Memes and Immortality

July 14, 2011

“Resurrection. In the crude form in which it is preached to console the weak, it is alien to me. I have always understood Christ’s words about the living and the dead in a different sense. Where could you find room for all these hordes of people accumulated over thousands of years? The universe isn’t big enough for them; God, the good, and meaningful purpose would be crowded out. They’d be crushed by these throngs greedy merely for animal life.
But, all the time, life, one, immense, identical throughout its innumerable combinations and transformations, fills the universe and is continually reborn. You are anxious about whether you will rise from the dead or not, but you rose from the dead when you were born and didn’t notice it.”

“Consciousness is a light directed outward, it lights up the way ahead of us so that we don’t stumble. It’s like the headlights on a locomotive – turn them inward and you’d crash.”

“And now listen carefully. You in others – this is your soul. This is what you are. This is what your consciousness has breathed and lived on and enjoyed throughout your life – your soul, your immortality, your life in others. And what now? You have always been in others and you will remain in others. And what does it matter to you if later on that is called your memory? This will be you – the you that enters the future and becomes a part of it.”

Dr. Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak

I like to think a lot about cognition, philosophy of mind, and the material origins and characteristics of consciousness. I also like to blog a lot about them. However, of all the questions that dog philosophers, artists, and scientific researchers the most is the fundamental one – What is it like to unexist?

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Three and a half important facts about the theory of evolution

May 28, 2011

I was recently reading The Mind’s I, an anthology of reflections on souls, self, and consciousness compiled by two of my intellectual heroes, Professors Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett. I’m about 150 pages and all I can say is that it’s definitely a must-read. But I’ll talk about that more in some other post.

One of the pieces featured in the book was an excerpt from Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish GeneAfter reading it, I kind of kicked myself. I’d never really been interested in Dawkins before, since to me he was just that “atheist guy”; now I would revise that mental reference to read “that guy who really knows his evolutionary biology and now uses his immense prestige in the scientific community as well as his high name recognition to widely promote his views regarding religion.”

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