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Mon Feb 23, 2015, 10:21 AM

 

Does the individual exist?

I'm somewhat of a skeptic by nature (assuming that I exist, of course!).

My skepticism extends way beyond doubting the existence of a God or Gods (about which I am skeptical enough to call myself an atheist atheist).

My skepticism leads me to doubt my own existence as an individual. (And YOU, too!...lol.)

What do folks here think about the existence of the individual?

Do you and I exist as individuals?

61 replies, 5177 views

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Arrow 61 replies Author Time Post
Reply Does the individual exist? (Original post)
stone space Feb 2015 OP
TexasProgresive Feb 2015 #1
stone space Feb 2015 #2
AtheistCrusader Feb 2015 #4
Warren Stupidity Feb 2015 #18
TexasProgresive Feb 2015 #6
TexasProgresive Feb 2015 #12
cbayer Feb 2015 #15
okasha Feb 2015 #22
stone space Feb 2015 #57
Warren Stupidity Feb 2015 #3
Act_of_Reparation Feb 2015 #5
rock Feb 2015 #7
stone space Feb 2015 #10
cbayer Feb 2015 #8
skepticscott Feb 2015 #9
TexasProgresive Feb 2015 #11
skepticscott Feb 2015 #13
Warren Stupidity Feb 2015 #14
Warren Stupidity Feb 2015 #16
skepticscott Feb 2015 #34
Warren Stupidity Feb 2015 #39
skepticscott Feb 2015 #42
trotsky Feb 2015 #17
okasha Feb 2015 #21
cbayer Feb 2015 #23
okasha Feb 2015 #25
AtheistCrusader Feb 2015 #30
trotsky Feb 2015 #35
AtheistCrusader Feb 2015 #47
cbayer Feb 2015 #31
Goblinmonger Feb 2015 #38
trotsky Feb 2015 #40
skepticscott Feb 2015 #50
trotsky Feb 2015 #54
AtheistCrusader Feb 2015 #61
trotsky Feb 2015 #24
Warren Stupidity Feb 2015 #41
AtheistCrusader Feb 2015 #44
trotsky Feb 2015 #46
skepticscott Feb 2015 #49
cbayer Feb 2015 #19
stone space Feb 2015 #20
stone space Feb 2015 #55
cbayer Feb 2015 #56
stone space Feb 2015 #58
cbayer Feb 2015 #59
stone space Feb 2015 #60
unblock Feb 2015 #26
Agnosticsherbet Feb 2015 #27
Dont call me Shirley Feb 2015 #28
guillaumeb Feb 2015 #29
AtheistCrusader Feb 2015 #33
skepticscott Feb 2015 #36
guillaumeb Feb 2015 #37
AtheistCrusader Feb 2015 #45
Warren Stupidity Feb 2015 #48
guillaumeb Feb 2015 #52
AtheistCrusader Feb 2015 #32
arcane1 Feb 2015 #43
Newest Reality Feb 2015 #51
on point Feb 2015 #53

Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 10:25 AM

1. If you self-delete do you exist?

Why did you delete your OP and then re post it?

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 10:30 AM

2. Goat Trolling.

 

I intended this as a somewhat lighthearted non-controversial thread.

My first attempt failed, so I thought that I'd try again.

If this one doesn't work, I'll likely just give up on it. It may be that such discussions are impossible here.

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Response to stone space (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 10:46 AM

4. What's 'goat trolling'?

I've seen some goats around here, but this is not the use of 'goat trolling' that I am familiar with. It usually involves an immediate ban on a throwaway account, because mods generally do not appreciate all the alerts from the goat man.





Edit: In fact, I'd be surprised if there wasn't some automated scan to spike goatse posts.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 01:15 PM

18. It is a fishing technique that uses an array of aquatic goats to capture large

 

Last edited Mon Feb 23, 2015, 08:26 PM - Edit history (1)

quantities of mackerel. The goats have to be specially trained otherwise you get holy mackerel.


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Response to stone space (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 10:50 AM

6. Perhaps it is not of intrest to many here.

Your question is one that cannot be answered. The analogy of a fish in water being unaware of the water or even of the world that exists outside of the water. While a few may jump high out of the water what are they aware of? And if they got a glimpse of that world how long did they hold it before the predator fish that inspired them to jump high ate them.

Some might say that it is our individual state that is what is wrong. That upon death we are reabsorbed back into a unity. Others might disagree but the truth is impossible to learn. We are just not capable of transcending ourselves.

I see myself as an individual who seeks to form bonds with others into a community, but am I right? Only God knows and he/she is not talking, whether we believe in God or not.- makes little difference.

