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  1. #1
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    Is death an illusion?

    This OP assumes the position that some physicists hold – "time is an illusion." This thread is not a debate about whether physicists are right or wrong in this assumption. For the purpose of this discussion, it takes the assumption that some physicists have (time is an illusion) as a philosophical premise. If someone wants to challenge the premise that time is not an illusion, you are free to start a thread on that subject.

    The purpose of this thread is to discuss the possible implications to our lives and our view of the world under the premise time is an illusion.

    My first question is if time is a persistent illusion, wouldn't death also be an illusion?

    “Discoveries over the last century have shown that much of what we think about time may be nothing more than an illusion. Contrary to everyday experience, time may not flow at all. Our past may not be gone; our future may already exist.

    It turns out, time itself can speed up or slow down, and events that we think can unfold in only one direction can also unfold in reverse….
    Our brains may create this impression, but in reality, what we all experience as the flow of time really may be nothing more than an illusion.”
    Prof. Brian Greene
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9AiPuIsqck

    While a world without the familiar passage of time may seem far-fetched, big names in physics, such as string theory pioneer Ed Witten and theorist Brian Greene, have recently embraced such an idea. A timeless reality may help reconcile differences between quantum mechanics and relativity, but how can we make sense of such a world? If physics does indeed suggest that the flow of time is illusory, then philosophy may be able to shed light on such a strange notion.
    http://physicscentral.com/explore/plus/timeless.cfm [/quote]


    Ever since early astronomers yanked Earth from center stage in the solar system some 500 years ago, scientists have been pulling the rug out from under people's basic beliefs.

    "The history of physics," says Harvard physicist Andrew Strominger, "is the history of giving up cherished ideas."

    No idea has been harder to give up, however--for physicists and laypeople alike--than everyday notions of space and time, the fundamental "where" and "when" of the universe and everything in it.

    Einstein's unsettling insights more than 80 years ago showed that static space and fixed time were flimsy facades, thinly veiling a cosmos where seconds and meters ooze like mud and the rubbery fabric of space-time warps into an unseen fourth dimension. About the same time, the new "quantum mechanical" understanding of the atom revealed that space and time are inherently jittery and uncertain.

    Now, some physicists are taking this revolutionary line of thinking one step further: If their theories are right, in the words of Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, space and time may be "doomed."
    http://articles.latimes.com/1999/nov/16/news/mn-34060


    After the death of his old friend, Albert Einstein said “Now Besso has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us … know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

    New evidence continues to suggest that Einstein was right – death is an illusion.

    Our classical way of thinking is based on the belief that the world has an objective observer-independent existence. But a long list of experiments shows just the opposite. We think life is just the activity of carbon and an admixture of molecules – we live awhile and then rot into the ground.

    We believe in death because we’ve been taught we die. Also, of course, because we associate ourselves with our body and we know bodies die. End of story. But biocentrism – a new theory of everything – tells us death may not be the terminal event we think. Amazingly, if you add life and consciousness to the equation, you can explain some of the biggest puzzles of science. For instance, it becomes clear why space and time – and even the properties of matter itself – depend on the observer. It also becomes clear why the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be exquisitely fine-tuned for the existence of life.

    Until we recognize the universe in our heads, attempts to understand reality will remain a road to nowhere.
    http://www.robertlanzabiocentrism.co...-isnt-the-end/
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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  2. #2
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    If time is an illusion, then death is definitely an illusion.

    For those of us who are currently living, death is something that will happen to us in the future. Likewise for those we know who have already died, Death is something that happened in the past. Without the future or the past, there is no death.

    So if the past and future are illusions, then death is an illusion as well for its existence is tied to the past and the future.

  3. #3
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    If time is an illusion, then death is definitely an illusion.

    For those of us who are currently living, death is something that will happen to us in the future. Likewise for those we know who have already died, Death is something that happened in the past. Without the future or the past, there is no death.

    So if the past and future are illusions, then death is an illusion as well for its existence is tied to the past and the future.
    If death is an illusion yet we consider it to be a natural process, would you assume that the state of existence without a physical body as natural or would it be considered supernatural because we can't directly observe and study consciousness without a physical body and brain?
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    If death is an illusion yet we consider it to be a natural process, would you assume that the state of existence without a physical body as natural or would it be considered supernatural because we can't directly observe and study consciousness without a physical body and brain?
    I would have no more reason to consider such a state being natural if time is an illusion than I would if I rejected the notion that time is an illusion.

