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Everything posted by Gees

  1. Moontanman; Well, I don't read it for religious purposes. Mostly I use it as a reference or research tool when something that I am studying relates to it, or to ancient ideas. I am not sure if the Bible is relative anyway. It was not referenced in the original thread's OP that this thread split from, but it was in John Bauer's OP. So I guess it's relevance depends on what mood Swansont is in. Was there something in the Bible that you specifically wanted to address? I am not a Biblical scholar either, but I have done some studying on this subject. I think that one of the things most "Christians" don't realize is that there is the Bible, then there are the interpretations that dictate Church doctrine, then there is what the guy in the pulpit says. These can be very different things open to vastly different interpretations. Then to complicate things more, we have the New Testament that is almost 2,000 years old, and the Old Testament, which is older yet. So all this time caused the Books in the Bible to go through massive interpretations when cultures and societies adopted them, along with differences in language and understandings about the metaphysical that changed through time. One really does have to be a scholar to study and understand it. In my early teens, I started reading the Bible because I was also concerned about contradictions. What I eventually learned was that a lot of what I was taught was not actually in the Bible, there was also a lot in the Bible that I was not taught. This is where church doctrine comes in, because churches teach church doctrine -- not the Bible -- or they teach specific passages and ignore others. I think it was St. Augustine, a prolific writer, who established most of the early Christian doctrine -- around 500 AD. It is my opinion that his writings helped usher us into the Dark Ages. I don't remember a lot of his work, but know that a lot of it still permeates Christianity today, and I think he wrote about souls, heaven, and hell. If I remember correctly, he despised Aristotle's work and had nothing good to say for what we now call Science. His policies and doctrines stood unchallenged for about 700 years. Then A (forgot the name and will have to look it up) came along, rewrote a lot of church doctrine opening minds and eventually welcoming in the Enlightenment and Renaissance. I know that he worked on the concept of souls and worked out what differentiated us from animals, but I don't know if he referenced Adam or Jesus. I would have to look it up. Did you read my thread, "Understanding the 'God' Concept"? There is a ton of evidence that "God" is real, but no evidence that He exists. The "God" concept is an archetype, so consult Jung's work if you want to understand it. Good. I ate my bowl also as is evidenced by my still posting in this thread, where I am so welcome. Yes. Just like we now say that consciousness is no longer in the body, or the body is no longer producing consciousness -- whatever. The simple truth is that this idea has been studied for thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of years with many different interpretations, and we know little more now than we did then. Science thinks it has the answers; it doesn't. Philosophy has a ton of theories/hypotheses, but no comprehensive theory of consciousness. Religion calls consciousness "God" and calls mind, soul, so what? It is just semantics. The "soul", the mind, the self, and the "I" are all the same thing, and I think that most of the people reading this post know that. I am too damned old to be wasting my time arguing about semantics. No evidence for mind exists either. There is evidence for thought, but not for mind -- does that mean we don't have minds? Dennett tackled this subject in his book, Consciousness Explained. He ended up explaining that subjectivity was in doubt. Do you have any idea of what kind of nightmare it would be if people accepted his nonsense? Other philosophers dubbed his book, Consciousness Denied, or Consciousness Explained Away. Dennett is generally an intelligent man, but he really blew that one. When did "God" put the soul in humans? That is an easy one. Interpret "God" as consciousness and ask the question again. When did humans become conscious? When they developed the rational aspect of mind -- the same thing that Science calls consciousness. What is the metaphor about Adam, Eve, and the Garden about? The rational aspect of mind -- consciousness. Do you want me to explain it? Gee Sorry, we cross posted.
  2. Swansont; Your response is irrelevant. I was not talking about the "quality" of Vexen's post, I was talking about the perspective. It is obvious that Vexen has not studied theology; it is just as obvious that John Bauer has, which is why I used the term "theology". I read the original thread. This is the question that started the "original" thread: "I was wondering when was the soul imparted into humans during the course of evolution?" John Bauer answered that question. Then he went on to make it clear that this was not a challenge to Science. John Bauer's discussion had everything to do with that. You just didn't know what he was talking about. Since you obviously did not know what John Bauer was talking about, how could you possibly know it was off-topic? You were being disingenuous. No. The denial was in a challenge to Science and evolution. Requests to define "soul" were very much a part of the original thread, so you are talking nonsense. You are the one who was defining, or redefining terms, as you interpreted "evolution" to be biological evolution. Isn't that your agenda? John was talking about metaphysical evolution -- evolution of the mind. Why would he do that? How about because mind, soul, consciousness, and "God", whatever you want to call them, are all metaphysical subjects. Hence my comment that no one knew what John was talking about. So you are saying that if someone came into the Physics forum and stated that General Relativity was nonsense and Einstein was wrong, you would be OK with that? You would not take over the thread, or throw that member out of the forum? Pull the other one Swanson. So you are saying that since he was talking about the metaphysical (on-topic in this forum), his posts were split, but still retained your interpretation of evolution. I think your bias is showing. Since we have already established that you do not study consciousness and often do not even recognize it, I don't see your point. Number 4) is very much within the context of both threads. 4) Philosophy and Psychology study the evolution of consciousness and mind. Also consider that I remember your response in a thread I started in the Philosophy section where I referenced Biblical text. You called it, I believe the word was, an "abomination". So your bias in this matter is well established and this is all sound and fury, signifying nothing. Are you aware that the word litigate is synonymous with the word debate? What are you saying? That I should agree with you or just shut up? Gee
