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Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
My thoughts during the last coffee break.

Thinking about music, fashion, arts in general ... Not sure about the whole world, but in the western culture, I think, the Fifties started pretty soon after World War II, before 1950 anyway. The changeover to the Sixties was around 1960, or maybe shortly before. -- The Seventies started in 1968 already. -- Then there was a long transition between the Seventies and Eighties, but I'd say its culmination was close to 1980. The Eighties were another long era: the Nineties began only around 1994. I can't say if or when they were over though. Very unsharp era.


)-)
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 414
Location: Mumbai, India
Wow ... what did you add to the coffee, Hardy ? 8)

I'd be very interested to learn why you picked on these particular
years - for example. why 1968?
Sgt. Pepper's? ... the White Album - (Revolution No. 9) ?

I guess this pre-supposes that each of these decades has a certain distinct 'personality' in your mind. Would be interested to know more.

Cheers,
Shiv
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 324
Hardy,

Maybe you didn't get the memo:

No coffee breaks (or any other type of breaks) allowed. If you need coffee, get an I.V. drip installed on your forearm from now on.

Hope there are no further violations.

;-)

Mariano
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« Last edit by Hardy Heinlin on Sun, 05 Jun 2011 16:54:00 +0000. »
Member
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Posts: 414
Location: Mumbai, India
Hardy Heinlin wrote
... recently I watched a clip of an old TV satire series ...


My God, Mariano, he's even watching TV now!
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 414
Location: Mumbai, India
Hardy Heinlin wrote
The start of the Seventies. My impression is: they started after the first moon landing, when the haircuts got longer, guitars distorted, students on the streets, when Mick Jagger got a female make-up, when heavy wooden record players and radios were replaced by plastic design, then Stanley Kubrick's Space Odyssey ... etc. pp.


|-|


Yes ... and Woodstock.
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 149
Personal recollections of early 70's (Cambridge Mass, MIT post doc days). Lived North of Boston, took train to work - they do exist in the US - to North Station every morning. In winter, snow falling, the North Station scene looked like a movie set for Anna Karenina. Guys with long hair (below ears), double breasted suits, longggg sideburns, mustaches, beards (all well-trimmed mostly), gals in maxi-skirts/maxi coats, fir (or faux-fir) hats, beautiful. Not sure any movie of the era really captured this. These folks were all brokers, bankers and (really) students mixed together.

Cheers,
Torrence

EDIT: Gosh I forgot the bell-bottoms (not included in Tolstoy) TVJ
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 309
Location: Winchester, UK
Torrence,
Your description of the snow, long coats etc. brought to mind Dr Zhivago, but I am not sure of its date. ;)
_______________
Cheers, Richard
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
Who or what has a soul?

In my last coffee break I thought, ...

... of course, the first thing is to define the word "soul". Suggestion: A soul must be something active, otherwise it would be dead. However, vice versa, anything active isn't necessarily a soul. So, what else except activity does a soul require in order to be a soul?

It must be something that supports the soul's activity. What supports activity? Activity needs at least time and space, or time and qualities. Time is essential. For if time were frozen, nothing would change. An activity is a change. A color change, a form change, a position change and so on.

If there is plenty of causality in the world, things, once kicked, keep rolling driven by causality (or whatever one interpretes as causality; causality might be just another illusion if Kant was right, but this problem doesn't affect my theory).

Is causality everything that activity needs? Probably not. Causality itself is just a condition. It keeps things rolling, but it doesn't start or stop the activity.

To get things rolling, a kick is required.

This kick itself can't be a causal event, in other words: it can't be a direct consequence of a preceeding event. Otherwise it would be just another event in the already running choice-less causal mechanism. Thus, the thing that I call kick has to be non-causal.

Such a kick may be, for example, the big bang (where was no time at that time), or a radioactive particle jumping out of an Uranium atom (at random time or random places by no exact cause but just some probability), like every event in the electronic chaotic noise inside a transistor, or inside a neuron.

Kicks are true decisions. A calculator that spits out "4" whenever "2+2" has been entered, is no decision maker; the calculator has always only one choice. If there are no multiple choices, there's no decision to make.

Without a decisive kick, an activity would never start. Thirdly, the decision must be self-reflective, self-aware in some way, in order not to destroy itself by its own kick.

I think, "soul" has something to do with all this.

To complete my definition of "soul". A soul must consist of activity, kicks and self-awareness.

Now who or what has a soul?

So, everything that remains active and is unpredictably kicking and doesn't destroy itself might have a soul. Even the entire universe as a whole might have a soul. Or that jumping electron may have a soul, during its ride, or during the change of its motion direction.

