Wednesday, 3 December 2014

JOURNEYS - BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS...



If you suddenly awoke from a deep sleep to inexplicably find
yourself embarked on a train journey, destination unknown, you'd
probably be startled and wonder "Where the hell am I and how did I
get here?"  Seems an obvious reaction, right?  You wouldn't merely
open your eyes and gaze out of the carriage window as though you
expected to find yourself in transit like it was the most natural
thing in the world, would you?

In contrast, when fully-functioning consciousness (i.e. sequential
thought and memory) first dawns within us as children and we become
able to recognise our surroundings and the people around us (when we
'wake up' in other words), we simply take it in our stride and don't seem
in any way surprised or perturbed by the situation.  Not until much later
do we start asking philosophical questions about why we're here and
where we're going in this unplanned (at least from our perspective)
journey we call 'life'.  Yet, essentially, the two situations are the
same - so why such different reactions in each case?

This has always puzzled me, as has the fact that when we first
become 'aware', we have no sense of never having existed - nor do
we have one of having a specific beginning.  It's as if, in some mystical,
magical, inexplicable way, we've always been - and that we always will
'be'.  Life soon enough erodes the gossamer foundations supporting
the illusion of immortality - at least as far as the physical goes.

As for the 'spiritual', I'd like to think that my consciousness will
somehow survive the expiration of my physical body, but a nagging
doubt assails me.  You see, our conscious selves give every indication of
being inextricably bound to our physicality, seem entirely inter-depen-
dent.  Therefore, since that which we regard as the 'soul' (personality,
individuality, etc.,) doesn't appear to exist separately before birth,
why should it continue to exist on its own after death?

'Tis said that it's better to travel hopefully than to arrive (to
paraphrase Robert Louis Stevenson) - but if hope should dis-
embark at an earlier stop, the remaining miles can make the trip a
lonely one.  And what awaits us at the end of the journey?
 
I wish I could supply you with some profound and constructive
conclusions to my meandering musings, but I find myself ill-equipped
for the task.  If you have any pertinent observations you'd like to
make on this subject, the comments section awaits your input.

20 comments:

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I was maybe expecting a Marvel /DC etc cover gallery for your first blog on your return but this is a difficult one, probably the biggest question out there but one most of us have asked ourselves at some point.

I've heard from friends with kids that you can log into a website that will tell you how your child is developing right down the very week ie so by week 20 (for example) your child will be blowing spit bubbles and forming words with his/her mouth and that this is uncannily accurate for every child regardless of where he/she was born and raised their social trends etc -so maybe we're all just pre programmed "robots" and we become "aware" via a series of little steps (although I pretty much think we are aware as soon as we are born) - the question of remembering (or not) never having existed prior to birth blows my mind !

I suppose we can take comfort in the fact that even scientists (let alone religious people) can't really explain what is and how we become aware /conscious etc other than we know when we’re awake, when we’re thinking, feeling pain , happiness etc so there could be more to our existence than just the time we have here. I read somewhere that from a scientific point of view, that consciousness is all about the interconnectivity of up to 85 billion neurons, nerves in our brains ( or whatever they are called) all "sparking" off and that the more of these connectors a species has (ie Humans) the more we can consider ourselves as being a "concious" self aware being (although many will argue that a dog etc are also self aware). - but this theory (to me at least) does not answer the question of how and why we form conscious thoughts and become the people we are but I hope its more that just the evolution of humankind that has led to our brains becoming ultra efficient at processing vast amounts of complex information and that being "aware" is just an off shot of this.

Personally I haven't a clue what happens when we "shuffle of this mortal coil "and if we "go on". Like many folk having lost so many loved one, I would like to think we do all go on and I genuinely think that is a possibility whether via a scientific answer or a spiritual one and if we do go back into "non existence" than we wont know.

Colin Jones said...

A fascinating topic, Kid. I think about these things too - the biggest mystery is why do I exist at all ? My parents were married for 12 years before having any children which is rather unusual and it's often occurred to me that under 'normal' circumstances they'd have had a couple of kids within a few years of marriage and I would never have been conceived at all but here I am. And why am I 'me' and not somebody else ? And I don't believe in a soul but I do wonder if this is the only existence or whether I'll live again even if it's just as an insect on another planet in another galaxy - I hope not.

Kid said...

Only two responses so far to this topic, but what considered, thought-provoking responses they are. If our conscious selves start and develop in tandem with our physical bodies, McScotty, is there any real reason why our conscious selves should survive and exist once the shell that houses them (and also nurtures and maintains them it seems) expires? I really hope there is, but I fear not, alas. (Hope my fears are wrong 'though.) Big subject, eh?

******

Yes, Col - what is it exactly that makes us who we are? Another biggie. However, even if your parents HAD had kids within a few years of marrying, you could have been a 'later' baby - conceived and born at the same time as you were. Come back as an insect? I don't believe in reincarnation - although I used to when I was a giraffe.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I don't believe in reincarnation either - that's not what I meant and shows what a complicated subject this is. What I meant was if my conciousness formed once then can it form again in some other time and place ? I've also wondered what if I'd been snatched away as a baby and brought up in a foreign culture with different values, different parents, different memories and life experiences then would I still be 'me' ? One thing I definitely don't believe in is a 'heaven' where we meet up with our deceased relatives.

Kid said...

I think that IS reincarnation of a kind 'though, Col. Your 'life-force' reconstituted as someone or someTHING else - doesn't have to be on Earth. Anyway, it was enough of a peg to hang a joke on, so I couldn't resist. I wrote a post once which touched on the subject of being brought up in a different country with different values, and whether we'd be different people as a result - can't remember its title at the moment. Don't you think Heaven is a nice idea 'though, and wouldn't you like it to be true?

