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Post Reply So I got into thinking....
Posted 3/20/15
I don't know, I gotta ask Dr. Frankenstein
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Posted 3/20/15

JeffofMaine wrote:

Hmmmmmmm.........ever read Gilgamesh?

Bottom line, nobody knows and that is kind of the point of life. There's a lot of historical evidence that most religions are merely social constructs that mirror their societies. However, a lot of great minds over the past 10,000 years have wrestled with the enigma of self-awareness as a "core construct" of life. Certainly humankind's ability to think abstractly seems to be unique in the animal world. Art is a reflection of this self aware/transcendent/self awareness capability. Some people are atheists, but then that leaves the question of matter and existence. Everything has a beginning and an end and if there is nothing "greater or infinite", where did being and time and existence itself come from?
Bottom line, we don't know and either "belief" system is a leap of faith.

I liked how Parasite touched on this, "why are we here? What are we? thing.


dont know if i would call art entirely unique to humans, the concept is about as well defined as consciousness.
there are birds that produce artifacts of purely aesthetic nature, we observe them using this as a mating ritual, honestly i cant discount human art as having a similar purpose, probably among others, art classes is all i am saying.

one could also argue that dolphin bubble play or wake riding is a sport/art.

as for being self aware, plenty of animals are that, in truth defining human intelligence as something special is an extremely difficult task, in part due to the inherent limitations of inter species communication.
i am not saying that animals are as "intelligent" as humans though, taking the above mentioned bubble play as an example, that requires an extremely well defined body of knowledge about how water works, we cant say if they reason to reach that point or simply have an entirely intuitive understanding.
they can learn and name things and can understand the concept of creating something new so to entirely discount "human like" logic and meta thinking might be a bit preemptive.
in terms of pure calculation power such a task is extremely intensive, calculating hydro and aerodynamic interfaces and manipulating them in real time is no easy feat, i would be surprised if a human could keep up without extensive training if at all, which is sort of the point;
brains are inherently sculpted by their surroundings to very specialized effect, nothing that i can think of can prove that our thinking and adaptation is inherently singular at this point in time.

i do think that our specific combination of traits had a synergistic feedback loop at one point that greatly increased the information retention between generations, that social communication shift allowed us to store and transfer knowledge faster than required for simply living and that in turn allowed a surplus of knowledge to build up as any one individual would have learned their basic lessons well before they are needed as teachers for the next generation, giving them more spare time to learn new things and refine the already known, this in turn is passed on and so the cycle continues.

many animal populations exhibit a similar surplus, albeit at a much slower rate, chimpanzees with tools that increase in complexity over the generations, the above mentioned bubble play is something that we have only observed in recent years as well, though that is a lot harder to be certain of, oceans are sort of huge.

TLDR: there is little to suggest that even our core idea of human consciousness is unique on earth, plenty to suggest the opposite.





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Posted 3/20/15 , edited 3/20/15
Actually, complex abstract thought seems to be unique in the animal world to humans and MAYBE dolphins. Abstract in that humans can observe, analyze, think about the observation in an abstract way and then plan ahead accordingly.-Think maps.: 2dimensional images representing actuality etc.. Every experiment done so far indicates that animals can not grasp an imperfect representation as illustrating another object-although the proof is still out on dolphins and elephants, esp. elephants.

Most animals can learn, but so far we have not discovered any species that seems to have enough "long term" memory to be capable of abstraction- WITH the possible exception of dolphins and elephants.

Animals however have deep and complex emotional lives-well, some do. Fish for example do not have enough long term memory to recall the last time they swim around their tank apparently. Dogs certainly feel attachment, sadness and a fervent form of love.

My friend E.O.Wilson wrote an article about this. Also, his book Sociobiology, which is a bit dated now, discusses the genetic basis for lifeform social interaction-by "abstract higher belief" e.g. -religious organization (I once saw Dworkin's head almost explode when he said it).

