The Pointing Game

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posted on Dec, 4 2012 @ 02:10 AM

Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
Please, by all means, show me where, when and how these nouns exist. I will every time show you an abstraction of a real thing. If you can only point out the word consciousness, then you have helped me prove it is nothing but a word.

How would one point at reality? "Reality" is an abstract concept. It cannot be pointed at. If we cannot point at reality, then is nothing real? But as you have said, one cannot point at nothing, therefor nothing cannot exist. Something must be real. Reality must exist.The method of pointing does not suffice if we are to comprehend reality.

At one time, mankind was unable to point at the wind, yet we knew it was there. It was not until much later that we were able to point to the oxygen, water, and nitrogen molecules that make up the air while they moved during changes of pressure. Likewise, we know that consciousness exists, and just because we are unable to point at it at the present time does not mean we will never be able to, nor does it mean that it does not exist.
I think, therefor I am.

Please correct me if I'm taking your argument in the wrong context.

posted on Dec, 4 2012 @ 04:14 AM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

What is it that makes something mean more than nothing... Is it because it is?
I say nothing means more than something, because nothing, in its very nature, has the potential to become anything and everything... Proof? The fact that you and I are even responding with one another, and that we even exist to perceive that anything else exists.

Like I said, "God" doesn't exist as any other thing, like say a computer, or even an idea. God is like artistic creativity. It takes time to construct a masterpiece. One must use logic and reasoning to discern what "God" could be, and then must use the imagination to realize what "God" is.

You can't point at the Eternal or the Absolute, but you can find it within yourself. And your perception (I use that word loosely) of "God" is going to be different than mine. "God" is each one of our subjective views, of the absolute and eternal objective reality (Not the universe, whatever that is, a collection of numerous galaxies for all we know) that we call existence.

Don't you ever get the feeling like you've been here (when the specific experience is occuring, not necessarily right here and now while you read this response) before? Dejavu? And I'm not talking about some brain glitch that makes certrain scenarios seem familiar...

posted on Dec, 4 2012 @ 04:02 PM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

Love, god, good, and evil are more than just ideas though. I am not pointing at something which could be conveyed as hate, if I point to an act of kindness. I am not pointing at something which could be conveyed as love if I am pointing at a mass-murderer who kills his victims because they are different than he is. They can certainly be ideas, I don't deny that. But, they also have a physical representation in tangible space.

If you want to play semantics, then you cannot point to anything, because everything is a product of theory/language. For instance, if I asked you to point to an apple, and you pointed to what we call an apple, how would we know you aren't actually pointing to a dog, a mitochondria, or love? The same with pointing to a human being; by what authority can you rightly say you are human, and that you aren't, in fact, a canine or a pineapple?

I understand the philosophic nature of your question, but I consider it to be sophistry. The same reason we accept that an apple is an apple, and you are a human being, is why I consider an act of kindness to be love, and an idol venerated and worshiped by millions to be a god.

As for the soul, your example falls short because you're thinking of the western concept of the soul. In Buddhism, for example, the soul is not dynamic, but static. It does not change, or evolve, it is not immortal, and it is not something present within every living being. In fact, reaching nirvana or moksha can release one's soul from their bodily self as it is unnecessary for achieving sublimation.

God, love, good, evil, consciousness; they're all the same, the whole world over. The soul is not.

~ Scribe

edit on 4/12/12 by Wandering Scribe because: spelling errors

posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 10:16 AM

Originally posted by DestroyDestroyDestroy
You're mixing up objects with ideas, ideas have no inherent physical form, therefore we cannot physically point to them. We may point at symbolic objects which represent said ideas, such as a church for god, a heart for love, and so on, but it's not possible to physically point at things that don't physically exist.

so ur saying basically as i understand it.. that 'nothing' is an "idea"? suggesting that it "not real".

'nothing' doesn't exist? LOL

posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 12:32 PM
reply to post by Damsel

I agree with what you say about reality. It is merely another abstract concept. We can never point at reality, only objects within what we call reality.

