People are physical, rational, and spiritual

Without the spirit, a perfectly functioning body has no life. The spirit can help to heal the body and visa-versa, but the immortal spirit cannot make the physical body immortal.

But I asked why.
Why does the spirit make the decision.

Shaun, This is not a decision that the spirit can make, unless it decides to commit suicide. I just said the spirit can, to some extent, heal the body, but there are limits. A spirit cannot give life to a nonfunctional body.

There is no life giving stuff or thing. Life is a particularly mathematically describable process which is quantitative, additive, and hierarchical – cycles which work together in cycles on larger and larger scales to simultaneously increase both sensitivity to and independence from the environment. This is because living organisms maintain their structure by making responses and adaptations rather than by simple unchanging immunity like a rock.

I believe in a spiritual aspect of reality but I don’t believe in the role Shawn is giving to it. I don’t think the objective evidence can support anything but a mostly epiphenomenal relationship to anything non-physical. The spirit takes its form and nature from the choices of the living organism but any causality going the other way would have to be infrequent and very subtle. The evidence certainly cannot support putting anything non-physical/spiritual into an equation for the behavior of living things.

Yes physical things have their existence and nature from the space-time relationships we call the laws of nature. Even the simplest organisms must have some awareness of both environment and self, even if it is only collectively as a species. Chaotic dynamics demonstrates that complex systems like living organisms experience bifurcation points where the outcome is unpredictable, and determination requires a specification of initial conditions to an infinite degree of precision which is precluded by quantum physics. Thus choices are made which are not determined by pre-existing conditions.

This is where I see both an interaction with the spiritual as well as foundation for the subjective experience of consciousness. Spirit derives form and nature from these choices and this ownership of those choices is the substance of consciousness itself.

Human beings are set apart not by spirit, consciousness, decision making, complexity, tool using, intelligence, communication, or social behaviors, though they do have these in greater quantitative abundance than other organisms on the planet. They are qualitatively set apart by one thing only – language with an abstract symbolic representational power that rivals and surpasses that of DNA/RNA. This is the foundation of life processes in the whole different medium of concepts and ideas called the human mind, with its own needs, desires and inheritance passed on to the next generation – meme life rather than gene life.

Spirits do not “work with” the nervous system. They may have an infrequent impact or influence on neurological events, but nothing that cannot be dismissed by the skeptic as purely random and coincidental.

Dear Mitchell,
Nearly every case of NDE the patient reports of floating above their body and looking down at it. It is this time that the body is dead and the consciousness is demonstrated to be in the spirit which is floating above the body (as in my graphic above).

Cases of extreme brain trauma have confirmed that memories and consciousness are not in stored in the brain tissue.

Best Wishes, Shawn

Can you cite this, please? The articles I have read said the opposite. Midazolam and other meds, on the other hand, can prevent consciousness and memory making. Thanks.

The most which can be said is that memories and abilities are not always stored in specific locations but some evidence suggest there may be some holographic and/or dynamic allocation.

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Dear Randy,
My reference comes from Dr. Andrew McCarthy whom I met at the ISNS conference in 2004 in Liverpool. At the time he was the head neurologist at a trauma center in DC. He dealt with the most extreme cases of brain trauma - 4x4 through the head, industrial accidents and the like. He found that there was not a 1 to 1 data loss with the loss of brain tissue. He was hesitant to publish his work as it would have ended his career. Instead he sought his answers in philosophy. I am digging for the paper he presented in 2004 and will post if I find it. Dr. Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross is the other medical reference I have for this phenomena.

The research I have read suggests the brain is the motherboard, but the actual memory is stored in the spiritual body. TBI and alzheimer’s damages the bus or the connections between the memory and the motherboard, it does not destroy the memories themselves.
Best Wishes, Shawn

Persecution fantasy aside, it is well known that there is no 1 to 1 data loss with brain damage. Nevertheless brain damage most certain does cause selective memory loss which does not agree with the hypothesis of non-physical memory storage. However, it seems that sometimes memory lost due to damage in some areas of the brain can be re-allocated to different areas. But neither this nor the lack of a 1 to 1 data loss is sufficient to support the idea of a non-physical memory storage. This is because it is also known that memory is a complex system of storage at different levels. In other words memory can have backup storage in different places and it is only when all the backups are wiped out that a memory is permanently lost. If it is only connections which are lost then the loss of memories may be only temporary. But since severe brain damage has caused the permanent loss of some memories and not others, we do know that they are stored in the brain after all.

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We will agree to disagree. Do you have the same level of experience in severe brain trauma that Andrew does? In every afterlife case I have read, all the memories were available to the spirit, regardless of the brain’s condition.

