- the analogy you are trying to make doesn't fit. The universe is the one experiencer, but because each individual perspective within the overarching phenomenon is a consequence of unique neural circumstances, each brain is confined to the conscious experience modeled by that brain. Let me put it this way: the human I am situated in does not experience any of your experiences, and vice versa. However, the unique sets of experiences making up each of our lives are simultaneously experienced by the one experiencer.

It is difficult to draw a perfect analogy, because consciousness is such a unique phenomenon, but a better analogy would be something like chess games: there is only one set of rules for chess, and every unique chess game is an expression of that one set of rules.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby iChef » Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:12 am UTC

Android, when exploring complex subjects sometimes i find it helpful to pull back and explain it simply. So in order to help us all understand what you're getting at (and why you are getting at it) could you explain your idea in a paragraph or two the way you would explain it to an eight year old. Right now I don't see a difference from many "one soul" ideas from some religions. I also don't see any argument that makes this idea any more valid than people having individual souls, or being any more valid than each person having a conciousness that arises from purely biological means.

Edit: Upon re-watching the video right about half way through it takes a major leap of faith. It starts out saying the idea of a soul is a primitive superstition. Then compares the idea of a conciousness field with a couple other physical properties. The problem is there is absolutely no proof that this is the case. It doesn't make the argument that this idea is the truth, it merely says "hey wouldn't it be cool if" but hides that fact in the trappings of science. I would love to hear where I am wrong on this but so far it seems like pure speculation.
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:15 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:My argument, however, isn't "trust me." GrammarBolshevik- the analogy you are trying to make doesn't fit. The universe is the one experiencer, but because each individual perspective within the overarching phenomenon is a consequence of unique neural circumstances, each brain is confined to the conscious experience modeled by that brain. Let me put it this way: the human I am situated in does not experience any of your experiences, and vice versa. However, the unique sets of experiences making up each of our lives are simultaneously experienced by the one experiencer.

But there isn't one experiencer if, as you seem to have just said, the "human I am situated in" has experiences that aren't yours, and vice versa. There are a bunch of experiencers, even if one of them is also consciousness itself.

But, further, it just seems as if even if you can describe consciousness as an experiencer in this sense, it's an unconventional sense, and further that it's not the sense that motivates people to care about who is experiencing what. Say we adopt your terminology: we say that consciousness experiences everyone's joys and pains and so on, while individual humans "shmexperience" those same feelings, where "shmexperience" is whatever sort of thing that goes on when an individual human has a conscious experience. Where I might have said that I am naturally inclined to care about my own experiences more than the experiences of others, I now say that I am inclined to care more about my shmexperiences than the shmexperiences of others.

But aren't the shmexperiences the things that we care about? For example, you say it's rational to treat others' experiences as we treat our own, since they're all really the experiences of the one consciousness. But my shmexperiences are not the shmexperiences of others. So what would you have to say to a person who says that her experiences don't matter, but only her shmexperiences? Seems to me that, if I weren't otherwise inclined to care about others, I wouldn't change my mind just because you told me that my experience is experienced by the same universal entity as everyone else's experiences.
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby Weeks » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:43 am UTC

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby Angua » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:55 am UTC

I would also argue that the fact that different people experience things differently given the same stimulus goes towards the fact that we aren't all the same 'experiencer'.

And in answer to the question of the thread, it's me, with all that that entails.
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:20 pm UTC

This thread should have been called "Are You Experienced".
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:57 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:The universe is the one experiencer, but because each individual perspective within the overarching phenomenon is a consequence of unique neural circumstances, each brain is confined to the conscious experience modeled by that brain. Let me put it this way: the human I am situated in does not experience any of your experiences, and vice versa. However, the unique sets of experiences making up each of our lives are simultaneously experienced by the one experiencer.
How is this relevant or meaningful? I could say the same thing about video-games; each video-game is confined to the possibilities modeled within that game -- however, the unique set of variables making up each game are simultaneously represented by the one video-game, the universe itself. But while interesting, this is not particularly useful -- because I'm part of the 'one video game' and cannot interact with it except as part of it. Similarly, I am part of the one experiencer and cannot interact with it meaningfully except as part of its overall experience.

Maybe this would be useful if we could step outside of the universe and interact with it as a separate entity -- but we can't, so I don't see any utility in it.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:14 pm UTC

iChef wrote:Edit: Upon re-watching the video right about half way through it takes a major leap of faith. It starts out saying the idea of a soul is a primitive superstition. Then compares the idea of a conciousness field with a couple other physical properties. The problem is there is absolutely no proof that this is the case. It doesn't make the argument that this idea is the truth, it merely says "hey wouldn't it be cool if" but hides that fact in the trappings of science. I would love to hear where I am wrong on this but so far it seems like pure speculation.


The video does not propose the idea of a consciousness field; the analogy there is that each unique manifestation of the phenomenon "gravity", such as the Earth's gravitational field and the Sun's gravitational field, and the gravitational field of your eyeball and the gravitational field of Pluto all represent instances of the exact same Universal phenomenon arising on the basis of the same conditions being met (in the case of gravity, those conditions being "matter having mass as a consequence of warping spacetime". The analogy to consciousness is not that there is a consciousness field just like there's a gravitational field, its that consciousness analogously represents a Universal phenomenon which arises uniquely on the basis of a set of required conditions (in the case of consciousness, those conditions put simply can be described as neural activity).

iChef wrote:Android, when exploring complex subjects sometimes i find it helpful to pull back and explain it simply. So in order to help us all understand what you're getting at (and why you are getting at it) could you explain your idea in a paragraph or two the way you would explain it to an eight year old. Right now I don't see a difference from many "one soul" ideas from some religions. I also don't see any argument that makes this idea any more valid than people having individual souls, or being any more valid than each person having a conciousness that arises from purely biological means.


How would I explain this to an eight year old? This is an interesting challenge. I think my response will serve as a reply to the other posts which followed yours, as well.

Maybe it would go something like this (with me in bold and with 8 year old Julie in quotes):


Of all the lives that have been lived throughout history, and all the lives that are being lived right now, why do you think you ended up living this life right now, and no other one?

"I've been told that I am a soul inside this body, and that I'll still be this soul even after my body dies. No one has explained what my soul was doing before it landed in my body, or why I can't remember what happened before I landed in my body, but they are quite sure that I am this soul now, and I will be this one forever."

A charming thought. That would mean poor old Grandma, rest her soul, is still out there, even though her body is now only ash on the mantle! Heartwarming, consoling- what more could you want from a philosophy of the central core of life, selfhood?

"Well, we did learn in class that philosophy is all about searching for truth, right? You are older and wiser- so is it true that I am a soul, and that you are a different soul, and that Grandma is a different soul still?"

Not a simple question. Many of us are of the mind that the only reason to believe a thing is if there are facts that support belief in that thing. So while it feels good to believe that each of us has a unique soul, and while it also feels good to hold a belief which so many other people believe, these are emotional considerations which are unrelated to any facts pertaining to the idea at hand. To find out if it is true that this is the case, we need to examine the facts. Does that make sense to you?

