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What happens to us when we die?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Jan Sand
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 2nd, 2019, 9:44 am

At the age of 93 I daily shake hands with the concept of death and cannot dismiss the idea of non existence as not worth contemplation. Any living creature is, moment by moment, a complex of physiological dynamics which evolves continuously. and to dismiss its existence is to dismiss the existence of a snowflake because its descent in space places it in a different position in space as it falls. We are more than our memories as our physical existence changes as we exist. That our knowledge of ourselves records our existence gives us a sense of our four dimensionality but does not deny our existence beyond the momentary sense of now, any more than the attention to a point on a line denies the existence if a line. I still savor greatly my sense has great deficiencies of existence and am fully aware that my long memory does not recall precisely every instant of my past but I am quite aware that I did not cease to exist when my memories are deficient in perfect recall.

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Present awareness
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Present awareness » February 2nd, 2019, 11:32 am

Jan Sand wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 9:44 am
At the age of 93 I daily shake hands with the concept of death and cannot dismiss the idea of non existence as not worth contemplation. Any living creature is, moment by moment, a complex of physiological dynamics which evolves continuously. and to dismiss its existence is to dismiss the existence of a snowflake because its descent in space places it in a different position in space as it falls. We are more than our memories as our physical existence changes as we exist. That our knowledge of ourselves records our existence gives us a sense of our four dimensionality but does not deny our existence beyond the momentary sense of now, any more than the attention to a point on a line denies the existence if a line. I still savor greatly my sense has great deficiencies of existence and am fully aware that my long memory does not recall precisely every instant of my past but I am quite aware that I did not cease to exist when my memories are deficient in perfect recall.
As you make your 93rd trip around the Sun Jan, you have seen a lot of changes in your life! Although we may contemplate non existence, we may not experience it. As it is often said, when you are dead, you won’t “know” that you are dead, just as we didn’t know we weren’t born until after the fact. However the body knows when it is dying and we will be there to witness it, but I believe that intense fear will give way to intense peace, as many people whom have had near death experiences have described.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

Jan Sand
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 2nd, 2019, 11:54 am

I find it rather amusing to presume whatever happens to the emotional condition of someone else dying. We are all individuals and remain quite unpredictable as to how we each react to highly emotional situations. When my son or my wife or each of my parents died I had different reactions. I have no idea how I might react when I finally kick that final bucket.

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Rederic
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Rederic » February 2nd, 2019, 12:51 pm

'Present awareness' Absolutely correct. We are our memories, without them we are nobody. Alzheimers is a terrible disease, to forget everything must be the worst affliction ever. To look in the mirror and have a stranger look back at you must be indescribeable.
Religion is at its best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves.
It is at its worst when it deludes us into thinking we have all the answers for everybody else.
Archibald Macleish.

Jan Sand
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 2nd, 2019, 12:59 pm

Probably if you have Alzheimer's everybody is a stranger and you have no memory of the past you. You would't even be surprised at what you see in the mirror.

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Greta
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Greta » February 2nd, 2019, 5:28 pm

Atla wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 9:11 am
... it's perfectly obvious what happens to us when we die.
Based on a human societal perspective of time and space, yes.

Based on what nature actually does, it's only obvious on the surface.

Atla
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Atla » February 2nd, 2019, 6:18 pm

Greta wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 5:28 pm
Atla wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 9:11 am
... it's perfectly obvious what happens to us when we die.
Based on a human societal perspective of time and space, yes.

Based on what nature actually does, it's only obvious on the surface.
What mistery is there about death? The EM fields in our head fall apart, metabolism in the brain stops and eventually we rot away. In other words our experiences fall apart, whatever experiences come after that are no longer remembered, and are probably very homogeneous anyway, nothing like our everyday experiences. The last glimpses that people remember from it, are usually described as white light or darkness, and eventually apparent nothingness. After the death "our" experience will be more or less the same as the ones we had before we were born. Experience itself is eternal but it's the same as the physical, and what we call memory is just a little part of it.

Unless some big new discovery is made that would imply that something more complicated than the above is going on.

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Greta
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Greta » February 2nd, 2019, 7:26 pm

Atla wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 6:18 pm
Greta wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 5:28 pm

Based on a human societal perspective of time and space, yes.

Based on what nature actually does, it's only obvious on the surface.
What mistery is there about death? The EM fields in our head fall apart, metabolism in the brain stops and eventually we rot away. In other words our experiences fall apart, whatever experiences come after that are no longer remembered, and are probably very homogeneous anyway, nothing like our everyday experiences. The last glimpses that people remember from it, are usually described as white light or darkness, and eventually apparent nothingness. After the death "our" experience will be more or less the same as the ones we had before we were born. Experience itself is eternal but it's the same as the physical, and what we call memory is just a little part of it.

Unless some big new discovery is made that would imply that something more complicated than the above is going on.
All thoroughly reasonable based on our current understanding of reality, and especially of time, which is not much at this stage. Even our understanding of what energy is and where it came from or how it came to be stops short of understanding, and certainly that's the case for the other 95% of reality that's still in question at a basic level.

So, if I was a betting woman, I would back the situation being as you said. However, I would not consider that I had enough information for it to be a safe bet (aside from being safe from paying up :).

Jan Sand
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 2nd, 2019, 11:17 pm

The brain is a mechanism designed by evolution to permit us to survive in a special set of ecological situations. Those sets differ depending upon what kind of living creature we happen to be. Humans have very different requirements than honeybees or oysters or octopuses so each creature is equipped with a different set of abilities. Human brains would not work for any other creature than a human and survival depends on good functioning. The brain is a guessing machine that constructs from its sensory input what it thinks the outside world is like but there is far more going on in the universe than any particular animal or plant or bacteria needs so we all spend our existences guessing as best we can and we each do reasonably well until conditions change and we cease to exist. That's what life is all about and current human conditions are about to change radically and probably most of us will cease to exist, Life is existence and death is when existence ceases. It's that simple.

