The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. - Richard Dawkins

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Some thoughts about Teleportation and Consciousness

What if science were to develop a real teleportation device (just like the Star Trek transporter)?  A device that takes a human being standing at point A, breaks it down into it's separate atoms (effectively killing the person), transports all of those same exact atoms across space, and then re-assembles them at point B, in the exact same order.  (Same pumping heart, same blood vessels, same exact DNA and cell structure, exact same brain, a perfect replica of the person at point A.)

Would the resulting person still be the same person?
Would the person who started at Point A still exist at all?
Would their consciousness "resume" in the newly created body, such that they would lose consciousness at point A and then "wake up" at Point B, in the new body?
Or, would the person at Point B be a brand new person, who "wakes up" with all the same memories as the person at Point A, but a completely different person, with a completely separate consciousness, leaving the person at Point A essentially dead (non-existent)?
Would the the person at Point A continue to exist as the same person, in the newly created body, or cease to exist forever the moment their atoms were broken down, only to be replaced by an exact replica with a completely separate (though identical) consciousness all its own?

How could you find out?  Either way, if you quizzed Person B, he would answer every question exactly as if he were Person A, since he has all the exact same memories.  He would remember stepping on the platform.  He would remember sinking into oblivion.  He would remember waking up at Point B.  In his mind, he would BE Person A, in every respect, even if Person A no longer really exists.

This question goes deeper than simply musing about the possibilities of technology.  It strikes at the very heart of what constitutes "consciousness", the continuity of consciousness, to what extent consciousness is tied to the physical body, whether each of us is a "separate" consciousness, or if we are all a single consciousness manifested in multiple personalities.

After I die, is it possible my consciousness might "resume" in some way in a newly born person?  That I might fall asleep in death and then "wake up" as some newly created consciousness, with no memory of my previous life?
Or will what I perceive as my "self", (my unique and separate consciousness), simply cease to exist along with my body, to be replaced by other separate consciousness of which "I" will never be aware?

Did God Create the Universe?

Stephen Hawking proposes that not only is there no NEED for a God to create the Universe, there was no time during which he could have done so, since time did not exist before the big bang.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What is worship?

What is worship, really?   In it's purest sense, worship is love taken to its greatest and purest extreme.  To be true worship, it must be absolutely free, just as love must be free.  It must be given in complete freedom by one being to another, out of absolute and undefiled love, without even the slightest contamination of fear, or coercion, or threat, or guilt, or selfishness, or greed, or jealousy.  Anything else is a counterfeit, and not worth having.

Monday, May 21, 2012

There is nothing so INSANE that it can't be sold to (and bought by) the masses.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What do I believe in?

1) I believe in myself.
2) I believe in the intrinsic worth of each and every human being on this planet.  I believe that their worth is not imposed upon them by some mysterious invisible supernatural authority, but exists simply because they are.
3) I believe in the ability of human beings to be good and moral and kind and loving without the imposition of some supernatural moral standard, and without the threat of punishment or retribution.  All they need to do is to recognize the intrinsic worth of every other being.
4) I believe that the structure of reality as I perceive it, while it may indeed be illusory, is the only framework in which I can function as a human being.  I have no interest in attempting to invent others by force of will.
5) I believe that the greatest goal in human existence is to be happy, and to make others so.  Not in some nebulous future world, but right here, and right now, in this tangible universe in which I find myself; the only one I have any way of knowing exists.
6) I believe that every sentient being deserves happiness, and that no sentient being deserves to be tortured.
7) I believe that every one of us, at every given moment, is doing the best that he or she possibly can, given every factor of their physical make-up and their environment.
8) I believe that concepts like "retribution" and "revenge" and "blame" and "sin" are the products of a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature and free will.  I believe that free will is a grand illusion.  BUT, I believe we must live as if it is real, because it is the reality framework in which we find ourselves.
9) I believe that the more enlightened a being becomes, the less need it has for revenge and retribution.
10)  I believe in the one-ness of the universe.  That there really is no separation, no "self" or "other".  But at the same time, I believe we must all live as if there is.  Because that is the reality framework in which we find ourselves.
11) I believe there are some things that are within our control and others that are not.  I believe that in order to be happy, we must live within the circle of our influence.  Otherwise we will spend our lives in needless frustration and anxiety.
12) I believe that we are in charge of the movie that plays inside our head.  We can make it a horror film, or we can make it a disney fantasy.  It is entirely up to us.
13) I believe that the world has always been an unpredictable place.  There is no guarantee of anything, not even our next breath.  But that does not mean we have to live our lives in fear.  Believe me, I've tried that route, thoroughly, and found it just isn't worth it.
14)  I believe that each of us sees the world in our own way; some of us choose to live within the framework of our current perception, others choose to fly the currents of their dreams and tailor their own reality.

Neither is superior to the other.  

Each of us has our own journey to make.  And ultimately we must make it alone.

Let's try to love and respect each other along the way.