Tangencies: STUB 2 - 6 Jul 2006 @ 19:08 by b : Complications of Simplicity    
 STUB 2 - 6 Jul 2006 @ 19:08 by b : Complications of Simplicity10 comments
picture9 Jul 2006 @ 05:22, by D

The following was offered by b on the following post: link

We who read this are all human beings on Earth. The apparent reality is that we humans are a composite of body, mind, spirit. The spirit, soul, the being itself is that which leaves the body at point of body death. The mind being partly in body and partly in soul. We are all human beings of Earth and we are all individual. It seems best to start with a premise of fact. Agreement is important but truth is truth.

Is their a "mind" that is partly in body and partly in soul, like b postulates?

What is "soul"?

Is their a "spirit" that leaves the body at point of body death?

Any follow-through?
"The answer is never the answer. What's really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you'll always be seeking. I've never seen anybody really find the answer -- they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer."

—Ken Kesey

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11 Jul 2006 @ 02:30 by bushman : Well
I'm not sure how they are attached to a specific body, but I can sort of tell that at least 2 parts of a persons spirit, do leave the body at death, and one of those 2 can come and go, while your still alive, that would be the part that allows one to go into the astrial plain during meditations and dreams or sleeptime. I personaly think the soul is the combination of the 2 parts of spirit. Still there is the 3rd part that is not spirit, the you or free will part, that maybe, binds the the other 2 parts of spirit, like free will can only exist in a living body, and it makes most the final decisions as to action after talking it over with the other 2. Could be seen as a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, wispering into your ears.  

19 Jul 2006 @ 18:31 by i2i : Complications of simplicity
Since the topic was not originally initiated by me but was sprung from another member's comment on this network, I am not sure whose place it is here to moderate any given thread on this blog, if anyone, but I figured the least I could do was to acknowledge bushman's kind and considerate effort at participation here - as it is the "civilized" thing to do.

Note: Bushman hosts a Paranormal Chat workgroup on NCN.

The topic of spirit/soul/body comes now and then on NCN, I remember Waalstraat had a post going on the topic at some point which generated quite a thread. Unfortunately the post is no longer available. I don't know, maybe, since the topic is of such interest to b, perhaps he should give it a try and launch something about that on his own blog.

Wikipedia, too, has quite a page on the topic: here

To me what's important is not which NCN member believes in the existence of soul and which doesn't, but that ALL NCN members are "people of good will who are working on building a world that works for all of us," regardless of what their own spiritual personal beliefs might or might not be in such matters.

"We are diverse and unique, and we're united for something bigger than our differences."

But, anyway, since the topic is up, I thought I'd share this article I ran into. The author speaks from a Buddhist's perspective - it includes such notions as "anitya" (impermanence of every thing) and "anatman" (the absence of any "self”) - so his take on the topic comes naturally from a somewhat different angle than that of b. But more interestingly to me, what I find so relevant about it, other than the author's own differing perspective about "soul" and "no-soul," is what he has to say about "intelligence" as an "emergent" quality:

------- quote ---------------------

In my line of research, I find it useful to think of "intelligence" as an "emergent" quality. Perhaps an example will illustrate this idea. Take the example of a flock of birds flying in one direction. The amazing thing about the flock is that it's always organized in a "V" shape, which can be proven to be the most energy-efficient formation (The bird in front generates air movements that lessens the load of the birds behind. When the front bird gets tired, some bird from behind takes over). Another amazing thing is that when the flock meets an obstacle, such as a tall building, it finds a perfect way to split apart and reform again once the obstacle is passed.

Flock behaviour can be described as an "intelligent" behaviour. One observing the flock might be tempted to conclude that there is an overall intelligence controlling the behaviour of individual birds. But then again, it's obvious that there is no bird in overall control.

Here's the fun part. It can be shown in simulations that all each bird does is to follow a simple algorithm. Each bird notes only the position of birds immediately surrounding it and puts itself in a position according to what its sees. From such simple behaviours of individual birds, an intelligent overall flock behaviour *emerges*!

