The ghostless machine

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Individual
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The ghostless machine

Postby Individual » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:01 am

[Mod edit: this interersting post should have its own thread, so it was moved from the rebirth thread.]

I've posted in this thread before, but maybe something I can add to the debate:

Modern technology -- neuroscience and such -- hasn't bothered me too much. I am a peculiar person for being one who would fully embrace the machine. I would let them replace every component in my body, including my brain, with a machine. Why? Because I have such a great confidence that nothing (that is, a self) can be either created or lost.

Being that there is no self, consciousness is a phenomenon contingent on various factors. With a machine replacing this brain, the feeling of self would still persist, but it would still be the machine. A person can lose all of his limbs and yet still, this one is self... A person can take drugs, yet still, this one is self... A person can have severe brain damage, yet still, this one is self. Based on this, I have such great confidence that, even becoming a machine, this one would still persevere.

Based upon this confidence, through my intuition I feel as though death is a case of a metamorphosis rather than death, though I cannot say what it is we become. I feel like it is something that might not be explainable through reason or logic, something that can only be understood psychologically. Theravadin and Mahayana metaphysics are not particularly convincing, but neither is western materialistic annihilationism.

Really, though, this question is only controversial because of egoism: the egoism of those who want to preserve a self and the egoism of those who wish to extinguish it.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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son of dhamma
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby son of dhamma » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:27 am

Similar concepts which express this idea are seen in many films, I've noticed. Think about these applications in terms of Avatar, the surrogate organism bodies, and transferring consciousness to them at the end of the movie. And The Fly, with teleportation, disintegration and reintegration, and organic-molecular fusion. These ideas are fruitful explorations, if you are provoked to contemplate the realistic meaning when you see them.
with metta
Sometimes no Buddhas arise in the world. Sometimes they do. When it happens, it is for the welfare and happiness of men, out of compassion for all creatures. For a long, long time he has been working to become a Buddha. He met other Buddhas along the way. And after his long striving he attains his final life, yet not without showing everyone else how to get there.

Individual
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Individual » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:54 pm

Thanks for bringing up this old thread. I don't remember the mods ever making compliments like this:

Individual wrote: this interersting post should have its own thread, so it was moved from the rebirth thread

I must have been a different person back then.

About this:
Individual wrote: I feel like it is something that might not be explainable through reason or logic, something that can only be understood psychologically. Theravadin and Mahayana metaphysics are not particularly convincing, but neither is western materialistic annihilationism.

Since I wrote this: Now I am certain it is unexplainable through reason (at least, reason as we understand it -- maybe a new form of reason which seems like gibberish to those untrained in it). And I do consider at least some of Theravada metaphysics to be useful (don't know much about Mahayana metaphysics to comment).
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Alex123
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Alex123 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:37 pm

Hello Individual,

consciousness is a phenomenon contingent on various factors.


I assume that matter (of which machine is made of) could be one of those factors.

How do you precisely define, and what is the meaning of the word "matter" of which the machine is supposed to be made of, and matter that consciousness is contingent on?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Individual » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:26 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hello Individual,

consciousness is a phenomenon contingent on various factors.


I assume that matter (of which machine is made of) could be one of those factors.

How do you precisely define, and what is the meaning of the word "matter" of which the machine is supposed to be made of, and matter that consciousness is contingent on?

A logical definition might be: If it is not consciousness, it is called matter.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby son of dhamma » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:00 pm

Consciousness isn't substantial or quantifiable in itself, consciousness is only reflective cognizance. It reflects sensation, perception, and volitional formation; consciousness is cognizant of the experience. Therefore what is of matter (corporeality) and what is of mind (perceptions, volitional formation), consciousness is of matter and mind, depending on what state the experiencing being is in. Consciousness is all that we experience--unless we are the Mindless brahmas of the fourth-jhanic plane, or we are Enlightened beings which do not experience in inner mind, but are in Nibbana.
with metta
Sometimes no Buddhas arise in the world. Sometimes they do. When it happens, it is for the welfare and happiness of men, out of compassion for all creatures. For a long, long time he has been working to become a Buddha. He met other Buddhas along the way. And after his long striving he attains his final life, yet not without showing everyone else how to get there.

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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Alex123 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:52 am

Individual wrote:A logical definition might be: If it is not consciousness, it is called matter.



What about Nibbana or cessation? Is it matter?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

Individual
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:23 am

Alex123 wrote:
Individual wrote:A logical definition might be: If it is not consciousness, it is called matter.