    For me personally, I will never exist in such a state for the notion that I will one day leave my body is an illusion for it can only happen in the future and the future is an illusion. So the only way that there can be disembodied minds is if they exist right now (for it's an illusion that they existed in the past or will exist in the future). So the only way I can posit that minds do exist outside of the body is if, at this very moment, such a thing exists. So assuming I currently consider such a thing to be supernatural I would have no reason to change my mind if I accept that time is an illusion.
    Last edited by mican333; January 22nd, 2015 at 06:58 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    I'm not sure you understand what people mean when they say time is an illusion. They re not saying that what we think of as time doesn't happen or isn't real, they mean that time does not have a kind of independent existence nor is some immutable thing.

    Time is a measurement of relative change between states of matter and energy. X atomic particle moves at Y rate and Z atomic particle moves at Q rate. Pick one as a reference point and you can say the other is slower or faster and you are measuring time. The way humans think is to make mental constructs of future and past events to facilitate predictions of the outcome of present actions. This makes us see the past and present as co-existent realities, but our vision of them is just a mental construct, a painting of the mind. There is no separate past or future, they are simply different states of the same existent reality.

    Death is an illusion in a similar sense. A creature dies but it doesn't just vanish, it changes in a measurable and for us meaningful way. We go from aware and alive to unaware and dead. Many of our cells keep living for a time, others die. All the matter of our body is conserved. All the things we ever did still continue to have changed reality. We simply change from a state we call alive to one we call dead.

    This bio-centrism things to me smacks of another vein attempt by people to place themselves at the center of creation so they can feel good about themselves. Pleasant enough but I suspect misguided.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    If time is an illusion, then death is definitely an illusion.

    For those of us who are currently living, death is something that will happen to us in the future. Likewise for those we know who have already died, Death is something that happened in the past. Without the future or the past, there is no death.

    So if the past and future are illusions, then death is an illusion as well for its existence is tied to the past and the future.
    Wouldn't this mean that everything is an illusion? If life and death (existence and non-existence) are both illusions then what am I?
    abc

  7. #7
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Wouldn't this mean that everything is an illusion? If life and death (existence and non-existence) are both illusions then what am I?
    The past and future future being illusions does not mean the present is an illusion. And since you are currently alive you hold that life is not an illusion even if you accept that time is an illusion.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I would have no more reason to consider such a state being natural if time is an illusion than I would if I rejected the notion that time is an illusion.

    For me personally, I will never exist in such a state for the notion that I will one day leave my body is an illusion for it can only happen in the future and the future is an illusion. So the only way that there can be disembodied minds is if they exist right now (for it's an illusion that they existed in the past or will exist in the future). So the only way I can posit that minds do exist outside of the body is if, at this very moment, such a thing exists.
    That’s an interesting way of seeing it. So using that analogy, let’s say we have a dark room where there is only consciousness with no temporal substance; existence aware of itself, the present moment only. Light illuminates the room and causes a division process of the present moment through a filter it places on consciousness, the brain. The present moment is now perceived through the filter of the brain which divides the present into past, present and future.

    So if death is an illusion, and “the only way that there can be disembodied minds is if they exist right now," is not the same consciousness that exists in the present moment with no temporal substance, existing with its temporal beanie cap on (the brain) which filters perception and divides past, present and future?
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    If death is an illusion because of:

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    For those of us who are currently living, death is something that will happen to us in the future. Likewise for those we know who have already died, Death is something that happened in the past. Without the future or the past, there is no death.
    Than life is also an illusion for the same reason. My birth is a physical event in time just as my death is.
    abc

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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    Than life is also an illusion for the same reason. My birth is a physical event in time just as my death is.
    The event of your birth is an illusion. But your current existence is not. In other words, only the present is not an illusion so if you are presently alive, then being alive is not an illusion.

    ---------- Post added at 08:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:25 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    That’s an interesting way of seeing it. So using that analogy, let’s say we have a dark room where there is only consciousness with no temporal substance; existence aware of itself, the present moment only. Light illuminates the room and causes a division process of the present moment through a filter it places on consciousness, the brain. The present moment is now perceived through the filter of the brain which divides the present into past, present and future.

    So if death is an illusion, and “the only way that there can be disembodied minds is if they exist right now," is not the same consciousness that exists in the present moment with no temporal substance, existing with its temporal beanie cap on (the brain) which filters perception and divides past, present and future?
    Sorry. I don't quite understand what you are saying.

  11. #11
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Sorry. I don't quite understand what you are saying.
    If we have events that all exist simultaneously (past present future) and if we remove the perception that divides events in our life that makes them seem distinct and separate from the present, yet all these events exist on the loaf simultaneously -- my question is would it be natural for a mind (person) not to perceive the division of the past, present and future (time), but instead be aware of the bigger picture of the present moment, instead of our individual relative slice?

    The event of your birth is an illusion.
    That’s not quite how physics explains it. The events of the past exist. All past events exist as well as future events. The illusion of time is that we are deceived to think that these events exist separately as distinct (a reality unto themselves verses a tiny slice) separate from the present. They don’t – that’s the persistent illusion.