  3. Swansont; I have read a few of Vexen's threads and not found them to be of interest. Vexen seems to have an average understanding of Religion, so I found nothing close to theology is his posts. I did not read the "original" thread, but if John Bauer posted there, I will give it a look see as there may be some information there. Obviously I can not talk to John Bauer, as he has left the forum. I am also a little curious about why John's posts were thought to be "off-topic", since I saw no indication that members knew what he was talking about. No. John included a denial in the OP, not a discussion. There is a difference. This is what John wrote in the OP: "Your question regarded the human soul, which you described as "the spiritual or immaterial" part of us that is supposedly "immortal," and you were wondering when that was "imparted to humans during the course of evolution." The very first thing I would have to be clear about is that I reject this Platonic or Cartesian anthropology as a widely believed yet utterly unbiblical tradition (never mind its complete lack of any scientific merit)." This is what John wrote later in the thread: "And where is evolution described in the Bible? It's not. Evolution pertains to science and natural history, whereas the Bible is about theology and redemptive history." If you read the underlined statements, it is clear that John Bauer was not challenging Science and evolution. I don't know if the other members have a reading problem or a comprehension problem, but John did not wish to discuss Science's evolution. Other members would not drop it. There is so much wrong with the above statement, that I don't even know where to start. 1) Evolution does not have to be biological evolution, nor is it limited to the start of the Universe. 2) Archeology studies the evolution of cultures and societies. 3) Historians study the evolution of language, art, agriculture, and the development of skills like building, mining, and tanning leather, etc. 4) Philosophy and Psychology study the evolution of consciousness and mind. 5) People study the evolution of the planet by comparing ancient texts of rivers, continents, mountains, etc. 6) When studying ancient societies, a lot of the information about them is in religious texts. 7) The Bible is probably one of the most studied books in history for it's information on some kind of evolution. This is the part of John Bauer's post that I was interested in: "There are two—and only two—federal representatives of humanity in the covenant relationship between God and us. Adam was the first, in whom we are fallen, because nobody before him was a federal representative of humanity before God. And Christ was the second (and last), in whom we are redeemed, because nobody after him was a federal representative." These two "federal representatives" of humanity mark distinct advances in consciousness. That is what I wanted to talk about -- consciousness. Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden have been studied to death and the general consensus in Psychology is that this story is representative of the development of the rational aspect of mind, (or the soul) which differentiates us from other species. It has a lot of support. There is also a literal understanding that Eve represents the fall of the "goddess" and priestesses, and associates it with the story of Lilith, who was very powerful at that time. This is where we developed a patriarchal "God" and marks a distinct change between the ancient goddess mother image to the father image. Like all good metaphors, it is both literal and figurative and has many layers of understanding. Many years ago, I noted that the Old Testament was about an invisible "God" who concerned himself with physical things like war, health issues, laws, government, etc., but the New Testament was about a physical "God", human, who concerned himself with spiritual (metaphysical) things. This dichotomy interested me as there is a possibility that this is also representative of a distinct advance in consciousness. Yes, there are other nonreligious studies that suggest a change in human consciousness about 500 years before Jesus. But John Bauer's post was the first that I found that compares the two. I would have liked to know where he got his information. According to Wiki: "In metaphysics, the concept of "Soul" may be equated with that of "Mind" in order to refer to the consciousness and intellect of the individual." According to me, when you read the word "God", if you think "consciousness", you will find that it makes a lot more sense in context. Of course in order to do this, you have to have an abstract mind capable of considering "God" without picturing "God". Gee
  4. Prometheus; My apologies. I am American, and we call our language English, but it is really American. You might want to notify spell-check and correct that problem as "pretence" is underlined as a misspelled word. None of this changes your statement regarding "pretence of academia". You are stating that Religions pretend to academics, which means that you are denying that theology is an academic study, or you are saying that it is nonsense -- which is an ignorant thing to say. And loads of science people try to destroy religious beliefs. What is your point? Arguing Science v Religion is like arguing apples and oranges, it is a stupid waste of time spawned from an archaic false dichotomy called Monism v Dualism. I have heard of a lot of things. Did you have an on-topic point? Or are you wandering again? When you say "should be", you are talking about what you want something to be -- you are not talking about facts or reality. This is a Philosophy forum. You know how Science guys get real particular about the word "theory"? Well philosophers get that same way with the word "opinion". Unless you are talking about the other use of the word opinion; you know, where people say that "opinions are like assholes, everybody has one"? But that kind of opinion is worthless. Well as long as you are not alone in your opinions, you must be right. You should ask Strange which formal logic applies in this situation. But what does Hume have to do with angels? Are you wandering again? Since no one in this thread has thus far even recognized the topic, then what would be the point of trying to be serious? You are moving goal posts. You did not state that Religion was "wrong", you stated that it had failed. Are you wandering again? Religion is not a study of "empirical matters", but it is interesting to note that Copernicus compared Islam's ideas about the Universe with the Christian ideas about the Universe and these comparisons helped to lead him to a much better understanding, which he put in a book that has been referred to as the book that nobody read. Apparently, back in his day, everyone agreeing with you made you right -- and made him wrong. What does this thread have to do with "the shape of the Earth" or "vaccines"? Are you wandering -- again? Meditation is meditation -- it is not a study of consciousness. Oh yeah. Reading your posts is a lot like watching a butterfly flit through a flower garden. As long as I am not trying to learn anything, it is very relaxing. Gee
  5. Prometheus; You might want to study Hume. He lived many centuries ago, is a well respected philosopher, and had a lot to say about "should be". Of course he called it "ought to be" because that was the terminology used in his time; you can find his work in Wiki under "is and ought". In a nutshell, he explained that people will take what "is" and replace it with what "ought to be" so they can always be right. imo No. The only thing I assumed was that when you used the word "pretence", you meant pretense. This is what you stated: "All this pretence at academia by 'religious' people seems to belie an insecurity and need for validation with science." "Pretense at academia" means that they are pretending to be academic. It is not real, whereas you validate with Science which you believe to be real. Do we need another English lesson? I am not sure what you are observing. Religion has been around for tens of thousands of years all over the world as validated by archeology and still permeates cultures and societies today. If that is failure, what would be success? One of it's values lies in the study of consciousness. Of course I would value another perspective, but it would have to be on topic. We already discussed this in another thread, and I did not find that you had more to offer on the subject of souls. Oh, but it is so much fun to watch you build your reputation on nonsense. Arguing with me is always good for an up-vote. Gee
