TED Conversations

Sanyu Nagenda

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Beyond just science and religion, let's converse about the INFINITE implications of the purpose of ALL life. What does Existence stem from?

When it comes to all of Existence, I must first recognize Infinity. Infinity - though seemingly (generally) agreed upon by those who are religious and those who are scientific - does not get its due. This is perhaps because as incarnate finite beings in heavy flesh & blood bodies, most of us are not even capable of fathoming the scale of what Infinity actually entails.

It seems to me that Infinity, by its very nature, is beyond time. As tiny, young, largely inexperienced, generally unwise developing beings; what our species chooses to conceive about Infinity is actually very limited. It is treated like a number even while it encompasses all possible numbers. It is considered a time unit, even as it outexists all of our conceptions of time. This is not only something to be noted, but something to be observed, reflected upon and revered.

If Infinity is, in fact, "a 'number' greater than any assignable quantity or countable number;" and if the Omniverse is Infinite; and if everything exists within the Omniverse; then as far as I'm concerned, Infinity is "a formed existence greater than any assignable measure or quantifiable expression." What is not needed, what is lost, what is not included, within Infinity? Infinity necessitates EVERYTHING because Infinity IS everything. Everything is needed within Infinity because Infinity negates nothing!

To me, all consciousness' are the result of Infinity experiencing itself. Consciousness is the ongoing result and experiment of Existence (Infinity) Experiencing Itself. Our species is but one form of Existence experiencing itself. Plants, our animal cousins, planets, dimensions, elements, galaxies, etc. are each their own manifestation of our infinite existence experiencing itself.

Our species has lived only thousands of years and we've developed what we consider an advanced form of consciousness: self-reflection, language, creation, etc.

What, then, do you suppose is the likely consciousness awareness of Infinity itself?


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  • Aug 17 2011: Sanyu: "I see that you take things very literally and that for you things are very concretely one thing or the other."

    Carlin: You're probably right. My wife says the same thing.

    Sanyu: "It seems you think that "life" is an isolated thing for each living thing. I do not "see" things that way. A Sumerian is a Homo Sapiens Sapiens ..."

    Carlin: I'm sorry. I wasn't clear. My reference to a Sumerian was intended to relate to my earlier comment: "I agree that many things have lives, including plants, animals, ideas, solar systems and societies. " The lack of recent Sumerian sightings was my silly way of giving an example of a society whose life had ended.

    Sanyu: "I think you are also taking my reference to a sentient being a bit literally. To you, it would seem that a being must have a "body" and must have appendages and opposable thumbs. I do not see beings in this way. An atom is a being, as it IS being, so far as I'm concerned."

    Carlin: Yes, I believe atoms do exist. Their existence does mesh with my world view. The presence of protons, neutrons and electrons offers a verifiable explanation for how atoms interact to form molecules, which interact to form all the physical materials that we observe in the world around us. Perhaps some atoms in our universe or in some other universe, or some place in between are sentient, but I don't see any evidence that they are. Absent any evidence that suggests that our universe was created by a sentient being I see no reason to suppose that that is the case.

    By the way, I recently came across the following cartoon that somewhat relates to this discussion:

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      Aug 17 2011: Hey Carlin!

      Perhaps it is that you cannot "see" everything in order to determine the truth of it. Particularly, I do not think you would "see any evidence" of a sentient atom. I hardly think they care to communicate in that way, as it's quite laborious and even our species had to develop these complicated meat bodies in order to facilitate the auditory and visionary senses it seems we rely so heavily upon.

      Do you think that blind people are less knowledgeable as a result of being blind? Or perhaps less realistic? I don't. I think they just "see" things differently. I don't have any reason to believe that it's not the same for any living organism (and there are soooooooooooo many) even if they do not "speak my language."

      That comic is super cute, by the way, and I actually don't differ so differently from it either. However, a place where not even sadness can exist sounds like a kind of awesome place. A void can be a positive place, if it allows for the stillness of presence in the present.

      At the end of the day, I greatly appreciate my bodily senses and I value their usefulness; BUT I do not consider them the end all be all, or even the pinnacle, of my ability to asses truth.

      I've enjoyed our conversation, I thank you very much for jumping in and giving me insight into another worldview on this great planet in this vast and wonderful existence!
      • Aug 18 2011: I agree that we can't see everything to know the truth of it. But there are so many different possible explanations for how our universe came into being, and how life came to exist on the Earth, how do we choose among them? Most people seem to choose the explanations that they were taught as children. Some seem to choose an explanation that emotionally appeals to them. But I think that if we can't see (or otherwise verify) something, then we can't be sure that we do know the truth of it. And if we can't be sure, then we should just keep an open mind until one of the possibilities can be verified.

        Here's a link to a web site that describes Carl Sagan's take on verification.

        No, blind people are not less knowledgeable than sighted people, except perhaps about visual stimuli. This TED talk by Richard Dawkins seems related to your point that we may not be able to "see any evidence" of a sentient atom. Have you watched it?


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