I doubt that I can credit such afterlife accounts you have read, but I have made no claim about memories not surviving death. What I have said previously is that the spirit takes its form and nature from the choices of the living organism. But choices are meaningless without the context in which they are made, so I think it likely some if not all memories survive in some form as part of the spirit. So to clarify, the original issue of this discussion was dualism and the antiquated idea of the spirit operating the body like a puppet, and it is these things which are not supported by the objective evidence – so I dispute them.

There seems to be quite a bit of existing/emerging evidence of memory being stored in the brain. NDE accounts are wildly all over the place and I wouldn’t put much stock in them scientifically at this point. Spiritually, obviously, you can believe whatever your want.

Also, with severe brain trauma how exactly are patients conveying the recovery of memories after having a NDE? I assume when you say they have full access to memories that that includes lost memories? Admittedly I don’t follow or research this topic so I’m open to correction.

NDE is the best evidence that consciousness is not in the brain - when a person has the memories watching their body being resuscitated while their body is flat-lined. NDE is not strong evidence of the afterlife. Taken as a whole, NDE, past live memories, and afterlife memories forms the basis for me that consciousness and memories exist outside the brain tissue. This is strengthened by the aforementioned experience in severe brain trauma.

If the spirit could operate the body like a puppet, life would look much different. Dualism is a symbioses between the body and the spirit. Enlightenment is ability to begin to gain access to the wisdom of the spirit. If everyone could access their spiritual wisdom, every person in the world would be enlightened, and this is far from the case. Therefore, a human’s character is a product of their genetics, their family history, their environment, their relationships, their fate, and their level of spiritual enlightenment

It is a currently unknowable theory. With everything we haven’t learned about the brain and consciousness I’m not about to suggest anything as compelling evidence to having my own personal Google cloud network backing up my data.

If that was the case, I’d love to do a"restore state" to an earlier point… Preferably before all the spam and viruses slowed me down.

Joking aside… Experiences with death vary a bit through religions and cultures, usually reflecting ones personal beliefs.

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I’d try another thinking.

Code of control: the code that controls the organism to serve itself.
Either the code of control is chemical or physical, an organism doesn’t always need a spirit to live its life. For example, if the code of control is preset by its genes, then it can work much like a computer, which can react to the environment in certain ways without a spirit.

When the code of control could be changed, then something is needed to change the code, and then a spirit is needed. “I think, therefore I exist.” = “I can change the code of control (behavior), therefore I need to exist as a spirit.” And no surprise religions focus on the spiritual things because what religions want is to control people’s behavior, especially the behavior people can change at will.

Nope. All living things have to maintain themselves in the face of environmental challenges. That is impossible without some awareness of themselves.

When it comes to life, control is an illusion and those who pursue it are destructive of life. DNA/RNA is simply a means for the storage and transmission of learned information. While the computer simply follows instructions, living organisms make choices. It is not the same at all. Machines like a computer are a product of design, only doing what they are made to do. Living organisms are a product of self-organization, doing things for their own reasons. Those who want control will only make machines. You only create life if control doesn’t interest you.

Spirit is not a gear in the machine that you can add in order to make something alive or conscious. That is a serious misunderstanding. It is the physical process which adds to the spirit to give it life and form.

Religions control people by conning them to believe in a god of power and control whose favor you have to win by obedience, and that they are the ones who speak for this god and thereby are effectively the ones who distribute salvation. So to oppose this you teach instead

  1. a God who chooses love and freedom over power and control
  2. it is not about obedience, or earning God’s favor.
  3. nobody speaks for God. He can speak for Himself.
  4. God alone is the author of salvation.

I agree!

If the spirit isn’t something arising from the physical form of life, then it must exist even before the physical form of life starts to exist.

God and His spiritual world is unknowable, but that does not mean that we cannot create reasonable, logical theories that are supported by evidence. This is how we support true faith in God - mind, body and soul.

1 Cor 15: 46 “But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, then the spiritual.”

The spirit arises from the physical form of life. It does not exist before the physical form of life starts to exist. The spiritual energy or substance of being already exists. This is not a creation ex-nihilo. But the spirit takes all of its form and nature from the choices of the living organism.

Dear Mitchell,
The pre-existence of the soul was declared anathema by the emperor Justinian in 543 AD, and the church implemented his declaration in 553 AD. So, the biblical evidence is hard to find when the clerics were through with their work.

From the Platonists also Origen takes the concept of preexistence of souls as a way to explain apparent injustice in the way providence operates. Thus Origen explained the distinction between souls who are vessels of honor and those who are vessels of dishonor in Roman 9, not on the basis of unmerited election, but on the basis of those souls’ behavior before they were conceived in the womb. (PA 3.1.21)

Ref: J. W. Trigg, Origen. London: Routledge, 1998. ISBN: 0415118360, pages 28-29