  6. Strange; A hand is not Science either, but that does not stop Science from studying it. I would expect that a moderator would know that. People in this forum have even used math to try to validate, or invalidate, the "God" concept. YodaP comes to mind. In this thread, evolution was brought in -- by the wannabe science guys -- not by John Bauer. Evolution is a study in Science, isn't it? If you do not read my posts, how could you possibly know if they have "meaningful content"? I challenge you to state in a few sentences what John Bauer was talking about and why that would interest me. I doubt that you can do it because you, along with everyone else, are clueless as to the actual topic. I'll give you a hint -- I study consciousness. So asking someone to prove a negative is the "correct application of formal logic"? Keep studying, and you may want to review your ideas on the "strawman" concept. I normally don't challenge you when you state something ridiculous because it is hard to do without being rude, but also because I am ever mindful of your position as moderator. You need to be respected. But when I just walk away, you apparently believe that you won or that you were correct. This is not necessarily the case. Now it does not matter anymore. And consciousness. Religion has been studying consciousness for tens of thousands of years, maybe a hundred thousand years. That is right. A person does not have to be religious to study the concepts behind the stories. I would venture to state that there were no theologians in this thread, with the possible exception of John Bauer, which would be why no one understood that he was talking about the concepts that are behind the stories. I understood it because I study consciousness -- not a theologian -- just a philosopher. Gee
  7. Strange; Philosophy is not Philosophy? What? Religion is not in the Philosophy section? What? So stop supporting them. A few points to consider: 1) You did not post in this thread prior to my comments, so I was not referencing your posts. 2) Pretty much everything you know comes from "educational sources", because that is what you trust. That is why you are a "science guy" because you only trust the "known" as being valid. Philosophy deals with the as yet "unknown", or not yet validated. 3) You recently asked me to prove a negative and even called it a "reasonable" request. Logic is not your forte, so you don't trust it, which is why you are not a philosopher. Philosophy uses logic, analysis, and critical thinking to put parameters around the unknown. 4) I have often wished that I could have a discussion with you, Prometheus, and even dimreepr, as you all have knowledge about Religion that I would like to learn about and discuss. But I can't get past the downvoting, bias, and ignorance that permeates this forum, so I gave up. There are other forums and other people, who have studied Religion. Gee Prometheus; What is wrong with laymen vehemently arguing a point with a person educated in the subject matter? Let's say that I took my layman's understanding of Physics to the Physics forum (like that would ever happen), and then I told Swansont that he had no idea of what he was talking about. What kind of fool would I look like? Well, that is the kind of fool some members in this thread looked like. Compassion is not the subject of this thread, and since you admittedly don't care (underlined by me) what the subject is, you are off-topic. Your inability to discipline your mind to the subject at hand is one of the reasons why I do not relish discussion with you. Your opinion is noted and worthless. It is based on the premise that "academia" belongs solely to Science. Nonsense. I just want to study consciousness. It is an elusive subject that has defied understanding by some of the greatest minds we have ever known. Early on I learned that a person has to throw out their biases, discipline their thoughts, and reexamine their "truths" in order to learn anything about this subject. I wanted to talk to Quiet in the NDE thread, as he made some interesting and intelligent comments, but I was loath to draw him into a discussion in a thread that quickly turned into a "witch hunt". I wanted to talk to John Bauer as he also made some interesting and intelligent comments, but I did not get to him before he left the forum. My greatest fear is that I will become as sloppy in my thinking as others have become. That is why I have been looking at other forums, because there is no one here who can help me. Gee
  8. Moontanman; Please note that I stated "many" members, not all members. You did not post in this thread prior to my comments, and as far as I know, you have never communicated with John Bauer, so it is a little presumptuous to assume that I was talking about you. So you are saying that the above comments are examples of your cool logic? your deep analysis? your critical thinking? What should I say to that? What can I say to that? I rest my case? Gee dimreepr; It is really very simple; I got tired of apologetics. When I first joined Science forums, I had a real respect for Science, you could even say that I was in awe of much of Science. A few years in this forum has taught me that there are two Sciences -- the real one that I still respect -- and the other wannabe one that I see displayed in the Philosophy and Religion forums. There is no Science in the comments in this thread, just a lot of arrogance, ignorance, and bias. It is obvious as a nose on a face that the members posting here have no real education as regards Religion, and learned their religious ideas at their mother's knee or in their local churches. They have a very layman's understanding and did not even know what John Bauer was talking about. I am simply tired of apologizing for wannabe scientists. Gee
  9. John Bauer; It was a pleasure to read your comments in this thread, as it is not often that I find someone who is so obviously intelligent, knowledgeable, and educated in these matters, and is also religious. (At least it is rare in this discussion forum.) I am sorry that I did not notice your thread earlier, as I would have loved to have a discussion with you on the matter of "souls". I am a philosopher by nature and habit, not by formal training, and have studied consciousness for most of my life. My studies have naturally caused me to also study Religion, but I should notify you that I, myself, am not religious. This does not stop me from appreciating and respecting Religion, and if anything, causes me to try to protect people's religious beliefs. There is a good chance that you are no longer posting in this forum, and I can't say that I would blame you after the less than adequate responses you received. You were looking for intelligent conversation and did not get it. Believe it or not, many of the members here are knowledgeable and intelligent; it is only when posting in the Religion forum that they seem to "eat a plate full of stupid" before posting. If you are reading this, and are still interested in conversation, let me know via the PM system -- send me a private message -- of where we might be able to have a real discussion on the matter of souls. Maybe another forum? Gee
  10. Aurora light; Yes there was a lot of testing done in the 1960's and 1970's by governments, Universities, AND private individuals. But they were not testing magic, they were testing psychic phenomenon. They learned that psychic phenomenon does happen; they also learned that there was no way to control it, to cause it to happen on command, so it was useless to continue the studies. Nothing was hidden as there were numerous articles about the various studies. There was no conspiracy. It is important to remember that there are a lot of differences between Science, science fiction, and Hollywood movies about mutants. Science and evolution have a long way to go before we will have any control over psychic phenomenon, if we ever do. Gee
