Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view.
In this article, I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions elsewhere.
The philosopher Immanuel Kant claims that the only thing we can know about is what we experience in our mind; either things by the senses or non-sensory cognitive activity of the mind. We can't know about the "thing in itself", the perceived object itself; we can only know about the mind's understanding of the sense perceptions of these. The true nature of the reality beyond our experience of it is unknowable.
This seems wrong. Modern science has proved many things about the nature of physical reality. It's true that we only experience this knowledge of reality via the conscious mind, but our knowledge is trustworthy.
There are multiple conscious beings, called scientists, who all experience the same thing, who all come to the same conclusions about the nature of reality via their experiments. And so we should assume that the reality of what they are studying is known.
Of course, we are limited in our knowledge of reality to conceptions of our mind, this is true. We can not "mind-meld" with material objects to experience them more deeply.
If these can be answered, everything is explained:
. . . . .
I notice my dogs don't speak language; they are so quiet (except when barking or whining). Some philosophers and psychologists seem to think that cognition requires language. But I can imagine my dogs thinking in terms of a sequence of actions: for example, "if I pull on the leash hard enough I can go to my favorite spot where I can sniff and smell my favorite scent".
Christians seem to think you have to find meaning in every smallest event of life, doing it for God for his glory, or because God called you to it. And always trying to convince yourself you are succeeding at this and pleasing God with your efforts.
Then, in later life, you judge your past actions based on your success (and usually discover you utterly failed, unless you were a famous evangelist or preacher).
It exhausts me just thinking about the burden of this.
Atheists typically claim that religious people are not qualified to govern because their religious beliefs color and distort their ability to think rationally, and because they wish to impose their beliefs on everyone else.
You can say this about anybody, even atheists.
For example, atheists merely assume materialism (they seem unaware of this as an assumption). Then they can say that the subjective experience of consciousness is merely an emergent property of matter, thinking, therefore, that consciousness is like matter, governed by the laws of nature. And then they can talk about even social cultures as if they have evolved via social natural selection.
Also, the concepts of morality of atheists are arbitrary, perhaps based on utilitarianism, or Immanuel Kant, or John Rawls.
My dad and I never had discussions about religion or philosophy because he was an atheist (a Baptist in his teens), and I was a fanatical fundamentalist evangelical young-earth-creationist Christian (previously obsessed with yoga and new-age spirituality). I had to get him saved, and he didn't care about spirituality at all.
Philosophy is a fundamental topic, the middle-way between (1) science, and (2) spirituality: both built on the foundation of philosophy.
The scientific method is based on philosophy; specifically, epistemology, the study of knowledge, truth, and justified belief. Morality and ethics is a branch of philosophy, important for everyone. (Even utilitarianism, claimed as based on science, is actually based on philosophy.)
Things not part of the physical realm, things belonging to the spiritual realm (such as God, soul, consciousness with its contents, goodness, beauty, love, free will, etc.); these are philosophical, because philosophy itself resides in the spiritual realm along with cognition, mind, and reason.
Whether the assumption of materialism is trustworthy (that all of reality can be studied by science); this is a philosophical question. And whether there are limits to the domain of science (such as before the big bang, or even the inflationary phase afterwards with its different physical laws than now); these are philosophical questions.
Religious and spiritual people should consider the basis for their beliefs; asking whether revealed religions or revealed spiritual paths are trustworthy. And whether we should trust things that science considers mere imagination, mere illusion.
With my dad it would have been better if we both were willing to discuss philosophy calmly and reasonably, rather that us each insisting our beliefs were correct and the other's beliefs incorrect.
But this isn't what gives life meaning. The mere living of life is the meaning.
Science doesn't answer the "why" questions, such as, "why is there a multiple universe multiverse?", or, "why are there conscious beings who suffer"? Science can't answer the "why" questions.
You can't use the existence of God to explain the universe as being the way it is, since it contains conscious biological life that suffers. Well there is a way: if you define God to be the scientific view of reality, as a sort of Pantheism.
