Spirit/Soul

[ 25/March/22 Consider these two possibilities and the ramifications of each:

  1. We DO NOT have a soul/spirit/life force. We are created from nothing and go back to nothing. God, the afterlife, eternity, ghosts do not exist and morals, rules, and laws are meaningless. Religion and morals are all foolish constructs of our minds to help us cope with reality before our death/non-existence.
  2. We (all life) DO have a soul/spirit/life force that exists both before birth and after death. God, the afterlife, eternity, ghosts DO exist and are external to our observable universe. In this case the soul/spirit/life force must be made of some form of energy that we cannot detect or measure from our current understanding and frame of reference inside of our observable universe.]

Those are not the only options.
The reality seems to be vastly more complex than that simple set of ideas expresses.

What the mathematics of quantum mechanics seems to suggest is that everything influences everything else, but that the degree of influence between systems can vary substantially with contexts.

Some systems can emerge that can be very stable, and very closely approximate independent entities.

By the time you get to human beings, we are composed of multiple layers of very complex systems, with multiple layers of necessary influence and independence.

Some of those layers are mediated by genetic information, some by mimetic information, and some are a fair mix of both interacting with contexts. It is deeply complex, and only the strong bias instilled by evolution for our neural networks to prefer simplicity over complexity keeps the majority from being able to see and appreciate this fact of existence.

We exist as molecular entities, as cellular entities, as complex biological individuals, as members of various levels of groups, as languaging entities, as cultural entities, and as self aware individuals (all to some degree at the same time, all interacting).

At every level of structure, cooperation is required for survival, and at every level of cooperation systems are required to detect and mitigate cheating strategies on the cooperative. At higher levels of social and cultural existence various levels of “morality” are fundamental aspects of such cheat detection and mitigation systems, and as such are fundamental to our long term survival as both individuals and as a species.

And there are necessary and fundamental tensions at every level between freedom and responsibility – both are required for either to survive. The more abstract the exploration of possibility spaces the greater the requirements for individual responsibility if any of us are to survive. All out competition between any levels in a species as creative as we are is not survivable. Competitive games are only survivable if they have a fundamentally cooperative base. Any failure to understand the strategic ramifications of this evolutionary reality puts our species at risk.

There is nothing simple or easy about this.

It demands from each of us the deepest levels of responsibility that we are capable of, if we are to claim any level of freedom, or any probability of long term survival.

That is about as simple as it is possible to make it, and it is always going to be deeply complex and contain uncertainties and unknowables in practice. Absolute certainty is a simplification that is only useful for children. Adults need to accept a lot more responsibility than that!

[followed by Kevin Phillips “you discussed the biochemical processes of life without ever discussing the concept of a soul or Dark Energy”]

I discussed both genetic (biochemical) and mimetic (behavioural) aspects of the evolution of systems (and hinted at an abstract/strategic realm beyond mimetics in which potentially infinite sets of probabilistic strategies and algorithms/computation interact in analogous manner to genes and memes in building higher order constructs).

When you actually take the time to look deeply at biology and systems and uncertainty and complexity and strategy (and it takes a lot of time – decades) the evidence is overwhelming that it is sufficient to explain what we experience.

What was classically called “soul” seems to be this extremely complex stack of biochemical and mimetic systems which has some aspects of structure and function and bias “built in” and other aspects “acquired” and other aspects “created or chosen” by internal processes that have developed significant degrees of isolation from external influence.

It is not fixed, it is not fully deterministic, it is very dispositional and context sensitive.

It does not seem to require any aspect of dark matter or dark energy to explain the major characteristics present.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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