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Response to stone space (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 11:30 AM

12. The only connection I can make between goats and trolls is

Three Billy Goats Gruff- the goats get the best of the troll because of his greedy nature. BTW I own goats or maybe it's better put that I live with goats. They are free spirits who sometimes stick together. Not at all like sheep. Sheep will do dangerous things out of stupidity or ignorance goats will do dangerous things because they can.

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 11:44 AM

15. Excellent observations and quite apt under the circumstances.

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Response to stone space (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 03:36 PM

22. I also encourage you to put

the goat trollers on ignore. Apart from harassing you, they're basically just performing for each other. The rest of us aren't required to watch.

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Response to okasha (Reply #22)

Wed Feb 25, 2015, 02:17 PM

57. Just did it.

 

The threads look a lot cleaner a more thoughtful, now.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 10:31 AM

3. One individual, or two?

 


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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 10:47 AM

5. I'm fine with individuals not existing.

As long as they're quiet about it.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 10:56 AM

7. If we don't exist the concept is pointless

So let's say we do.

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Response to rock (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 11:17 AM

10. I remember back when I was an undergrad, many decades ago.

 

A Polish mathematician was visiting here, and stayed on for a couple more years, due to marshal law being declared in his own country.

His misfortune was my good fortune.

He gave a colloquium talk that had a fascinating open problem it in the foundations of geometry, specifically the geometry of lines.

The question was essentially whether or not one notion was definable from another notion.

I proved that it was undefinable, and the upshot is that in my geometry, lines are fundamental, and points can be proven "not to exist" in some rather strong technical sense. (Points are not even "pseudo-definable".)

The result was a new geometry.

For a while, I simply referred to my geometry as "pointless geometry", because points were not preserved under automorphisms (ie: the symmetries) of the geometry. The symmetries pulled points apart, so points couldn't exist.

I eventually stopped doing that, since it was a bit ambiguous.

It seems that mathematicians have used the term "pointless geometry" to refer to several other quite different and distinct concepts.

There's probably a psychological point here, and that is that a mathematician will name their concepts "pointless" at the slightest provocation, if they can at all get away with it.

I mean, who can resist the temptation?

And I thought was being original.







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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 10:57 AM

8. This goat-trolling is just about the most juvenile thing I have ever seen here.

I encourage you to ignore them.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 11:12 AM

9. That's just your opinion

 

And no more valid than any other.

Personally, I find making Episcopal drinking jokes to deflect from that church's neglecting to address alcohol abuse among its clergy until it's too late to be juvenile.

Goats, on the other hand, are cute. Do you have an actual, concrete objection to them that you can enunciate, or is this just a general scold of people you don't like, for reasons you can't specify?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 11:22 AM

11. Justin did not make the jokes I did

Maybe he laughed but what's that to you.
The bishop that killed the cyclist should be punished under the law. Whether she should be a bishop is not yours or my concern.

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 11:31 AM

13. Where did I say who made the jokes?

 

Nowhere. The real issue is, who was the butt of them?

You may now continue your attempts to deflect.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 11:38 AM

14. As this person allegedly has most of us on ignore, how would she know?

 

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Response to cbayer (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 11:53 AM

16. juvenile, perhaps, but the most appalling thing I've seen here in a while

 

was people defending oral suction of wounds as a valid medical procedure. That was depraved.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #16)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:31 PM

34. And let's not forget

 

the rather despicable accusations made by a well-known poster here (she's vocal in this thread, in fact) that the support that you and other atheists here give for LGBT rights is completely phony, and expressed only because it gives us an excuse to bash religious people (and not, you know, because we might be decent human beings, who don't give the pope a free pass on his homophobic bigotry, as she does).

Or the accusations made by another prominent poster in this thread that certain atheists in this room were promoting/proposing "genocide" simply for expressing reservations about the Catholic Church controlling so much of the health care system in some places.

Yes, they're the same ones who are now in an outrage over pictures of goats. Amazingly. And who will no doubt try to alert on this rather than own up to their own words, while they're pointing fingers everywhere else. That would indeed be typical.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #34)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:45 PM

39. Most likely one of my children is transgender only to provide me an excuse to bash religion.

 

I'll let her know.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #39)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:50 PM

42. I doubt she cares

 

Or she'll have to rationalize her hatred by convincing herself that you made that up too.

But goat gifs are fucking evil.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 12:02 PM

17. I'm pretty sure your husband's attempt to compare marriage equality...

to marrying one's bicycle or hamster was more juvenile.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 03:30 PM

21. Agreed.

The little clique has apparently realized that its yattering about your "yacht" has gotten stale. Stone Space is an atheist who doesn't conform to A&A's tribal norm. Hence the harassment and attempt to run him off by disrupting his threads.