Another question: Is a soul's existence only a matter of "to be or not to be"? Or does it have a gradual intensity? Can souls grow? Or do they completely appear and disappear? I can't imagine that any prehistoric man suddenly got a soul over night. It must have been a slow process with an increasing intensity. With that in mind, many animals must have a soul as well, but perhaps not at the same intensity as homo sapiens. On the other hand, why not?

:-)

Good coffee. Back to work ...
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
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P.S.: And if this theory is true, all souls together, from every non-causal particle event up to the big bang process and the universe, all these souls together construct a giantic holistic cascade of multiple souls :-) ... whereby a human soul, consequently, also consists of multiple small and very small souls ...

Forum reader, please ignore these posts if you don't like this stuff. I just had to write it down in public somewhere :-)
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 309
Location: Winchester, UK
The root of your concerns is the fact that you have used the word 'soul'. And from there you have wandered around the impossibilities surrounding the word.

I prefer to avoid consideration of the concept of a soul. Like so many imponderables, it can only lead to a form of madness (which I believe religions to be).

I prefer to think on what makes me feel a sort of responsibility to adding to the happiness of others - why, I don't know.

Cheers, R ;)
_______________
Cheers, Richard
Moderator
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Location: KTMB
No worries, Richard. It's just biological.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frans_de_Waal
Moderator
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mcdonar wrote
The root of your concerns is the fact that you have used the word 'soul'.

What if I used the word "self-awareness" instead -- and put the other properties into that? E.g. self-awareness develops at places where true decisions are made (here I consider decisions non-causal events because only these deal with multiple choices; pure causality is just a dumb one-choice mechanism). So, all things and creatures that contain chaotic elements are decision makers and that may lead to self-awareness because self-awareness supports decision making.

Speaking of madness. After 15000 hours of PSX programming with wires and relays whereever I look, I would go mad if I wouldn't relax my brain with other jazzy thoughts from time to time :-) (Not to be taken 100% serious though.)


Cheers,

|-|ardy
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Registered: Jun 2009
Posts: 44
Location: Basel, Switzerland
IMHO your term self-awareness best describes the difference between living organisms and living souls (creatures) ;)

Isn't self-consciousness the prerequisite to see where and who I am and - vice versa - to comprehend where and who I am not?
Out of which comes the 'kick' to move (or not), to decide (or not), to change (or not).... and all of this in relation (and inter-dependence) to other souls! Wouldn't all self-consciousness in the world be useless if there weren't other souls around?

On the other hand, I like to differentiate between 'religion' and the belief in, say, a creator. They dont necessarily have much in common imho (not intending to start a religious war here ;) )

Now what if - to get back to the initial question - it's a creator (a creatoress :) ?) that 'kicked' and even in today's souls still 'kicks'? Is everything closely intertwined from before the big bang right up to now? It's all about information and intelligence - does everything follow a common blueprint or DNA? Has in reality nothing changed over time?

My coffe mug is empty... :P :D

What on earth drove me to build a flight simulator - something (somebody?) must have kicked me :P

Charles

P.S. Hardy beat me with his further conclusions while I was writing mine ...
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Interesting, H, that you have equated soul and self-awareness.

Soul means nothing to me at all, although I hear my friends with religious beliefs being clear that only humans have a soul.

Self-awareness, on the other hand, is a clear concept to me. At a simple level, I, chimpanzees, gorillas, orang utans appear to know themselves when looking in a mirror. Perhaps other animals would do so to. This seems to suggest that there is a gradient from the highest levels of brain function to the lowest of the concept of self-awareness. I would certainly disagree with a claim of it to only humans.

I can only say that I feel that to try to 'drill down' into concepts like soul can only lead to frustration, not enlightenment, although I am certain many would disagree. Investigation of which animals/plants show signs of what we might call self-awareness, though, could be fruitful in how we treat other sentient animals better.
_______________
Cheers, Richard
Moderator
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Location: KTMB
The research of Frans de Waal is exactly about this, plus the link to empathy, which he suspects is related.
Member
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Location: Winchester, UK
Jeroen,

I am not sure whether you are agreeing with me.

I cannot find the word soul on the Frans de Waal Wikipedia page.

R
_______________
Cheers, Richard
Moderator
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Location: KTMB
Exactly -- it is all about self-awareness only.
Member
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Posts: 414
Location: Mumbai, India
Gruess dich, Hardy,

I think, for most of the English speaking world, the word "soul" has particularly religious connections.

'Self-awareness', of course, not so.

