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Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

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Elgruaro
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Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Elgruaro » January 13th, 2019, 10:44 pm

I've been reading about a theory from Dr. Bryan Ehlmann which supports a "natural afterlife." Basically, he suggests that if non-existence follows after death, then we will be forever locked in a state of experience comprising of our very last moment. He uses the following thought experiment:

"You’re totally engrossed in watching an extremely exhilarating movie. Then, without knowing, you unexpectedly, without any perceived drowsiness, fall asleep. For you the movie has been unknowingly paused, while in reality (that for others) it continues on. Until you wake up, you still believe you’re watching that movie."

He suggests that because we will never perceive any indication that our consciousness has ceased when we die, we will continue this final state of consciousness forever and that in this state, time will become infinite.

Some of my thoughts on the topic:

- There will no longer be a self to consciously experience this last moment, so how can it be that this moment will continue forever?
- How specific is this static moment? Is it an everlasting experience of the second before we die? A millisecond? This quickly becomes an irrational thing to discuss.
- What if we die in some horrible way and are suffering until our last moments? (e.g., burned alive, suffocation, etc.) If we take this theory seriously, then that provides some pretty daunting implications. An eternity of extreme pain locked into a single moment? Yikes.

Overall, I don't know what to think about the plausibility of this theory. It makes sense to me that without a transferred state to let me know that I am no longer conscious, then from my point of view, I won't know that my final moment of consciousness has ended. But as mentioned, how can consciousness exist without an entity to experience it?

What do you guys think?

Eduk
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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Eduk » January 14th, 2019, 3:44 am

Doesn't make any sense to me. I think you've already pointed out some of the issues. I would add one. when I go to sleep I don't perceive a locked moment, I might have a dream for example.
Unknown means unknown.

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bucky
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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by bucky » January 14th, 2019, 4:02 am

You're definately right. The thought experiment doesn't work:

"You’re totally engrossed in watching an extremely exhilarating movie. Then, without knowing, you unexpectedly, without any perceived drowsiness, fall asleep. For you the movie has been unknowingly paused, while in reality (that for others) it continues on. Until you wake up, you still believe you’re watching that movie."

This is a false analogy because when I am asleep, I still exist. I don't temporarily go into a state of non-existence and then begin to exist again when I wake up. There's nothing about being asleep that is like being non-existent.

It sounds like he seems to think of non-existence as some kind of qualia, something which you can experience which is not what non-existence is. A programmer might say that he's confusing a NULL value with a 0 value.

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Felix
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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Felix » January 14th, 2019, 5:58 am

Sounds like he was deeply affected by the movie, the Sixth Sense.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Wmhoerr » January 14th, 2019, 4:26 pm

A problem with death is that were anything to remain, you need to say where this remainder is stored. Here we get to the "ether" idea where the remainder on death goes. This was a popular idea once with Rupert Sheldrake and his "morphic fields" but he is mostly fogotten today. He was unable to explain where the morphic field was. A similar idea was Jung's "collective unconsciousness" but he did not say how the ideas are passed between people. Propositions are one thing, but these days people want detail.

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Greta
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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Greta » January 14th, 2019, 11:15 pm

I think it pertains to the time dilation as observed in dreams. The dilation is not actual but subjective (that is, the time relation between events with the outside world is 1:1), caused by the discarding of trivial information, much like compressing a file to MPEG or MP3. That's why in a dream you might find yourself in the attic one moment and at Aunt Ethel's place the next as if teleported.

So, in the end we may well have a sense of one scene feeling like an exceptionally long time. The subjective side is only known by NDEs but that still isn't quite death, so the area is necessarily speculative.

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 14th, 2019, 11:37 pm

For me, the theory in question (and many people) suffers from a misunderstanding of “conscious state”. Consciousness is about processes. If everything is static, nothing changing, then there is no consciousness. A “conscious state”, then, is a dynamic state in which a particular conscious-type process is happening over and over. Death would result in the cessation of all such conscious-type processes.

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Burning ghost
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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Burning ghost » January 15th, 2019, 2:59 am

It isn’t a theory.
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Greta
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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Greta » January 15th, 2019, 5:41 pm

Could be, James, although it's possible that the subjective sense of time dilation becomes highly significant towards the end.

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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Jklint » January 15th, 2019, 6:13 pm

Elgruaro wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 10:44 pm
I've been reading about a theory from Dr. Bryan Ehlmann which supports a "natural afterlife." Basically, he suggests that if non-existence follows after death, then we will be forever locked in a state of experience comprising of our very last moment. He uses the following thought experiment:

"You’re totally engrossed in watching an extremely exhilarating movie. Then, without knowing, you unexpectedly, without any perceived drowsiness, fall asleep. For you the movie has been unknowingly paused, while in reality (that for others) it continues on. Until you wake up, you still believe you’re watching that movie."
This is one of the dumbest theories I ever encountered. One wonders how many bona fide idiots with "DR" titles are actually out there! The fallacy is so inherent that one wonders what his definition of brain dead would be.

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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by simmerdown » January 15th, 2019, 11:48 pm

Even if this theory is flawed, I'm still left with some pretty major difficulties regarding the thought of death. I realize that if we take a literalist conception of non-existence seriously, then non-existence can't be better, worse, nor the same as existence. We all (irrationally) project something onto nothing when thinking about the outcome of our death, when there really is no outcome. So by this logic, there is no point in death, yet no point in living. Yet, when I play out thought experiments in my head, I seem to attribute some value to life. For example, if I were to choose between a day of torture or being exempt from it via a dreamless sleep where I perceive nothing (i.e., as soon as I close my eyes, I instantaneously jump to my next waking moment), I would choose the latter option. Conversely, given the option between a day filled with pleasure and the aforementioned sleep, I would choose the former.

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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Eduk » January 16th, 2019, 4:18 am

The obvious way to imagine it is to remember the billions of years before you existed. Most people don't have a problem with this non existence.
Also I don't see why non existence after death means life is meaningless or without value?
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by phenomenal_graffiti » January 16th, 2019, 4:41 am

Do we know death results in non-existence? None of us had died (yet) so the assertion certainly does cone from direct experience. Do things come into and go out of existence? If so, how?
Q: What exists beyond the "Matrix" that is human consciousness?

A: The conscious and unconscious mind of God

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simmerdown
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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by simmerdown » January 16th, 2019, 10:41 pm

Eduk wrote:
January 16th, 2019, 4:18 am
The obvious way to imagine it is to remember the billions of years before you existed. Most people don't have a problem with this non existence.
Also I don't see why non existence after death means life is meaningless or without value?
You could argue that non existence after death implies life has no value because there is no correlate in which we could say we would be better or worse off. We can't say it is neutral value, because that would imply a value where there is none.

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Re: Theory of Natural Eternal Consciousness

Post by Eduk » January 17th, 2019, 1:35 pm

You could argue that. But often actions speak louder than words. In my experience people seem to value their existence very highly.
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