"Sure- it was fun to believe in Santa Claus, but when I spied on my parents last Christmas eve, I saw that all the presents that came from Santa were actually wrapped and placed by them! These are facts which disagreed with my belief that Santa Claus brought me presents, and I can no longer believe that he does."

My what a bright 8 year old you are. Very insightful- I know quite a few adults whom could learn a thing or two from you! Now then, there are some facts which tell us where our selfhood comes from. For one, we know that a person has to have a healthy brain in order to have a healthy mind, and of course that is what we are talking about when we talk about "you", or your "soul", or "me"- it is the one who experiences the life it lives. This fact quarrels with the old idea of a soul a bit, because it shows that your soul, or your mind, or your "I" is affected by your body. Now, if you believe you are a soul no matter what, this fact might make you hesitate, from, say, taking out half of your brain and putting it in a blender as a Halloween decoration. You might would live through this spooky activity, but all the facts tell us that your mind would never be the same again.

"So my brain is very important to my "me", to who I am and how I experience life?"

Yes, very much so. In fact, there are many facts which show that your "me" is entirely dependent on your brain, and if your whole brain were put in that blender, your whole "me" would no longer be around.

"Huh. So the answer to your first question, "why do you think you ended up living this life right now, and no other one?" is that I have this brain right now, and no other one. But surely "I" am more than just my brain, right? We learned in class that a brain is just a bunch of cells and electricity, like some kind of supercomputer. How do my experiences come out of a bunch of cells and electricity?"

No one really knows at present; that is a question which is explicitly beyond our reach for now. However, though we don't know exactly how or why, it is clear that your experiences do come out of that configuration of cells and electricity, because when that configuration of cells and electricity is turned off, or scrambled around in a blender, your experiences no longer come out of them. At least, that is what all our facts indicate, and we agreed that facts are the reason for believing in something, not emotion or habit or tradition or majority vote.

"Wow, how strange. So you are saying that anywhere that brain cells and electricity are configured in the right way, experiences will happen?"

That is indeed what the facts suggest.

"Well... then why am I experiencing the experiences which happen to this configuration of brain cells and electricity, instead of any of the other ones that exist currently, like yours or like Mom or Dad's?"

It would seem that you are experiencing the experiences which happen to my configuration or brain cells and electricity, but you experience it as me. On the other hand, I experience the experiences which happen to your configuration of brain cells and electricity, but I experience it as you. Every configuration of brain cells and electricity anywhere in the Universe must be experienced; that seems to be the rules of the game.

"Wow, I'm really cool. Am I everyone?"

I'd say we are the Universe. At least, that's what it looks like if you just consider the facts and leave out emotion, habit, tradition, and the bandwagon effect.

"Woooow."


------
Quick clarification: When I say "we are the Universe", I'm not saying that there is some overmind comprised of all our experiences simultaneously; I'm saying specifically that the phenomenon of experientiality always comes from the same source, which is the Universal possibility for experience to happen. Each brain engages this possibility uniquely, but agony in one brain occurs to the experiencer, that Universal home to every experience which arises in the Universe. That is, it isn't happening to me, the human over here in this circumstance, it is happening to Me, the universal experiencer which is everywhere in every conscious circumstance. I am experiencing you reading this right now as you, and you are experiencing me typing this right now as me. We are the Universe, the experiencer.
Last edited by androidbleepboop on Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:33 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby Draconaes » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:30 pm UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:
iChef wrote:"Well... then why am I experiencing the experiences which happen to this configuration of brain cells and electricity, instead of any of the other ones that exist currently, like yours or like Mom or Dad's?"

It would seem that you are experiencing the experiences which happen to my configuration or brain cells and electricity, but you experience it as me. On the other hand, I experience the experiences which happen to your configuration of brain cells and electricity, but I experience it as you. Every configuration of brain cells and electricity anywhere in the Universe must be experienced; that seems to be the rules of the game.


Wow, what a leap. Where the hell did this come from? This isn't really explaining anything, just asserting it again.

Aside - I don't think this is exactly how people wanted you to format this. They less wanted a script for what you hoped would happen and more wanted you to explain the entire concept in a way that would not be inaccessible to an 8-year-old.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:32 pm UTC

androidbleepboop, a professor of neuroendocrinology by the name of Robert Sapolsky has some excellent online lectures re: human behaviorism, consciousness, and our general tendency to think the way we do; I'd highly recommend you watch them -- they're long, but intensely interesting, and very informative.

One thing he brings up that I think you might be missing: The human brain is not the singular seat of human experience. Remember, the nervous system extends throughout the entirety of the body. Consciousness seems to be an emergent property from the totality of our bodies, not just our brains. Indeed, this is part of the reason why we now realize that nature vs nurture is a false dichotomy (because your genes are designed to fit your environment; the two are so deeply intermingled that they're actually very hard to separate!).

Also:
Draconaes wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:
iChef wrote:"Well... then why am I experiencing the experiences which happen to this configuration of brain cells and electricity, instead of any of the other ones that exist currently, like yours or like Mom or Dad's?"

It would seem that you are experiencing the experiences which happen to my configuration or brain cells and electricity, but you experience it as me. On the other hand, I experience the experiences which happen to your configuration of brain cells and electricity, but I experience it as you. Every configuration of brain cells and electricity anywhere in the Universe must be experienced; that seems to be the rules of the game.


Wow, what a leap. Where the hell did this come from? This isn't really explaining anything, just asserting it again.

Aside - I don't think this is exactly how people wanted you to format this. They less wanted a script for what you hoped would happen and more wanted you to explain the entire concept in a way that would not be inaccessible to an 8-year-old.
I agree that this is a huge leap, and in no way follows from the other things you've said.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:38 pm UTC

Draconaes wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:
iChef wrote:"Well... then why am I experiencing the experiences which happen to this configuration of brain cells and electricity, instead of any of the other ones that exist currently, like yours or like Mom or Dad's?"

It would seem that you are experiencing the experiences which happen to my configuration or brain cells and electricity, but you experience it as me. On the other hand, I experience the experiences which happen to your configuration of brain cells and electricity, but I experience it as you. Every configuration of brain cells and electricity anywhere in the Universe must be experienced; that seems to be the rules of the game.


Wow, what a leap. Where the hell did this come from? This isn't really explaining anything, just asserting it again.

Aside - I don't think this is exactly how people wanted you to format this. They less wanted a script for what you hoped would happen and more wanted you to explain the entire concept in a way that would not be inaccessible to an 8-year-old.

As for your aside, I think formatting is not the point, the point was to state my position clearly. I found the dialogue format helped accomplish this goal.

As for "Wow, what a leap", I disagree, to me it follows directly. The key insight is that experientiality itself is not something unique to each brain, if experientiality arises wherever neural activity occurs, so to say that each brain creates consciousness is plainly incorrect, just like saying each planet creates gravity is incorrect. Just as gravity is a Universal, fundamental phenomenon which planets engage, consciousness is a Universal, fundamental possibility which brains engage. If you can't glean this insight, there is no point in me stating it over and again in different ways. What would be the alternative, in your mind? In other words, instead of just saying that I'm wrong, what alternative strikes you as correct?

