Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

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Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:34 pm

Anyone who has at least a partial grip on reality should be able to understand that the material world exists. Some people have argued that certain immaterial things exist as well. While many such claims are fanciful, there are good arguments in favor of dualism. Do you believe in the existence of anything immaterial/nonphysical? If so, then what form of dualism do you believe in? Property dualism? Substance dualism? Something else? Or do you think that believing in something immaterial/nonphysical does not necessarily commit one to the belief in dualism?
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Re: Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Alphie on Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:16 pm

A Set of Beliefs
After reading your statement I must ask you, “Why is it necessary to believe in anything?” Why do you have to have a set of beliefs to function in this world? Is it not possible to get up in the morning, go to work or school and do the necessary things such as earn a living, have a little pleasure in life, help others when you can, and so on? Is not the clarity of your mind greater without having to believe in something, whether it be, ideologies, political or religious?
A person with beliefs sees the world through his “windows of beliefs,” and does not see the world as it is. It is not the world around us, the world of nature, that is in turmoil. The sunsets are still beautiful. The thoroughbred horses grazing in the pastures of Kentucky are still magnificent. It is society that is in turmoil. It is the human race that is corrupted because people confuse the world as it is as to the way we think about it.
And through our thinking we fragment societ with our beliefs, our ideologies and all the stupid things with which we choose to associate. Have you ever examined what it means to ‘believe?’ Have you ever watched within yourself what belief does to you? Mind you, I am not saying “belief’ is good or bad. This is what happens…
For example, let us say that you were brought up in the Jewish culture and Jewish religion. Therefore, as you mature and get older you think to yourself, “I am a Jew. You go to the synagogue every Saturday and pray and all the rest of it. You tell others, “I believe in theTorah or the Talmud,” and so on. You identify with all of this, therefore you label yourself as a Jew.
Also, you may think to yourself, “I am an American, I am a socialist or I am a democrat. When you do this, these labels become walls between all those who believe otherwise. Do you follow, Brandon? And while you have your set of beliefs, everybody else is doing the same thing. While all of this is taking place within the minds of everyone we are projecting it in our daily relationships. And to top it off we feel the need to protect our ideals and beliefs thus we create conflict within ourselves and it turns to anger and hate and ultimately war. So, can you see the truth in this? This is the way the human mind works. This is not an opinion. When you wake up to this fact you realize the problem is within yourself, within your daily relationships with others, and how you listen and react towards others. This is not difficult to understand.
All thinking is a product of the past. Tomorrow is a projection of the past. In all actuality, thought is the response of memory. Once you realize this within yourself by becoming mindful, you will see that our daily experiences become memory and that memory becomes knowledge. And that knowledge interacts with a new experience and becomes thought, and so on and on the process goes. That chain of experience, memory knowledge and thought must be broken. You must find the separation like one cloud connected to another and it is always cloudy. When you see the separation the light shines through like the sun breaking through the clouds. Then you will awaken, Brandon.
I do believe one thing; when one reaches this state of awareness, then we may discover whether there is or is not a god. Until then, it is all opinions. And opinions will never reveal the sense of the absolute.
Happy New Year, Brandon

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Re: Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:04 pm

Alphie wrote:A Set of Beliefs
After reading your statement I must ask you, “Why is it necessary to believe in anything?” Why do you have to have a set of beliefs to function in this world? Is it not possible to get up in the morning, go to work or school and do the necessary things such as earn a living, have a little pleasure in life, help others when you can, and so on? Is not the clarity of your mind greater without having to believe in something, whether it be, ideologies, political or religious?

Well, if want to live with as little ideology, either political or religious, as possible, then sure. I don't see a reason to do that.
Alphie wrote:A person with beliefs sees the world through his “windows of beliefs,” and does not see the world as it is. It is not the world around us, the world of nature, that is in turmoil. The sunsets are still beautiful. The thoroughbred horses grazing in the pastures of Kentucky are still magnificent. It is society that is in turmoil. It is the human race that is corrupted because people confuse the world as it is as to the way we think about it.

