If you reject the existence of the soul then you are an Animist?

by Seraphim23 149 Replies latest jw friends

  • scotoma

    Consciousness can be altered with scalpels, hammers, halucinogens, etc.

  • Hairtrigger

    How about Lucid dreaming?

  • What is Truth?
    What is Truth?

    I love your thread Seraphim23, really has me thinking about how others view this reality. I agree that the modern scientific view of consciousness may be considered a form of animism, yet, not in the same way as ancient cultures viewed consciousness. As Animism is a broad modern term, “The currently accepted definition of animism was only developed in the late 19th century by Sir Edward Tylor” it is hard to say without comparing individually to those ‘primitive cultures’ weather it is a return to that thinking. The widely accepted view of scientists who even consider the subject is likely close to what the physicist Nick Herbert considered "quantum animism."

    If you care here are some of my observations that may help open up this topic.

    You might also consider all things as having a certain amount of intelligence. The object reacts a certain way according to how it is programmed with the information it receives, and generally acts in a predictable repeatable way to that stimulus or information. Then there are things that can change their programming. A rock just sits there acts in a certain way characteristic of its traits absorbing heat from the sun slowly radiating it back out at night and doesn't change unless acted upon by something else. Whereas something "living" more animated like a virus can adapt to its environment, like changing its coding to be unaffected to that great antibiotic so widely used now strangely ineffective. So great a virus has enough intelligence to save itself, want more? Higher levels of creatures like elephants create a social structure in order to survive as a group, then others like apes uses tools to make things easier for their activities and can plan ahead.

    There is also us, Humans who have the intelligence to not only survive, work together, uses tools to work with their environment, but also to change their environment and envision something new 'rocket ship' and go build it. And Humans are at varying levels there are those that go along with life 'drones' and then there are users, (anyone seen Tron) who actively create their lives and change/shape their environment.

    I like to think of the world kind of like the Matrix a VR where everything operates according to a set program each does its set task to create an interesting world, and some programs are more intelligent than others.

    I loved the Ted talk; it is great that scientists are considering the nature of consciousness and how it works within us. Indeed what is consciousness?



  • punkofnice

    Animist? Nah, I'm an Anarchist.

  • cofty

    a virus can adapt to its environment, like changing its coding to be unaffected to that great antibiotic so widely used now strangely ineffective. So great a virus has enough intelligence to save itself - WIT?

    This is a common misunderstanding of how evolution works. There is no agency.

    Firstly antibiotics don't work on viruses but let's assume you meant bacterium.

    In any population of bacteria there will be a few who have random mutations that make them more able to survive attack by a particular antibiotic. With the competition eliminated these individuals thrive on available resources. Overuse of antibiotics provide the selection pressure that results in gradual changes in the gene pool.

    There is no intelligence involved.

    As for a rock possessing " a certain amount of intelligence " what can I say?

  • scotoma


    The quickest way to affect consciousness is to physically destroy various parts of the brain.

    A hole in the brain is a hole in the soul.

  • Seraphim23

    Scotoma that is true and a valid point! There is no doubt that when the physical object that is the brain is affected or damaged then there are corresponding effects in what is experienced by the person whose brain it is. What might be less clear however is what is doing the experiencing of those effects? Is it a part of the brain, the whole brain or something apart from the brain? Some think the brain is more like a transceiver, in that it picks up and sends signals which would constitute consciousness as opposed to the brain creating consciousness. If it is the brain creating it though does that mean consciousness is a process itself, or as a product of such a process? How on earth can a process be something more that itself though, or if the process is creating consciousness as though it is a product, what is that product and is it physical?

    When people fall asleep it is assumed that consciousness becomes unconsciousness but what does that really mean? The brain state changes for sure, but that doesn’t mean that whatever it is that experiences things is in the brain. Whatever that thing might be, it may only be experiencing the differing brain states while not being in the brain itself. Thus in a sense it may be possible for consciousness to experience unconsciousness. People do dream and experience those dreams while they are having them but have no memory of the dream after they wake. This also doesn’t mean they were not having a conscious experience while the brain was unconscious.

    Even more bizarrely it has been noted by hospice staff , nurses and relatives of dying patients a phenomenon that sometimes occurs called `near death lucidity`. Cases of terminal dementia and other brain altering conditions have been seen to seemingly reverse near the end of the patient’s life. So a few hours for example, before so and so dies, they sit up and suddenly recognise and talk to their relatives and loved ones as though their dementia damaged brain were healed and memories restored, despite its destruction long ago. In such cases was it the brain or a signal to the brain that was responsible?

    Perhaps the soul doesn`t have a hole in it at all!

    What is Truth? loved your post!

  • Twitch

    I believe there is absolutely a state of consciousness. This state has not been fully studied.


    That human consciousness is a result of brain activity is clearly apparent.

    Exactly what it is and how it works is not understood and thus cannot be measured, yet it exists.

    This doesn't mean a soul exists.

  • scotoma

    We tend to be brain worshipers. The brain is another organ of the body. The brain is embedded in an organism.

    Consciousness requires content. You are not just conscious - you are conscious of some THING.

    There are also other tissues that act like a nervous system complete with an array of neurotransmitters. The enteric or "gut" brain.

    These facts are the reason it is highly unlikely that scientists will be able to duplicate some aspects of human thinking.

    The only minds we know of are embedded in flesh.

    Some good books about the mind.

    Mind and Nature an Necessary Unity - Gregory Bateson

    The Mechanism of Mind Edward Debono

    The Tree of Life Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela

    I want to add something else. The brain is NOT creative. The brain is a reactor. It is the interplay between the brain and its environment that is creative. The brains main purpose is to manage the negative. The brain keeps us in a rut. It wants to quickly form a habit circuit. The quicker we habituate the safer we tend to be. Creativity is an emergent phenomenon - a by product of pattern formation. A good pattern reaches our consciousness because it incorporates a large amount of environmental inputs (iinformation) in a sudden gestalt formation. We experience that as an Aha! moment. Comedians are especially skilled (gifted) at exploiting this.

  • Seraphim23

    `Emergent phenomenon` is a strange one indeed. As far as I can tell from what I know about this new buzz word, is that it is basically the idea that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. More comes out than would be expected by adding the things together that make it up.

    The mathematical Mandelbrot set is an example of this, in that a very simple mathematical equation produces almost infinite complexity when run on a computer. It’s a kind of `emergent property`! In this case the property is complexity but from something very simple without anything obvious added to it to explain why this should be. What is missing in the descriptor ` emergent property` is any explanation of how or why something simple can produce complexity, or perhaps to put it another way, why the same thing is both simple and complex from two points of view? It is very much like adding 2 and 2 together and getting 5 but without asking how and where the extra 1 came from!

    Even if consciousness is a product of `Emergent phenomenon`, then this mystery of where the extra 1 comes from would still remain!

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