  11. Oh goody! Trump would love that. He always believed he would be a better king than he is a President.
  12. Eise: Science and Philosophy both study reality, but use different methodologies. We have been through this before. You can not work Philosophy without having a valid premise. You can not know that a premise is valid unless you compare it to reality. If you do not base your Philosophy on reality, then you can not know if you are working Philosophy, taking a wild ass guess, rationalizing, or lying through your teeth. And who decides what we "should" think and what is "practical"? I remember a lunatic by the name of Hitler, who decided those things. His "Philosophy" worked pretty OK, until the body count got too high. Is that what Philosophy is? A rationalization made by any lunatic or liar, who can get people to believe him? When Science is worked badly, we tend to call it speculation or science fiction. When Religion is worked badly, we tend to call it a cult. When Philosophy is worked badly, we tend to call it armchair philosophy -- I tend to call it nonsense. No. People who ask questions may love Philosophy, but it is the people who find answers, who are philosophers. What I miss in your postings is philosophical loyalty. You have no love of Philosophy. You claim to be a philosopher, but write post after post exclaiming on the wonders of Science, while dismissing the value of Philosophy (except where it applies to Science). What I think is that you are a Science guy, who did not have the discipline and "rigour" to actually BE a scientist, so you side stepped into Philosophy to enjoy Science vicariously. I don't get every definition right, but in general, the problem is that I am too precise. Science and Philosophy were mixed up before I met them. (chuckle) Check your history. Didn't you write: "Philosophy that does not take science into account is worthless." in the "What is a God?" thread? Well there are not very many philosophers here in this forum, and the few who are do not necessarily study consciousness. Do you mean like in the "NDE" thread where you stated that there is no "mind/body problem"? I think you said it was something about "perspective". I considered responding. I was going to ask when you plan to publish, so after you stunned the world with your brilliance and received your Nobel, then I could maybe read your work. But I decided that you may have been having a bad day, so I didn't respond. Or do you mean like in the "Souls" thread where you lectured me about Jung's archetypes? I didn't think you understood archetypes, as you did not recognize them in my "Understanding the 'God' Concept" thread. I very clearly explained the "God" concept and even named the four triggers that cause it to surface, life, death, Nature, and morality. You responded by stating that "God" does not exist. Well, duh, I said that in the OP. Archetypes do not actually exist, but are very real because they are causal. The "God" concept is an archetype. Ah huh. So you are saying that family, friends, teachers, employers, co-workers, and strangers can not also be academic philosophers? Or are you trying to goad me into giving you names, so that you can attack persons, who are not here to defend themselves? I don't think so. I don't appreciate these personal attacks and would request that they stop. Gee Dimreepr; Sometimes you need background studies and information in order to understand a complex idea. Consciousness is a very complex idea. Understanding. Gee
  13. FreeWill; No. When I first joined this thread on Page 7, I had two goals in mind. The first was to deflect from a pack attack I saw circling around WTF regarding "emergence", but now I see the pack circling me with the latest personal attacks. I expect that this will be my last post to you in this thread, so I will try to sum up my thoughts. The second reason was because I saw the tendency to confuse sapience (thought) with sentience (feeling). Comparing sapience with sentience is like comparing apples and oranges. Yes, they are similar and have many mutual qualities, but they are not the same thing. If you have 100 apples, it will not give you one orange. Mashing thousands of apples will not give you orange juice, and neither will sapience give you sentience. People have long believed that it takes a sapient mind, or intelligence, to cause life or sentience. This is a very old idea that predates history. First there was a "God" with a sapient mind, who caused life; then an Intelligent Designer; then aliens with Chariots of the Gods; I have also read time travel theories where we cause our own development; and now AI, with its intelligence will somehow become magically sentient. What I see in all this are rationalizations of a sapient mind causing life and sentience with different agents playing the various rolls. What I have not seen is evidence that supports this belief, and I doubt that the evidence exists. Evolution says it doesn't exist. If AI does become sentient, it will not be because of its intelligence. It will be because someone, probably accidentally, caused matter to be infused with energy in a way that causes it to enhance itself. Think of soap bubbles: You can put water in a bowl then add liquid dish detergent and nothing will seem to happen, but if you add energy (your fingers agitating the water) then bubbles appear. The more energy, the more bubbles. At what point does the soap bubble start to energize itself to create more bubbles? That is the question of life and sentience. Life perpetuates itself through motion, and sentience, which is subjective, appears to be causal in this motion. If you want a better understanding of the subjective self than I can give, you could look up Chalmer's "zombie", which is in the SEP, the on-line Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy put out by Stanford University. Or you could look up Nagel's "What is it like to be a bat?" -- both are in Wiki. Let's get away from intelligence and look at some very simple life forms that are sentient; a leaf, an earthworm, and bacteria. A leaf will push its way into reality from a seed in the ground, or a stem, or a branch, forging a place for itself. An earthworm will rummage through the ground seeking to satisfy needs/wants in order to maintain itself. Bacteria will split itself in half to ensure that part of it continues even after it dies. These things are evidence of sentient life and survival instincts, and require little or no intelligence. Sentient life is subjectively assertive. AI can do lots of amazing things, it can sense many things, but it does these things in response to objective goals -- our goals. That makes it a really cool tool. If it were sentient, it would have its own subjective goals, its own agenda. That agenda would include asserting itself into reality like the leaf, it would include maintaining itself like the earthworm, and it would include ensuring its own continuance like the bacteria. It would be rational because it is AI, but it would not really care what we want, as it would have its own wants. To be sentient, it would assert its own subjective wants and needs above our wants and needs. In short it would be selfish as all life is. Gee
  14. dimreepr; It is easier to read what I write, if you read what I actually write, rather than what you think, or assume, I mean. Since most of my writing is about consciousness, and people have a lot of preconceived notions of what that is, it is important to actually read what I actually write. Philosophy is the study of reality. Did you know that? A "self-proclaimed" philosopher? People have been calling me a philosopher all of my life; family, friends, teachers, employers, co-workers, strangers, even my doctor. I started announcing that I was a philosopher in the first Science forum I posted in because some people there thought I was a scientist. I am not a scientist and would never let that impression stand as it would be fraudulent and an insult to real scientists. Have you ever heard the expression, "opinions are like assholes, everybody has one"? Well, actually we have a lot more than one, so how do we decide which opinion has value and which does not? Us, philosophy types, like to write something we call a philosophical argument. This is where we list our reasoning, logic, evidence, and experiences that caused us to form the opinion. You can read this "argument" and maybe you will be swayed to consider my opinion, or maybe you will be able to see a flaw in my logic, reasoning, or find my evidence invalid, or maybe you will point out that my experience is too singular or unique to base any truth upon. Either way, there is an opportunity to learn something, and Philosophy is all about learning. Gee
