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.
In other words, the soul must be operating at the sub-atomic level, just as the brain does.
I envision the soul growing along with the brain. As each neuron develops, the soul develops along with it, gaining the same control as the neuron.
What happens upon death?
If the brain become badly damaged by disease, the soul no longer maps to the brain, and the soul may choose to abandon the brain.
An objection by materialist/physicalist scientists about why there can be no immaterial soul is: that there is, in fact, no way an immaterial soul could possibly interact with the physical; and that it therefore can't trigger actions in the body — all this based on the assumption that all that is needed to explain the movements of matter is the physical laws.
But there is a way.
When the quantum mechanics wave function for an electron collapses into an electron having a location, this is completely random; meaning, if you measure the location of the electron a trillion times it will exactly match the probabilities specified by the wave function.
But suppose the soul can "choose" where the electron appears? For example, if you toss a coin, it can be heads or tails. But suppose you are able to toss it so you can choose whether it's heads or tails. All you have to do after you toss it heads, is to toss it tails once, and the probability will balance out to 50% for each.
Perhaps the soul notices when it's useful to interfere with the randomness and chooses a location for the electron at key moments? Seems to me it could control behavior this way, being as the brain and body are merely chemical interactions involving electrons and atomic orbitals and such.
I am not referring to quantum mechanics entanglement in this section.
I propose the soul grows along with the body during early development (and all throughout life as the body changes). The soul has a "sensor/activator" at each point there is a particle (electron?) in the quantum field. The soul is able to receive state (perception) information, as well as trigger commands (via triggering wave function collapse and choosing the "random" location of the election, for example).
In addition, there are templates in the spiritual realm (forms, ala Plato) that the soul uses in guiding the development of the body. The soul "pulls" the body into its proper shape.
Also, perhaps there is a kind of soul corresponding to each and every structure of the universe, including all of biological life (every organism, including bacteria), planets and rocks and stars, and all other physical structures including the entire universe itself. Each of these has a "mind", but only some are conscious. Some (such as humans and dogs) have a mind having both conscious and unconscious components.
There is a living "energy" or "force" or "essence" that comes to us seemingly from outside ourselves. This is the creativity of the artist or musician or writer. Their creative compositions are for our enjoyment; for us to experience. They do not claim to be true in the same way scientific knowledge is true.
Another thing people claim comes from outside ourselves is the various teachings of revealed religions and revealed spiritual paths. But these are simply not true in the same sense that scientific knowledge is true. They are fictional just as artistic creativity is. People make a big mistake to think these are trustworthy sources of knowledge about the spiritual realm.
Yet many cultures, religions, societies follow these religions and spiritual paths, often hoping others do too, even though they are not true. It would be better if people knew these are merely creative, artistic compositions; not revelations from God or the divine.
I was taking a nap cuddling with the dogs, very relaxed, and started to fall asleep. At the instant I did, I snored briefly which woke me up, and was able to observe the following:
As I was fading off to sleep, my normal waking consciousness was fading away, and I noticed at the instant I started to be asleep, there was this superconsciousness (I don't know what else to call it), a bigger conscious experience, which I became aware of. It was still me having this experience. (I don't know if this was associated with specific detectable brain activity or not, but I assume it was.)
I wonder if this is a consciousness comparable to the after death kind of conscious awareness the soul possesses.
Then when I snored briefly, I snapped back to wakeful consciousness, and was able to remember the superconscious experience. Like when you wake up from a dream, if you quickly write down what you were dreaming about you don't forget it so easily.
I've been wondering what happens to the soul after death (assuming there is a soul, and assuming there is a continuous experience of being a person, the same person between the transition from life to death). I'm ignoring considerations of people with multiple personalities simultaneously.
Like with a guitar string; after you mute it, the sound still resonates within the guitar, especially if it triggered another string to vibrate.
The "vibration" of the physical flow of electrons through the neural network of the brain is noticed in the spiritual realm by the soul, and the resonance triggers the release of memories and ideas and etc. Thus, the links to these are stored in the brain, but not the detailed contents which are not physical but, rather, spiritual. For example, the mental map of your location in space is not physical, but rather, spiritual, composed of ideas and the stuff of life and spirit.
Contrasting this with a pure materialist view of the quantum mechanics wave function: In the sympathetic vibration model, the entire neural network of the brain "vibrates" as electrons flow; in the materialist view, the "vibration" of the wave function is limited to each electron (for example). There is no large scale activity; there is no wave function representing the entire neural network of the brain, or a subsystem of the brain.
In my view, memories persist in the spiritual realm and are activated via sympathetic vibration. In the pure materialist view there is no way for memories to persist unless the flow of electrons through the neural network triggers the same wave function configurations. But even so, there is no way for us to notice that the current memory we are experiencing is the same one we remembered earlier; there is no continuity in time. There is no memory of the memory.
As electrons flow through the neural network it creates a sympathetic vibration, analogous to the standing wave at the front of a ship moving through the water. In the materialist view, this wave would have to be a quantum mechanics wave function, whereas in my view, the electrostatic forces in the particular configuration is all that is needed to make to link to the memories etc in the spiritual realm, in the soul.
In my view there is also the possibility that electron flows in other mediums, such as the flow of water and nutrients in the vascular system of a plant, could also trigger ideas and conscious activity in the spiritual realm. Even stable electron flows within stars and planets and galaxies could do this I suppose.
Stuart Hammeroff and Roger Penrose propose that memories are imprinted on microtubules within certain nerve cells, and that consciousness is activated via the quantum mechanics wave function. Since this is all via biochemical interactions involving electrons and the electrostatic force, perhaps the same kind of sympathetic vibrations I am proposing occur here also.