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:41 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:One thing he brings up that I think you might be missing: The human brain is not the singular seat of human experience. Remember, the nervous system extends throughout the entirety of the body. Consciousness seems to be an emergent property from the totality of our bodies, not just our brains. Indeed, this is part of the reason why we now realize that nature vs nurture is a false dichotomy (because your genes are designed to fit your environment; the two are so deeply intermingled that they're actually very hard to separate!).

I am aware of the enteric nervous system, and that the nervous system is not confined to the brain. I just speak in terms of "brain activity" because it is clear what I mean, and it is easier and clearer than saying "full-body neural activity". I don't see this as a missing piece to my argument in any way.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:47 pm UTC

Also:
androidbleepboop wrote:I'd say we are the Universe. At least, that's what it looks like if you just consider the facts and leave out emotion, habit, tradition, and the bandwagon effect.

"Woooow."
8 year old me would not respond with a 'Woooow'. 8 year old me would respond with a heaping pile of skepticism.
androidbleepbloop wrote:Quick clarification: When I say "we are the Universe", I'm not saying that there is some overmind comprised of all our experiences simultaneously; I'm saying specifically that the phenomenon of experientiality always comes from the same source, which is the Universal possibility for experience to happen. Each brain engages this possibility uniquely, but agony in one brain occurs to the experiencer, that Universal home to every experience which arises in the Universe. That is, it isn't happening to me, the human over here in this circumstance, it is happening to Me, the universal experiencer which is everywhere in every conscious circumstance. I am experiencing you reading this right now as you, and you are experiencing me typing this right now as me. We are the Universe, the experiencer.
I'm not sure why you think this should be startling -- particularly since it, as a premise, carries no particularly meaningful consequences.

Unless you mean to imply there is some way I can interact meaningfully with the universal experiencer -- by all apparent measures, we cannot. The fact that the universe contains the set of all experiences (and therefore can be described as being all experiences) is trivially true; it carries no significant ramifications for daily life, because the only experience we can perceive are our own singular experiences.
androidbleepbloop wrote:As for "Wow, what a leap", I disagree, to me it follows directly. The key insight is that experientiality itself is not something unique to each brain, if experientiality arises wherever neural activity occurs, so to say that each brain creates consciousness is plainly incorrect, just like saying each planet creates gravity is incorrect. Just as gravity is a Universal, fundamental phenomenon which planets engage, consciousness is a Universal, fundamental possibility which brains engage. If you can't glean this insight, there is no point in me stating it over and again in different ways. What would be the alternative, in your mind? In other words, instead of just saying that I'm wrong, what alternative strikes you as correct?
I suspect the problem is that the insight you're offering is so trivially true that people are resisting it because they don't understand just how trivially true it is, or why you're even bothering to point it out.

Yes, experience can only be produced because the universe allows it; because there is a universal constant that allows for it to exist. But this is true of everything that occurs in the universe -- it's a distinction that carries no significant consequences.
androidbleepbloop wrote:I am aware of the enteric nervous system, and that the nervous system is not confined to the brain. I just speak in terms of "brain activity" because it is clear what I mean, and it is easier and clearer than saying "full-body neural activity". I don't see this as a missing piece to my argument in any way.
Do you understand, then, how consciousness is -- at least in part -- dependent on things outside of our body, as well? How I am only me because of the environment I exist in? In other words, it isn't just that the universe allowed neural pathways to produce consciousness, but allowed for the existence of entire environments which lead to the emergence of consciousness?

Because if you can understand that, I think you might understand how what you're saying is very trivial -- like saying there's a universal constant that allows for the existence of life itself (which, by the way, would necessarily be the same universal constant that allows for consciousness -- since, as far as we know, consciousness cannot exist without life!).

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby PeteP » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:04 am UTC

You focused quite a bit of your imaginary dialog on souls and only a tiny part on your main contentious conclusion and once again you don't actually support it. You seem to think it follows from consciousness being a physical progress. However to me, and as far as I know the other people here, it does not. So could you illustrate the intermediate step necessary to get to the following conclusion (if you have one that is)?
androidbleepboop wrote:It would seem that you are experiencing the experiences which happen to my configuration or brain cells and electricity, but you experience it as me. On the other hand, I experience the experiences which happen to your configuration of brain cells and electricity, but I experience it as you. Every configuration of brain cells and electricity anywhere in the Universe must be experienced; that seems to be the rules of the game.



Also here is how I would answer the penultimate question:
androidbleepboop wrote:"Well... then why am I experiencing the experiences which happen to this configuration of brain cells and electricity, instead of any of the other ones that exist currently, like yours or like Mom or Dad's?"

Kid, didn't you just say that "is that I have this brain right now, and no other one"? Nothing changed from that - it's still a valid answer. So why do you suddenly ask? It's almost as if you are no real person but just a mouthpiece.
Anyway you aren't experiencing what your parents are experiencing because your getting entirely different inputs, and your brain is similar but not identical to theirs.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:07 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:How would I explain this to an eight year old? This is an interesting challenge. I think my response will serve as a reply to the other posts which followed yours, as well.

Not really sure how you planned to do that without actually, you know, addressing the challenges raised in those posts.

androidbleepboop wrote:The key insight is that experientiality itself is not something unique to each brain, if experientiality arises wherever neural activity occurs, so to say that each brain creates consciousness is plainly incorrect, just like saying each planet creates gravity is incorrect.

Is it incorrect to say that matches cause fires? Or to say that smoking may be hazardous to your health?

androidbleepboop wrote:This fact quarrels with the old idea of a soul a bit, because it shows that your soul, or your mind, or your "I" is affected by your body.

Name one philosopher or theologian who thinks that your soul, your mind, or your "I" is not affected by your body.
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:22 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
androidbleepbloop wrote:Quick clarification: When I say "we are the Universe", I'm not saying that there is some overmind comprised of all our experiences simultaneously; I'm saying specifically that the phenomenon of experientiality always comes from the same source, which is the Universal possibility for experience to happen. Each brain engages this possibility uniquely, but agony in one brain occurs to the experiencer, that Universal home to every experience which arises in the Universe. That is, it isn't happening to me, the human over here in this circumstance, it is happening to Me, the universal experiencer which is everywhere in every conscious circumstance. I am experiencing you reading this right now as you, and you are experiencing me typing this right now as me. We are the Universe, the experiencer.
I'm not sure why you think this should be startling -- particularly since it, as a premise, carries no particularly meaningful consequences.

Haha I'm not sure why you can't see the meaningful ethical consequence. If it is the case that pushing someone down the stairs causes pain in their body, but no pain in yours, and therefore doing so has no direct consequences for you (as the traditional understanding has it), then if you personally gain through doing so, the only moral consequence of your action would be through empathy- you can realize that they are feeling pain, so the action hurts them, but if you gain enough, who cares- you only reap the reward and face none of the consequence. On the other hand, if what I'm putting forward is true, then you would also have the understanding that, in fact, you do experience the pain of their fall, just in their body instead of yours. This gives empathy a vital importance, because taking an action which hurts another person while benefitting you fundamentally also hurts you, through hurting them (and through you both sharing in the fundamental phenomenon of experience). You simply missing the meaningful consequences which I've laid out so plainly does not stand as evidence that the premise "carries no particularly meaningful consequences".
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:24 am UTC

PeteP wrote:You focused quite a bit of your imaginary dialog on souls and only a tiny part on your main contentious conclusion and once again you don't actually support it. You seem to think it follows from consciousness being a physical progress. However to me, and as far as I know the other people here, it does not. So could you illustrate the intermediate step necessary to get to the following conclusion (if you have one that is)?
androidbleepboop wrote:It would seem that you are experiencing the experiences which happen to my configuration or brain cells and electricity, but you experience it as me. On the other hand, I experience the experiences which happen to your configuration of brain cells and electricity, but I experience it as you. Every configuration of brain cells and electricity anywhere in the Universe must be experienced; that seems to be the rules of the game.



