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    1. #26
      Member sephiroth clock's Avatar
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      that was a great metaphor
      Oohhumm

    2. #27
      Member bradybaker's Avatar
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      Originally posted by SteveHatton
      Trying to find the beginning of time might be like an early explorer trying to find the edge of what he thinks is a flat earth.
      I don't think you can compare the "creation" of the universe (if it was actually created) to such simple geometry.
      "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."



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    3. #28
      Dreamah in ReHaB AirRick101's Avatar
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      Really cool discussion. I'm sure to post more. I'll try not to make rash assumptions, but I'm sure that's impossible at times...

      Be open that time could be a mental concept, just because the hands on your clock move and the numbers on your watch changes numbers, does not prove that time exists. Think about that. Things and objects move, but does that really mean time exists? I got reference from this in "Conversations With God." Extremely insightful book. It's not particularly religious in anyway, but it's really cool.

      I used to believe certain things, especially the ideas from the Bible (which can be interpreted in a million ways). I switched to atheist views, evolutionist views, quantum science views or whatever. I don't like to stick to one set of ideas that one person or a group of people made. I learned that after mindless devotion to several thought patterns and beliefs. I think more for myself now...it was challenging and kinda scary.

      Try to be aware of what emotions you attach to certain theories, they can be deceiving "convictions." Anyways, no theory is absolutely provable, at least in my recollection. I don't think that the smallest unit of matter has ever been discovered, and probably never will. Thus, the Einsteinian theory of relativity. Can you imagine the world having a smallest measurable building block? I dunno bout you guys, but kinda makes me feel uncomfortable and artifical like I'm in a lego and digital world...if it's true.

      If there is no smallest building block, wouldn't that make everything in existence "infinite" in nature? Some may say this equates to God, some may deny it. I don't really care. But it's probably why people say God is in everything, like pantheists. Besides, the only way for God to be omnipresent is to actually be in and of everything; otherwise, he's really not everywhere, but merely "around" everything. I prefer to look for potential truths behinds everybody's words, rather than deny them at face value.

      I love what Universal Mind said about a cause being another form of existence...It really makes me imagine the loop of creationism, and how it's a never ending cycle.

      Oh Gosh, Deepak Chopra was hard for me to intellectually digest, and I spit it out at first reading. I kinda understand what he's saying....kinda. It was really too much shit for me to handle!! LOL
      naturals are what we call people who did all the right things accidentally

    4. #29
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      I appreciate and find interest in everybody's responses. If I make some of the same points more than once, it is only to keep the some of the discussion pointed in the direction I am going for. I have thought really hard about this issue since I was a child, and I really got into it in my mid-teens. I really hope to have a clear answer some day, but I am not counting on it. It will be a lot of fun looking for one, though.

      I want to stress that I am not necessarily talking about a first "moment" of existence. I am not talking about where in time existence came about. That would involve a situation of time preceding existence. Time is part of existence, so my question involves what preceded time and everything else. That's the paradox. Any answer is a form of existence, so it cannot be the right answer, apparently. It seems that if existence has a cause/source, it would have to be something that doesn't exist. Wouldn't that make it an invalid answer? If existence has a cause/source, then cause/source precedes existence, even though it is a form of existence. Thus, existence does not have a cause/source. So why would any form of existence need one if it is possible for something to be uncaused, and how could existence have order if circumstances can exist without cause? Maybe this all really is a dream, and we will eventually wake up and go, "Oh yeh... Duhhhh..."
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    5. #30
      Member bradybaker's Avatar
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      Originally posted by AirRick101
      I don't think that the smallest unit of matter has ever been discovered, and probably never will. Thus, the Einsteinian theory of relativity.
      I'm not really sure what connection you're seeing between \"the smallest unit of matter\" and relativity.

      Originally posted by AirRick101
      Can you imagine the world having a smallest measurable building block? I dunno bout you guys, but kinda makes me feel uncomfortable and artifical like I'm in a lego and digital world...if it's true.
      Sounds to me like you're attaching some emotion to theory there.
      "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."



