Tag Archives: death and consciousness

Birth and Death: Paradoxical Bookends of the Absolute Self (Part Three)

“…how can one be born if one does not exist in the first place? How can you experience birth if birth is the fundamental beginning? There is no YOU to be born prior to your birth, and so the consequence is birth but there is no action which involves you at all. The action which is entirely mutually exclusive of you somehow concludes with you.”

I understand how abstruse and arcane this quote is, taken from part two of this series, so I decided to dedicated part three to clarifying the point made, and also insofar as this point necessarily relates to death. Also, in reading back this quote I was able to anticipate possible objections and concerns as a function of the overt complexity of the argument; those will likewise be addressed.

To begin with, let’s look at this analogy. The car you drive (if you have a car, that is…if not, well, you’ll still follow) did not always exist as the car, per se. Prior to being your car it was merely a collection of parts, and before that, piles of metal and glass and plastic and paint; and before that, raw minerals which were mined from the ground, or chemicals mixed and refined in some industrial laboratory. After a few years, the car is disposed of, and will then decompose and break down, back into its multiple parts. But these parts, prior to and after the existence of the car, per se, continue to exist. They do not return to oblivion in the same way that they do not spring from it. After all, we know that according to the law of conservation of mass that matter cannot be created and destroyed; and philosophically this is form of the logic of non-contradiction. Meaning that the reason matter cannot be fundamentally created or destroyed is because a thing which exists cannot spring from non-existence, and it cannot become non-existent. Its existence IS; it is axiomatic, it is a-priori; it is de facto.

Likewise, one might say that while a human being did not exist as such prior to birth, there did exist a collection of parts—hormones and fertilizer and eggs and sperm cells and enzymes and proteins, DNA…you get the idea—which eventually came together to form the human being—let’s say you, in the interest  of casualness—that we recognize as a specific individual person. Following death, you shall desololve and decompose back into the many parts which formed you. All of these parts existed prior to you, and they all will exist after you. You are the parts, and the parts are you, and the parts remain in some for as a-priori existing; they are absolute; eternal.

Here is the problem with this explanation, and I’m sure you’ve probably already discerned it. The car, coming from a collection of parts, does not have a sense of Self. It possesses no singular consciousness…it does not recognized, or rather, it does not observe and interpret its environment, and all of reality itself, from a singular, specific, constant frame of reference. The car, in other words, does not know it’s a car. The collection of parts which make up the car do not suddenly, once in “true” car form, begin to associate as a single entity, able to conceptualize itself as a single object, and likewise its environment and all things in it. The parts of the car do not suddenly reject instinctually and naturally their distinct existence and begin to call themselves “I”, “Myself”, “Me”.

Do you see what I am getting at here? The difference between a car and a human being is that human beings DO possess a singular consciousness; a single observational and conceptulaizing frame of reference which demands and necessitates that the parts are not in fact fundamental, but merely form one’s body. Yet one’s SELF—that by which those parts paradoxically utter the words “I”, “Myself”, “Me”, and “Mine”—is the true nature and essence of human existence. To deny this is to relegate consciousness to some inexplicable epiphenomenon, or infinite mystery, or an illusion, or some random blip of mathematical uncertainty…and yet none of these claims can possibly be true because Truth itself necessitates that they be entirely false.

And it is this Self—this singularity—which I mean when I say that the human being is said to begin at birth and end at death. Of course the parts of “you” live on…and of course “you” were born of parts. I am not obtuse or blind to this obvious and pedestrian fact. But the real YOU, your SELF…your agency, awareness, will, consciousness…is NOT of parts, because there is no One from many parts; no I from Not I; no Self Awareness from infinite unconsciousness. And absolute consciousness does not “return” or dissolve into absolute unconsciousness; what IS does not become object oblivion. The law of the conservation of matter must also infer a law of conservation of consciousness (Self Awareness; which is the ability to conceptualize Self and Other) unless we are prepared to claim that consciousness is a lie or an illusion…a claim is very easily debunked and dismissed as the very mysticism and irrationality that those who peddle it claim to oppose.