I'll quote from a response I gave to the exact same challenge, because it answers yours in the exact same way. "The key insight is that experientiality itself is not something unique to each brain, if experientiality arises wherever neural activity occurs, so to say that each brain creates consciousness is plainly incorrect, just like saying each planet creates gravity is incorrect. Just as gravity is a Universal, fundamental phenomenon which planets engage, consciousness is a Universal, fundamental possibility which brains engage. If you can't glean this insight, there is no point in me stating it over and again in different ways. What would be the alternative, in your mind? In other words, instead of just saying that I'm wrong, what alternative strikes you as correct?"

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:32 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:How would I explain this to an eight year old? This is an interesting challenge. I think my response will serve as a reply to the other posts which followed yours, as well.

Not really sure how you planned to do that without actually, you know, addressing the challenges raised in those posts.

Those other posts challenges boiled down to "state your position more clearly", so it shouldn't be very difficult to see how stating my position more clearly answered those challenges.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:The key insight is that experientiality itself is not something unique to each brain, if experientiality arises wherever neural activity occurs, so to say that each brain creates consciousness is plainly incorrect, just like saying each planet creates gravity is incorrect.

Is it incorrect to say that matches cause fires? Or to say that smoking may be hazardous to your health?

Obviously not. Did you miss our discussion from a few posts back? I'll quote my response there: "I have no idea how you got this from the ideas put forward. No modification to causality is required at all, the only thing I add is the observation that in order for a spark to cause a fire, the possibility for fires to occur must exist. The possibility for fires to exist is a result of chemical law such that an oxidizer, a fuel source, and a heat source can come together to cause a chain reaction wherein enough heat is generated to continue combustion. This framework is universal in that in order for a spark to cause a fire, these circumstances must be present, and this is a framework which all fires share."

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:This fact quarrels with the old idea of a soul a bit, because it shows that your soul, or your mind, or your "I" is affected by your body.

Name one philosopher or theologian who thinks that your soul, your mind, or your "I" is not affected by your body.

...It's an idea the Abrahamic religions espouse, with followers making up over 50% of the world's population. It's sort of the crux of the religious perspective on the soul that it transcends the body.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:34 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:Haha I'm not sure why you can't see the meaningful ethical consequence. If it is the case that pushing someone down the stairs causes pain in their body, but no pain in yours, and therefore doing so has no direct consequences for you (as the traditional understanding has it), then if you personally gain through doing so, the only moral consequence of your action would be through empathy- you can realize that they are feeling pain, so the action hurts them, but if you gain enough, who cares- you only reap the reward and face none of the consequence. On the other hand, if what I'm putting forward is true, then you would also have the understanding that, in fact, you do experience the pain of their fall, just in their body instead of yours. This gives empathy a vital importance, because taking an action which hurts another person while benefitting you fundamentally also hurts you, through hurting them (and through you both sharing in the fundamental phenomenon of experience). You simply missing the meaningful consequences which I've laid out so plainly does not stand as evidence that the premise "carries no particularly meaningful consequences".
Except I don't push people down the stairs because I know pushing people down the stairs is wrong. I don't need some sort of universal experiential framework to understand that; I don't think anyone does.

Even if this was not the case (and it very much is), I still don't see any ethically meaningful consequence. As we've both stated, there's no way for me to access your experience, or access the experiences of the one experiencer; our experiences are partitioned, leaving us separate and individual. No matter how many times I push you down the stairs, I'll never feel your pain or the pain of the one experiencer. I'm perfectly capable of accepting your premise of the one experiencer and still being a wholly intellectually consistent sociopathic -- because as a sociopath, I don't care about experiences that aren't my own.
androidbleepbloop wrote:...It's an idea the Abrahamic religions espouse, with followers making up over 50% of the world's population. It's sort of the crux of the religious perspective on the soul that it transcends the body.
While I'm not intimately familiar with the bulk of Abrahamic religious scholarship, I've never heard of a scholar purporting that the soul is independent of the body -- rather, the premise seems to be that the soul is hostage to the wants and desires of the body, struggling to be free.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:44 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:Haha I'm not sure why you can't see the meaningful ethical consequence. If it is the case that pushing someone down the stairs causes pain in their body, but no pain in yours, and therefore doing so has no direct consequences for you (as the traditional understanding has it), then if you personally gain through doing so, the only moral consequence of your action would be through empathy- you can realize that they are feeling pain, so the action hurts them, but if you gain enough, who cares- you only reap the reward and face none of the consequence. On the other hand, if what I'm putting forward is true, then you would also have the understanding that, in fact, you do experience the pain of their fall, just in their body instead of yours. This gives empathy a vital importance, because taking an action which hurts another person while benefitting you fundamentally also hurts you, through hurting them (and through you both sharing in the fundamental phenomenon of experience). You simply missing the meaningful consequences which I've laid out so plainly does not stand as evidence that the premise "carries no particularly meaningful consequences".

Why are you assuming that:
  1. every action that harms or benefits me is morally relevant to me?
  2. only those actions which harm or benefit me are morally relevant to me?

androidbleepboop wrote:Those other posts challenges boiled down to "state your position more clearly", so it shouldn't be very difficult to see how stating my position more clearly answered those challenges.

Uh, no, I specifically challenged you to explain why we should call the thing-that-consciousness-does "experience" rather than calling the thing-that-individuals-do "experience." I also challenged you to explain the moral relevance of the thing-that-consciousness-does, as distinguished from the thing-that-individuals-do. Go back and read it if you don't believe me.

androidbleepboop wrote:Obviously not.

OK, so why is it wrong to say that a planet creates gravity? Or, if you prefer, I could say that a planet creates a gravitational field, or whichever term you prefer. Would that be a correct thing to say?

If not, what exactly is the difference between the planet-gravitational field relation and the match-fire relation or the smoking-cancer relation?

androidbleepboop wrote:...It's an idea the Abrahamic religions espouse, with followers making up over 50% of the world's population. It's sort of the crux of the religious perspective on the soul that it transcends the body.

I didn't ask you to name someone who thinks that the soul transcends the body. I asked you to name someone who thinks that the soul is not affected by the body. Which is what you said is part of "the old idea of a soul."