Atla
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Atla » February 3rd, 2019, 1:12 am

Greta wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 7:26 pm
Atla wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 6:18 pm

What mistery is there about death? The EM fields in our head fall apart, metabolism in the brain stops and eventually we rot away. In other words our experiences fall apart, whatever experiences come after that are no longer remembered, and are probably very homogeneous anyway, nothing like our everyday experiences. The last glimpses that people remember from it, are usually described as white light or darkness, and eventually apparent nothingness. After the death "our" experience will be more or less the same as the ones we had before we were born. Experience itself is eternal but it's the same as the physical, and what we call memory is just a little part of it.

Unless some big new discovery is made that would imply that something more complicated than the above is going on.
All thoroughly reasonable based on our current understanding of reality, and especially of time, which is not much at this stage. Even our understanding of what energy is and where it came from or how it came to be stops short of understanding, and certainly that's the case for the other 95% of reality that's still in question at a basic level.

So, if I was a betting woman, I would back the situation being as you said. However, I would not consider that I had enough information for it to be a safe bet (aside from being safe from paying up :).
Yeah it's never a safe bet, no matter how much we know, something entirely different may be going on behind the scenes that's beyond our ability to detect.

Having said that, questions like what "IS" energy/motion/the forces/pretty much anything in physics, are imo rather meaningless because there aro no specific things, all we can do is come up with better and better metaphors to describe the phenomena. And I see no reason to assume that they came to be, instead of the default assumption that they always existed.

I guess energy is a difficult topic, but like everything else in this universe, I see energy as a necessary feature of our universe that enables us to be here. I kinda suspect that some forms of energy, especially gravity and kinetic/potential energy, aren't fundamental, maybe none of the four yet discovered forces are fundamental, they are merely how our universe is arranged, but I may be very wrong here.

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Binyamin7
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Binyamin7 » February 3rd, 2019, 1:19 am

Is the real you material or immaterial? Do you experience love, anger, and have a moral compass without anyone telling you to have these things? Your thought life uses your brain, but your brain being material cannot cause your thought life but only facilitate it. So since the deepest parts of you are immaterial, how can immaterial things die like flesh things die? Can you show me any immaterial things that we know for sure exist that cease to exist at some point?

Jan Sand
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 3rd, 2019, 3:08 am

It is reasonable to first prove immaterial things exist before it is granted that they can cease to exist. Brain functions can be discerned with current instrumentation of blood flow and synaptic connection and disconnection. There is nothing immaterial in thinking.

Atla
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Atla » February 3rd, 2019, 3:38 am

Binyamin7 wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 1:19 am
Is the real you material or immaterial? Do you experience love, anger, and have a moral compass without anyone telling you to have these things? Your thought life uses your brain, but your brain being material cannot cause your thought life but only facilitate it. So since the deepest parts of you are immaterial, how can immaterial things die like flesh things die? Can you show me any immaterial things that we know for sure exist that cease to exist at some point?
If you ask me:

We tend to divide the world into material and immaterial (an obvious dualism), or we go with idealism (immaterial but not material, a subtle dualism), or we go with materialism (material but not immaterial, a subtle dualism).

But there is nothing known to humanity that would suggest that we should make the material - immaterial distinction in the first place, that's probably just a crackpot theory, on par with Flat Earth. So substance/property/aspect dualism, idealism and materialism are all nonsense.

Instead, material and immaterial are the same thing said twice. Our experience of love, anger, moral compass etc. IS in other words described as the material universe. It's a mind-bending view at first.

So experience itself is eternal, in one sense we never die, in another sense we do die as the experience of a living human is almost nothing like the experience of the rest of the universe.

Jan Sand
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Jan Sand » February 3rd, 2019, 3:52 am

Since experience, like any modification of material through time, vanishes with the destruction of the recording device, be it a human brain or a vinyl record, the concept of never never enters into the equation.

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Greta
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Re: What happens to us when we die?

Post by Greta » February 3rd, 2019, 3:56 am

Atla wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 1:12 am
Greta wrote:
February 2nd, 2019, 7:26 pm

All thoroughly reasonable based on our current understanding of reality, and especially of time, which is not much at this stage. Even our understanding of what energy is and where it came from or how it came to be stops short of understanding, and certainly that's the case for the other 95% of reality that's still in question at a basic level.

So, if I was a betting woman, I would back the situation being as you said. However, I would not consider that I had enough information for it to be a safe bet (aside from being safe from paying up :).
Yeah it's never a safe bet, no matter how much we know, something entirely different may be going on behind the scenes that's beyond our ability to detect.

Having said that, questions like what "IS" energy/motion/the forces/pretty much anything in physics, are imo rather meaningless because there aro no specific things, all we can do is come up with better and better metaphors to describe the phenomena. And I see no reason to assume that they came to be, instead of the default assumption that they always existed.

I guess energy is a difficult topic, but like everything else in this universe, I see energy as a necessary feature of our universe that enables us to be here. I kinda suspect that some forms of energy, especially gravity and kinetic/potential energy, aren't fundamental, maybe none of the four yet discovered forces are fundamental, they are merely how our universe is arranged, but I may be very wrong here.
Sorry, I phrased poorly above re: time. I'm thinking that time is a major x factor, that appears to be least understood of all natural phenomena.

According to the theorists, dark energy would seem most likely to be fundamental and, coincidentally, it's suspected to be behind the arrow of time. I am very taken by the oddness of reality, which is why I can't help hedging. I keep wondering what oddities are yet to be found/noticed.

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