Monday, June 04, 2012

Consciousness and existence

Sometimes I ponder on the possibility of being born again into a different existence, without any memory (if materialism is correct) of my previous existence in this life here and now.

Then it occurred to me, on waking up this morning, that perhaps this had already happened, and that today was the first day of my conscious existence.  To be sure, I have the recollection of a previous existence in this body, and there is a whole list of posts on this blog that I have been maintaining since 2006.  But that could just be an implanted set of memories.

Perhaps the whole world was created today?  Does anyone here have any evidence otherwise?

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7 Comments:

Blogger Cristian Pascu said...

If it was created today, with memories and other stuff in our minds, than the creator must be personal. I can not see how an impersonal agent would create the Universe, us included, in the present state.

If the agent is personal, there must be a reason. I fail to see what reason that could be since there seems to be nothing special about today.

Anyways, consciousness is a topic I'm into these days and I'm just getting started. I find it to be just as fascinating as the centuries old question about being.

5:01 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

>> Perhaps the whole world was created today? Does anyone here have any evidence otherwise?

Sure. We have a whole lifetime of evidence otherwise.

10:14 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>Sure. We have a whole lifetime of evidence otherwise.

So how would it seem to us, if it seemed as though we had been created just now, with an appropriate set of memories?

6:36 am  
Blogger Anthony said...

>> So how would it seem to us, if it seemed as though we had been created just now, with an appropriate set of memories?

It can't seem as though we had been created just now. When we are created, we don't yet have the concept of "just now".

3:07 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

Surely we do have the concept 'just now'? I'm not sure how I could argue for that, though.

3:36 pm  
Blogger Andreas K. said...

Hi Ed. I've just been looking at your blog, and this one caught my attention. :)

It's possible to understand this as different ways of "looking" intersecting in oneself, as the exercise of different human observational faculties.

In one sense, the past has existed, we have all been here all along, etc. But in another sense, only the present ever exists, in which the past is just a memory. Every moment is quantitatively unique -- circumstances never repeat exactly -- and qualitatively the same in being "now". The greater the focus on the qualitative, or the content of consciousness, the more the quantitative aspects seem unreal, as "just" memories, in comparison to the essential.

So rather than being in opposition, these two perspectives may complement and enrich each other. If my accountant told me yesterday that my tax return is due tomorrow, I must post it today. That's the utilitarian mode. But in a more poetic sense, informed by an intensity of experience, yesterday does not exist, the world has only been created today, and it has *always* only been created today.

5:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

Hi Andreas. Yes, this is the 'A series' idea. Too complicated to explain in a comments box, over a beer sometime, maybe?

5:02 pm  

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