Monday, February 19, 2018

Finding Nothingness

Any act of goodness, of kindness, is void without eternity. Promised deletion, the act never happened. Ergo inside an imagined finity, there was never, and could never have been, any morality associated with any act. If you love some one or some thing, not only the object of that love, but the subject of it, and the feeling itself, cannot and never did exist without a forever; without an eternity. Through emotional compulsion alone, you should feel moved to investigate, perhaps even to hope for, genuinely, a forever, in which a moment of grace can exist.

As before, we consider these issues via, and perhaps as a result of, the most pressing of modern philosophical concerns, namely what we might call death, or the notion that, upon the cessation of localized physical function, all of our memories and associated aspects of experience and character, et cetera, are deleted, vanish, and so forth, being wholly bound to the material which served as their conduit during one's most recent lifetime. If we manifest, feigned or otherwise, lack of any particular concern for our selves, concern for any aspect of, or comprehensively, totality, reaches the same end point, wherein preservation of the self is inextricably linked to preservation of everything.

From the contemplation of delete-death or vanish-death have sprung most if not all local religions, beginning perhaps most notably in current recollection with ancient Egyptian funerary practices, whereby the body was hoped to possess continued utility after death. Ergo the rich man was buried with his riches, his slain servants, various gifts, et cetera, which he might use in an "afterlife." Such a philosophy, even if believed, is rather easy to disprove, for when the mightiest pharaoh's tomb falls victim to bulldozers ten millennia later, or its contents to bacteria less than one century later, any pretense of materially conduited survival beyond the instant perception of life is disproved. An immortified body and its treasures, subsequent to all available dutiful consecration, reduced to scraps of strip-mall landing space do little for hopes that the afterlife respects material shape or possession. Even if the story might seem believable for a century, it can be discovered not to be eternal, and so is merely a promise of an extended life, but not of salvation from death.

Postulate an Egypt continued well into the future. An Egyptian in a hypothetical still-surviving-as-it-was 3,000 A.D. Egypt may, for example, believe that sacrificed peons are serving their pharaoh by having been properly mummified. Once pharaohs' tombs have covered all of Egypt and several neighboring regions, such that there is no space left to build tombs or maintain farmland to sustain appreciative observers of said tombs, the afterlife narrative, if it still survives, falls apart. Any number of other scenarios can create more plausible doubt in the recipient or participant: a kingdom or kingdoms of tomb robbers; the museumification of all relics with associated constant monitoring disproving bodily enjoyment; the progress of building machinery through a tomb. Masks or stone doors can conceal the decay of the remains for a time, but the religion may die when future technology supplants that of the past.

So too, though in a slightly more compelling way, do other funerary and post-funerary cults see their rituals perish. Consider the obvious Judaism/Christianity again, whereby the word of god as to the creation and construction of the universe has to become metaphorized in order to make a show of surviving the acquisition of even the most elementary astronomical knowledge. A space shuttle flies through where the firmament is supposed to be, leading many to conclude that there is no firmament, that the "word of god" was a fabrication created by humans lacking even basic astronomical knowledge, leading to many related thoughts about resurrections and similar stories.

(The popular belief that the Pentateuch was written thousands of years ago, rather than as part of a much more proximate process of plagiarism meant to cobble together a religion useful for subjugating foreign peoples, may be of utility here. Textual comparisons with the written work and myths of the cultures of the time, such as that of Egypt which survived the immivasion, as well as simple archaeology, show the Jewish holy books to have been assembled around 300 B.C., with various contemporary historical events found to have likely inspired the plagiarism. A few larger monuments and smaller stelae yet remain to explain the origin of the Moses and Exodus plagiarisms, among less-currently-popular others. Local evidence suggests that the Pentateuch was assembled around 300 B.C., failed to inspire much awe on its own, produced Christianity, failed again, then used Byzantium to assemble what is now considered an orthodox Christianity in roughly 300 A.D. Viewed more accurately, the "Testaments'" proximity to one another, and Christianity's profound effect on Europe, are far more explicable. And far more effective--600 years seems like a long time, but considering very small groups of cosplaying bedouins becoming masters of the planet without physically winning a single battle, the process was quite swift.)