It's juvenile, true. But what I find interesting is that this is the kind of behavior necessary to maintain status in the group. That's pathetic.

But given the intellectual pretensions of those involved, it's also funny as hell.

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Response to okasha (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 03:51 PM

23. I guess, but I don't find this kind of harassment very amusing.

I signed out to see why he had locked his other thread and was astounded. I have seen a lot of shit on this site, but I have never seen anything like this.

I don't think there is anything that can be done that would be more effective than ignoring it, which is what I suggested he do.

Anyway, I'm not wanting to talk anymore about it because that is just feeding the beast, but this is some seriously messed up shit.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #23)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:00 PM

25. Just a clarification.

I find thev harrassment malicious, and not funny at. all.

What I do find laughable is that self-described "rational" people behave like this to impress each other.

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Response to okasha (Reply #25)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:26 PM

30. Goats are awesome, therefore your argument is irrelevant.

Also, individual goats exist, so it's relevant to the subject of this thread.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #30)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:31 PM

35. Congrats, AC!

You have now achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Evil Atheist Conspiracy. I am jealous of your status!

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Response to trotsky (Reply #35)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 05:22 PM

47. Gotta level up to win the game.

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Response to okasha (Reply #25)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:27 PM

31. Understood, okasha.

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Response to okasha (Reply #25)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:40 PM

38. That you let so many things from your group of friends slide

 

but go out of your way to hyperventilate about adorable goat gifs is what is laughable.

When you go after those that compare gay marriage to marrying your hamster and/or bicycle, then we can have a discussion about giving a fuck about what you think is malicious.

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Response to Goblinmonger (Reply #38)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:48 PM

40. Or telling women who are denied birth control coverage...

to just "go to any drugstore and buy some rubbers."

Nope, goat gifs are the worst dude. Just awful. Flippantly dismissing a crucial women's health issue? A-OK to the arbiters of civility, at least when you're in the "cool club!"

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Response to trotsky (Reply #40)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 08:52 PM

50. Apparently the posters who got all self-righteous

 

have learned the lesson about glass houses.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #50)

Tue Feb 24, 2015, 08:45 AM

54. I guarantee you no lessons have been learned.

They'll be back to snark and sneer on the next thread. Fortunately the evidence and facts expose them every time.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #50)

Thu Feb 26, 2015, 12:43 AM

61. Oh, they'll be back, I'm sure.

They're just sweeping up.

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Response to okasha (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 03:57 PM

24. Status? Give me a break.

None of us evil horrible atheists have any status whatsoever. You and your clique work overtime to make sure of that, making stuff up if you need to.

Nice to see you stay the course with this response.

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Response to okasha (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:48 PM

41. why do you find goats offensive?

 

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Response to okasha (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 05:09 PM

44. Ok ok, fine. Cabin Cruiser.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #44)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 05:18 PM

46. No.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #46)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 06:32 PM

49. Well, until they sail from

 

the Pacific coast of Mexico to Italy for a months-long summer holiday, just like all the other folk living near the poverty line (as they claim to) do. They've made no secret of any of this.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 01:53 PM

19. What are the options?

If you don't exist as an individual, what are you?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #19)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 02:06 PM

20. One could take this in more than one direction, I think.

 

But not right now...got a class coming up.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #19)

Wed Feb 25, 2015, 01:31 PM

55. An eddy in the stream?

 

Where does the stream end and the eddy begin?

I'm reminded of the title of a Book written by Barbara Deming, "We Are All Part of One Another".

Perhaps consciousness is nothing more than a manifestation of what it "feels like" to be a universe.

But the feeling of atomic individuality and separation from the rest of the universe may very well be an illusion.

But let's take this in a less "ultimate" or "cosmological" level.

The human mind has been described by at east one evolutionary psychologist a the modular mind, analogous to a smart phone multiple independent apps.'

If this is in any way an accurate reflection of how the mind works, then it has many implications on what it means to be human, a what it means to be rational.

Robert Kurzban shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind's design. The human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of evolution by natural selection. While these modules sometimes work together seamlessly, they don't always, resulting in impossibly contradictory beliefs, vacillations between patience and impulsiveness, violations of our supposed moral principles, and overinflated views of ourselves.


This modular, evolutionary psychological view of the mind undermines deeply held intuitions about ourselves, as well as a range of scientific theories that require a "self" with consistent beliefs and preferences. Modularity suggests that there is no "I." Instead, each of us is a contentious "we"--a collection of discrete but interacting systems whose constant conflicts shape our interactions with one another and our experience of the world.