  15. FreeWill; I am not going to debate objectivity and subjectivity with you as these concepts have been worked out and accepted by minds better than ours for hundreds or thousands of years, but I think I see your point. If AI can gather information through sensors and hold that information internally, and also process that information, it appears that it is aware of that information and therefore sentient. Yes? Is that what you are saying? I don't agree that this makes AI sentient because sentience is more than gathering and processing information, but I will have to work out what I think is missing and what I would accept as evidence of sentience in AI. So give me a week or so to come up with some thoughts on this. Gee
  16. FreeWill; Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively -- according to Wiki. Subjectivity is an inner perspective and experience of information. Objectivity is an outward perspective and experience of information. Subjectivity and objectivity are opposites. You can look this up if you don't believe me. So when you say, "objective sentience", what you are really saying is something like, "I was in the front yard all morning making beds and cleaning bedrooms." This makes no sense as beds and bedrooms are not IN the front yard. An oxymoron is when you put opposing words together that make no sense, or are impossible. I never stated that AI sentience was prohibited or unachievable. I said it didn't seem likely and I didn't like the idea. Feedback is important to me, so if you have more questions, I will be happy to address them. You already helped me once when you showed me that my use of the word "digital" was confusing people, so I studied until I found "discrete data", which I hope conveys my meaning better. Thank you for your time. Gee Strange; Lots of "concepts" are interesting; some are potentially real and others are just imagination. Are you criticizing me for asking for evidence? Isn't this a Science center? Have you read the title of this thread? Maybe I worked too long in law; lawyers are notorious for making up their own meanings and words -- as are philosophers -- think Vitalism. No, it is not a power drink or a vitamin. Would it help if I explained that ten plus years ago, when I had my last major attack of MS, I lost some cognitive skills, at least half of my vocabulary, and the ability to read? It took two years to learn to read again, then I spent the next five years walking around with a dictionary or thesaurus, because I could not think of, or find, words that I know damned well I know. Luckily, things that I already understood remained in my understanding, and only new technologies that I had never studied became difficult to learn. I had never experienced difficulty learning anything that I wanted to -- prior to that attack. Because I did not lose my understanding of things, it is easy to see that your insistence, that I am not a real philosopher, is in fact a personal attack. Do you understand that it is a personal attack? Actually I was trying to clarify our understanding of consciousness with this analogy. I am certain that you are aware of the illusion theories in consciousness that imply that everything we know is just illusion as it is not direct experience. Illusion theories are referring to the mirror. Most people believe that their consciousness is the rational conscious aspect of mind where we think our thoughts and plan our days. These people are also referring to the mirror. So anyone, who thinks that consciousness is thought, is actually supporting the illusion theories, as thought is not direct experience. It is knowledge of, or a reflection of, direct experience. We do have direct experience, but it works through the unconscious aspect of mind, which in turn is interpreted into, or reflected into, the conscious aspect of mind. In the unconscious, we feel, perceive, and sense things directly, which is why all life can feel, sense, or perceive, because it is conscious. The unconscious is actually our consciousness. Self also sources through the unconscious, which is only one reason why it is such a confusing subject. So this is the reason that I don't support the illusion theories, as I think they are based on a false premise, that consciousness is thought. I suspect that AI sentience is also based on that same premise, that consciousness is thought. There are people who believe that if there is enough thought moving fast enough, that it will become analogue and consciousness will "emerge". This theory is, I believe, based on "complexity" and the idea that the unconscious aspect of mind sources from the conscious aspect of mind. Maybe it can work that way, but I haven't seen it, so I am not buying it. Why does it have to be in the brain? For myself, I don't see a big difference between chemicals floating around in the brain and chemicals floating around in an ecosystem. Fine. Consciousness is the application software. The unconscious is the operating system. What empowers the system? I think we are back to electricity. Do you remember Watergate? The reporters, who broke the story said that they "followed the money" to learn the truth. Why did they follow the money? Because money is power, it is causal and traceable. When I study consciousness, I am looking for the power and have traced it to the unconscious, which I am studying now. I don't know why you would assume that my intention is otherwise. I have often stated that consciousness is essentially communication. After watching a video where Feynman tried to explain magnets, I brought up that idea in a thread. The silly twits in the thread thought that I was comparing myself to Feynman and got angry. I was not. What I was doing is noting the commonalities of the problem of understanding consciousness and the problem of understanding magnets, as I see similarities. Feynman explained that electricity was and was not the source of magnets, then went on to state that we would have to be a student in his class to understand that. That was the first time, and probably the only time, that I wished I had turned to Science so that I could have been a student in his class. An understanding of bonding and physics will be necessary to actually understand consciousness. imo Gee
  17. FreeWill; Have you ever heard of an oxymoron? I believe that "objective sentience" is an oxymoron. Gee
  18. FreeWill; This response is very late and too long, but then I am very slow, and you asked a lot of questions. Because my understanding of consciousness is a little different, I ask that you read through the entire post before formulating a response. So you were just exercising your rights? I understand that you may need to verify what I state, but please note that I have MS, and tire easily -- I am also not proficient at providing links -- so if you are interested, please look up the information I reference, then ask for a link if necessary. As far as gaining my understanding, and that is what I call it, my Understanding, I learned from Philosophy, Psychology, specifically Jung, Freud, and Blanco, Environmental studies, Ecology, History, Biology, various Religions, etc., then rolled that information together comparing commonalities and analyzing the results for about 50 years. That is how I did it, and I'm not done. There are a lot of well-educated people in this forum. I also have textbooks, but mine reference law, and I am afraid that neither yours nor mine will answer many questions on consciousness. Yours will likely work against you, because every person that I have talked to, who has trained in the medical field, can not separate the idea of consciousness from the idea of the brain in their thinking. Years ago, I realized that ALL survival instincts work through feeling and/or emotion. This information compared well with Freud's interpretation of the "drives" in the Id aspect of mind. Since all survival instincts work through hormones internally and pheromones externally, we finally have a solid physical connection between mind (the Id) and all multicellular life. Therefore a (brainless) blade of grass is conscious (sentient) of the need to maintain itself and continue its specie. On the other hand, without the homeostasis (the self balancing) that hormones provide, we would all die. Ecosystems also self balance and pheromones and chemistry play an important roll in balancing life in ecosystems. The pertinent words here being "self" balancing -- life maintains and promotes itself. Which