Drawing similar conclusions about evolving metaphorical narratives is more difficult, emotionally as well as technically. It is easier to conceal errors with metaphors now, when abound so many tales about doors to nowhere and alternate dimensions, such that it is rather easy to infer that ancient biblical prophets meant something like that when they wrote of a heaven above; the builders and appreciators of the first Egyptian tombs did not have such memetic aids when it came time to defend their beliefs, but perhaps only because they were long dead. It is interesting to speculate upon the means whereby the preservation of the dead body could be likened (perhaps by modern priests on retainer, still keeping an embarrassingly outdated set of traditions viable for donations via metaphor) to a metaphorical act where the faithful produced an extra-dimensional eternity of pharaohing and/or service to the pharaoh, where the mummification of the body was not literally important, but of symbolic significance toward an extra-dimensional existence that did, in fact, exist. The culture did not survive long enough to make such attempts necessary, but one wonders if, had "ancient Egypt" survived longer, such attempts would've been made, in a pitiful attempt to explain away centuries of wasted wealth and preservation education.

Imagine the troubles of future religions, and the metaphors that may later justify them. Consider, e.g., when some variant of "dimension science" is not an exotic and nigh-impossible futurology, like the handling and preserving of remains and rituals in ancient Egypt, but a basic, boring thing you learn about in the equivalent of junior school. Claiming, then, that paradise may be found in "some other dimension" would become as difficult to such advocates as priests today trying to claim that heaven lies "really far away on an island to which no one has ever sailed." Plausible to boobs of one time period, but not of another, where maps on computers with internet access spoil the imagined possibility. Similar to the Pentateuchal Gehenna, an interdimensional heaven then would be as plausible, even to very low-functioning commoners, as a "far off, landlocked heaven" today. Advocates for modern explanations in such times would face great difficulty; they might have to follow their predecessors' paths and choose from more compelling narratives. Not that there are likely to be such advocates, but one may contemplate. Perhaps the last material-preservationist was dragged screaming from the canopic jars by the faithful of Yahweh--though of course that didn't happen, for as aforementioned the first preservationists were long dead, and there were no such Yahweh-faithful, but it's merely a metaphor.

What struggles of belief may have been faced by people who believed different things? How much more ridiculous would those beliefs have appeared when contradicted by observations that, to us, are pieces of knowledge understood from infancy or shortly thereafter? People do not try to develop religions, now, based upon "Dead people, properly preserved, can still use their bodies and slaves to enjoy food." Now such things have become mere tradition--rituals of respect--disconnected, to most of us, to the nothingness that they were created to frighten away. Now that we learn about other planets, other stars, we cling to traditions, but as time goes by, and we're accustomed younger and younger to things that have been found, we do not really claim to believe them. What was once a faith based on the writers' perceptions of reality has become a faith based on metaphorical reinterpretation of those beliefs--and so, it isn't that much of a stretch when true love can now be through corruption of the original divinely-created strains by miscegenation, or simply non-reproductive buttsecks, are found within the expanding metaphor. Either is, of course, ridiculous as to the people who created the now-inapplicable beliefs at a certain time, and it is right to be upset at the employment of such flagrant mistruths, but satellites traversing the firmament produce more erroneous metaphors yet.

People hold extravagantly to beliefs that have gone out of fashion, mocking the decay of old stories' usefulness, but believing that they are on either a time-tested or a cutting-edge path to true understanding. Christians are proud of their intellectual heritage, downplaying references to things in which they no longer believe, while Bangists are proud of their new discoveries, downplaying the budding metaphor that holds it all together. Neither sees the eventual unsatisfying nature of their claims.

Metaphor has been durable, but observation has been a slayer of many religions. The diffusion of the Pentateuch and its successors has been widespread, and a strike against technology and civilization may be in order for the maintenance of any religions derived therefrom. The few new, semi-popular "space god" religions are interesting, but cannot compete with the utter faith in Bangism which has taken all advanced countries by storm. Bang offers a traditionally successful blend of reality, firm reality, as interpreted by educated priests who are allowed to speculate unproven dogma into existence. Reactions to non-degreed investigation into "global warming," including its many failed raptures thus far, are often made much of by people who are shocked, shocked, that the Bangist community could demand conformity of belief. Like newfound Protestants shocked at discovering the abuses of the Catholic Church, they believe that a reinterpretation of the texts is in order. Like Christianity, though, Bangism is not, and will not be, betraying itself when its dogma changes to ridiculous heights as time alters what is popular. It was not shocking when the Catholic Church began forgiving, rather than physically eliminating or spiritually excommunicating, abortion-facilitators and -havers, because inverted dogmas and absurd contradictions had created the belief system that washes rapefugees' feet. Similarly, though it may take another thousand years, future peoples may once be able to look back on speculated explosions, fanciful dogma about background radiation, and other such unobserved, mystical wise men's speculation, and conclude that it is no particular surprise that so-called science had a dangerous, albeit laughable, period there for a few centuries or so.

