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Scott Staples

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The theory of Dualism raises interesting questions about the existence of the Soul

I'm talking about the main/matter distinction. Matter can obviously be measured in terms of the physical but consciousness and self-awareness for example, where does this come from? The brain is the source of intelligence, this is able to be scientifically measured and it was René Descartes to propose the distiction between that intelligence, which could be attributed to a physical being, and other mental phenomona, for which were inexplicably unable to be physically measured.

A type of dualism called substance dualism proposes that the mental does not have an extension in space, that is to say, our thoughts cannot be measured physically, and the material cannot think. This is an interesting proposal considering the brain, the source of all our thoughts, is entirely material.

I don't consider myself religious but I do have an open mind. Consider for example that the 'soul' was the source of intelligence and self-awareness, it makes sense that the soul would be 'weightless'. If consciousness does not arise from matter, which is widely accepted, where does it come from?

This is not supposed to raise arguements about the existence of God but rather, the existence of the soul.


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      Apr 16 2011: bold statement. Care to provide back-up for this idea?
      • Apr 17 2011: Matthieu,
        Look... I don't know Kathy.. but can be Kathy's back up ! ;-)
        What do you think about that ??!!
        It's one thing to always have "back up".... but it's also possible to think yourself !
        If you say "I'm hungry !" can I then say "back it up!"

        Simply ask yourself how your physical brain can recall the color green.
        or ...can you recall the first time you rode a bicycle..?
        Can you recall the taste of that ice cream you had the other day?
        How many thousands or millions or trillions of sense impressions are bouncing around in the neurons of your brain? Do you really think that all that you have experienced in life is in some little "storage room" in the grey matter of your folds of your physical brain, where little cells / neurons go back behind a little curtain and fish out the information the you remember (consciously and unconsciously remember) and they come out again and present it to you on a little silver plate. You know... sometimes I wonder who is really more superstitious.... the down to the bone materialists or the people sitting in the church rows. It has to be some kind of strange prejudice that people live with that deny all possibility of the spiritual / soul world and rather "believe" in tiny little messengers that run around in the dark areas of the brain and collect and store our memories. As for explaining things like consciousness.... imagination.... intuition ... thinking.. love..as well as any and all emotions... will.. or even "free will" all these things are totally out of the range of understanding without some concepts of soul and spirit. If you let your prejudices control you then you will surely never fully reach an understanding of the human being. You will spend the rest of your life grouping around in the dark corners of your mind looking for some kind of answers to this great mystery that we live in.. the mystery of who we are. The material aspects of our being are only a small part of it.... on this you must agree..
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          Apr 17 2011: Well you certainly have an interesting way of characterizing what I accept to be true, but yes, that is what I really believe. Of course, I'm sure there are a lot of subtleties about the brain that still evade us completely, but I wouldn't fall back on a spiritual concept to fill in those gaps in knowledge (unless of course there are some empirical reasons to do so). Are there any particularly good reasons to which you could provide?

          As an imperfect analogy I'd point out that it'd be hard to imagine a hardrive containing the kind of elaborate information and interactions it does if we weren't used to it and only half understood it.
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      Apr 17 2011: Stand still while I perform a full-frontal lobotomy on you. Lets see what you have to say then! Okay, the jesting aside - how do you prove this? Yes, it is true other parts of the anatomy have nervous systems (I believe out intestinal region does and there is also suggestion of one in the heart; if I am wrong, could someone correct me?), and it is also true our spine can make decisions or spinal reflexes by the way of interneurons. But, the brain is what is proven to be central to your personality, analytical skills, language, imagination.. and all the things you tell me are not attributable to the brain. You are running with superstition like an esoteric mystic. You are effectively arguing that there is no communication from brain to nerves. This is just simply false. How do you move your appendages?
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      Apr 17 2011: Kathy at what evolutionary level would consciousness come into play? sheep? or a frog? Do you think the kind of consciousness you're talking about is restricted to humans?
      • Apr 17 2011: Scott,
        Not at all... animals too have consciousness but its not "incarnated" consciousness. They have a shared or what is called a "group consciousness" as I mentioned earlier as you see in a flock of birds.... sheep or whatever. Their consciousness is much more outside their physical body. You can also see this phenomenon in more sensitive animals that are what we call "spooky" they can be .... horses
        or deer... The group soul you could say "operates" in the individual as is reflected in the animals behavior. The more united the animals appear the more the group consciousness reveals itself. A bear is much more of an individual than a bird. In the sea you can see exactly the same pattern of behavior in sharks when they hunt or whales when they operate as a group moving in on their prey. The wolf has evolved this tactic of hunting too. They seem to know exactly what the other one is doing in circling in on their prey. While the owl for example is very individualized. The fact that mankind has grown out of this flock behavior shows that we are becoming more and more individuals in the world. Older and more primitive cultures still live strongly in this tribal instinct of the group soul. Their relationship to their dead relatives may also be something that is absolutely a real experience. The fact that tribes in Africa claim that they can still communicate with the souls of their dead ancestors. This is a common practice in many places in Africa, Asia, Australia and other places in the world where tribes havn't been so exposed to the modern way of living.
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          Apr 18 2011: Hi Kathy...........I really like your posts. As I said before, every living thing has an energizing principle............Soul.........but the Eden myth is an attempt to explain the level of consciouness between animals and humans. Animals are not self aware and humans are. Animals have no concept of good and evil. I believe in the eternal life of a soul. I am thinking ...what is a thought ? Can anyone assure me that a thought is "nothing but" a chemical reaction.?
        • Apr 18 2011: Hi Helen, and welcome to the discussion.... we've only just begun !
          Just a quick comment. A thought is not and never will be just a chemical reaction. A chemical reaction can be seen, measured, weighed as the neural firing can be. But a thought is totally immaterial. Of this I can assure you.
          As for the "energy" principle ... this is called the "etheric" principle not to be confused with the soul body which has more to do with all of your feelings and emotions. The etheric or life body is what we share with the plant world as well as the animal world. It is a body of light. This is where all of your memories are stored. ...NOT in your physical brain as most of the scientific world claims today. I agree with Kathy that the simple physical matter of the brain can do nothing by itself. The three higher elements of our being are united in the brain to perform all the complicated functions that have each their locality in the physical brain. So when someone says to you (Chabel in the case here) that a lobotomy proves that such and such a function is coming from that or that part of the brain.... well this is the materialists illusion. The real activity is going on in the interplay between the spiritual elements of our being. Your " I " (your self-consciousness and your thinking ) penetrates into your "soul" (or feeling body.. all your senses, pleasure, pain, love, hate etc.) which again penetrate and rest on the water element which is the barer of the life energy body.... a real body of light of energy that is released from the physical body after you die....
          I know all this sounds pretty esoteric... and it is... but in see the nature of our being in this way... a whole new world of understanding our being opens up to us... sleep... death.... reincarnation.. clairvoyance... phantom limbs ..... and many more "unexplainable things suddenly take on a whole new perspective.. but one has to give up a lot of the traditional way of seeing things.... but its worth it!
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          Apr 19 2011: okay thanks Kathy and Daniel,

          So from what I've read of your's, humans have been able to transcend the level of consciousness that an animal experiences. Do you think it is possible to experience level of consciousness above that of a human?

          Daniel I thought what you wrote about the animal "group consciousness" was interesting. I feel it is fairly evident that the humn race has a collective mind, how do you think this relates to the "group consciousness" experienced by some animals?

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