This is what I mean when I say that "intelligence" is "emergent". There is no "central soul" of intelligence, and each element (bird) follows only simple behaviours. But working together, an intelligent behaviour emerges and becomes apparent. Similar emergence of intelligence can be observed in ant behaviour.

This model of intelligence is extremely attractive to me because I feel that it matches perfectly what I feel the Buddha taught about "self". Based on my knowledge as a AI researcher and my experience as a meditator, I see the "self" as an emergent quality.

The "self" emerges from the synergism (working together) of the 6 senses. The 6 senses, as defined by the Buddha, are the traditional 5 (sight, smell, touch, sound and taste) and the mind (there are also very practical reasons why the mind is classified as a "sense", but I'll leave this to another discussion). Each sense is formed by the aggregation of the 5 Aggregates. They are body (the sense organ itself), sensation (in my language, activation of sensual inputs), consciousness (the system responding to the presence of input activation), perception (processing of the input to give a symbolic output) and mental formations (post-processing of the output).

The 5 Aggregates interact to emerge a working sense, and the 6 senses interact to emerge a "self".

To me, it's a very beautiful idea. There is no "soul", no "essence of self that exists independently of and outside of the Aggregates", yet from this web of interaction, "self" emerges. And this "self" is very real, even though it isn't at all.

Perhaps it's useful to compare this to "team spirit". When a group of people come together to play basketball, the members interact to emerge the feeling of "team spirit". This quality can be felt by the members and is observable by other people. But there is no "central essence" of "team spirit". It's gone as soon as the team disbands.

It is therefore correct to say that "*I* feel this way", "*I* am responsible for this and this", "*I* achieved Sotapana-ship", "*I* love so and so", etc. It is also correct to say that "There is no *I*, no *self*. Just the Aggregates and the senses". To me, there are no contradictions, only a very beautiful realization...

To me, this is not just an intellectual idea. In my own meditations, I can identify very closely with what I described above. One who abides in Mindfulness and Concentration observes how each sense contributes to his feeling of "self-ness". He observes that he is not any of his senses. He obseves how his senses and aggregates makes him. He realizes self, and no-self. It's a very powerful discovery.

-Tan Chade Meng, Self and No-Self

------------ endquote -------------------------  

20 Jul 2006 @ 02:15 by bushman : Watching fish
I spend lots of time doing this, basicly works the same as the birds. I have to take it one step further, for the fish watch me too. A sort of telepathy, I had to test this, as to could they hear me comming towards the pond, is there a way they can see me thru refraction at a distance, but even if I stayed below grade and crawled up behind the rocks, they knew I was there, they seem to see beyond just sight and sound. They can tell if Im planing on trying to grab one or just going to sit and have a smoke. I used to think that it was the wildness in them and the fish being just way more aware of them selves and enviorment, but now after 7 years of watching these fish, I find they can hear minds and thoughts as it relates to thier survival, although its pretty easy to trick them with food, each individual knows that your focused on them instantly, like that feeling some people will get when they know they are being watched, I can jump my gaze from fish to fish even at a distance, and they each know. Thats why I think now that most animals are more evolved, in mind, body, and spirit, than us humans, of course humans could have de-evolved as well, so as we do still have those animal abilities, and just don't ever really use them. Our news really pushes the "use your intuition" cause in metro AZ we got a couple serial killers running around, and basicly they are saying, "if something dosnt feel right in your gut, get out of there, to a lighted place with people, and call the cops". You don't usually see a news channel "telling" you to listen to your gut feelings. :}  

20 Jul 2006 @ 18:47 by i2i : Inter-species communication
Jstarrs posted at some point on his blog (All Flesh is Stardust) a story that had been on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle, about a humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. A very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed gently around- she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

While we have been looking at "making contact" with possible alien intelligence out there in outer-space, we sometimes forget about "making contact" with other manifestations of intelligent life which have been co-evolving with us right here at home on planet Earth.

Searchers experimenting with a few species like Apes and Dolphins have tried to deal with some of the issues of inter-species communication.