Eternal life through others' memories of you.
A lot of people seem to believe that after you die, you live on in other people's thoughts and memories of you. When they think of you, you are alive for the duration, until they forget again. You live in their heads, in their minds.
This idea is completely incoherent and absurd.
This means that, while alive, you should try to infect as many people with you as possible. But even so, everyone will eventually forget you given enough time.
Also, if this were true, I should feel more alive when other people think about me; there should be a correlation. But there is none. Also, it would be jarring after death to keep becoming alive (resurrection?) every time someone thinks of me, and then die again when they stop thinking of me. And surely I would notice that I am alive less and less often; this would be terrifying not knowing if this time was to be the last time that anyone ever thinks of me again.
And if there is a global civilizational collapse with massive loss of life, this means there would be fewer people to think of me. (Unless somehow, people after death can still think of others, making them alive again. But then why can't I think of myself after death to make myself alive again?)
So even when my dogs think about me, I should feel more alive.
In other words, this idea is false. When other people think of or remember me, that is them, not me. No matter how dead I am.
An analogy of how a conscious free will in the spiritual realm can influence the physical realm.
Just as mass in space warps spacetime (Einstein's general relativity) creating virtual "gravitation forces" (which don't really exist as forces at all), and thereby affecting the motion and acceleration of particles; so also, ideas of the spiritual realm warp the quantum fields of the various particles of the standard model (electrons, quarks, force particles, etc) causing motion or triggering state changes.
So we have the curvature of something (but what is curved?) for each quantum field.
With particles traveling in gravity, we see forces acting upon them, but in reality, they are traveling straight, following the contours of spacetime. So perhaps this is how the free will operates: it warps and bends quantum space causing particles (neurons of the brain) to seemingly change their behavior and to trigger muscle contraction (for example).
How the soul interacts with the physical: If you wanted to have an earth orbiting a sun, you would place these two massive objects in spacetime and they would warp the space causing orbiting of the earth. But you would also have to perform the necessary preconditions so that galaxies of stars and planets come into existence; things such as: matter with the right kind of properties, and the natural laws with the required constants of nature, and the existence of spacetime, and etc.
Likewise, if you wanted to create a saber tooth tiger via evolution, you have to somehow create all the preconditions, and then drop in the required set of ideas (which would warp the various quantum fields in just the right way) and, voila, a saber tooth tiger would appear, seemingly by randomness and natural selection.
But this kind of thing must occur for every interaction between particles and forces, not just free will choices: the using of an idea of the spiritual realm to dictate changes to the state of the universe from instant to instant. This would explain how an intelligent designer could create a saber tooth tiger (for example) while not interfering with the random motion of particles.
The alternative is that God is an extreme micromanager who must be influencing with each of the tiniest physical interactions and particles. This kind of micromanager view of God and of souls seems wrong.
And therefore, this view is incorrect; there is no spiritual realm.
Often, my past memories trigger a negative emotion (even though the original experience did not have this negative emotion). And dreams are usually bad, having associated negative emotions.
Maybe dreams are just garbled interactive memories. Often when remembering something, I try to change it in the past, but can't.
My one dog was cuddling with me, around my legs with snout resting on my thigh. My other dog came over, and I pulled him or her closer to my chest, tucked under my arm. I sensed that my first dog was fully aware that my second dog was close to me, and that he or she was even jealous of this. (But I don't know for sure if he or she was really jealous or not.) It is as if the two dogs have force fields around them, and these fields cause mental interactions in the dogs' brains.
But notice that they see and smell and hear what's going on. So the force field is created by their brains which trigger their feelings and moods and actions.
I was listening to Jordan Peterson. He is fond of Carl Jung and interprets ancient stories in terms of symbols and archetypes from the collective unconscious. I doubt this is what is happening.
I suspect that someone inventing a story of the creation of the world (for example) is merely thinking of ideas and story elements and plot lines and characters based on stuff they've heard from others or they just invent it, just as a composer of a symphony just invents it. I doubt anyone would claim that the composer is tapping into the collective unconscious.
I don't dispute there are stories and ideas in the spiritual realm that get passed on from soul to soul.
I woke up in the middle of the night, aware that I been in some deep dream scenario. Of course this dream was unpleasant, as all dreams are. I wonder if this dream was going on long before I became conscious of it, and that my consciousness attached itself to the dream at some point? In other words, that there are dreams occurring throughout the night that no one is conscious of. Meaning, that dreams can occur apart from the conscious experience of them.
Or, is the concept of dream only valid when associated with the conscious experience of it? Without that, a dream is merely dumb brain activity.
And when I first remember becoming aware of this dream, I was barely aware of it. How much of a tiny fragment of consciousness is needed to be considered as conscious? For example, is a jellyfish conscious, even if their experience is much reduced compared to human conscious experience? Certainly my dogs are conscious, but the purview of their awareness is much smaller than mine. What about an amoeba; is it conscious in some small way, perhaps merely aware of its need for food and its movement and its splitting into two amoebas?
Can only brains be conscious? What about ganglia of nerves? What about molecules moving about inside a cell? Perhaps there is a brain kind of consciousness, a nerve ganglia kind of conscious (in creatures having no brain), and a moving molecule kind of consciousness? If the brain generates consciousness from the network of neurons, perhaps it is merely the tight choreographed flow of electrons, of electric charges, that triggers the experience of consciousness. But all matter has electric charge and is moving. So perhaps all matter generates consciousness. Or does consciousness only pop into existence when the flow of electrons through the neural network of the brain gets sufficiently complex?
Anyway, dreams are odd, which is the main point of this section.