Hippo, I don't think there are too many Christians, at least, espousing that view. Sounds more gnostic, the idea that the material world is a shithole you're trying to escape. Catholics and anyone else with the Apostles' Creed affirm a belief in the "resurrection of the body" at the end of the world, as did some important Christian writers of the second century.
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:45 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:Haha I'm not sure why you can't see the meaningful ethical consequence. If it is the case that pushing someone down the stairs causes pain in their body, but no pain in yours, and therefore doing so has no direct consequences for you (as the traditional understanding has it), then if you personally gain through doing so, the only moral consequence of your action would be through empathy- you can realize that they are feeling pain, so the action hurts them, but if you gain enough, who cares- you only reap the reward and face none of the consequence. On the other hand, if what I'm putting forward is true, then you would also have the understanding that, in fact, you do experience the pain of their fall, just in their body instead of yours. This gives empathy a vital importance, because taking an action which hurts another person while benefitting you fundamentally also hurts you, through hurting them (and through you both sharing in the fundamental phenomenon of experience). You simply missing the meaningful consequences which I've laid out so plainly does not stand as evidence that the premise "carries no particularly meaningful consequences".
Except I don't push people down the stairs because I know pushing people down the stairs is wrong. I don't need some sort of universal experiential framework to understand that; I don't think anyone does.

Even if this was not the case (and it very much is), I still don't see any ethically meaningful consequence. As we've both stated, there's no way for me to access your experience, or access the experiences of the one experiencer; our experiences are partitioned, leaving us separate and individual. No matter how many times I push you down the stairs, I'll never feel your pain or the pain of the one experiencer. I'm perfectly capable of accepting your premise of the one experiencer and still being a wholly intellectually consistent sociopathic -- because as a sociopath, I don't care about experiences that aren't my own.

"I'll never feel your pain or the pain of the one experiencer." This highlights the misunderstanding you have about the idea. I agree that it is an unfamiliar way of thinking, but what I'm putting forward is that because there is one experiencer, you (in the sense of you being the one experiencer on the most fundamental level) do experience my pain- you experience it as me because I am also the one experiencer on the most fundamental level. Put differently, fundamentally I am not my body, not my experiences or memories, not my personality, I am the one who experiences this unique context, and the one who does experiencing is the Universal phenomenon of consciousness.
The Great Hippo wrote:
androidbleepbloop wrote:...It's an idea the Abrahamic religions espouse, with followers making up over 50% of the world's population. It's sort of the crux of the religious perspective on the soul that it transcends the body.
While I'm not intimately familiar with the bulk of Abrahamic religious scholarship, I've never heard of a scholar purporting that the soul is independent of the body -- rather, the premise seems to be that the soul is hostage to the wants and desires of the body, struggling to be free.

Well, when the body dies, yet the soul persists, doesn't that mean the soul is then independent of the body?
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:01 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Why are you assuming that:
  1. every action that harms or benefits me is morally relevant to me?
  2. only those actions which harm or benefit me are morally relevant to me?

I'm not, exactly- I'm assuming that, as Hippo pointed out, a sociopath could agree with B. in the absence of the rational understanding of selfhood which I am putting forward. This is where the moral importance comes in- even a horrid sociopath like Christopher Columbus would have to rethink his horrendous control tactics if he imagined that the experiencer he shares with all conscious beings has to endure the torture he dealt out.
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:Those other posts challenges boiled down to "state your position more clearly", so it shouldn't be very difficult to see how stating my position more clearly answered those challenges.

Uh, no, I specifically challenged you to explain why we should call the thing-that-consciousness-does "experience" rather than calling the thing-that-individuals-do "experience." I also challenged you to explain the moral relevance of the thing-that-consciousness-does, as distinguished from the thing-that-individuals-do. Go back and read it if you don't believe me.

My response accomplished those things, though you have to gather what I'm putting forward and apply it to your questions. In any case, let me deal with them. Calling "the thing-that-consciousness-does "experience" rather than calling the thing-that-individuals-do "experience." is an odd way to put it, because individuals have to be conscious to have experiences. The moral relevance stems from us all being one experiencer, so pain in one is pain endured by the all. This is not the best way to put it, I suppose, but I've put it in about 15 different ways in different responses, and I think the picture I'm putting forward should be clear by now.
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:Obviously not.

OK, so why is it wrong to say that a planet creates gravity? Or, if you prefer, I could say that a planet creates a gravitational field, or whichever term you prefer. Would that be a correct thing to say?

It is important how you put it, because they both say precise things which are different. Saying a planet creates gravity is to say that gravity is created uniquely by each planet, when in actuality gravity is a universal consequence of the relationship between matter and spacetime. Saying that a planet creates a gravitational field is correct, because it is in line with this context: gravitational fields are instilled universally due to the relationship between matter and spacetime.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:...what exactly is the difference between the planet-gravitational field relation and the match-fire relation or the smoking-cancer relation?
I don't see any difference, nor do I see me suggesting one.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:...It's an idea the Abrahamic religions espouse, with followers making up over 50% of the world's population. It's sort of the crux of the religious perspective on the soul that it transcends the body.

I didn't ask you to name someone who thinks that the soul transcends the body. I asked you to name someone who thinks that the soul is not affected by the body. Which is what you said is part of "the old idea of a soul."

If the soul persists after the body is gone, then the soul is then unaffected by the body. You could argue that the soul's new inhabitance in heaven or hell is determined by actions the body took, but it's the actual existence of the soul that is in question. If the soul can exist without the body, then clearly the soul is not dependent on the body for its existence. That's the point I was making in the dialogue- the old idea proposes that the soul's existence does not hinge on brain activity, whereas modern evidence clearly suggests otherwise.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:08 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Hippo, I don't think there are too many Christians, at least, espousing that view. Sounds more gnostic, the idea that the material world is a shithole you're trying to escape. Catholics and anyone else with the Apostles' Creed affirm a belief in the "resurrection of the body" at the end of the world, as did some important Christian writers of the second century.
Fair enough; I beg pardon -- my understanding of Abrahamic scholarship is very weak -- the only stuff I've ever read was the stuff that intrigued me, and the only stuff that intrigued me was some of the gnostic stuff (which included ideas like the Demiurge).
androidbleepboop wrote:"I'll never feel your pain or the pain of the one experiencer." This highlights the misunderstanding you have about the idea. I agree that it is an unfamiliar way of thinking, but what I'm putting forward is that because there is one experiencer, you (in the sense of you being the one experiencer on the most fundamental level) do experience my pain- you experience it as me because I am also the one experiencer on the most fundamental level. Put differently, fundamentally I am not my body, not my experiences or memories, not my personality, I am the one who experiences this unique context, and the one who does experiencing is the Universal phenomenon of consciousness.
I don't agree that it's an unfamiliar way of thinking; it also seems relatively trivial to grasp -- you believe that because there is one experiencer who contains the set of all experiences, any individual member of that set that acts against another individual member of that set is an instance of the set acting against itself.

I agree that this is trivially true; I also disagree that this carries any interesting implications, ethical or otherwise. Partly because I am not the set, but merely an individual member of it -- partly because I cannot have any meaningful interactions with the set (only with its individual parts). You cannot 'emerge' from the cage of your own individual experiences -- you are trapped, a hostage of your own body and mind. The Universal phenomenon -- as you describe it -- is something far beyond our ability to perceive, understand, or even approach; because of this, its existence (or non-existence) carries no particularly interesting ramifications.