Mankind can point to the wind. We perhaps cannot see it unless it forms tornados, but we can feel it on our skin and see the effects it has on other objects. It has tangibility on its side. Empedocles discovered air was a separate thing by flipping over a bucket in water and watching the bubbles come out. Love cannot do that. Consciousness cannot do that. When a body dies, no gaseous substance called a soul, spirit or consciousness escapes. When a person sleeps, he does not lose something called consciousness, only he no longer appears to match our idea of consciousness, he doesn't share the similarities in appearance with other beings on which we bestow the word consciousness, our idea of what it looks like to be awake.

We don't know that consciousness exists, we know that people exist and that they appear conscious when they are awake, and we call that appearance—so long that it matches our idea of consciousness—consciousness.

We must admit that consciousness is an idea, and not something tangible that constitutes the universe, or pushes man to do strange things, or something someone loses when they fall asleep—for it isn't something at all. I exist, therefore I can think.

Great arguments Damsel. Thank you.

reply to post by Wandering Scribe

It's easy to belittle my arguments by calling them mere sophistry or a trite game of semantics if that makes you feel better about not being able to refute them, but nonetheless there are people who use these words and exalt them in favor of the actual things they abstractly represent. People kill and die for these ideas: for love, for freedom, for democracy, for God, for country etc. without paying no mind to the particulars, and not once admitting that these are mere abstract ideas. That I call dishonesty, delusion, self-deception and a very dangerous error in human understanding. This isn't mere sophistry to me.

You agree that these words are ideas, or conceptions, representing particular objects. That is my point. So what then is more important and has a higher degree of intrinsic value: the particular object or the representative idea or symbol? What holds more value, God or the universe it perhaps represents?

You're right to point out that pineapples too is an abstract term, but it represents real objects, things you can point at that at least share similarities in appearance. Pineapple therefore deserves to be a noun. What can you point at in regards to consciousness? Nothing, because it doesn't represent a person, place or thing. It represents a similarity in appearance, a shared quality all conscious beings participate in—a concept, an idea, nothing more.

Imagine if Hitler didn't exalt the idea of the Jew he held in his mind, but instead considered each particular Jew in his own merit. If a soldier goes to war and dies for what he thinks is freedom or democracy, would he have so easily gave up his life if he realized that he in fact was fighting for the interests of a few rich men? These abstractions are dangerous when they take precedence over the particulars they represent. We let ideas and conceptions speak for them and in the process take away the opportunity for them to speak for themselves.

I think the difference between me and the people against my argument—which seems to be everyone—is that they see the similarities before the differences, whereas I see the differences before the similarities. When I look at an apple, I don't see just another apple, I see that particular apple, with all its beautiful imperfections which separate it from all apples. Am I right to do this? That I am unsure—but nonetheless I argue for it.

Great arguments Scribe and a fruitful discussion.

More Info

Although I left much of this thought experiment to interpretation (or misinterpretation which seems to be the case), I am essentially tackling the Problem of Universals, an age old philosophical dispute. I, for whatever reason, take the nominalist viewpoint.

posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 05:38 PM
They appear just like ideas but it is more like a meta button to press a collection of buttons representing different parts of a bigger idea, activating different parts of the brain to form something untangible which can only be witnessed by the individual which is just as difficult to get a grip on. More meta buttons, the more there is to see, understand and experience.

If there would be an afterlife, it would not be like the physical. It is possible it is a realm of thoughts manifested only, those with sufficient meta buttons would be in heaven while those without would be in a lesser place of petty and/or insane thoughts.

Or I could argue I'd have to indoctrinate you first into believing there is such a thing as a soul, then when you are just about to discover it for yourself I'd pretend I'd be pointing toward it and make you believe you would never have found it without my help and you owed me all your happiness and you'd be eternally grateful to me. Ofcourse you would feel inclined to remain loyal and do stuff for me to show your gratitude and I could take that fake soul away anytime because you didn't technically discover it yourself. And you would never reach your full potential, ever.

So it is a good thing no one can actually point to a concept in anothers' mind which may or may not be there (or assuming everything already inherently exists in human beings, may be there but not yet uncovered by the mind) and even if it were might have some completely different meaning to the holder. There you would be with someone else talking about the same subject, using similar words but with a completely different understanding and assuming you are both referring to the same thing as it were actually the same in both minds, both talking with a similar conviction as if it were truth you were speaking about. No one can truly tell until the day technology allows for reading the brain.

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