means that we have to know what "sentience" actually is. Sentience is a lower level of consciousness as established in Philosophy and Biology. Both consciousness and sentience require subjective experience in order to BE sentience/consciousness, and subjective experience requires a "self" in order to be subjective. All I have done is to show that survival instincts are evidence of a "self" that must be protected -- must survive -- and that all life possesses this "self"/ subjectivity. It is also clear that this is reactionary and works through chemistry and the unconscious aspect of mind. Thinking and/or a brain is not required. It is all related. You just have to stop thinking about the brain and start thinking about life and consciousness. You may not like my interpretations, but I resent the accusation that the information is "inaccurate". I work hard to be accurate and often verify the information before posting. Do you realize that if AI is actually sentient, that it would be a kind of new specie? That it will have a subjective "self" that it will try to protect? This is where the Sci-fi movies become the horror flicks when AI starts to see humans as unnecessary and redundant. This is what sentience signifies -- self maintaining and self promoting. But if we stop chopping up the forests, in a few centuries they will rebuild themselves and pheromones will play an important role in that work. There have been many studies on this; Nature rebuilding after floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc., and even bacteria that has learned to neutralize areas that were destroyed by toxic waste. Regarding the homeostasis between "Humanity and Nature". Consider that if we continue to be pests and destroy the forests, what will happen? The Greenhouse effect? Global warming? Changes in climate causing droughts and floods, oceans rising, food shortages, eventually leading to pestilence and disease? When it is all over, thousands of years from now, there will be less pesky humans and the rain forests will rebuild in some form. Like homeostasis within a body; life WILL balance and promote itself. Yes. The feeling that makes you react is automatic and analogue; however, you become consciously aware of it after you experience it and digitalize that information into knowledge. Once you have the information, then you can even anticipate it and often control it -- because you have a brain and can learn. Consider that if someone throws something at your head, you will probably duck -- that is self protection (survival instincts) but if you are a ball player used to catching a ball, you may well react by catching what was thrown -- that is reflexive learned instincts. Either way, you react to protect yourself. Of course, though it is not always easy. Consider that the ability to commit suicide is evidence that we can overwrite our survival instincts if we choose. But people surviving horrors that they would prefer to not live through, is evidence that dying is not always an option. I am not making an argument for or against free will. I have learned that it is best to think of the differences between the conscious and unconscious as influences, rather than controls. These two aspects of mind routinely feed information back and forth. And yet, there is well-documented history of rape following war. Fighting men kill and raise their testosterone levels. When the fighting is over they tend to grab the first person they can find and shove themselves into that person creating life -- also caused by an abundance of testosterone. This is only one example of how homeostasis works within a specie. Killing does not cause rape, but seems to encourage it. The above is not true. Hunger can be a defense against stealing food if it borders on starvation. Most US Courts will accept a plea of self defense, even when you kill, if it was necessary to protect your actual self, your spouse, your children, or your home. These are covered under survival instincts. Courts will generally not accept a plea of self defense if you kill to protect your friend, your parents, your siblings, etc., which are not covered under survival instincts. No. I have difficulty accepting AI sentience because I have not seen evidence of "self" in AI. Hormones are just evidence of survival instincts and "self" in life, nothing more. What do you actually know about the conscious and unconscious aspects of mind? Not the brain, but mind. Well, I certainly agree with this. Of course we will learn more, but will we ever learn everything? No. You are talking about binary; when I say digital, I may be thinking about "discrete data" (information). I have tried a half dozen different ways to explain this over the last weeks and have finally settled on a mirror analogy. When you look in a mirror, what you see is yourself, what is behind you, and around you, but are you in the mirror? No. This is what the brain does for us, it gives us a reflection and information about ourselves, our experiences in memory, the causal world that surrounds us, and it does it in digital or data form (thoughts). This reflection is what we call our consciousness, or the rational aspect of mind, and it is produced and processed by the brain. But does the mirror reflect everything mental? No. Although it can give us clues, it does not directly reflect emotion, nor does it reflect feelings (moods) which is why they are so hard to explain or verbalize. It can reflect awareness allowing us to be self-aware, but it is not truly the "self" so it does not actually experience awareness -- it only reflects what we are aware of. All of these things are analogue and do not reflect in the digital or data form as presented by the brain. These things make up what we call the unconscious aspect of mind, because they are not known consciously -- because they can not be reflected. This also means that they do not require a brain in order to be real. So when we say that a blade of grass is not conscious, what we are really saying is that it does not possess a brain, or mirror, so it has no knowledge of it's consciousness. But it does possess the knowledge necessary to maintain itself, probably through DNA, and it does possess feeling as evidenced by survival instincts, so it does possess consciousness in some form (sentience). It can die and lose consciousness. I made it, although I can not be the only person, and you would not find a reference in a neurology book as neurology does not study mind, it studies the brain and CNS. A good understanding of analytic Psychology might help. I have not yet found any legitimate source that disputes my Understanding, and have found a great deal that supports it. I am not sure how to explain this in a way that you will understand, as I have been over it repeatedly. Let's reverse this so we don't go any further off the topic. AI is basically a computer that processes information. Right? So what empowers the processing? What makes the activity or motion? Some form of electricity. Well the conscious rational aspect of mind works like the computer. What empowers the processing, activity, or motion? The unconscious aspect of mind, awareness, feeling, and emotion is what empowers it. The unconscious is to a body/brain what electricity is to AI. So I think we are looking in the wrong place for consciousness (sentience). The "self", the ability to self promote, and homeostasis, all source from the unconscious aspect of mind as evidenced by survival instincts. Evolution also seems to indicate that the unconscious came before the conscious, so I don't see AI as being conscious. Of course, I could be wrong. But I have also seen no evidence of sentience. As I stated in my first post in this thread: I don't expect it, but neither can I say it is impossible. Are we certain that we want AI to be conscious? Hawking was not convinced that it was such a good idea, and I find that I agree with him. When he says "full artificial intelligence", what he is saying is that it would have a "self" that would cause motivation, ambition, will, and self promotion. It would have emotion, feeling, and awareness, which means that it would have an unconscious aspect of mind. This means that it could theoretically be capable of having psychotic episodes, becoming schizophrenic, or insane. Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants? Gee Dimreepr says a lot of things, but does not like to read. If he did, then he would not have to state two or three more times what I stated in my first post in this thread regarding AI sentience: I don't expect it, but neither can I state that it is impossible.