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    6. #31
      Dreamah in ReHaB AirRick101's Avatar
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      Yeah...I can't help but be emotionally attached to a minimum of beliefs. But can you? Thanks for pointing out the obvious.
      naturals are what we call people who did all the right things accidentally

    7. #32
      Member bradybaker's Avatar
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      I don't choose beliefs based on what makes me comfortable or uncomfortable. In fact, I don't "choose" beliefs at all.
      "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."



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    8. #33
      Dreamah in ReHaB AirRick101's Avatar
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      I think what sets a person free is to know there is not necessarily a truth or lie side, so there's less sense of needing to protect something. It's direct from Buddha, when he gives this confusing thing about "don't say this world is fake, because it's not. But don't say it's real either. They're both illusion." Somethin like dat. The middle ground.

      But pray tell, what are your beliefs anyway, Brady Baker?
      naturals are what we call people who did all the right things accidentally

    9. #34
      Member bradybaker's Avatar
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      Originally posted by AirRick101
      I think what sets a person free is to know there is not necessarily a truth or lie side, so there's less sense of needing to protect something. It's direct from Buddha, when he gives this confusing thing about \"don't say this world is fake, because it's not. But don't say it's real either. They're both illusion.\" Somethin like dat. The middle ground.
      You can sit in the middle ground all you want, but you won't gain a thing from it. When it comes right down to it, there is a single truth out there. There is a single correct way of describing the universe and everything inside of it. Now I don't claim to know what that description is, few people do, and those people that do are most likely wrong.

      Originally posted by AirRick101
      But pray tell, what are your beliefs anyway, Brady Baker?
      Good question. I think that there are two kinds of truth, ultimate truth and practical truth. In both cases, I trust the methods of science and mathematics to lead me in the right direction. Practical truth is much more easily arrived at than ultimate truth, practical truth is the general useful knowledge that we have gained and use constantly.

      For example, we understand the concept of gravity well enough and have tested it thoroughly enough to conclusively say, "yes, gravity does exist". We can then apply our knowledge of gravity and achieve some pretty incredible things, like launching a satellite into space with the precise velocity and trajectory to have it be captured in Saturn's orbit.

      The great thing about using science to arrive at practical truth is that it's a self-correcting process. We used to think that everything revolved around the Earth, but with more observation we learned that Earth and the other planets in the solar system actually revolve around the Sun.

      Ultimate truth however is a bit trickier. I still trust science to answer big questions like "Where did the universe come from?", but there is definitely a limit to how much science can tell us. For example, I can't prove that anything outside my own mind exists. So when it comes right down to it, I think the only logical conclusion you can make is that you cannot make any conclusions. I really, really hate admitting that though.

      I think that the best way to approach any problem is to consider the evidence on both sides and come to a logical conclusion...that may sound pretty obvious but it's disgusting how many people jump to conclusions they like without putting any thought into them. In the case of Christianity there is no logical evidence to support such a system of beliefs...so why hold those beliefs? Some of you might say "But you can't disprove it either!!". That's technically correct, but a pretty damn weak statement to base your way of life on. If I were to claim that there is an invisible ten-foot tall pink unicorn in your room, and demand that you feed it, you could justifiably expect some sort of hard proof.

      Finally I'd like to mention Occam's Razor. Many of you probably know what it is, basically it says that if there are a number of explanations for something the simplest explanation tends to be the correct one. I think that everyone should consider that when they are trying to reason their way into any belief.
      "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."



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    10. #35
      Member Belisarius's Avatar
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      Originally posted by bradybaker+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(bradybaker)</div>
      <!--QuoteBegin-AirRick101
      I think what sets a person free is to know there is not necessarily a truth or lie side, so there's less sense of needing to protect something. It's direct from Buddha, when he gives this confusing thing about \"don't say this world is fake, because it's not. But don't say it's real either. They're both illusion.\" Somethin like dat. The middle ground.
      You can sit in the middle ground all you want, but you won't gain a thing from it. When it comes right down to it, there is a single truth out there. There is a single correct way of describing the universe and everything inside of it. Now I don't claim to know what that description is, few people do, and those people that do are most likely wrong.