And this is why I utterly reject the notions of birth and death. Not because they serve as anthropological and biological concepts to describe the cosmically and mathematically prescribed evolution of a human bing, but because they are a deception, and their fundamental meanings are completely spurious at best. Birth and death can only apply to he who is conscious, and yet they utterly contradict consciousness because they render it transitory, coming from oblivion and returning to oblivion, and thus render consciousness a moot and worthless concept. Which renders birth and death themselves moot and worthless. And yet if consciousness IS, and is ACTUAL, it must be absolute and constant, and thus likewise birth and death are rendered moot and worthless. In either and all cases, birth and death are fundamentally meaningless. They may serve as convenient contextual and subjective descriptions of a person’s existence, but they are not absolute, and are not objective, and have no actual bearing on the root nature of human existence. Birth and death are irrelevant with respect to parts. The parts, being absolute and perpetual, according to the law of conservation of matter, are not ultimately born, and do not die, and thus if man is like a car, made up of perpetually existing parts in some form or another, then he does not die and he is not born any more than a car is born or dies, except in the purely figurative sense.

But man is said to be born and then to die; and any way you try to rationalize this claim, it fails. And it fails for one simple reason. Man, unlike his car, knows himself.

END

Birth and Death: Paradoxical Bookends of the Absolute Self (Part Two)

Death is an action without a consequence; birth is a consequence without an action. What I mean by this is that in both cases, birth and death, the relationship between cause and effect is irrationally severed. It is said that you are born, but if we define the birth of you as your “coming into being”, then the question is how can one be born if one does not exist in the first place? How can you experience birth if birth is the fundamental beginning? There is no YOU to be born prior to your birth, and so the consequence is birth but there is no action which involves you at all. The action which is entirely mutually exclusive of you somehow concludes with you. Frankly, this makes no sense at all. I don’t care how you twist it or what mathematical, evolutionary, determinist magic you try to invoke to square the infinite circle.

And death is like birth except that in this case, the action is of you but the conclusion is entirely absent you. You die, but since death represents the oblivion of you—the complete absence of you—then the consequence of dying has absolutely nothing to do with you at all. You could not have experienced your death, since to experience something you must exist—existence is a prerequisite to experience. This is axiomatic. Further, how do we make any claims about you once you have died? If we define death as the categorical absence of you, or the non-existence of you, then who exactly are we talking about when we speak the life one lived prior to death? If death represents the utter non-existence of one who once lived, then there is no longer any ONE upon which to hang the life which is said to have been lived. We cannot speak of so and so doing this, or so and so doing that if, so and so is entirely nonexistent. But if we insist that so and so did actually do this or that even though so and so doesn’t exist, then we concede implicitly that existence itself is transitory. Existence is not fundamental, but is itself, merely a mist which fades. Existence then cannot be trusted to be objective, and thus any arguments to the objective and empirical nature of reality and truth collapse.

There are a few ways that reconciliation of these contradictions is attempted, and all of them fail the test of rational consistency. One is to deny the existence of YOU qua YOU entirely…to insist that the Conscious Self is purely illusory; a hiccup of the otherwise perfect and perfectly determined mathematical, perpetual cosmic evolution. This rank nonsense was debunked in part one of this article series.

Another explanation is that death is in fact an illusion; that you transition to an after life, as the Christians or Jews or Muslims claim. The problem here is that Christianity makes no such claim about birth, and as far as I know neither does Judaism or Islam. Yet we cannot claim that death is merely a transition but birth is absolute, for both are the exact same relationship between being and non-being. You see, if death is merely a transition into an alternate state of existence, then so must be birth. For going from nothing to something is no more rational than going from something to nothing. In other words, if man does not go from absolute being (life) to absolute non-being (death) then he likewise does not go from absolute non-being to absolute being. If there is a life after death then there must concordantly be a life before birth.

The reality is that only when we accept that the Conscious Self is a constant—that the position of the Observer is to be the reference for an otherwise infinitely relative reality—does one’s existence as a conscious being begin to make sense. It is a hard truth to swallow, for it runs contrary to all popular religion and philosophy, which accept either death, or both death and life, as infinite and absolute bookends to a purely transitory existence as One who is utterly aware of himself, his environment, and possesses the capacity to conceptualize both, as well as the relationship between them, and from that prescribe definitions, and from these meaning, and from meaning, truth, and from truth, morality. But One who is so absolute as this cannot also be rendered subjective and finite via birth and death as they are commonly understood.