Furthermore, there's a dangerous sort of arrogance in your ongoing insistence that you possess an understanding everyone else here lacks. Remember -- it's when you are at your most certain that you are at your most vulnerable.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:25 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:That's the point I was making in the dialogue- the old idea proposes that the soul's existence does not hinge on brain activity, whereas modern evidence clearly suggests otherwise.
I urge you to find a single scientific paper that purports to locate the soul.
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:39 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I agree that this is trivially true; I also disagree that this carries any interesting implications, ethical or otherwise. Partly because I am not the set, but merely an individual member of it -- partly because I cannot have any meaningful interactions with the set (only with its individual parts). You cannot 'emerge' from the cage of your own individual experiences -- you are trapped, a hostage of your own body and mind. The Universal phenomenon -- as you describe it -- is something far beyond our ability to perceive, understand, or even approach; because of this, its existence (or non-existence) carries no particularly interesting ramifications.

I agree with all of this, except I feel that though I cannot experience another's pain in my body, the intellectual understanding that the "I" that we share feels that pain casts morality in a totally different light. I feel like humanity, in holding a view of selfhood which implicitly encourages selfishness (in the way that you say, that because we cannot experience another's perspective it is not our problem), is being irresponsible with this amazing phenomenon we partake in. To actually torture Universal consciousness for some trivial human concern is just hilariously, tragically wrongminded to me.

The Great Hippo wrote:Furthermore, there's a dangerous sort of arrogance in your ongoing insistence that you possess an understanding everyone else here lacks. Remember -- it's when you are at your most certain that you are at your most vulnerable.

This rather contradicts your insistence that what I'm putting forward is trivially true, doesn't it? I agree with you that it is fully understandable to everyone, but I am not surprised that people are hesitant to agree with me because my position is founded on relatively new evidence, the consideration of which was absent when the cultural understanding we inherited in regards to selfhood was developed. I don't mind if you think me arrogant; I do disagree with you however that that adjective applies to me in this case. If a compelling counterargument were put forward, I would certainly change my position. None has so far been forthcoming, which is why I happily continue to debate my perspective.
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:41 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:That's the point I was making in the dialogue- the old idea proposes that the soul's existence does not hinge on brain activity, whereas modern evidence clearly suggests otherwise.
I urge you to find a single scientific paper that purports to locate the soul.

The soul hypothesis is prescientific, as discussed in the video. It persists because it is so culturally ingrained, not because there is scientific evidence for it, which is one of the points underlying my argument.

Edit: In the discussion you quoted from, we were using "soul" and "mind" interchangibly; that's why it sounds like I'm saying there is modern evidence re. the soul. What I'm talking about is that there's modern evidence re. the phenomenon of consciousness, namely, neuroscience, while before modern science consciousness was explained in terms of the soul.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:59 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:I agree with all of this, except I feel that though I cannot experience another's pain in my body, the intellectual understanding that the "I" that we share feels that pain casts morality in a totally different light. I feel like humanity, in holding a view of selfhood which implicitly encourages selfishness (in the way that you say, that because we cannot experience another's perspective it is not our problem), is being irresponsible with this amazing phenomenon we partake in. To actually torture Universal consciousness for some trivial human concern is just hilariously, tragically wrongminded to me.
But since we are incapable of perceiving the Universal consciousness; since we're not sure it even exists (beyond in the most 'abstract' way) -- it seems hard for me to care about torturing it. Indeed, it seems many times easier to simply say that I am against torturing any member of the set -- rather than assigning anthropomorphic properties to the set itself and claiming that I'm against torturing that.

To put it another way, why is it not enough that I believe no conscious being deserves to suffer -- and then act accordingly?
androidbleepboop wrote:This rather contradicts your insistence that what I'm putting forward is trivially true, doesn't it? I agree with you that it is fully understandable to everyone, but I am not surprised that people are hesitant to agree with me because my position is founded on relatively new evidence, the consideration of which was absent when the cultural understanding we inherited in regards to selfhood was developed. I don't mind if you think me arrogant; I do disagree with you however that that adjective applies to me in this case. If a compelling counterargument were put forward, I would certainly change my position. None has so far been forthcoming, which is why I happily continue to debate my perspective.
That's the thing; your position isn't founded on relatively new evidence. Your position isn't founded on any evidence, really; it's just the very simple realization that we are all members of a set, and that when members act against fellow members of a set, the set itself can be said to be acting against itself. You then assign this set certain properties that you have no way of proving or validating (like the idea that the set can be 'tortured'; how do you know that? Maybe the universal oneness is totally masochistic and gets off on all the pain and suffering we cause it!).

I mentioned the bit about arrogance because the implication you've made here is that the posters responding to you have merely failed to grasp your point -- I think the problem here is more that you think you have made an interesting and new point, and people are confused because, at its core, you're saying the sort of thing people have been saying in different ways for centuries -- 'Ask not for whom the bell tolls', etc.

I mean, it's kind of cool; I'm all for the one-ness of the universe stuff. But it's not new, it's not particularly remarkable, and I think the vast majority of people posting here have probably encountered the concept long before you put it forward here.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:10 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:That's the point I was making in the dialogue- the old idea proposes that the soul's existence does not hinge on brain activity, whereas modern evidence clearly suggests otherwise.
I urge you to find a single scientific paper that purports to locate the soul.

The soul hypothesis is prescientific, as discussed in the video. It persists because it is so culturally ingrained, not because there is scientific evidence for it, which is one of the points underlying my argument.

Edit: In the discussion you quoted from, we were using "soul" and "mind" interchangibly; that's why it sounds like I'm saying there is modern evidence re. the soul. What I'm talking about is that there's modern evidence re. the phenomenon of consciousness, namely, neuroscience, while before modern science consciousness was explained in terms of the soul.
If that's the tact you want to undertake, I urge you to provide evidence that the soul/mind persists after death. Admitting this to be not the case would rather contradict your previous assertion within the same paragraph about the soul persisting after death. So, respectfully, you were not remotely conflating 'soul' and 'mind'.
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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:15 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:That's the point I was making in the dialogue- the old idea proposes that the soul's existence does not hinge on brain activity, whereas modern evidence clearly suggests otherwise.
I urge you to find a single scientific paper that purports to locate the soul.

The soul hypothesis is prescientific, as discussed in the video. It persists because it is so culturally ingrained, not because there is scientific evidence for it, which is one of the points underlying my argument.

Edit: In the discussion you quoted from, we were using "soul" and "mind" interchangibly; that's why it sounds like I'm saying there is modern evidence re. the soul. What I'm talking about is that there's modern evidence re. the phenomenon of consciousness, namely, neuroscience, while before modern science consciousness was explained in terms of the soul.
If that's the tact you want to undertake, I urge you to provide evidence that the soul/mind persists after death. Admitting this to be not the case would rather contradict your previous assertion within the same paragraph about the soul persisting after death. So, respectfully, you were not remotely conflating 'soul' and 'mind'.

Wait, in which paragraph are you seeing me assert that the soul persists after death? I never said that.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:16 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:Well, when the body dies, yet the soul persists, doesn't that mean the soul is then independent of the body?

