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Death and the Soul


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#1
Taro

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Is there such thing as a soul?

I've been obsessed with this ever since I had a small incident with my heart a month ago. I find I fear death more than I used to and am trying to come to grips with what happens after death. I am not religious (though I grew up Christian) and have mostly believed in reincarnation, but after thinking about it logically I am frightened at the concept that death may be the end of existence.

If humans have souls, then logically wouldn't animals also have souls as well? Are souls limited to physical beings with the brain capacity to comprehend them? That would be a physical qualifier, not a spiritual one. Therefore, to accept the concept that humans have souls, I would also need to accept the concept that rabbits, bugs, and plants have souls.

I've come to the point where to accept the concept of a soul, I'd need the accept the concept that all living being have souls including bacteria. If that is the fact, how are souls generated? Given evolution, when are souls created and inserted in living beings? Where do the wandering souls go? Considering the vast amount of living beings that have existed on earth over the course of billions of years, only a tiny fraction could exist within physical living beings.

If souls do exist, what happens to them after death? I'm not someone who believes in the concept of heaven and hell because its seems to reflect the physical world, but am open to ideas nonetheless. If reincarntion were true though, who decides which souls get to enter the living newborn? If souls do not return to the living, where do they go? Do they return to a pool of life in the universe? If that is the case, is that not the same as the physical body returning to the soil? An individual soul would lose its form.
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#2
Taro

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I hope I'm not coming off as a crackpot here, but I am interested in what people think about this.

I also wonder what will happen when super-computers start having the capacity to outperform the brain within the next 40+ years? This is inevitable at the rate that the technology is developing. A computer will be capable of human intelligence, thought, and would be able to perform analytical thinking at a capacity beyond what a human is capable of. The computer would pretty much become a superior being to human-life and would be capable of contemplating and analyzing concepts that human-life cannot.

Would these super-computers have souls? Are souls a concept that is merely the result of superior brain acitivity and the need to find meaning in this superior intelligence (in comparison to other living beings on earth)?
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#3
muddyfrogwater

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I fully believe in having a soul. In my life it has been exemplified by having a few different out of body experiences as a child. Otherwise known as an OBE. I won't go too far into details, but the story amounts to waking up in the middle of the night with my back to the ceiling and staring straight down at my body. Basically I was in an inverted position to my body. It was a terrifying experience. An experience that I didn't share with anyone until I was an adolescent.

Following the first OBE I had several other partial OBE's. I mean partial because the process would start to take place, but because I was so terrified I never made it more than just arms reach from my body before I would shudder and snap out of the situation. It ceased to happen after a short span of say a few months or so. It you think that you MAY have had an OBE experience like this then you probably didn't. Because if you did then you would absolutely KNOW. An OBE differs substancially from a dream and is similar to a near death experience. although a near death experience is more commonly associated with the light at the end of the tunnel, or if you are not so lucky the black abyss experience.

Many people who have experienced an OBE reported it as a pleasant experience, and something they would like to experience again.

Not too sure about animals having souls, but I've had pets mostly dogs that exibit feelings such as love, fear, anxiety, contempt etc. etc. and the bonding and friendship experience is the same as I have felt with people.

I just can't begin to fathom a synthetic soul applied to a computer. No further comment there.

Where does that soul go when you die? Good question. I take satisfaction in the belief that it is under the direct influence of the person operating the soul.
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#4
Taro

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I have heard of OBEs. I have even thought about trying one, but could never whip up the courage to do it (heard of some bad experiences). Did you also see ghosts as a child? My wife and her family tend to have that issue.

My question is whether an OBE is a result of the soul seperating from the body or enhanced state of consciousness created by the brain. Is the conscienceness capable of wandering without the assistance of a brain?
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#5
Lonnie

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I don't have the time right now that I need to really apply myself to this topic, which is something that has long held my interest.

In short, I feel that very little that happens is random chance and that there is a purpose to our existence. I'll revisit this in a couple of days and post my complete thoughts.

Lonnie
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#6
muddyfrogwater

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No ghosts spirits or spooks. But since I have experienced such a thing it has led to quite a bit of research on the subject and I've tried to duplicate the experience through progressive relaxation and other methods, and to no avail. Something that is similar that I have been able to do, is to become awake while dreaming. That sounds like an oxymoron. To the point it means being able to control and actively participate in your dreams. It's quite easy with a little practice. It wasn't an OBE however. There's a difference between an altered state of consciousness and an OBE. At least for me there was.

As far as fear of dying, I think we all fear the unknown to a certain degree. FDR said it well "The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself". You did mention reincarnation. If you believe in reincarnation, then you have in fact experienced death when you were born, at least as I see it. Which may have been a terrifying experience if you could have recollection of the moment. It'll be an experience and everyone must do it.
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#7
Taro

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The sense of waking in dreams is one I've had, but wouldn't that be brain activity rather than the reflection of a soul? OBEs are also something that I doubt animals with lesser brains are capable of, although I guess we have no way of knowing yet.

Interested in your thought too, Lonnie..
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#8
muddyfrogwater

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As a final thought, I'd like to add that I find the circle of life facinating. If you're in the loop, and pay attention to the finer points in life, sometimes you'll find that things end right where they started from.
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#9
muddyfrogwater

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Here's our old friend Monk Mojo's idea of a higher power. This looks vaguely familiar in a deja vu sort of way.
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