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> The Reality of Death and Dying. Let us embrace the topic, A Theology of Life & Death, and the role of rational religions
Lindsay
post Dec 10, 2007, 02:23 PM
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LIFE, DEATH AND IMMORTALITY
Because of my early childhood experience with death in the family, and in the community, I have always had an interest in the nature, purpose and meaning of death. I was born, in 1930 at the beginning of the great ten-year depression--in the iron-ore mining town of Bell Island, Newfoundland, then over 10,000 people. At its height, there were over 2,100 miners working for Dominion Iron and Steel Corp. Interestingly, the current population of the whole island is just over 2,000. Some commute to work in St. John's. It is 12 miles away. When I was growing up, in the 1930's, the population of the island of Newfoundland (43,000 square miles) was about 225,000. St. John's was 40,000. It has a population of about 100,000, today. Newfoundland itself is around 512,000. However, it is falling. Recently, development of oil fields, offshore, could reverse this trend.

In my family, I was number seven of eight children--five boys and three girls. Before I was three, I lost my oldest brother and sister when both were in their twenties. My sister lost her husband and only two children. Our mother died in 1935, when I was five. All were victims of tuberculosis. I would add: They were also the victims of a bad standard of living.

At that time TB, and other contagious diseases were a serious threat for many people like the Kings. The physical cause was usually bad sanitation (mostly outhouses), lack of a clean water--some wells were in the open and near traffic areas--and lack warm, dry un-ilsulated housing. This lack of supply was caused by the apathy on the part of the powerful few who were in control of things, and the ignorance of most people.

Things were made worse by the lack of a good health-care system. The majority of ten thousand people who lived on Bell Island had no hospital and a stardard of living similiar to that one reads about in the stories of Charles Dickens.

WAR BROUGHT A MODICUM OF PROSPERITY.
Ironically, that great engine of death, that is, war, with its demand for the weapons of destruction made of iron and steel, provided much employment. The same thing happened as a result of the influx of Canadian and American troops--army, navy and air force. All brought full employment and prosperity to
http://www.bellisland.net in 1939.

This resulted in my younger sister and I getting the education we needed to better ourselves. As a student, in 1947, I moved--my sister, with her family, moved later-- to what was then called the mainland--Canada.

The above is but a background to the topic about life and death.
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maximus242
post Dec 10, 2007, 09:04 PM
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I remember when me and Hey Hey used to chat about this, the problem is in defining death and defining life. You take in substances which are not living, yet somehow you are alive. You feed off of 'dead' things, giving you life - which seems contradictory. How can something which is dead, bring life to something alive? Through death there is life, through life there is death. We are a part of this world, the connection to it is undeniable. It is the air we breath, the food we eat, the water we drink - it is all connected.

Life in itself, its really a chemical molecule. It just so happens that this chemical molecule is self replicating, which is how scientists define life. But when you think about it, we are really not that far apart from that which is dead. They are both chemical molecules, so living things, take in dead and inorganic substances such as iron - and turn these into living things. Further more, you have not only define what is life, but who are you?

Your cells are different from the ones you were born with - they change every 7 years.

So are you the same person you were 7 years ago?

Nope. In fact your an completely different entity with the exception of your neurons. You don't notice it because its the same DNA as your previous self.

So how do you die if your comprised of trillions of smaller living organisms. Technically you're not alive - you are the sum of trillions of other living things joining together to create you. In essence, you are a society of trillions of cells conspiring together to ensure a higher chance of survival.

I wouldn't worry about dieing because you're not really alive, "you" in the sense you think of yourself doesn't really exist. What you are is the same as a country.

Places like the United States don't really exist. There is land on the planet earth which we refer to as the United States - but the United States in itself doesn't exist in physical reality. Just the same as you do not exist in physical reality, you are simply the mental construct of the neurons in your brain. The only thing that really exists is the cells in your body - just as how there are people in a country and land on that country.

We could call it anything, it exists in our minds because we create barriers for territorial psychology. Then we defend those barriers, put up flags and refer to a piece of land by a name.

The reality is the name, the flag and the barriers - are all given weight by the mind. The only thing that exists is the land and the people within the land.

You are the sum of trillions of living organisms working in cohesion together. Much like how the consciousness singularity might work. I just don't see how you can die if your not really alive in the first place - unless we are referring to the perceived permanent loss of conscious interaction with this place we refer to as reality.
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trojan_libido
post Dec 11, 2007, 12:57 AM
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Interesting Max; If we're a mind riding those trillions of cells working in harmony then I'd like to bring up a fractal Universe again:

I was watching Q.I. (quite interesting) on UK TV and the question was asked "What eats you when you die?". After the wrong answers of worms and maggots, the real answer I thought was very interesting - our body eats itself. The microbes on and in our bodies that we live in symbiosis with suddenly have free reign over the dead host. This then means the energy/food source becomes finite instead of regenerating and so decomposition takes place.