If every other conscious being ceased to exist, yet I persisted, would that mean that I was unaffected by society?
androidbleepboop wrote:My response accomplished those things, though you have to gather what I'm putting forward and apply it to your questions. In any case, let me deal with them. Calling "the thing-that-consciousness-does "experience" rather than calling the thing-that-individuals-do "experience." is an odd way to put it, because individuals have to be conscious to have experiences. The moral relevance stems from us all being one experiencer, so pain in one is pain endured by the all. This is not the best way to put it, I suppose, but I've put it in about 15 different ways in different responses, and I think the picture I'm putting forward should be clear by now.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:48 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:I agree with all of this, except I feel that though I cannot experience another's pain in my body, the intellectual understanding that the "I" that we share feels that pain casts morality in a totally different light. I feel like humanity, in holding a view of selfhood which implicitly encourages selfishness (in the way that you say, that because we cannot experience another's perspective it is not our problem), is being irresponsible with this amazing phenomenon we partake in. To actually torture Universal consciousness for some trivial human concern is just hilariously, tragically wrongminded to me.


But since we are incapable of perceiving the Universal consciousness; since we're not sure it even exists (beyond in the most 'abstract' way) -- it seems hard for me to care about torturing it. Indeed, it seems many times easier to simply say that I am against torturing any member of the set -- rather than assigning anthropomorphic properties to the set itself and claiming that I'm against torturing that.

By saying "to actual torture Universal consciousness is...wrongminded", I'm not talking about torturing the whole set of all experiencers, I'm talking about torturing the person being tortured, who only experiences that torture through the existence of the phenomenon of consciousness. I think this has been a disconnect in our mutual understanding throughout our discussion: when I say "one universal experiencer", I'm not talking about the sum totality of all individual conscious entities as if that totality itself were conscious. I'm talking about the phenomenon of consciousness which is a prerequisite to having experience: we all engage this same phenomenon.

The Great Hippo wrote:To put it another way, why is it not enough that I believe no conscious being deserves to suffer -- and then act accordingly?

From a moral standpoint, that achieves the same end, so that's perfectly enough for a moral philosophy. Wouldn't you agree that for the minority of humans who are not naturally compassionate in this way, the further conditions of the Universal experiencer idea provide more motivation to behave compassionately? Perhaps the people who rally to send people off to war so that they and a select group of their rich friends can profit would reconsider, if they truly realized that they are sending themselves off to war fundamentally.

The Great Hippo wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:This rather contradicts your insistence that what I'm putting forward is trivially true, doesn't it? I agree with you that it is fully understandable to everyone, but I am not surprised that people are hesitant to agree with me because my position is founded on relatively new evidence, the consideration of which was absent when the cultural understanding we inherited in regards to selfhood was developed. I don't mind if you think me arrogant; I do disagree with you however that that adjective applies to me in this case. If a compelling counterargument were put forward, I would certainly change my position. None has so far been forthcoming, which is why I happily continue to debate my perspective.

That's the thing; your position isn't founded on relatively new evidence. Your position isn't founded on any evidence, really;

Whoa whoa whoa, slow down there. My position isn't founded on any evidence? Incorrect, my position is founded on the neuroscience of conscious perception arising from brain activity. I respect your intelligence, so I can't possibly believe you are unable to see how this evidence relates to my position. Am I wrong to feel this way?
The Great Hippo wrote: ...it's just the very simple realization that we are all members of a set, and that when members act against fellow members of a set, the set itself can be said to be acting against itself. You then assign this set certain properties that you have no way of proving or validating (like the idea that the set can be 'tortured'; how do you know that? Maybe the universal oneness is totally masochistic and gets off on all the pain and suffering we cause it!).

Again, a misinterpretation of what I'm saying. I never put forward the idea that the universal experiencer is a totality which is itself conscious. There is no sense in which "the universal oneness could be masochistic", because it is not itself a conscious being. I am not surprised you disagree with me if that is what you get from what I'm putting forward; I would disagree if someone said there were evidence that the universal experiencer is itself a higher-order conscious being. In my position, the "universal experiencer" is the actual fabric of experience, the property of the Universe which makes conscious experience possible. It only gains experiential consciousness when the necessary conditions are met; that is, when brains process information in the way they do. Its experiences are nothing but our experiences.

The Great Hippo wrote:I mentioned the bit about arrogance because the implication you've made here is that the posters responding to you have merely failed to grasp your point -- I think the problem here is more that you think you have made an interesting and new point, and people are confused because, at its core, you're saying the sort of thing people have been saying in different ways for centuries -- 'Ask not for whom the bell tolls', etc.

I mean, it's kind of cool; I'm all for the one-ness of the universe stuff. But it's not new, it's not particularly remarkable, and I think the vast majority of people posting here have probably encountered the concept long before you put it forward here.

As far as I can tell, you are only inferring that other people feel that way, because you are the only one who has explicitly expressed that sentiment. In any case, based on your mischaracterization of my position, it seems clear to me that you have failed to grasp the point; not through any fault of your own, I think, but because it's hard to put such concepts into words. My description of what I'm thinking makes perfect sense to me because I already have the whole understanding in my head, but I can see how it would be easy to misinterpret phrases like "the one universal experiencer" in the way that you did. I continue trying to get it across because it is clear that it hasn't made it across yet, at least in your case. Others have characterized my position correctly, even while disagreeing with it, and in those cases I didn't argue along the lines that they had "merely failed to grasp my point."

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:54 am UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:Well, when the body dies, yet the soul persists, doesn't that mean the soul is then independent of the body?

If every other conscious being ceased to exist, yet I persisted, would that mean that I was unaffected by society?

It would surely mean that your existence is not dependent on the existence of society. The point I'm making with the statement you quoted is that the soul's existence is independent of the body's existence in that case.

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:My response accomplished those things, though you have to gather what I'm putting forward and apply it to your questions. In any case, let me deal with them. Calling "the thing-that-consciousness-does "experience" rather than calling the thing-that-individuals-do "experience." is an odd way to put it, because individuals have to be conscious to have experiences. The moral relevance stems from us all being one experiencer, so pain in one is pain endured by the all. This is not the best way to put it, I suppose, but I've put it in about 15 different ways in different responses, and I think the picture I'm putting forward should be clear by now.

Why should I care about the All?

The All refers to the universal fabric of experience, the possibility for experience to happen at all inherent to the Universe. In this sense, the core of your identity is equivalent to the universal fabric of experience, and that core identity is shared by all experiencers, so rationally you should promote the wellbeing of other experiencers as much as you promote your own (since you all share the same fundamental identity).