Science Fiction has played with the theoretical notion of endowing non-human animals with greater capacities, including and especially increased intelligence. It is highly likely that biological uplifting would be accomplished through the application of genetic and transgenic technologies, and possibly even artificial intelligence. Biological uplift is a common but by no means universal term for the act of an advanced civilization helping the development of another species by bringing a non-sapient one into sentience.

The best-known use of the term is in David Brin's Uplift series, which may have popularized it. One salient aspect of the series is that despite the nastiness of some of the ET's of the Galactic Civilization he describes in his novel, that civilization—unlike ours—has made it a high priority to preserve planets, habitats and potential sentient life.

As Brin pointed it out, the major interest of such stories lies of course in the implications (moral and others) of drawing other species into our level of sapiency, through genetic engineering and conditioning:

"Cordwainer Smith and others took on this concept from one direction, the old slave-master morality tale you also saw in Planet of the Apes. So I thought I'd try a different tack. What if modern liberal society began modifying higher animals? (And I think we will.) Paradoxes abound. Would we feel so guilty we'd be in danger of killing our clients with kindness?"

This is a fascinating topic, because, for one thing, this has happened before already in the history of humankind (i.e. human versus human) with the way dominant civilizations, again and again, and even now, as we speak, have been (and are now) killing other (so-called lesser) civilizations "with kindness" as they are being turned into "client states.".

But most of all, it is a fascinating topic because of the way Humanity has become such an active force in its potential ability in shaping the future of evolution—if Humanity manages to mature in time to survive some of the disaster it has laid in its wake, that is.  

21 Jul 2006 @ 00:44 by bushman : Yep :}
Then there is throwback DNA, out of one of my baby fish, I think they like 2 years old now, pretty strange, we got 6 solid white ones with normal eyes, not albinos, and we got 6 black ones, out of those 12, 2 black ones turned orange, with normal goldfish tails, one black one turned black and orange tiger stripes, but has a big single fan tail, but technicly thats not too strange, but one white one, with a normal tail, is growing horns off its head, that is very strange to me anyway, lol. This baby has and activated "primal" gene apperently. Like how our own DNA might have to revert to a more primal state to survive. As you look thru history, we do see that "dominant civilizations" eventualy self destruct or revert back to nomadic tribes. Maybe, till such time the enviorment is conducive to what that peticular people are good at. Is true, there are times to help another, and a time to not help, like helping a baby bird out of its shell, or removing a seed coat from a sprouting plant, or a butterfly from its cacoon, there comes that time where life must go it alone or be weak. I feel this has happened to humans, in that we save the weak and the smartest ones of us don't breed like we should. And of course we have to look very closely to our tech in chemicals, just that advancement alone has influanced our DNA on a massive scale, biggest being reproductive problems. Maybe a study is due on chem scientists, and child bearing. But as it is now, we have to destroy life and eat it to live as does every living thing. Makes me think some space aliens are one day going to come eat us once we are less wild/gammy tasteing. :}  

21 Jul 2006 @ 01:48 by i2i : Sorry, bushman...
...but you are on your own with that one.

Eugenics is, as you well know, a philosophy much open to abuse. You are opening a different can of worms entirely with that one:

"...there are times to help another, and a time to not help... there comes that time where life must go it alone or be weak. I feel this has happened to humans, in that we save the weak and the smartest ones of us don't breed like we should."
—21 Jul 2006 @ 00:44 by bushman

Not really my cup of tea, lol.

Genetics inheritance are not the only factors that allows a person to contribute meaningfully to society/civilization now.

Think of Stephen Hawking, for instance. Physically he is so weak he would have died very young as little as a century ago, but he will always be known as a genius among humans, spoken of with the same kind of respect we use today when we speak of Galileo or Einstein.

Also, if a species eventually reaches a level in its evolution that makes it capable to take control of its environment rather than being controlled by its environment, then good old fashion natural selection will be replaced with something else entirely. However, that is not the end of evolution, its just the end of evolution based upon natural selection. Collective intelligence, too, is an important factor. It allows the emergence of a species which can think as a whole through its long term problems (like we're starting to do now) and have enough collective research and talk to lead to solutions.