But science doesn't include the God part, so this kind of pantheism doesn't actually match science. Also, there is no way for a pantheistic God to interact with anyone, other than the way the universe of atheistic science does. Why is such a useless God even needed?
I have a midsized female dog and a somewhat smaller male dog. The smaller dog loves to cuddle with me. But if the larger dog is nearby, then he is shy about it and will even jump off my lap. Then he savagely and viciously attacks the larger dog and they rumble around for quite a while until, at some arbitrary moment, he has completed his mission. Then he comes back and jumps back on my lap, having earned the privilege to be there.
Seems like humans have the same tendency to this savagery upon others.
When my two dogs play together, the one with a bigger and stronger mouth with longer teeth gets a bit savage and sometimes the other yelps in pain. (I try to prevent this and mostly do, like a referee in a boxing match.) I don't think anger is the motive for this savage biting, rather, I think it's just a deep seated instinct.
I wonder if what we call human anger is also merely just a deep seated instinct? We are supposed to control it but there is no referee to assist us.
When I was studying physics, chemistry, and biology intently, when sitting out in the forest looking at nature I would imagine all the molecules bouncing around and the electrostatic forces and the wave functions collapsing and etc. Trying to imaging how big a billion is and etc. And how weird the laws of physics are.
But I haven't studied for a while, and now as I look at the forest, I'm enjoying the beauty of it and the intricacy of it all. More focused on what I see with my eyes and not so much on what my analytical mind thinks of. (I realize that visual perception is processed by the brain and that we can't see reality but only a constructed image of it.)
When I see a bird fly by I don't think about the forces and air pressure keeping it aloft, and the turbulent flow around its wings causing friction.
Whatever kind of psychological condition a person is in (I'm not referring to mental disorders but, rather, with the day to day mental stuff, or the particular mindset you were raised with).
Examples of mental characteristics (some can be changed or improved, I suppose):
These each take mental energy to maintain, as the neurons send electric impulses down the axons of the neurons. There is less mental energy left for other things. Having a particular mental characteristic is a commitment of mental energy; you choose what to expend your mental energy upon. It consumes you.
To change to a new mode, you have to abandon a current mode, to free up psychological energy.
I've been studying the philosopher Immanuel Kant, and he claims that space and time are generated from our minds; that the data from our senses does not contain information about the object's location in space nor its time. He claims that we can't know whether space and time even actually exist apart from our mind.
This is proven to be wrong by modern science. The scientific method guarantees that trustworthy knowledge will be generated via scientific inquiries.
In my view, the space and time we consciously experience exists within the spiritual realm and is experienced by our soul. But this spiritual space and time corresponds to the space and time of the physical realm. In perceiving objects via our senses, we form a mind map in our conscious mind of the actuality of the object itself. But it is true that the space and time of the spiritual realm is not the space and time of the physical realm. We cannot directly experience physical space and time, but the physical senses of our physical body actually provides sensory data which is based on the real physical objects embedded in space and time.
There is a close correspondence between the space and time of the physical realm and the space and time of the spiritual realm. There is an interface between the two, in the realm of quantum mechanics. This interface is used by the soul in two-way communication with the body. And the space and time of the physical realm and the space and time of the spiritual realm are linked no matter whether there are conscious entities interacting in them or not.
The mental map of space and time perceived by the soul is not generated by the soul; rather, the soul merely accesses it. By analogy, the map you see on the computer screen of a map application is not generated by the mind. This map on the screen corresponds (in this analogy) to the map in the spiritual realm. The soul merely sees a small piece of the totality of the map (via links to perceived portions).
The soul potentially has access to everything within the spiritual realm but is necessarily limited to what it actually does access. I think the soul is also limited while in this current physical bodily existence to things associated with the body. Perhaps the soul is so distracted by its activities with the body that it doesn't have time or energy to wander off exploring the infinite bounds of the spiritual realm.