In a fractal Universe I see those microbes and bacteria as people and our bodies as their perceived Universe. When we die their Universe becomes finite.

So getting back to your thoughts on life and death, if we're a mind riding in a body made of trillions of cells all working cohesively, and there are nested worlds on and in us, then it isn't a stretch to think there is a mind riding on the cohesion of the galaxy and/or Universe itself? Will the regeneration end (stars forming etc.) if the Univsere 'dies' like our bodies?

Lots of questions but a great angle to view life/death from.
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maximus242
post Dec 11, 2007, 06:24 AM
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One could make that conclusion, you could say that the planet we live on is a living entity.

Or you could say the galazy is a living entity - or the universe itself.

The interesting thing I find is how no matter how small or how large you look at something, it always falls back on geometry. What if, an atom is like a galaxy and we are simply a super small entity making up a overwhelming amount of 'atoms', making up another world? Its hard to say that we really know how big the universe is, because we cant view it objectively. We are in the universe, so we are stuck trying to figure out the size of things from the inside-out.

Its interesting to think that there may be something larger than us, much larger - made up of a galaxy or a universe. It would essentially be much like a consciousness singularity, with one exception. No conscious awareness of that singularity. The cells in our bodies do not realize that we exist per se - even though they are responsible for our existence. So it could be that this planet is like a cellular organism. When you think about it, everything on this world is connected. Everything is joined together. It is the air we breath and the water we drink, we were made from things of this earth. In order for us to survive, we take things from this earth to sustain ourselves.

People easily forget that they are intimately connected to this world. When you breath in air and let out Co2, you have just taken oxygen from the plants and given them back Co2. Without each other, we would each die - only through harmonically working together do we survive.

But it gets bigger. Without the sun, we could not survive either. So not only are we connected to this planet like sub-cellular devices within the cell, but also we are connected to this galaxy. When you stop to think for a moment, its quite phenomenal to realize that we are connected with the rest of the galaxy, with the plants and the animals and with each other. If you take out any element from the system - we die. So perhaps there is something to the idea of a larger life form.

Interestingly enough, electrons move around atoms and planets move around the sun. Maybe what we are really looking at is a larger version of the atom.
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Lindsay
post Dec 11, 2007, 02:18 PM
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THE REALITY OF DEATH AND DYING
Note that--and thanks to all of you--I have edited the topic. Obviously there are those of us who do want to talk about the meaning of "
Death and Dying". So here goes. Here is a quote, from Max, to build on:
QUOTE
I remember when me and Hey Hey used to chat about this, the problem is in defining death and defining life.
You write:
QUOTE
Life... its really a chemical molecule. It just so happens that this chemical molecule is self replicating, which is how scientists define life. But when you think about it, we are really not that far apart from that which is dead. They are both chemical molecules
Max, it seems to me that you define life from the point of view of physicalism. With all its limitations, because I am pro scinece, I respect this point of view, despite its limitations:
PHYSICALISM
Wikipedia records that physicalism is, "a philosophical position holding that everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things. The term was coined by Otto Neurath in a series of early 20th century essays on the subject, in which he wrote:
"According to physicalism, the language of physics is the universal language of science and, consequently, any knowledge can be brought back to the statements on the physical objects." Check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicalism
Max, you go on
QUOTE
Further more, you have not only to define what is life, but who are you?
In other words, WHO AM I? WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE WE? plus a myriad of other existential and philosophical questions.

Max, IMO--may I add, in my humble opinion--you have raised what I consider to be the kind of questions which, providing there are also some answers, are fundamental to our understanding of the ultimate meaning of life. Need I remind you that such questions--hopefully, leading to some wise answers--are also fundamental to the great, rational and reflective religions of the world. May I also suggest that such questions are most worthy of discussion, if not here, in our "private tea party".
QUOTE
The reality is the name, the flag and the barriers - are all given weight by the mind. The only thing that exists is the land, and the people within the land.

You are the sum of trillions of living organisms working in cohesion together. Much like how the consciousness singularity might work. I just don't see how you can die if your not really alive in the first place - unless we are referring to the perceived permanent loss of conscious interaction with this place we refer to as reality.

