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April 16, 2012


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Hi Brian, thanks for an excellent post, I enjoyed it as much as the other ones, maybe you should think on writing it for a major publication, this is really good stuff.

Regarding the topic, this is exactly the kind of immortality that has been around my head since I was a 5 year old kid that realized he was going to die and ran to my grandparents house's restroom to cry for about half an hour, then this thought gradually appeared in my mind in the coming years.

I do believe this is the best shot we will have to immortality but, as a good -born catholic and not practicing it anymore converted into an spiritual truth seeker that abandoned tibetan buddhism- I must admit that I find it hard to accept the idea, even when the evidence seems to be so conclusive.

I had lots of conversations about this with a former co-worker that is actually a good friend of mine and we eventually concluded what you're writing about here, so yes, I have to say that even thought I don't like it, it is likely more connected with the truth of our lives. I guess we just have to wait and eventually we will find out if there's way to find out at all.

We get knocked on the head and lose consciousness. This is proof that we don't have a soul?

I doubt the soul thing but since my therapist has encouraged me to question things more, this seems like a good place to start. Hit on the head...no consciousness, thus, no soul.

Well...since we don't know what a soul is, since it's one of those nebulous things to define, we're saying something we have a hard time defining in the first place doesn't exist. That's a tough call, isn't it?

Many traditions imply that the soul is linked to the body while the body is 'alive'. So, getting hit on the head, would that 'free the soul' from the bounds of the body if the body were still 'alive'? If the soul is bound to the body until death, just getting knocked unconscious is unlikely to 'free' the soul, so, the fact that one is unconscious doesn't seem to necessarily mean there's no soul.

Now, again, I don't believe in the soul hypothesis but am playing devil's advocate here.

And the idea that no one experiences 'consciousness' after getting hit on the head is, well, just plain wrong, isn't it? Aren't there many first-person accounts of out of body experiences triggered by physical trauma of some sort? Now, clearly, not everyone hit on the head experiences one of these, but, if some people do, does that rule out a 'soul'?

I have no idea. I like having no idea. Not knowing. It's kind of more freeing than thinking I know one way or the other.

Decaffnm, the soul is supposed to be the backup "body" for when the physical body dies. In his book, Stephen Cave talks about several different versions of the soul hypothesis.

In the Christian (also Jewish and Muslim) version, our memories, thoughts, and such go along with us after death via soul. That allows us to recognize loved ones in heaven.

In the Hindu/Buddhist version, soul is much more akin to some sort of pure consciousness without personal individuality. In either version, though, conscious awareness continues on after death.

So as noted in this post, if the soul supposedly is our "life jacket" of consciousness when the whole body dies, shouldn't it be able to keep us afloat, so to speak, after a mere hit on the head or anesthesia? If the real "us" is soul, why aren't we aware of this eternal unchanging consciousness when our bodily brain stops functioning?

You're right: getting hit on the head and becoming unconscious doesn't prove the absence of soul. But it requires some serious explaining from those who believe in soul, and those explanations aren't very persuasive.

I have nothing much to say except that being knocked out by a kick to the head or propophol is just another appearance in Mind. It does not demonstrate that eternity is nil any more than having an out of body experience while considered dead in the emergency room is proof of a soul or afterlife.

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