      Originally posted by AirRick101
      But pray tell, what are your beliefs anyway, Brady Baker?
      Good question. I think that there are two kinds of truth, ultimate truth and practical truth. In both cases, I trust the methods of science and mathematics to lead me in the right direction. Practical truth is much more easily arrived at than ultimate truth, practical truth is the general useful knowledge that we have gained and use constantly.

      For example, we understand the concept of gravity well enough and have tested it thoroughly enough to conclusively say, \"yes, gravity does exist\". We can then apply our knowledge of gravity and achieve some pretty incredible things, like launching a satellite into space with the precise velocity and trajectory to have it be captured in Saturn's orbit.

      The great thing about using science to arrive at practical truth is that it's a self-correcting process. We used to think that everything revolved around the Earth, but with more observation we learned that Earth and the other planets in the solar system actually revolve around the Sun.

      Ultimate truth however is a bit trickier. I still trust science to answer big questions like \"Where did the universe come from?\", but there is definitely a limit to how much science can tell us. For example, I can't prove that anything outside my own mind exists. So when it comes right down to it, I think the only logical conclusion you can make is that you cannot make any conclusions. I really, really hate admitting that though.

      I think that the best way to approach any problem is to consider the evidence on both sides and come to a logical conclusion...that may sound pretty obvious but it's disgusting how many people jump to conclusions they like without putting any thought into them. In the case of Christianity there is no logical evidence to support such a system of beliefs...so why hold those beliefs? Some of you might say \"But you can't disprove it either!!\". That's technically correct, but a pretty damn weak statement to base your way of life on. If I were to claim that there is an invisible ten-foot tall pink unicorn in your room, and demand that you feed it, you could justifiably expect some sort of hard proof.

      Finally I'd like to mention Occam's Razor. Many of you probably know what it is, basically it says that if there are a number of explanations for something the simplest explanation tends to be the correct one. I think that everyone should consider that when they are trying to reason their way into any belief.[/b]
      The quote from Buddha I take to mean there isn't a "real" objective universe that exists outside of our(meaning all of our) consciousnesses, but that that universe is certainly real enough for us.

      I think you trust science like a theist trusts god and probably for the same reasons.

      I just don't see how you can accept this flimsy idea of "practical truth". Doubt destroys truth when it cannot be escaped through reason, and doubt does not descriminate on the basis of the percieved utility of beliefs which is your basic arguement for the accepting of science as truth. There is no reason to believe that your perceptions(including memory) give you an accurate reflection of the objective universe. Beleif in perception is a leap of faith, no different from any other as no leap of faith is based on reason, but a desire to claim, use, or possess understanding.

      I had an arguement with a religious friend of mine and as usual I made it blatantly obvious that there was absolutely 0 reason behind her beliefs, and that the reason she wouldn't consider anything else was because she had too much invested in them(as indeed she does). I think the same is true of many atheists. They aren't willing to see that they have no grounds for their beliefs because of the implications of them losing those beliefs.



      P.S. I don't think Occam's Razor supports science in any way. I think it would be much simpler if a diety(not as described by any major religions as they like to complicate things) simply exercised his will and that was the universe. It is much simpler than so much science.

    11. #36
      Member bradybaker's Avatar
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      Originally posted by Belisarius
      I just don't see how you can accept this flimsy idea of \"practical truth\". Doubt destroys truth when it cannot be escaped through reason, and doubt does not descriminate on the basis of the percieved utility of beliefs which is your basic arguement for the accepting of science as truth. There is no reason to believe that your perceptions(including memory) give you an accurate reflection of the objective universe. Beleif in perception is a leap of faith, no different from any other as no leap of faith is based on reason, but a desire to claim, use, or possess understanding.
      Did you just decide to ignore the rest of my post? Maybe you just didn't percieve it correctly. Practical \"truth\" and ultimate \"truth\" are seperate concepts. If you or I pick up a pencil and let go of it 100 times, we will see the pencil fall. That's practical truth. It allows for all the incredible technological advances observed in our civilization. It may not be certain, but its useful and reliable. Practical truth is why you choose to interact with your environment, it's why you choose food and drink over hunger and thirst.