  19. FreeWill; Do you have problems accessing Wiki on your own? It is clear from your response that you have not had the opportunity to read the page that I recommended, as hormones do a great deal more. I normally do not provide links because many people, who ask for them, don't even read them. Sometimes I think they just want to see if I can provide them; calling my bluff, as it were. Other people do not read them, they just scan them looking for anything to dispute, whether it is relevant or not. But since you asked, this is the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormone Remember that what we are looking for is evidence of survival instincts (self preservation) in life forms which indicates a subjective "self" that must be protected. This "self" is not dependent upon a brain as it is equally established in plants as it is in animals -- or all multicellular life. Bacteria (single cell) has some chemical(s) that do the same thing, but have a different name. It is also worth noting that pheromones do much of the same work outside of the body and between bodies, whether it be animal to animal, plant to animal, or plant to plant, creating a kind of homeostasis in ecosystems. Following is the specific list (main points underlined) that I recommended you read in my last post: Please note that all of the above works unconsciously and that the underlined points all work through feeling or emotion, which causes the activity associated with the survival instinct. This indicates a high probability that "self" or subjectivity is a product of the unconscious analogue aspect of mind -- not of the digital conscious mind. There is a great deal in Psychology that confirms this, and there is the understanding that "self" or subjectivity is very difficult to comprehend. My personal thought is that it is difficult because it is analogue. The above evidence and reasoning is why I have a great deal of difficulty accepting that AI, a representation of the digital aspect of mind could possibly possess a subjective understanding of "self". It appears to me that AI would have to have an unconscious aspect of mind. Yes, sand and water have much in common. They are equally good at scrubbing a pan, and the desert often looks like it has waves that mimic the ocean -- but they are not the same and have very different properties when it comes to life. You have missed the point entirely. Let us try the understanding with time instead. We break down time into hours, minutes, and seconds, which are digital. We can even break it down further into fractions of seconds. We can break it down more and more until it appears to be completely digitalized, but it is not because we can always expand it and break it down further. Time is analogue so no matter how many times we break it down, there will always be more between the cracks of what we have digitalized. The unconscious aspect of mind is much like that and analogue, so there is no way possible to completely digitalize it, no way to acquire all of the information, no way to completely know it. It is where imagination and spontaneous knowledge sources from, like in the reference that I gave to Prometheus about "fluid and crystallized intelligence". If you read that link, you will find that the "fluid" intelligence seems to be pulled out of thin air, or from the analogue unconscious aspect of mind, whereas the "crystallized" intelligence is pulled from training, experience, and known knowledge, or from the digital conscious aspect of mind. None of this is negated by stating that the conscious aspect of mind is digital. As long as the thought is within the mind where we can learn, grow, forget, etc., it will be digital (finite) but not necessarily static. To make it static, you would have to remove it from awareness, the mind/brain, and put it into a recording such as a book, memoir, CD, etc. Gee
  20. Prometheus; Hi. You have mentioned the brain in two of the following quotes and neurology in the other. If you truly want to understand what I am talking about, the first thing to do is understand that I am not talking about the brain. I study consciousness and mind, the brain being only ancillary to that study. Yes, I know that most people think that the brain and mind are the same thing, but there is little evidence to support that idea. Most of the evidence that we have associates the brain with the rational conscious aspect of mind, the Ego. The Ego is very small when comparted to the massive unconscious aspect of mind, the Superego, and we still don't know what the parameters of mind actually are. Some theories suggest that it is the entire Universe. I haven't gone that far, but you can be assured that I am not just talking about the brain. If the "salient feature" is as you state, then there is a real probability that surveillance equipment is conscious, and a possibility that my garage door opener is conscious. You would suggest that they have subjective experience, are conscious, and therefore have some sort of mind. Do you really believe that? And then what happens when you feel pain. Do you think, "Well, that is not pleasant." and continue to burn? Or do you get away from the flame to protect yourself then apply first aid? This is self preservation -- survival instincts. Even a plant will grow its roots toward water and turn its leaves and grow toward the sun to maintain itself. Trees that live along a river have been known to grow their roots into the soil to hold on to life when erosion tries to take them down, they will even grow extra branches over the solid earth to try to preserve their balance -- their life. First understand that I am not talking about the brain or "cognitive processes", I am talking about the components of consciousness. How the brain processes them is a whole different question. Do you remember that link you provided when we last talked that proved that the brain is analogue? You were trying to disprove my assertion that the brain is digital. The problem is that I would never state anything so wrong-headed. What I stated is that the brain digitalizes consciousness; it takes analogue consciousness and turns it into thought -- digital consciousness. It would have to be able to process both in order to do that. Now you can dispute that idea, but in doing so, what you are saying is that thought does not come from the brain. Or maybe you are saying that the tree mentioned above actually thinks about preserving itself. Thoughts are digital, knowledge is essentially thought that is true, memory is generally stored thought or knowledge. If you want examples of entirely digital stored thought/knowledge (memory) then just take away awareness -- a book without a reader, or DNA outside of a body. If it would help you to understand me better, you could look up "fluid and crystalized intelligence" in Wiki. It is not the same work that I do because it is focused on intelligence, but it is comparable. Fluid intelligence has much in common with what I call analogue consciousness, and crystalized intelligence is comparable to what I call digital consciousness. Gee
  21. FreeWill: I have no doubt that survival instincts are genetically predetermined. They work through chemistry,, mostly hormones and pheromones. If you go to Wiki and look up hormones, about half way down the page there is a listing of different things that hormones control in bodies. You will find that survival instincts are contained within that list. All multicell species have hormones and pheromones. Survival instincts, whether we are talking about the need to sleep, eat, protect our young, feel lusty, be afraid of a big bear, or any other survival instinct, they are all activated by or through some kind of feeling/emotion. This isn't terribly surprising since hormones affect emotion and emotion affects hormones -- it is circular. Yes. Thoughts are digital. Imagine a bucket of sand (digital) and a bucket of water (analogue). It might take a while, but you can actually count the pieces of sand; you can not count the pieces of water. Thoughts are individual like the sand. Maybe this will help to explain the difference. Have you heard that memory is not reliable? Actually it is pretty reliable, but emotional memory is not. This is because emotion is analogue, fluid, so it can actually change your memory to something that never happened, or exaggerate your memory, or even erase your memory. This has been well documented and is one of the primary reasons for debriefing. It is important to record the memory of an emotional situation as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours, before your emotions have time to change the memory. This is harder to explain, and I probably won't be able to do it fully, but will give you some examples. The unconscious aspect of mind is ruled by emotion -- not rational thought. This is where prejudice comes from, when we make a biased decision and don't realize why we did it. This is also what Psychology studies, when we have behaviors that do not match up with the circumstance that produced them. This is also where instincts, intuition, imagination, dreams, and a lot of other feelings and thoughts originate, and these are not things that we planned or thought out. The conscious mind is something that we direct, the unconscious is not. The unconscious is where we are always playing catch up. Another point is that emotion is often difficult to verbalize and to put into thought. We often express emotion through art, music, dance, or poetry because it is easier to communicate it that way because it is analogue. Because daffodils don't have a brain. Thought comes from the brain. Do not confuse awareness with thought, as they are two very different things. There is no testing that I know of that claims a daffodil is self aware. Actually I know of no testing that any specie without a brain is self aware. I did not determine these levels and suspect that Philosophy and Biology had a hand in that determination. Gee