I disagree with you. Certainly it is not possible for a human to understand everything about the world as it is, but some beliefs are more accurate than others. It is possible to come close to understanding things as they are, or at least the most important part. I understand that there are many ideologies and lots of people with differing views who all think that they are right, but I believe that through observation, introspection, and careful reasoning one can evaluate which assertions of all of these ideologies makes sense and which do not. I do not believe that it is all opinions. Now, your description of what is necessary for awareness makes sense to me to a certain extent, but this kind of seems like Descartes argument for eliminating all knowledge in order to find the foundation of knowledge. I do agree with many things he said, but that is probably not one of the things I agree with.

Happy new year to you too!
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Re: Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Alex F on Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:13 am

Alphie, you ask,
“Why is it necessary to believe in anything?” Why do you have to have a set of beliefs to function in this world?
.

But I believe you are confused, as your writing continues to point out how it is inhuman to not believe in something and you're argument is of the paradoxical belief that we should try not to believe in anything.
Do you see how you are missing the key point of your own argument?
Well it is necessary to believe in something or else you are unable to function as every motion, movement and decision is based on even something as simple as the belief that that what you are holding in your hand is real- that your hand is real- that you are real.

Instead I believe, and I think deep down you do as well, that we should base our lives and decisions on reason and logic as those are the only true measures that can be trusted if we are to trust anything.
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Re: Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Rich G on Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:14 am

I am not sure what category the dualism I believe in falls under. I know there is a physical, since I exist. I also believe in a spiritual world since I exist there too. ;)
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Re: Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:49 pm

Thanks Rich for the post. Wow, it has been a while since this forum was active. You mentioned the basic premise of dualism. I myself believe in the material and in souls (you can call this the spiritual). I also believe that pure concepts exist distinct from the material world. I don't think these concepts exist anywhere in space, but if they didn't have any genuine existence then you and I could not both be thinking about these things. Like if we are both thinking about the number 3, but this number doesn't exist as a pure concept anywhere in the world. So then we can say that pure concepts, which probably have some sort of logical definition, exist as well. So is this three kinds of things? Dualism is supposed to be the belief in two kinds of things.
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Re: Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Rich G on Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:04 am

Brandon Norgaard wrote:So is this three kinds of things?
Yes. But I think it stops there. I can not imagine four kind of things. The three kind of things is one of the reasons I believe in the trinity.

I would have posted sooner. But my job and working conditions have changed since the last time I replied to a post.
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Re: Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:31 pm

Rich G wrote:
Brandon Norgaard wrote:So is this three kinds of things?
Yes. But I think it stops there. I can not imagine four kind of things. The three kind of things is one of the reasons I believe in the trinity.

Makes sense. I can think of other kinds of things sort of, but they are dependent on spirituality, such as the way that red looks like or the feeling of softness or the sound of a waterfall. As they are experienced, these things are not material, although they are all caused by the material substances.
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Re: Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Edward on Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:38 pm

Hi! I'm Ed, new to the group, love the discussion!

I think there are only two kinds of things! Physical and nonphysical. Physical things are connected to matter, nonphysical things are connected to ideas.

But, as with amino acids, a few number of unique things can combine into a multitude of combinations which give the appearance of being something else entirely, but in reality are not, they are the same few items combined and recombined. Like Mexican food.... :-)

We used to think that there were 4 elements - air, fire, water, earth. We now know there to be 100 elements! But, our learning goes farther still. We learn that all these elements are made up of the same three particles: electrons, neutrons and protons. And, we may come to find that all of those particles actually permutations of a singular ingredient.

So then, if we have phyical and nonphysical, we can then permute into additional combinations. For example, why are people obsessed with Zombies? Because it mixes a physical reality (death) with a nonphysical idea (coming back from the dead). Because we know we cannot avoid death, we also cannot avoid contemplating it, trying to avoiding it, and imagining what would happen if it could be undone. This gives rise to ideas of zombies, afterlife and reincarnation.