      Originally posted by Belisarius+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Belisarius)</div>
      I think you trust science like a theist trusts god and probably for the same reasons.[/b]
      I use science as a guide, I don't put blind faith in it. Just as you do whether you want to admit it or not.

      <!--QuoteBegin-Belisarius

      I don't think Occam's Razor supports science in any way. I think it would be much simpler if a diety(not as described by any major religions as they like to complicate things) simply exercised his will and that was the universe. It is much simpler than so much science.
      Depends on what kind of truth you're talking about, but I see your point. Don't overlook the fact that it says "tends" to be correct, not "is" correct.
      "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."



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    12. #37
      Member Belisarius's Avatar
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      I guess you're correct, I do live my life according to "practical truth"(although I would probably use another term), and I try to justify it, but I haven't yet been able to. I guess when it comes down to it I am simply an optimistic nihilist, which is more than a bit of an oxymoron. I prefer to look to spectacular and satisfying theories to explain the universe than the common wisdom that so many seem to cling to. As my high school history teacher said,"Devils see the darkness and angels see the light." When there are so many possibilities and none are more likely than the rest(as far as I can see) I would rather consider the more fascinating and happy ones than those that seem more reasonable, but less gratifying.

      What I think sustains me is the knowledge that there must be a single objective truth, whether I can see it or not.



      P.S. It is interesting to note that most existentialists or nihilists adopt extreme political positions(including me). That might be connected to some sort of human need to believe something.

    13. #38
      Member Joseph_Stalin's Avatar
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      There is no single way or truth, because it all exists because of how we make it the truth. Now I'm not saying, "THERE IS NO GRAVITY YOU BASTARDS!" (meaning, I love science, but I like to play devil's advocate, a lot [heh]) I'm just saying not everything will conform to man-made laws all the time. For example, we drop your pencil 99 times and on the hundred time, physics goes haywire and the pencil warps itself into nothing, along with everything else in the universe. No indication that it will do this, and the chance are a many million trillionths to nothing of this happening, and frankly, it's stupid and absurd to think this will happen. But we have no certaintity that it will not. Which begs to question, "Can we absolutely let things like Gravity become scientific laws?" Think about for a few minutes. It's really more of an critical thinking question, and not an absolute answer of one.

      "In the end, the lord shalth return in full regulation Soviet Uniform, hailing Lenin as thy true messiah." -Siberian Revealations

    14. #39
      Member bradybaker's Avatar
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      You're missing the point a bit. I explained that practical truth is not certain, it is however very useful. In the realm of ultimate truth you are 100% correct, the pencil could fall, the pencil could float or the pencil could not even exist at all.
      "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."



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    15. #40
      Member Belisarius's Avatar
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      I don't see how it could be denied that there is one true way that the universe functions. I understand that we can never know what that way is, but that way does exist.

    16. #41
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      EDIT: I am drunk as @#&#036;%, and I thought it would be hysterical to dig up this fossil.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    17. #42
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      Why does there need to be a cause at all?

      Our human experience seems be through "time," so we see things arise "from" other things, hence our dependence on the idea of cause and effect. I'm still trying to figure out how this could work (it's not some theory I've perfected), but I feel like there's some way everything could just "be" without requiring that it be experienced through the dimension of time. If cause/effect relationships were mapped out outside of time, wouldn't it be a frozen network of concepts linked to one another in various ways?

      More importantly, many philosophers have written about the idea that either we make up cause and effect completely (see Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols: "The error of a false causality"), or we note some cases of cause and effect and assume it always applies (see Hume in Treatise of Human Nature). That's the problem of inductive reasoning: if you've seen a hundred white swans, you'll assume they only come in white--then you run into a black one. Here's a better example, but it can get confusing. If you've seen the sun rise every morning, you assume it will rise again tomorrow (you assume the future will be like the past). Why? Because, in the PAST, every time you've wondered if the sun will rise the next day, it has risen (in the PAST, the future has been like the past). But you have no reason whatsoever to believe that the sun will continue to rise the next day (that, in the FUTURE, the future will be like the past). Because the argument observes the future having been like the past in the past, we rely on the idea of the future being like the past to prove that the future will be like the past (and an idea can't be used to prove its own truth), so the argument fails and we in fact have no idea if anything––the same scientific principles, conceptions of time, and so on––will still exist in the future. Let me know if that was completely unclear. Or just read up on skepticism. SO what does that mean in terms of this thread? As far as I can tell, just because we observe cause/effect relationships on a daily basis does not mean that they are necessary (I'm going more with Hume than Nietzsche here), and there is no reason whatsoever why the "something" (universe, reality, mirage?) needed to have a cause.