The big question right now, as we stand on this cusp, is will we figure out those solutions before we drive ourselves to extinction by destroying our environment or blowing each other away?  

21 Jul 2006 @ 02:02 by bushman : Hmm
Well, I was thinking of the spirit parts, more than the DNA, see, I'm trying to decide weather a persons DNA, does, or does not, predispose a persons spirituality, I mean I like to think when I'm dead, that I would be the same person or not. I know when I'm out of my body, I feel so much better and clearer. All I have is faith and hope, that we will overcome our own barberisim.  

24 Jul 2006 @ 19:53 by Hanae @ : Shared sentiency

Incidences of dolphins who saved humans from drowing by either pushing them to shore or pushing them up for air are recorded now and then. More famously there is this account of a pod of dolphins that was reported to have saved a group of swimmers from a great white shark off the coasts of new Zealand back in 2004:

"The pod of dolphins circled the swimmers off the coast, herding them in a tight circle, then swimming around them. The swimmers soon noticed that there was a great white shark outside the pod of dolphins, also circling, attempting to get through the dolphins to the swimmers.

The swimmers were an experienced lifesaving group swimming 300 feet off the coast of New Zealand's North Island, near the town of Whangarei. When one of them drifted away from the others, he saw a nine foot great white shark in the crystal clear water, and realized that they were under attack.

The dolphins continued to circle the swimmers for 40 minutes while the great white cruised around them, looking for a way to get at them.

Dolphins are known to protect their young from sharks in this manner, but the protection of a group of humans is unusual. However, there are stories of dolphins aiding humans in the ocean that go back to antiquity."

We are not alone. Just like their human cousins, dolphins exhibit complex behaviors such as social hierarchy, formation of alliances, and cooperative behavior, and there're some clear "body-mind-spirit" commonalities in our experiences.

And just as it is for their human cousins, such complex behaviors come with its dark side, too. Dolphins have been documented to kill much smaller harbor porpoises and engage in aggressive mating that looks a lot like gang rape. In that too, we are not alone.

We are still infants in the universe. And, as Loren Eiseley once put it, perhaps, “someday the porpoise may talk to us and us to him. It would break perhaps the long loneliness that has made man a frequent terror and abomination even to himself.”  

24 Jul 2006 @ 20:01 by i2i : Body-Mind-Spirit: The Cosmic Connection
Carl Sagan, The Cosmic Connection (1973):

"The Cetaceans hold an important lesson for us. The lesson is not about whales and dolphins, but about ourselves. There is at least moderately convincing evidence that there is another class of intelligent beings on earth besides ourselves. They have behaved benignly and in many cases affectionately towards us. We have systematically slaughtered them.

It is at this point that the ultimate significance of dolphins in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence emerges. It is not a question of whether we are emotionally prepared in the long run to confront a message from the stars. It is whether we can develop a sense that beings with quite different evolutionary histories, beings who may look far different from us, even "monstrous," may, nevertheless, be worthy of friendship and reverence, brotherhood and trust. We have far to go; while there is every sign that the human community is moving in this direction, the question is, are we moving fast enough? The most likely contact with extraterrestrial intelligence is with a society far more advanced than we. But we will not at any time in the foreseeable future be in the position of the American Indians or the Vietnamese--colonial barbarity practiced on us by a technologically more advanced civilization--because of the great spaces between the stars and what I believe is the neutrality or benignness of any civilization that has survived long enough for us to make contact with it. Nor will the situation be the other way around, terrestrial predation on extraterrestrial civlizations--they are too far away from us and we are relatively powerless. Contact with another intelligent species on a planet of some other star--a species biologically far more different from us than dolphins or whales--may help us to cast off our baggage of accumulated jingoisms, from nationalism to human chauvinism. Though the search for extraterrestrial intelligence may take a very long time, we could not do better than to start with a program of rehumanization by making friends with the whales and the dolphins."  

27 Jul 2006 @ 19:02 by i2i : We have a soul at times

As if the Sea should part: We have a soul at times  

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