Colin Jones said...

Well, I wonder what we are supposed to do in Heaven FOR ALL ETERNITY - remember there's none of the material things we have here so after a few days we'd be bored out of our minds but we have to stay there forever and ever AND EVER. Sounds like hell to me - I'm perfectly happy with just this brief earthly life. I once knew a woman in the Salvation Army who asked me "Don't you want to see your relatives again?" when I said I didn't believe in God which shows to me that religion mainly exists because people want to believe that death isn't the end of their existence.

Kid said...

Maybe, if we survive physical expiration, our sense of time (if it still exists) is different, Col, so that eternity doesn't seem like eternity. Besides, sounds like you're restricting your thinking to a purely theological concept of Heaven - I'm not limiting myself to that in my question to you. Also, on your last point, if punishment for 'sin' is a reality, surviving death isn't necessarily something to look forward to. There must be some people who believe in an afterlife who'd prefer not to.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I have to say Colin's comments on what are we supposed to do "for ever and ever " is one that has occurred to me as well, I mean it doesn't really make sense unless time is just a human word to describe our journey through life , and maybe eternity is just a moment that lasts forever (like watching that awful TV show "Big Brother"!)

I don't think there is a reason that our conscious selves should survive although I do think there may be some mileage in the theory that death is not the end but the end of a phase of being aware which will eventually end but wont end in our physical deaths.

I'm not a fan of the reincarnation theory but who knows I think anything and nothing is possible - but I liked the way Colin phrased it ie what if his "conciousness formed again in another time... - " that's quite poetic way to put reincarnation. But more importantly I did giggle at the giraffe joke

Most people probably do believe in religion for the eternal life thing and to meet up with loved ones again and to be fair I think that on its own is a good reason to believe - whether people do nothing else but go to church etc in an attempt to achieve that (ie they don't do anything to help others) is another matter and one if there is a God they will have to answer for.

Kid said...

Maybe there's a state of existence that gives joy (or at least contentment) in and of itself, McScotty, where there is absolutely no sense of time (just one big now) and we bathe in the luxury of just 'being'? As for reincarnation - I like their evaporated milk. Good subject, eh? We might not come to any concrete conclusions, but it's good to exercise the brain now and again.

DeadSpiderEye said...

I never get these topics, when folk ask me, does a falling tree make a sound, if there is no one to hear it? I say yeah, course it bloody well does. Then they get that piteous look and mutter something like, 'ah but how do you know?'

Thinking, the pondering the imponderable kind, is something I avoid. I have enough trouble working out how the world works on a more prosaic level, the every day madness of human existence and pervasive denial of the most trivial realities is enough to keep me scratchin' my bonce forever. Maybe it's a national character thing, since you've cited your fellow countryman or something in the water perhaps? Yeah, I think I'm onto something there, England and spirituality are as home together as the chances of monkey in a parachute having clean underwear.

Kid said...

Scottish monkeys, I should point out, never leave the house without clean underwear, DSE. (Well, mine certainly doesn't.)

baab said...

When I enter a deep sleep I completely accept the dream as reality.
I move around and do things I have been able to do in this more dominant existence (reality?)
I have conversations with people I have known and interact with them .

It usually takes me a while to realise I am dreaming and so I accept the sometimes bizarre as reality.
As soon as I realise its a dream It either ends or I try a bit of flying before I run out of dream juice.

If found myself in an alternate dimension, I would probably accept that as reality.


As for the afterlife,I like to think that I am collecting experiences that I will have the opportunity to visit and if possible re-experience again.
I do believe there is a reason for it all,these earth suits are only designed to last a certain amount of time.

I have no clue what the reason for existence is.




Kid said...

I've had many a dream of flying, Baab. Great feeling, eh? Yeah the 'suits' have a limited lifespan - maybe the 'batteries' do also.

You ever had a dream where you walk down the stairs of one house, and walk into the room of another? Weird.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

DSE: It took me ages to work out what they meant by " if no on is there to hear it will a tree falling in the woods make a noise etc" - what it refers to is that the act of a sound being made relies on two thing; 1: the tree falling making disturbances in the air and 2: a receptor (an ear) picking up the "disturbance" and turning that into what we call sound. Its official Im a geek

I'm not sure "Scottish monkeys" are much better re spirituality either we've done a lot of things I'm not proud of (and many I am)

Kid said...

"If a tree falls in a forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it make a noise?" is the way I first heard or read it. I can never quite make up my mind whether it's profound or pretentious - depends how I feel on any given day. Maybe it's a bit of both, eh, McScotty?

Colin Jones said...

There is one theory that says things only exist if we are there to experience them so if you leave a room everything in the room disappears and somehow returns only when you do which sounds bonkers but it's based on quantum physics which is really mind-blowing stuff.

Kid said...

Quantum physics on a blog about comics - we certainly don't hold back, do we?!

John Pitt said...

Hold on a minute, this tree, right, how can it possibly fall down to make no sound when not being observed if it doesn't even exist TO fall down silently when unobserved?
And this business of not being allowed to do owt in Heaven, - I thought you were allowed to play the harp, or can only Angels play them?

DeadSpiderEye said...

I see what you mean now, McScotty, -sound- being defined as a sensory phenomenon. Honestly, that would never had occurred to me.

Kid said...

Ah, but not everyone's perception of 'Heaven' is the Biblical one, JP.

******

Oh, DSE - you're surely pulling our legs. I know for sure that you're one smart cookie.

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