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:58 am UTC

androidbleepbloop wrote:By saying "to actual torture Universal consciousness is...wrongminded", I'm not talking about torturing the whole set of all experiencers, I'm talking about torturing the person being tortured, who only experiences that torture through the existence of the phenomenon of consciousness. I think this has been a disconnect in our mutual understanding throughout our discussion: when I say "one universal experiencer", I'm not talking about the sum totality of all individual conscious entities as if that totality itself were conscious. I'm talking about the phenomenon of consciousness which is a prerequisite to having experience: we all engage this same phenomenon.
What evidence do you have that this phenomenon exists? Otherwise, it sounds like a roundabout way of saying 'We shouldn't torture people because people don't like being tortured'.
androidbleepbloop wrote:From a moral standpoint, that achieves the same end, so that's perfectly enough for a moral philosophy. Wouldn't you agree that for the minority of humans who are not naturally compassionate in this way, the further conditions of the Universal experiencer idea provide more motivation to behave compassionately? Perhaps the people who rally to send people off to war so that they and a select group of their rich friends can profit would reconsider, if they truly realized that they are sending themselves off to war fundamentally.
But they aren't -- or, at least, by every reasonable perceptive apparatus at their disposal, it appears that they aren't. By every reasonable perceptive apparatus at their disposal, it seems as if the people they are sending off to war are completely different people, with completely different experiences. All you've apparently done is insist this is not the case -- but what evidence do you have that this is not the case?
androidbleepbloop wrote:Whoa whoa whoa, slow down there. My position isn't founded on any evidence? Incorrect, my position is founded on the neuroscience of conscious perception arising from brain activity. I respect your intelligence, so I can't possibly believe you are unable to see how this evidence relates to my position. Am I wrong to feel this way?
Are you a neuroscientist? If not, are there any prominent neuroscientists who agree with your position? If not, what special knowledge do you think you've ascertained from neuroscience that all neuroscientists themselves have missed?
androidbleepbloop wrote:As far as I can tell, you are only inferring that other people feel that way, because you are the only one who has explicitly expressed that sentiment. In any case, based on your mischaracterization of my position, it seems clear to me that you have failed to grasp the point; not through any fault of your own, I think, but because it's hard to put such concepts into words.
When a concept is hard to put into words, that can be a sign that the concept itself is faulty.
androidbleepbloop wrote:My description of what I'm thinking makes perfect sense to me because I already have the whole understanding in my head, but I can see how it would be easy to misinterpret phrases like "the one universal experiencer" in the way that you did. I continue trying to get it across because it is clear that it hasn't made it across yet, at least in your case. Others have characterized my position correctly, even while disagreeing with it, and in those cases I didn't argue along the lines that they had "merely failed to grasp my point."
Who in this thread has characterized your position correctly? Can you quote the post where they demonstrated their understanding, so I can read and see if their phrasing would help me understand?

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:11 am UTC

androidbleepboop wrote:rationally you should promote the wellbeing of other experiencers as much as you promote your own (since you all share the same fundamental identity).

Why? Why should I, as a particular instance of consciousness, care about the well-being of other instances? You appear to be making a host of assumptions regarding morality; could you state them explicitly?
LE4dGOLEM wrote:your ability to tell things from things remains one of your skills.
Weeks wrote:Not only can you tell things from things, you can recognize when a thing is a thing

Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby addams » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:40 am UTC

Angua wrote:I would also argue that the fact that different people experience things differently given the same stimulus goes towards the fact that we aren't all the same 'experiencer'.

And in answer to the question of the thread, it's me, with all that that entails.

Yes. Me, too.
Yet; When the experience is shared it becomes something else.
What is that other thing?

It is fun; Sometimes.
It is something worth Running From, at other times.

I have a great many examples.
You?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby androidbleepboop » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:27 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
androidbleepbloop wrote:By saying "to actual torture Universal consciousness is...wrongminded", I'm not talking about torturing the whole set of all experiencers, I'm talking about torturing the person being tortured, who only experiences that torture through the existence of the phenomenon of consciousness. I think this has been a disconnect in our mutual understanding throughout our discussion: when I say "one universal experiencer", I'm not talking about the sum totality of all individual conscious entities as if that totality itself were conscious. I'm talking about the phenomenon of consciousness which is a prerequisite to having experience: we all engage this same phenomenon.
What evidence do you have that this phenomenon exists? Otherwise, it sounds like a roundabout way of saying 'We shouldn't torture people because people don't like being tortured'.

Man, are we really back to square one after all this time? I can't help but feel like we're talking past each other. The evidence hasn't changed since I first put it forward in the video, and it's remained straightforward: If consciousness is a phenomenon which arises anywhere in the Universe that physical interactions of the type brains undergo occur, then the phenomenon of consciousness in any unique brain is an expression of the universal possibility for consciousness to exist. Every brain draws from this same fundamental possibility, and each represents a unique instance of this universal phenomenon. Consciousness entails experience, and experience entails an experiencer. Because the possibility of experientiality is available throughout the Universe, and the experiencer is an expression of that possibility, the experiencer must not be unique to every brain; it is a requirement of the universal possibility for consciousness to exist. It all hinges on the realization that experientiality is a universal possibility prior to the existence of brains, possible to engage at any point in the Universe given the correct physical conditions (in a similar way to how, say, magnetism is a universal possibility, and it is engaged when the correct physical conditions (accelerating electrical charges) are present).

The Great Hippo wrote:
androidbleepbloop wrote:Whoa whoa whoa, slow down there. My position isn't founded on any evidence? Incorrect, my position is founded on the neuroscience of conscious perception arising from brain activity. I respect your intelligence, so I can't possibly believe you are unable to see how this evidence relates to my position. Am I wrong to feel this way?
Are you a neuroscientist? If not, are there any prominent neuroscientists who agree with your position? If not, what special knowledge do you think you've ascertained from neuroscience that all neuroscientists themselves have missed?

The evidence from neuroscience is given above, that consciousness arises from neural activity. It isn't special knowledge. The important insight is gained by taking seriously the question "How can we account for the phenomenon of experientiality, if it arises anywhere in the Universe that neural activity occurs?" This is not a question in the realm of science, which accounts for neuroscientists "missing" it. It's a philosophical question.
The Great Hippo wrote:
androidbleepbloop wrote:My description of what I'm thinking makes perfect sense to me because I already have the whole understanding in my head, but I can see how it would be easy to misinterpret phrases like "the one universal experiencer" in the way that you did. I continue trying to get it across because it is clear that it hasn't made it across yet, at least in your case. Others have characterized my position correctly, even while disagreeing with it, and in those cases I didn't argue along the lines that they had "merely failed to grasp my point."
Who in this thread has characterized your position correctly? Can you quote the post where they demonstrated their understanding, so I can read and see if their phrasing would help me understand?

That's actually a good point- in looking back over it, I don't see many people who paraphrase what I'm saying correctly... Weeks' brief comment at the top of page 2 comes closest. I was certainly incorrect in that statement. I must have gotten mixed up with other discussions I've had on other forums on this topic- many others have not had as much difficulty understanding my viewpoint correctly.

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:
androidbleepboop wrote:rationally you should promote the wellbeing of other experiencers as much as you promote your own (since you all share the same fundamental identity).

Why? Why should I, as a particular instance of consciousness, care about the well-being of other instances? You appear to be making a host of assumptions regarding morality; could you state them explicitly?

Being a particular instance of consciousness depends on the possibility for consciousness to exist, which is a Universal property. Every brain seems to manifest experience from this same Universal property, the possibility for experience to exist. For this reason, though you cannot experience other instances of consciousness, you could intellectually grasp that every instance is a manifestation of the same fundamental source, and on account of this not place your own as higher in importance, and thereby choose not to take any actions which hurt other instances of consciousness for the sake of helping your own. These are the pertinent conclusions I'm making, and they are not accurately described as assumptions because they follow logically from premises.

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Re: Just who is it that experiences your life?

Postby addams » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:40 am UTC

Maybe, no one experiences my life.

Your life may be, just, as ethereal.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.


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