So I wouldn't say the two terms have similiar meanings.
Member
Registered: Jun 2011
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Location: TX
what about "organics" do all organics have a soul? apparently a carrot when pulled from the ground screams. Also at death the body is lighter
Member
Registered: May 2009
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Location: EFTO
Hardy Heinlin wrote
Even the entire universe as a whole might have a soul. Or that jumping electron may have a soul, during its ride, or during the change of its motion direction.

Dies, this and dies (allow scripts or else the format doesn't make sense!) may be relevant.

Or not.

(I remembered it because a zoologist also once tried his hand on this.)

Kicked but inactive,
Martin
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Registered: May 2009
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Location: EFTO
Hardy Heinlin wrote
Thirdly, the decision must be self-reflective, self-aware in some way, in order not to destroy itself by its own kick.

Why?

There is, by common consensus*, a vast range of animals (in fact, practically all, excepting the apes, possibly some whales and relatives, and of course and allegedly Us) without self-awareness.

But there can be no doubt that they
a) show activity (and thus, by your theory, must also have those kicks);
b) do not destroy themselves.

Works just fine, as evolution has made sure that the non-self-destructivity is built right into them.

Without them knowing the first thing about it.*

Cheers,
Martin

* I don't think it is really that simple, but that's another discussion.
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
"Are you a body or do you have a body."

Not sure where I heard this question, but I think it's the same as we're discussing.

Just because it feels like I have a body doesn't mean that I am not a body, IMO.

Also, neurosurgeons can stimulate specific places in the brain and cause a person to experience various religious and out-of-body events. This would argue that we are a body instead of having a body.

As a (medical) physicist, I told my kids when they asked what happens to a person when they die, it's basically the same as when one turns off a light switch. The light energy turns into random translational kinetic energy aka heat.

But, we may live on in the memories of others, at least for a while, and in the ripples of the things we've done and accomplished, and of the kindnesses we've shown others.
_______________
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
Good morning,

more replies from me perhaps later, just one important reply first: I don't use the word "soul" in a religious sense. Maybe I'm too influenced by musical language or arts. Actually, I don't know what "soul" could mean, I just know that there is this "certain something" and I find no word for it.


Ahoi

|-|ardy
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
martin wrote
Hardy Heinlin wrote
Thirdly, the decision must be self-reflective, self-aware in some way, in order not to destroy itself by its own kick.

Why?

There is, by common consensus*, a vast range of animals (in fact, practically all, excepting the apes, possibly some whales and relatives, and of course and allegedly Us) without self-awareness.

But there can be no doubt that they
a) show activity (and thus, by your theory, must also have those kicks);
b) do not destroy themselves.

Works just fine, as evolution has made sure that the non-self-destructivity is built right into them.

Without them knowing the first thing about it.*

Cheers,
Martin

* I don't think it is really that simple, but that's another discussion.


Is seems to me that every creature which is able to move from A to B in a selective way, or which uses social systems in a selective way, has a brain. And it seems that this works best if the control feedback functions with direct qualia instead of longwinded time-consuming data analyses. Acoustic waves are directly converted to sound qualia, there are no wave analyzers; similarly, certain electromagnetic waves are directly converted to color qualia, physical or social injuries are directly converted to pain qualia, there is no injury data report, just a feel of pain, and so on.

I assume the brains of animals work with qualia as well. Why? Well, why does the human brain work with qualia? When your tooth decays by caries, why doesn't your body tell to the brain just ">CARIES"? Why is the smell and sight of caries accompanied by pain? Perhaps pain, just like color signals etc., forces quicker decisions. (I still don't know why. An autopilot, after all, is also quick, even quicker than humans, but an autopilot system probably experiences no pain or any other qualia.) Anyway, for biological creatures, like humans, qualia seem to be a big supporter when it comes to evolutionary survival of moving or social objects. (But then, qualia, too, are just information after all. My analysis is running in circles :-)).

What I'm trying to say is this: The qualia method which humans and animals use needs a certain system requirement: The Self.

Without the Self, qualia have no target. There must be something that receives the qualia. "Recieves" in the sense of "suffers", "enjoys" ... The colors, smells, tones, pains, tastes don't exist if they aren't there ... my vocabulary ends here.

Edit: OK, one could also put the Self itself [sic] as another item on the list of qualia. Experiencing the Self be a quale, just like experiencing a color, a fear, a joy etc. It's just a vocabulary problem. Nevertheless, there must be a central qualia experiencing instance in the core of a biologial unit. It's not just a calculator.


Cheers,

|-|ardy
« Last edit by Hardy Heinlin on Wed, 31 Aug 2011 01:02:19 +0000. »

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