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9271.html


Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Walt Whittman--"Song of Myself"

http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/s_z/whitman/song.htm






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Response to stone space (Reply #55)

Wed Feb 25, 2015, 01:36 PM

56. Even if I am an eddy in the stream, don't I still exist?

Anyway, you are way over my head here.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #56)

Wed Feb 25, 2015, 04:07 PM

58. Perhaps, but I have some difficulty...

 

...wrapping my head around precisely what it would mean for an eddy in a stream to actually exist as an individual, apart from the stream.

It's a fleeting pattern in the stream, and not a "material object".












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Response to stone space (Reply #58)

Wed Feb 25, 2015, 04:12 PM

59. What just popped into my head is childbirth.

I don't think I have ever had an experience that so completely validated that I existed as an individual and that the one who had lived as a part of me for so long was also now existing as an individual.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #59)

Wed Feb 25, 2015, 04:27 PM

60. Another branch in the tree of life.

 

Albeit a rather joyous branch well worth celebrating.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:02 PM

26. existence doesn't even exist. so there.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:14 PM

27. Cogito ergo sum

You, I'm not so sure about.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:18 PM

28. It may be as the body is made of trillions of individual cells, we are as individual "cells" to the

community (body) of humanity, Earth, universe and infinity. We are aware of our individuality, yet we are aware that we belong to a larger body (of what, we do not know). As the great masters say "we are one", one as in individual or one as a body? We must become conscious of both our individual self and the whole body of all that exists.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:21 PM

29. I think, therefore I yam

said the vegetarian to the group.

an atheist joke:
an atheist was walking through the woods, admiring the scenery, when a bear approached. The atheist ran but tripped. As the atheist lay on the ground the bear rose up above him. The atheist said "oh god" in alarm and as he said it, the bear froze in place. A deep voice spoke from everywhere and nowhere and said "all your life you have denied my existence. NOW you call on me? What would you have me do?"

The atheist said " now I believe. Can you at least make the bear a Christian?"

Time resumed. The bear looked down at the man, put his paws together and said "Oh Lord, thank you for this food ..."

How you enjoy the joke. If you are really there.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #29)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:28 PM

33. What kind of idiot runs from a bear?

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #33)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:33 PM

36. The kind who knows

 

he can run faster than the guy next to him.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #33)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:34 PM

37. how do you pick out the idiot in a group

of GOP lawmakers?

Not a joke. But it could be.

Did you like the joke?

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #37)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 05:11 PM

45. I would have asked to make the bear a vegan.

But you know. Less funny, I think.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #45)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 06:26 PM

48. it doesn't work. To a bear, everything that is not another bear is a vegetable. nt.

 

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #48)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 09:35 PM

52. so would GOP lawmakers be vegetables

to a vegan bear?

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 04:27 PM

32. I exist as an individual. You may not. I leave it entirely up to your preference.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 05:05 PM

43. Not if they want to digest food and metabolize oxygen!

 

We are all walking ecosystems

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 09:31 PM

51. It might be useful

to define what one means by "existence".

If we mean a monolithic, hermetically sealed, permanent individual as a "thing", then one can question the idea of that.

In a sense, an individual or even a self can be considered a social construct and a conditioned point of view. It certainly has a relative nature and does not exist separately at all, as per the definition above.

It is an interesting question to ponder because we take it for granted that the relative experience we have is some sort of absolute actuality. However, when we say I or me, what exactly are we referring to? Subjectively, one can consider various physical and mental aspects of the self, but what is it exactly? When one investigates that, no particular thing is found other than that we know and that is not a thing we can find.

Since there is no self without other and we require a conducive environment in which to exist, in order to function and interact we must have a self concept, but is it anymore than that, essentially? If you go by experience alone and from a subjective viewpoint via what you sense and know, then the more you look for it, the more it recedes.

In that line of thinking, there is no such thing as a car. A car is a concept. It is a collection of parts that, when assembled, provide what we recognize as a mode of transportation. However, before it is assembled and if we were to dissemble the car, where did it go? We could consider our experience as a collection of interdependent things and events, as well. Hands, legs, heart, blood, air, water, food, etc., are all aspects of the existence we have. Our ego or "personality" (which derives from the word persona or a mask through which sound is made) is an abstract self-conception, and yet we think we exist as it.

So, yes, we do relatively exist as individuals, however, the question as to an absolute and separate self is a matter of inquiry and one finds by way of analysis that there is no individual other than by way of relationship.

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Response to stone space (Original post)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 09:47 PM

53. You existed until you tried to find yourself. Then Heisenberg

Made you disappear

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