The part of Gilgamesh I am referring to is when he encounters Sophia, the Avatar of Wisdom. She tells him what a good life is and how to measure it. I think it still rings true some 6,000 + years later.
:)

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Posted 3/20/15 , edited 3/20/15
Oh, also the aspect of Parasite I was referring to was the female Parasite questioning her and her species' existence. Every biological entity that is "alive" has the ability to reproduce and thereby adapt-evolve over time.......and some form of self awareness. The fact the parasites can not reproduce, although by experiment she has experienced the joys of motherhood, leads her to a philosophical dead end. but I think she never really thought about it- or the scriptwriter did not want to tip her hand early:
Parasites are a biological entity that are both highly intelligent and savagely carnivorous and they are instinctive human eaters, yet they can not breed. So"..............their only primary function, like the Giants in Attack On Titan, is to kill and eat humans, but NOT reproduce, thereby eventually dying out. Parasites are a biological dead end. Ergo- they are manufactured killing machines- that is all. Therefore, they are a weapon, made by....who? Obviously to kill humans, but why and how many? hmmmmmmmm.........

See where I am going with this?
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Posted 3/20/15 , edited 3/20/15
just a short answer since there is plenty we seem to agree on,
but even the phrase complex abstract thought is extremely ill defined in this context, which is sort of my point.
seals can also infer groupings between numbers and letters, even on signs they havent seen before.

then there is the issue of memory in fish, that is largely an urban myth, though it wouldnt surprise me if there are specific fish where that is the case.
as for every experiment, that might have been true 20 years ago, but there is plenty of interesting cognition research even in the last 5 years that would contradict that.
several animals have been shown in surprising ways to have skills that imply complex abstract thought, birds that learn to lie from their parents and plan ahead is just one of them.

my point is that intelligence and brain functions arent as sharply defined as "abstract complex thought" "feelings" and so on, those are macro simplifications, it is more like a collection of traits in varying gradients.

one configuration of such gradients produces the human mind and others produce a dolphin, specific subsets of gradients at specific amplitudes could account for why several animals are self aware yet show little abstract reasoning or how a dolphin has a severely limited learning capability for words, even compared to dogs, yet can still compute complex hydrodynamics in realtime.

as for your parasyte point, not sure i do, could you elaborate?

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Posted 3/20/15
Existence itself is like the most ''supernatural'' thing ever, so that opens up other supernatural possibilities for me. Like for example that i'm the creator of myself, and that i put myself in this body to gain or experience something that will build on my being.

Dunno if this was off topic, didn't understand OP.
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Posted 3/20/15 , edited 3/20/15
You know, I love talking about these concepts, because they are just so darn interesting.

Now, I am no expert of science by any measure, but I recall learning somewhere that information cannot be lost. Now, if our brain stores who we are, and our memories, in the form of electronic impulses or whatever it was, when we die, that won't simply go *poof*. It has to go somewhere. This may be where reincarnation comes into play, and it does not seem like such a bad fate. We die. We decompose. We are absorbed into plants. Eaten by animals. Then eaten by humans. That nutrients contributes to the growth of a new fetus. And then we are reborn. Well, partially that is.


The concept of non-existence is so difficult to grasp when you actually try to imagine it. It's not as if you will feel 'nothing', since you can't even feel that if you don't exists. The brain seems absolutely incapable of imagining it, which may be a good sign. If we are programmed not to recognize "non-existence", then perhaps such a state does not exist for humans.

Many people who have near death experiences see the same thing. Now, you would think it would be their loved ones, or happy times, but it isn't. Many of them felt themselves actually leaving their bodies, and heading into the cosmos. It's strange that so many people see the same thing, and it must be related to what ultimately happens.
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Posted 3/20/15
I think religion is just created because us humans are too fragile to believe that after death, nothing happens.
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Posted 3/20/15

ayesharocks wrote:

I think religion is just created because us humans are too fragile to believe that after death, nothing happens.


Mhmm. Thats what I thought after putting a good amount of thought into it.
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Posted 3/20/15

potentsativa wrote:

Maybe, I think a lot of people trick themselves by confusing belief with knowing,I think it's a coping mechanism since life can be harsh at times and having a since of security helps us get through the day. However maybe spiritual beliefs actually have roots in reality but I don't know nor will I act like I do. Like KyotoTofu said, "just stick to the here and now." And really ask yourself why it matters to you.


Couldn't have said it better.
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