END Part TWO

Birth and Death: Paradoxical Bookends of the Absolute Self (Part One)

The idea of death is something I have rejected from a philosophical perspective…that is, from a perspective of capital-T Truth. I am okay with death form the purely emprical side of things…that eventually our bodies give out for whatever reason and we are returned to the dust from whence we sprung. But from a rational position, one where fundamental epistemological conceptual consistency is the only real basis for knowing anything at all (which is true), nothing about death makes sense. And birth, being death’s corollary in this regard, is in the same position. You see, if we only accept truth based upon empirical “evidence” then we can never arrive at a rational, relevant, and meaningful answer to the question “what is man?”. For man is more than his senses; more than just his body. If he were not, then consciousness would be impossible. The Singularity of the Self…that is, the constancy which is necessary for consciousness, and from consciousness, observation, and from observation, conceptualization, and from conceptualization, meaning, and from meaning Truth, is utterly denied when we accept that man is merely a transient phenomenon; that there is nothing constant and absolute about his Self; that consciousness is entirely finite; it begins with blankness, and returns to blankness, which fundamentally nullifies all which it had learned and spoken in the meantime.

Consciousness is where the empiricists and determinists and objectivists completely fail in their philosophy, which is why they relegate it to mere epiphenomenon—an illusion, with a purely subjective ontology. Consciousness, by their standards, remains “inside”, whilst “objective truth” is that which is found on the “outside”. That this renders consciousness mutually exclusive from objective existence, and thus makes conscious understanding impossible, and thus any claims about what constitutes objective existence and truth likewise impossible, which voids their entire philosophy…well, that never seems to come up much. But we cannot have our cake and eat it, too. Consciousness cannot spring from the abyss of absolute unconsciousness (pre-birth) flourish for a while to grasp all manner of empirical and objective truth, and then return to the abyss (post death). The 1 of consciousness cannot be born from and then die to the 0 of oblivion. Consciousness, whether we want to accept it or not, is a Singularity; it is Absolute. The existence of You is predicated on You being a constant. If there is no constant/absolute frame of reference for You, then You is impossible.

You cannot be a function of that which is outside of you, because then You are not actually You. And You cannot be merely relative to that which is outside of You because then there is no fundamental constancy to You, in which case you have no grounded frame of reference by which to define “You” in the first place. And You, and by that I mean Your Self, and by that I mean your Conscious Awareness of Self, cannot merely be some (perhaps complicated or mysterious) kind of cosmic or evolutionary illusion because that begs the question: “An illusion of what?” And that question has no answer because the “what” is that which the proposition (that consciousness is purely an illusion) denies can even exist in the first place. And consciousness cannot likewise be a non-illusory product of some unconscious biological/evolutionary determinative process because that creates the self-defeating assertion that consciousness is direct function of unconsciousness….that somehow consciousness can step out of the absolutely unconscious processes from which it directly springs, observe these processes from a specific and distinct frame of reference, and proceed to make claims about the “objectivity” of the utterly unconscious determinative nature of consciousness.

The only options we have are: 1. That Consciousness IS, and is Singluar, and thus does not come from the Nothing which precedes birth and return to the Nothing which follows death; or 2. That it is a function of either a purely relative existence, unconscious biological/evolutionary determinative processes, or is an illusion. In other words, that consciousness is in fact entirely unconscious.

And only one of thes two options makes consciousness actually possible.

You ARE; and You are Constant. I don’t really care what objectivists, empiricists, scientific pseudo-philosophers, or other nihilistic determinists think—I have listened to their positions on this for years and years and it never changes and never manages to wiggle its way out from under the rock of self-defeating contradiction which crushes it to dust. I have heard everything, from appeals to quantum physics to cosmic evolution to taxicab geometry (where apparently squares are also circles…which, no; this is verifiably false all day long). Any and all attempts to negate consciousness as being what it self-evidently IS fail, always fail, and will fail forever.

So…with that being said, how now can we proceed to understand birth and death from a rationally consistent point of view? Do they even exist at all. Well, subjectively, perhaps. But objectively, no. More in part two.

END PART ONE