  22. Prometheus: I have been off line for a while now, but am actually going to respond in this thread. I read the entire thread and there is so much disinformation and misunderstanding about consciousness in it, that I felt I should at least try to shed some light. I have no idea if AI will become sentient. I don't expect it to, but can not be sure that it is impossible either. First I think it would be a good idea to define some terms. Sentience is a feeling, and feeling is experienced subjectively. People will state that you can put a sensor on some equipment and that makes it sentient -- it does not. Although the equipment may be able to sense things, that does not imply a subjective experience. The real question of whether or not AI is sentient is whether or not it can have subjective experience. Also it is important to not confuse sentient (feeling) with sapient (thought) -- they are not the same thing. AI is sapient, or can be. All life, ALL life, is sentient. It is one of the tests we use to determine life. I got that from a working neurologist, who was a moderator in another Science forum, and who also was working on AI projects. How do we know that all life is sentient? Because all life has survival instincts, and survival instincts all work through feeling/emotion. We are now calling survival instincts "self preservation" because someone thought it was a better explanation as life will do whatever it can, including adapting, to preserve not only it's individual self, but also to preserve it's specie. So now we are down to consciousness. Consciousness is information, yes, but it has different forms. Consciousness is not one simple pure thing. Most people associate it with thought, and that is true, but only a partial explanation. Consciousness is what we think, what we know, what we remember, what we are aware of, what we feel, and our emotions. There are six basic components to consciousness that together make up the various mental aspects that we experience. Of these components, three, thought, knowledge, and memory, are digital. They make up the rational conscious aspect of mind and require a brain in order to be known because the brain digitalizes consciousness into thoughts. The brain actually produces thought. AI is a representation of this digitalized, logical, rational aspect of mind. The other three components, awareness, feeling, and emotion, are analogue. They make up the unconscious aspect of mind and are not known, but are experienced. This is why the unconscious aspect of mind is un-conscious, because we can not know the information unless it is digitalized by the brain. When we have a fever, the body has been working on and aware of the problem for hours or even days before we know about it. When we have an instinctive reaction, we don't know about it and do not even try to control it until we experience it and the information is then digitalized into knowledge of that experience by the brain. A daffodil has knowledge of how to grow, maintain itself, and reproduce, probably in it's DNA, but it does not consciously know this. It reacts to the sun and to water by analogue feeling and awareness of a need, not with knowledge or thought -- because it does not have a brain. So where does subjective experience come into this? Well it appears to show up in the analogue aspects of consciousness because all life is sentient -- no brain required. So can a representation of a brain, digital thought, actually cause analogue experience? I don't see how. According to evolution, the exact opposite is how it originally worked, analogue to digital. Intrigued: You know, this is actually kind of true. We study other species and have found some primates and elephants that seem to be developing some kind of death rituals when one of their specie dies. It is an indication of their intelligence that they are beginning to understand a type of spirituality, which is actually an awareness of the unconscious. So if AI is already intelligent and develops an analogue unconscious, what would happen? wtf: I also have a problem with the emergence idea, but maybe I can give you a little information. When people talk about consciousness, they generally mean the rational conscious aspect of mind -- thought. Thought comes from the brain, so you could call it emergence because the brain produces digital consciousness (thought) out of analogue consciousness (experience). All life possesses analogue consciousness, feeling and awareness, so that is the actual source point. I suspect at this point in my studies that we are going to have to learn a great deal more about bonding before we can answer the questions of life and beginning consciousness. We are going to have to accept that the physical and the metaphysical join to create life. How bonding works is the immediate question. imo Gee
  23. Gees

    the soul

    I don 't think so. You can't blame this on me. It has nothing to do with monotheism and everything to do with English. Following is the paragraph in question: You started out with "computer simulation", jumped to "magic", "technology", "a powerful being", the "Matrix", then ended up with "I am now a butterfly", in just a few short sentences. When you write a paragraph, the first sentence is the introduction and the last sentence is the summation -- I had reason to ask for clarification. I think that you are putting too much emphasis on "God" in your view of monotheism. Technically, all souls come from "God" and then return to "God" (except for the rejects in Hell) so it is not really that much different. We are all connected in some way at some level. I think the biggest difference is that in monotheism, and especially Christianity, people expect to retain their corporeal forms, so this leads to all kinds of ideas of the "afterlife" and also identifies us and "God" as individual. I see your point that it would be difficult to see yourself as the "powerful being" if you expect all beings to have a corporeal form. This seems to be a significant difference. imo. When you talk about a "single point of all creation", you come precariously close to challenging evolution, so I won't comment on that, but the endless cycle of birth and death, creation and destruction, is something that I see as very likely. Here I agree with you. I suspect that monotheists get wound up because they see death as the end of the race -- no do-overs -- so they can't get it wrong. For a while now, I have been considering the idea that the theology of a society may be an indication that the majority of the people are either, linear in their thinking or holistic in their thinking. Linear thinkers would see a beginning and an end clearly and tend to be assertive regarding what they believe is progress. Holistic thinkers tend to see things as cycling and are sometimes suspicious of too much change. Experience is good and valuable -- I like it. But I am still a "pretend" philosopher, so I would never discard the theology, sophisticated or otherwise. Gee
  24. Well on my computer, the top of the page reads as follows: Philosophy Religion What does religion say about this? Maybe your computer is different? My thought is that it is the "typo" effect. (chuckle) Well, if you were a "pretend" philosopher like me, you would understand that most people do not actually like to think -- especially about things that are difficult to understand. I suspect it gives them a headache. Most people choose to either believe in their Religion or not, but they don't really want to understand the theology or history behind the story. If you really want people, who are knowledgeable, you will have to find a way to protect them from the emotional downvoting members, who are angry with Religion or angry with their parents -- as that is often the same thing (per Psychology). The Pretend Philosopher I want to thank whoever downvoted this post for going out of your way to prove my point. Thank you.
  25. Gees

    the soul

    "For a powerful being to play with"? Are you serious? You come across as a person, who has some respect for and insight into Religions, but I can not find a speck of theology or philosophy in that statement. It appears to be a story told to people, who will believe it because they don't know any better. If you can explain the theology behind that "story", then please do so, as it makes no sense to me. Consider that Zhuangzi questioning reality does not automatically translate to a "God" playing with people. That is one hell of a jump. I agree that there are many flavors of Hinduism, as there are in most older Religions, but there is theology and study behind the stories. One of the professors that I was corresponding with taught Physics, but also researched Religions. He wrote up a synopsis on eight or ten Religions giving the major points and differences, which was kind of interesting. With Hinduism, his explanation for Brahman was that this "God" created reality and humans so that he could KNOW himself. This actually makes some sense. If you study Religions, you know that they are a study of consciousness, but predominantly a study of emotion. Emotion is not known; it is experienced. Before you start to argue that point, consider how difficult it is to explain love, consider that we use art, music, dance, etc., to express emotion. This is because emotion is analogue, it is felt; after we experience it, then we can think about the experience and try to put our feelings into digital words to make it known to us. So Brahman, the universal soul (emotion) created reality and people in order for there to be senses to experience and brains to produce thought so that he could KNOW himself. As a theology, this can work as a reasonable explanation. So when we are born, we forget we are part of Him, but are still connected and feeding his need to know. (chuckle) Doesn't Buddhism accept reincarnation as a matter of course? Sounds like some serious tail chasing to me.
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