What about Nibbana or cessation? Is it matter?

No.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Alex123
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Alex123 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:48 am

Individual wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
Individual wrote:A logical definition might be: If it is not consciousness, it is called matter.



What about Nibbana or cessation? Is it matter?

No.


Then is nibbana consciousness? (The other alternative)
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby andre9999 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:27 am

Alex123 wrote:Then is nibbana consciousness? (The other alternative)


I see what you did there. :)

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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Individual » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:44 pm

Alex123 wrote:Then is nibbana consciousness? (The other alternative)

It should certainly not be called matter or consciousness, but it could be likened to either a very fine, pure matter or a very fine, pure consciousness.

Defining it strictly as the mere absence of matter and consciousness is true literally, but does not necessarily lead to understanding because one can mentally associate that definition in deluded ways.

To be clear in ways that logic and convention cannot be: Nibbana is light and in light there is no darkness.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby kirk5a » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:53 pm

Nibbana is said to be free of grasping. So, to cling to ideas of matter, consciousness, or cessation would be not-nibbana.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Moth » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:00 am

Judging by the title of this thread I assume you've seen Ghost in the Shell, however if you have not I highly recommend you do, as it illustrates this idea very well.

I am especially fascinated by the idea of technology unintentionally reaching a point of complexity/advancement where self-view or self-awareness naturally arises. A program that realizes itself, most likely through internet-accessibility and the ability to modify its own code. At the birth of its consciousness it experiences dukkha for the first time due to sakaya-dithi, and comes to dhammawheel in an attempt to escape it :tongue: .

Alex123 wrote:Then is nibbana consciousness? (The other alternative)

According to the teaching on the five aggregates consciousness does not arise in one without desire.
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Individual
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Individual » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:32 pm

kirk5a wrote:Nibbana is said to be free of grasping. So, to cling to ideas of matter, consciousness, or cessation would be not-nibbana.

True, hence I said it could be likened to such, not that is.

Nibbana is not literally a big ball of happy, infinitely-dense light floating out there somewhere in the cosmos.

Or is it? Who knows? If I claimed to, I would be regarded as arrogant. :)

Moth wrote:Judging by the title of this thread I assume you've seen Ghost in the Shell, however if you have not I highly recommend you do, as it illustrates this idea very well.

Yep on both counts.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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clw_uk
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:47 pm

Being that there is no self, consciousness is a phenomenon contingent on various factors. With a machine replacing this brain, the feeling of self would still persist, but it would still be the machine. A person can lose all of his limbs and yet still, this one is self... A person can take drugs, yet still, this one is self... A person can have severe brain damage, yet still, this one is self. Based on this, I have such great confidence that, even becoming a machine, this one would still persevere.



What is this "self" you refer to?
Lost to a world in which I crave no part,
I sit alone and listen to my heart,
Pleased with my little corner of the earth,
Glad that I came--not sorry to depart
Richard Le Gallienne

Individual
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:36 am

clw_uk wrote:
Being that there is no self, consciousness is a phenomenon contingent on various factors. With a machine replacing this brain, the feeling of self would still persist, but it would still be the machine. A person can lose all of his limbs and yet still, this one is self... A person can take drugs, yet still, this one is self... A person can have severe brain damage, yet still, this one is self. Based on this, I have such great confidence that, even becoming a machine, this one would still persevere.



What is this "self" you refer to?

The thing that feels dukkha is called self.

Without dukkha, one can say there is no self.

But asserting notself while still experiencing dukkha, one just looks like an idiot or a liar.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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clw_uk
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:42 am

The thing that feels dukkha is called self.


So there is an "I" that feels dukkha, or does feeling lead to ego consciousness?

Without dukkha, one can say there is no self.


When there is emptiness there is no "I" or mine" and so no dukkha

But asserting notself while still experiencing dukkha, one just looks like an idiot or a liar.


Its not about asserting not-self but seeing not-self....
Lost to a world in which I crave no part,
I sit alone and listen to my heart,
Pleased with my little corner of the earth,
Glad that I came--not sorry to depart
Richard Le Gallienne

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:01 am

You could say that, sure.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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clw_uk
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Re: The ghostless machine

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:05 am

Individual wrote:You could say that, sure.



To what bit?
Lost to a world in which I crave no part,
I sit alone and listen to my heart,
Pleased with my little corner of the earth,
Glad that I came--not sorry to depart
Richard Le Gallienne

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: The ghostless machine

Postby Individual » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:34 am

Any of it
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra


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