      I think the biggest problem is that we're so intent on finding a capital-T Truth: some ultimate answer, some reason, some way to make sense of the experiences we have. Why can't it just be absurd and unexplainable? Why couldn't "something" have just spontaneously appeared? Yes, it's ridiculous. So what? Some of this boils down to what "reality" actually is and whether anything really "exists" aside from being constructed through observation and experience. How do we know it isn't all just nothing, instead of something? I know, I know--the whole mirage thing still needs a cause, and I can't deny that I'm having some kind of experience or sensation right now. I agree, and I don't have a solid answer. But I don't believe in the kind of objective reality that a lot of people talk about. I've posted this link like 3x already on this site, but I find it really interesting so I'm posting it again. Don't know who wrote it:
      http://www.geocities.com/arno_3/4/4-3.html
      Last edited by starrynight; 06-29-2007 at 05:51 AM. Reason: My answer was halfass and I hadn't read enough of the previous posts
      "Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather."
      -Bill Hicks

    18. #43
      Drivel's Advocate Xaqaria's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by bradybaker View Post
      Quantum physics shows us that objects can appear out of nothing and then disappear back into nothing. In empty space, so called "virtual particles" are continuously appearing and disappearing. This is a real and measurable process. They are called virtual particles because they almost always appear with their anti-matter counterpart and almost instantaneously annihilate each other.

      But you're still not understanding how improbable it is for a fish to spontaneously appear. But given enough time, I assure you that a fish would eventually jump out of the wall.

      It's admittedly a very strange process, probably not fully understood by even the most prominent astro-physisists, but it is real, and it does happen.

      Edit: If you want to see a fish travel through a wall though I suggest that you start chucking fishes. Eventually the fish will not hit the wall, but spontaneously travel through it. It's called quantum tunneling.
      I know of a teacher who would spend a good portion of class running in to the wall trying to demonstrate this principle.

    19. #44
      Member nina's Avatar
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      I read through this and found it quite interesting...and even managed to follow most of it, though I don't typically bother with this sort of thing. However, I was a little disappointed that I don't think this statement was answered by bradybaker. Maybe it was and I missed it. (But I'm pretty sure it wasn't.) I too was wondering how "instances" were possible if nothing, including time, existed before the universe.

      Quote Originally Posted by Stevehattan View Post
      What I was saying was that the existance of time (the fourth dimension) is meaningless if the 3 known spatial dimensions aren't present, and matter/energy/space has to exist wherever those 3 dimensions are present. Time without the other 3 dimensions would have nothing to occupy, and there would be nothing to make each instant any different from the next, so it wouldn't really exist; same goes for the fact that a 3D object that only \"exists\" for a zero-length period of time never physically existed at all. So, matter/energy/space wouldn't have had to eventually spring into being just because an infinite amount of time was passing (I don't see how it could have been passing anyway), so I'm not quite sure what you meant by that original comment.

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      Don't have time to read all the posts here at the moment, but I will later. For now I'll just say that non-existence is impossible because there is nothing but existence. To imagine non-existence is just fantasizing and getting nowhere IMO, though I try to do it all the time myself

    21. #46
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      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      Why does existence exist?

      Wouldn't any cause of existence be a form of existence? Can something create itself?
      I thought about it once, and came to the conclusion that nothing exist, not even myself, and so I am not writing this post.
      A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service
      and compassion are the things which renew humanity.

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    22. #47
      Beyond the Poles Cyclic13's Avatar
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      First off, Interesting thread and posts made on here. Definitely something I hope everyone ponders throughout their lives, if not every day of their lives. It definitely helps one build tolerance, character, and the ability to truely let things slide.