There is some evidence that tends to support the theory of reincarnation. Science, history records and investigators have shown there is at least anecdotal evidence to substantiate the transfer of memories from a past person to a new child. Far from conclusive, these reports give at least some validity to the idea that a person's consciousness is separate from the body and can attach to bodies or separate. This is also supported by evidence from professionals in fields related to remote viewing, out-of-body experiences, and near-death or death recovery experiences.

If I admit the possibility of this idea, does that necessarily mean I have to reconsider my theory of there only being two things? Would consciousness be a third thing? Not necessarily. What if there was only one physical thing, and that things is consciousness? And what if consciousness has the ability to be in any of three forms.... It can be in the "air", pure consciousness, or it can be in a "fluid", energy, or it can be solid (earth) and be matter. We know that at the root of matter is energy, and I believe at the root of energy is consciousness. This would explain a lot of things and be entirely consistent with everything we know so far.

Or, I could be smoking some good stuff today! :)
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Re: Does anything besides the physical/material world exist?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:24 pm

Edward wrote:We used to think that there were 4 elements - air, fire, water, earth. We now know there to be 100 elements! But, our learning goes farther still. We learn that all these elements are made up of the same three particles: electrons, neutrons and protons. And, we may come to find that all of those particles actually permutations of a singular ingredient.

Yeah, that's where you start getting into string theory and other really complicated stuff I don't understand. I'd like to know more about it.

I've heard that string theory is not as popular now among scientists because, they say, if electrons and the quarks that make up neutrons and protons are fundamentally just different orentations of energy strings, that this is doubful because we can conceive of other orientations and we can do some math regarding how they would behave if they exist and we don't see that.

For example, the fact that TV broadcast vans often have towers that they can raise up to broadcast from and these have a spiral wire around them is because of how these particles behave and how they interact with each other. It would not be possible for us to create and transmit radio waves without the use of coiled wire. Now, this wire has to be coiled according to the "right hand rule" meaning you take your right hand and your thumb is the direction of the current and the fingers wrapping around are the direction of the magnetic waves. This is all pretty complicated and I'm probably doing a horrible job explaining it but what is important is that the magnetic waves only travel that direction and not the other direction. If all of these particles where just different orientations of energy strings, some scientists have pointed out that there would have to be a possible orientation of these things that would cause a "left hand rule". If this were the case then at least some TV broadcast vans would have retractable towers that have spiraling wires that go the opposite way.

This concept is called "supersymetry" and there are some physicists who believe we can find evidence of matter that operates this way, but it requires huge particle accelerators and more time to do experiments. But right now, it looks like the best conclusion is that elections and quarks are just fundamentally different kinds of things.

Edward wrote:If I admit the possibility of this idea, does that necessarily mean I have to reconsider my theory of there only being two things? Would consciousness be a third thing? Not necessarily. What if there was only one physical thing, and that things is consciousness? And what if consciousness has the ability to be in any of three forms.... It can be in the "air", pure consciousness, or it can be in a "fluid", energy, or it can be solid (earth) and be matter. We know that at the root of matter is energy, and I believe at the root of energy is consciousness. This would explain a lot of things and be entirely consistent with everything we know so far.

When you are considering the possibility that the physical and mental could be the same thing, this sounds like what is known in philosophical writings as "idealism", of course this is different than someone being an idealist in the sense that they think things could be the best possible way. This means instead that one believes that everything they see or hear is fundamentally an extension of the mental. I used to be an idealist, in a sense, but now I believe that there are physical substances and that there is an aspect of consciousness that is distinct from anything physical. I also believe that when we have a shared understanding of some concept, that this concept is neither physical nor is it a part of my consciousness nor any other person's consciousness, therefore it is altogether distinct. My conclusion: three kinds of things.
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