I need to understand what you mean by, "not really alive in the first place". Also, what do you mean by, "this place we refer to as reality"?
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maximus242
post Dec 11, 2007, 11:40 PM
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QUOTE

I need to understand what you mean by, "not really alive in the first place". Also, what do you mean by, "this place we refer to as reality"?


Well, I am questioning the nature and origins of reality. We say this place is real, but what is real? Are the places you experience in dreams real? What is the difference between dreams and reality?

The primary difference between the two is that one is finite where the other appears to go on for much longer. In the end "reality" as we refer to it, is the interpretation of sensory stimuli which can be either real or simulated. In dreams there is what might be referred to as simulated sensory stimuli, which is tricking the senses into believing something is real, if only for a while.

Now again I ask, what is the difference between reality and dreams? At the most basic level, the difference is the length of time for which they last.

Our brains do not perceive a difference between 'real' and 'imagined' experiences - therefore we have no absolute way of judging whether or not the place we refer to as reality is actually 'real' or if it is being 'imagined'.

QUOTE
Max, it seems to me that you define life from the point of view of physicalism. With all its limitations, because I am pro scinece, I respect this point of view, despite its limitations:
PHYSICALISM
Wikipedia records that physicalism is, "a philosophical position holding that everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things. The term was coined by Otto Neurath in a series of early 20th century essays on the subject, in which he wrote:
"According to physicalism, the language of physics is the universal language of science and, consequently, any knowledge can be brought back to the statements on the physical objects." Check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicalism


I do not really prescribe to any particular school of thought actually. My ideas and opinions change with time, which is the key distinction between philosophers and religions. philosophers ideas can change where as religions stick to only one set of beliefs. It is also the reason why science often clashes with religion, science changes as new ideas are brought forth while religions seek to suppress those ideas.
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trojan_libido
post Dec 12, 2007, 02:19 AM
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Scientists, especially astronomers and biologists, scoff at any comparison between the macro and microcosms, yet the pattern is undeniable. The old 'As above, so below' has never been more important than now.

Geometry is definately key, and again I'll use the following to demonstrate:

The hexagon on Saturn pole
Hexagonal snowflakes
Hexagonal honeycombs
Giants causeway - geometric columns of volcanic rock, favouring the hexagonal shape
The star of david
Music having numerical qualities - a computer can create symphonies which seem to have been composed by masters
Cymatics and the vibration of sound creating form
The Sun 'singing' due to magnetic field distortions
The hum still present from the 'Big Bang'
The eastern concept of Aum resonating the mind and allowing easier mystical entry into Nirvana
Mathematics and physics actually heralding in evolutions in technology which are becoming evolutions in cyber-biology (hearing aids, body modifications)

There is so much evidence for the Universe being Fractal, and the similarities between these 'layers' of reality (macro, micro) should be whats being studied.

Question: If an atom contained life in a similar way to the Earth, would we even be able to detect such small scale lifeforms? Obviously it'd all be happening at an exponential rate compared to our lives - electrons and such are apparently moving near light speed, which I think would alter the relative speed of time.
Are we playing galactic pool by smashing atoms together to form quarks and such?
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maximus242
post Dec 12, 2007, 10:44 AM
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That would be difficult for us to observe due to relativity. Even if we could observe it and if there was lifeforms (we have no proof), then they would probably be significantly different than life as we know it.
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trojan_libido
post Dec 12, 2007, 12:25 PM
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Definately difficult to prove, and I'm definately not saying little people going about their lives on an electron as we do smile.gif
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post Dec 12, 2007, 07:54 PM
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QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Dec 12, 2007, 12:25 PM) *

Definately difficult to prove, and I'm definately not saying little people going about their lives on an electron as we do smile.gif

Last I heard our universe was still stuck inside some shoe salesman pocket.
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Rick
post Dec 13, 2007, 10:13 AM
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Or, as in the ending to Men in Black, we are in a toy "marble" on a collar around a cat's neck.
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Lindsay
post Dec 13, 2007, 08:59 PM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Dec 11, 2007, 11:40 PM) *
... My ideas and opinions change with time, which is the key distinction between philosophers and religions. philosophers ideas can change where as religions stick to only one set of beliefs. It is also the reason why science often clashes with religion, science changes as new ideas are brought forth while religions seek to suppress those ideas.
Then as you are open-minded you will want to read about the progressive thinkers, to whom I have referred several times, such as The Rev. John S. Spong and Professor Karen Armstrong, Alfred N. Whitehead, just to name a few
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Spong
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Armstrong
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.N._Whitehead
and about
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Christianity
http://progressivechristianity.ca/ccpc/ind...ntpage&Itemid=1


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