      Secondly, I feel that it's all in your head...with the world actually existing as more of a mirror, showing you all the different parts of your true self. No matter how inconceivable or hard to fathom it may seem at the time. As for the point behind existence, well that's easy, it's that there is no point, and it's all one big distraction of self. We are all one and the same...one large interdimensional interconnected quantum jigsaw puzzle.

      And, because I think they pertain to this topic, here are the lyrics from a recent song I made, 'At The Brink':

      As you reallign your blurry vision,
      You're bound to find your neither dead or living.

      As you cast aside what you believe in,
      There's no smile or cry that can hide this feeling.

      Universal mind don't you know you're dreaming?
      Neither you nor I has a truth worth seeking.

      As you reach inside of your decision,
      Open up your mind but there's only one listening.
      Last edited by Cyclic13; 06-30-2007 at 11:09 AM.


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    23. #48
      Member Belisarius's Avatar
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      Ask instead: Why did I choose existance?
      Super profundo on the early eve of your day

    24. #49
      Member NeoSioType's Avatar
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      I got this one!!! That is if no one said it. I'm too lazy to read through the book you guys created.

      The reason existence exists and that we see it is because we wouldn't see it if it didn't exist. So...because we see it it's only natrual that it does exist.

      Does that make sense to any of you?

    25. #50
      Drivel's Advocate Xaqaria's Avatar
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      The question seems flawed. Why is a rose a rose? Because if it were anything else, it would be something else, of course. I'm refering to the particular phrasing of 'why does existence exist?'

      As far as the title of the thread is concerned, I think you know what my stance on the subject is, since we've discussed it ad nauseum. I'm still not sure why you have such a hard time grasping the concept of an infinite thing not requiring a cause. Or, perhaps its that you simply believe that the universe must have had a beginning, in which case you really are a theist after all. Something from nothing just doesn't work, as far as we can tell, and so the only available option for that explanation is a being that has the ability to create itself, which I believe to be non-existent.

      But, since you will inevitably disagree with me, I'll leave you with some wiser words than my own on the subject, and kudos to anyone who recognizes them;

      The Aneristic Principle is that of APPARENT ORDER; the Eristic Principle is that of APPARENT DISORDER. Both order and disorder are man made concepts and are artificial divisions of PURE CHAOS, which is a level deeper that is the level of distinction making.

      With our concept making apparatus called "mind" we look at reality through the ideas-about-reality which our cultures give us. The ideas-about- reality are mistakenly labeled "reality" and unenlightened people are forever perplexed by the fact that other people, especially other cultures, see "reality" differently. It is only the ideas-about-reality which differ. Real (capital-T True) reality is a level deeper that is the level of concept.

      We look at the world through windows on which have been drawn grids (concepts). Different philosophies use different grids.

      A culture is a group of people with rather similar grids. Through a window we view chaos, and relate it to the points on our grid, and thereby understand it. The ORDER is in the GRID. That is the Aneristic Principle.

      Western philosophy is traditionally concerned with contrasting one grid with another grid, and amending grids in hopes of finding a perfect one that will account for all reality and will, hence, (say unenlightened westerners) be True. This is illusory; it is what we Erisians call the ANERISTIC ILLUSION. Some grids can be more useful than others, some more beautiful than others, some more pleasant than others, etc., but none can be more True than any other.

      DISORDER is simply unrelated information viewed through some particular grid. But, like "relation", no-relation is a concept. Male, like female, is an idea about sex. To say that male-ness is "absence of female-ness", or vice versa, is a matter of definition and metaphysically arbitrary. The artificial concept of no-relation is the ERISTIC PRINCIPLE.

      The belief that "order is true" and disorder is false or somehow wrong, is the Aneristic Illusion. To say the same of disorder, is the ERISTIC ILLUSION.

      The point is that (little-t) truth is a matter of definition relative to the grid one is using at the moment, and that (capital-T) Truth, metaphysical reality, is irrelevant to grids entirely. Pick a grid, and through it some chaos appears ordered and some appears disordered. Pick another grid, and the same chaos will appear differently ordered and disordered.

      Reality is the original Rorschach.

      The ability to happily respond to any adversity is the divine.
      Art
      Dream Journal Shaman Apprentice Chronicles

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