    So with regards to consciousness, the moment of death is a frame (event, a tiny slice) but that event is not separate from the present moment; it’s just one small event slice that is perceived as separate; perceived as its own individual reality. So no slice of past or future events have an independent reality though we are fooled to think they do.
    Last edited by eye4magic; January 23rd, 2015 at 01:01 PM.
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Death is a condition, a process, a countdown in time untill death is finalized. Time and everything in it is a gift. Death is the loss of all gifts, the curse. Death is not an illusion. Knowing death is imminent means we need to be saved. If we get saved, we don't have to die. If we are not saved, we have no way out of death.

    ---------- Post added at 08:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:37 PM ----------

    Adding to my own thoughts here...death is a sentence by which we are condemned; we are all on death row, all dead men (and women) walking. We are imprisoned in our bodies and condemned to die. We need to be saved from death. Dying people need to be saved. That's why firefighters will risk their lives to run into a burning building to try to pulll somebody out before it's too late. Soon it wil be too late for all of us if we are not saved.

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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    How can death be an illusion if we can no longer interact with dead people? Once we have rotted away there is no more person. Once the brain is no longer functioning we are permanently gone.

    Even if time is an illusion, it still has a direction - people do not generally reverse and resurrect. And certainly not after their atoms have been incorporated into other animals and even eventually other humans.

    Death is most definitely not an illusion.

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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    You are one who is of the crown of creation, the human race, made in God's image and loved by God. God wanted you here, so you are here.

    ---------- Post added at 08:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:46 PM ----------

    Life is supernatural. When our body dies, then it becomes totally natural; inanimate. You are supernatural...a spirit with a soul in a body. The spirit is the life spark. The soul is you, your history and your present. The body is your phyical representation. Your future is who knows what?

    ---------- Post added at 08:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:52 PM ----------

    Time is not an illusion, it's a gift, a wonderful tangible gift. Most of us have lost loved ones and longed for more time with them. Time is a gift as long as we have it. As long as we are not lost and gone forever, we have time and it's a precious gift.

    ---------- Post added at 09:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:56 PM ----------

    The past is history. All of your time counted. Everything you have ever done, said, thought, or imagined, even your dreams, are history and it all counted every moment you were in it. You are still in it, adding to your past moment by moment and it is not an illusion, it counts. It's real. You can't escape it. Saying it's an illusion won't make it go away, and it won't change history into an illusion. You are what you are. It's all real. Past, present, time; all real. The future is not an illusion. You will be there for real, wherever you are in the future it will be just as real as you are real now.

    ---------- Post added at 09:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:00 PM ----------

    You came into existence when you were conceived. God wanted you here, so you are here. You had no choice in the matter. Even if you were aborted, you still would exist because God made you exist. You could not get yourself into existence, and there is no way out of existence.

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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    How can death be an illusion if we can no longer interact with dead people? Once we have rotted away there is no more person. Once the brain is no longer functioning we are permanently gone.

    Even if time is an illusion, it still has a direction - people do not generally reverse and resurrect. And certainly not after their atoms have been incorporated into other animals and even eventually other humans.

    Death is most definitely not an illusion.
    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    The events of the past exist. All past events exist as well as future events. The illusion of time is that we are deceived to think that these events exist separately as distinct (a reality unto themselves verses a tiny slice) separate from the present. They don’t – that’s the persistent illusion.
    So what the above means is that you are already dead. You are dead and alive at the same time. So when the event of your birth happened the event of your death happened at the same time. When the event of your death happened the event of your birth happened at the same time. You cannot just be dead or just be alive you have to be both at the same time.

    Think of life and death as a switch that someone is flipping back and forth really fast. The switch flips instantaneously from the perspective of the flipper, but because of what you are each flip feels like 80 or so years (whatever the duration of your life is).
    abc

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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    So what the above means is that you are already dead. You are dead and alive at the same time.
    Aha, I see you’ve been hanging around the Schrödinger cat MyX. How’s that kitty doing?

    So when the event of your birth happened the event of your death happened at the same time. When the event of your death happened the event of your birth happened at the same time. You cannot just be dead or just be alive you have to be both at the same time.

    Think of life and death as a switch that someone is flipping back and forth really fast. The switch flips instantaneously from the perspective of the flipper, but because of what you are each flip feels like 80 or so years (whatever the duration of your life is).
    I like that analogy. I’ve used a somewhat similar on/off switch analogy before. Here’s my switch analogy.