Rearranging

Any perception of anything disproves nothingness, i.e. ineternity, ergo reality/eternity exists. It is appropriate to continue rationalizing from that very point, but perception can separately inform us that rearrangement, not deletion, happens within reality; pieces of reality, whether components of atoms inside what are currently cardiovascular cells or components of energy inside what are currently memories, may be wholly rearranged but not vanish. Reality grows, but does not shrink nor wholly enter states of versal stasis--both of the latter would be, if possible, forms of non-growth or of deletion.

While we can observe and understand the decay of one, we hesitate to do the other. We can place a hundred cameras on a dying man, watch his final cardiac episode, then film the cremation and dispersal of his remains, then film the consumption and use of the cremains in a nearby field, along with their incorporation into some variety of successor cell(s)--say, as part of the stalks of some weeds. Our inability to demonstrate any further relationship between the said cardiovascular system and its subsidiary life are irrelevant to our nagging memories that the atoms, or atomic components, were once differently arranged, namely in a viable human.

We are easily able, also, to contemplate the process with regard molecules then extantly participating in neurology, whereby the exact tiny piece of matter which contained the memory of some day the future cardiac episode victim had a good experience--verifiable as that exact molecular situs by its consumption during aging and subsequent directly related forgetting during a brush with some form of dementia--becomes, itself, a cremained resource consumed by bacteria which, in ages long or short, becomes a living component of a plant. We do not attribute memories or identity to the plant coincident with the aforementioned dead human patient, but it is a great step in observational imagining, which we now often take for granted, to have a more specific understanding of how the dead human, literally and materially, "became" a live plant.

What has as yet stymied us in the more intelligent imagination is the transmission of components of memory. Specifically, when thinking as Bangists, we presume that the removal of the physical brain removes the memories also. And here the fantasies of dimensionality come in: we may hold that death did, indeed, revoke forever the fine molecular arrangement providing for the memories being then deleted. E.g., Roland the Patient may remember wanting, then obtaining from his mother, a gumball from a machine, in a way that no one else ever could. For no one was Roland Smith in that same year in that same place with that same set of expectations and predictions. Destroy the relevant matter, and the memory is irrevocably lost. Not so for the modern religious believer, who presumes an incomprehensibly placeless, timeless, archiving-error-free Mind of God, potentially capable of unlimited storage before any act itself happens. Such ideas found situation, as aforementioned, only when the advance of science permitted destruction of older notions and their replacement by newer; we've seen, therefore, religious rites evolve from a belief in bodily use to a trans-dimensional server which hosts an error-free cloud which can provide access to memory upon death's instant transportation to an eternal place.

Finding Forever

As before, technology promises a trivialization of the resultant fancies, such that what is speculated now will become not only laughable, but so mundane it is beyond critique, for tomorrow's believers. The simple, observable properties of matter and energy shall remain, though, in transferable but not destructible forms, even to the smallest avenues of inquiry.

This one can tell you that planets with thinking things on them develop clouds of energy patterns illegible to us, which are like those in and about material brains in that they gradually dissipate, and are then fully loosened, discharged, upon host death, and return to greater loci. However, being indeterminable by available technology, such inquiries should at this stage be disregarded or treated as mere speculation. Just another man in the clouds.

More important, more distinguishing, is what can be observed from here, using available local technology, to tell now-us about the irrevocability of existence. Not components of visible matter, nor the same components of memory, can be destroyed. Rearranged, always, disappeared to the eyes of some level of observer, but not vanished. The ways in which "we" might later be extant via reassembling memories, we can only guess; we haven't the capability of accurately imagining what it would be like, anymore than a rock can imagine being a human. The experience of being, say, simultaneously a human and a rock, or a civilization of trillions plus the octillions of blades of grass on their planet, is so incomprehensible to material brains of this capacity that it is rather facetious to attempt to experience it here.

It is, nonetheless, tantamount to believing that a large but invisible omnipotent human with a passion for this particular planet and round numbers and human sexual positions surely does exist and exists with such preferences, to believe that occurrences beyond our current capacity do not or cannot exist. We acknowledge the mandate of growth not in any way to help or hinder it, nor to flatter these selves by believing we can do such things, but to relax before being shoved through any given passage, merely as a brief convenience in the history of being.

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