    If we consider existence, we exist regardless of the human concept of birth or death; they are both just temporal filters that co-exist simultaneously on the big loaf. The illusive nature of time, that seems to separate the slices of the loaf to our perception, turns on one switch (birth), and the illusive nature of time turns off the switch (physical death). What we call the wonderful opportune interval between the on/off switch (two points) is life.
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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  20. #17
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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    So what the above means is that you are already dead. You are dead and alive at the same time. So when the event of your birth happened the event of your death happened at the same time. When the event of your death happened the event of your birth happened at the same time. You cannot just be dead or just be alive you have to be both at the same time.

    Think of life and death as a switch that someone is flipping back and forth really fast. The switch flips instantaneously from the perspective of the flipper, but because of what you are each flip feels like 80 or so years (whatever the duration of your life is).
    But "flipping back and forth really fast" isn't an example of simultaneity. If a thing is alternating between states, then it is not occupying two states at the same time. It is alternating between either one state or the other in rapid succession. I think the analogy does not hold.

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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    People in this thread are trying to make death out to be something good or beautiful by saying time is an illusion. Death is our enemy. Death is the proof that we do not have the right to exist in life. We do not have the right to eternal life or we would not have to die. Death is not a transition in the process of life, it is the condemnation against our lives. We deserve to die or nothing makes any sense at all, then we try to make ourselves believe that we are eternal in ourselves and our right to exist in life never changes. Death is not an illusion. It is a finalization of condemnation. Death is proof that we do not have the right to exist in life. If we don't get saved before our death is finalized, we will be forever condemned in death as we are now. Saying time, life, or death are illusions will not make death go away and it will not change death from being our enemy to being our friend.

    Many people believe in nothing beyond nature, believe in nothing but science, believe they have the right to exist as long as they live, or the right to live as long as they exist. They might call themselves "atheists", or "agnoistics", or "evolutionists". The problem is that they do not have the right to live or they would not have to die, so they do not have the right to exist in life and the heaven they do not believe in forbids that they should be found guilty and worthy of death.

    God loves us or he would not hold us back from death now. He wants us to be saved from death before it's too late and we are lost and gone forever..

    ---------- Post added at 12:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:37 PM ----------

    The analogy of the light switch of time/life/death holds only if you are God, and you have no compassion for the people you are toying with as you play with the light switch of life turning them on and off promising them ultimatley nothing more than death's pains.

    ---------- Post added at 12:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:47 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    But "flipping back and forth really fast" isn't an example of simultaneity. If a thing is alternating between states, then it is not occupying two states at the same time. It is alternating between either one state or the other in rapid succession. I think the analogy does not hold.
    The analogy holds only if you are God, and you have no compassion for the people you are toying with as you play with the light switch of life turning them on and off promising them ultimatley nothing more than death's pains.

    ---------- Post added at 01:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:52 PM ----------

    Many people want to believe that we existed before we were conceived. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems these people could not consider themselves to be atheists or agnostics, but rather "spiritual" or something like that; maybe Hinduistic or "existential" in their belief system. There are a lot of people who believe they have "proof" from spiritual encounters or experiences, or happenings which they have experienced which go far beyond being explainable as coincidental. These experiences are subjective to the persons own emotions and desires, and can easily be deceptive, orchestrated by spirits with evil intentions designed to seal our deaths.

    We were conceived as who we are, we did not exist before we were conceived. God wanted each of us to be here, he loves each of us individually, and he knows our life's story, and we all have a wonderful life story to tell. The story is of life from God. God gave us all time in life, while we are all condemned to die. God gives us life because he does not want us to die. Life means God is good.
    Last edited by GodIsGood; February 4th, 2015 at 09:25 AM. Reason: spelling/grammar

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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    How can death be an illusion if we can no longer interact with dead people? Once we have rotted away there is no more person. Once the brain is no longer functioning we are permanently gone.

    Even if time is an illusion, it still has a direction - people do not generally reverse and resurrect. And certainly not after their atoms have been incorporated into other animals and even eventually other humans.

    Death is most definitely not an illusion.
    We cannot rot away because our existence is permanent. Our bodies can rot away, but we are more than our bodies. Our life does not come from, and is not contained by, our bodies. The fact that most people's bodies now are un-resurrected does not prevent them from being resurrected any more than the universe excludes God from ruling over it.

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    Re: Is death an illusion?

    Quote Originally Posted by GodIsGood View Post
    We cannot rot away because our existence is permanent. Our bodies can rot away, but we are more than our bodies.
    That may well be true but without our bodies we are nothing but a mind. And it has been shown that isolation from external inputs causes insanity. Are you suggesting this is what happens after death - that we are just insane minds?

    Our life does not come from, and is not contained by, our bodies.
    Really? Do you have evidence of this?


    The fact that most people's bodies now are un-resurrected does not prevent them from being resurrected any more than the universe excludes God from ruling over it.
    My point isn't that they are "unresurrected" but that it is not possible to resurrect them - it's obvious - the atoms are already being re-used.

 

 
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