Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Today's lesson is brought to you by the word, "Headache!"


That, my friends, is a picture of my homeboy, Rene Descartes. He is the one who brought the philosophy I'm about to discuss into the mainstream. So, I figured I'd pay my homage to this renaissance philosopher. Whether or not I agree with him is up in the air, but let's have a chat.

What am "I"? I am not my arm, or my nose, or my legs. No, I am a consciousness that controls, is connected to, and yet is somehow outside of these bodily constraints. Right? This is a very Western view of reality. We are separate from our bodies, and if you extrapolate that theory, you can create an extremist philosophy that enables humans to morally justify the way we treat animals and other non-human entities. ("They can't think, so we're obviously better, right?")

I know that most Eastern philosophers would say that we are our bodies. There is no separation. I don't really know where I stand. They both make sense in certain contexts to me. The question I want to discuss in particular today is the afterlife.

Doesn't any form of afterlife require that our existence is a duality? Don't we have to have a mind, or soul at least, that exists outside of our bodies? If we don't, than we just die with our bodies. Granted, I'm probably trying to extremely oversimplify a very intricate and in-depth idea, but I'm also just trying to create good conversation. :)

In my eyes, that separation is necessary for Eastern and Western afterlife. Heaven cannot exist if we don't have a separate soul from our bodies. Likewise, if we don't have some form of a soul, there will be nothing to carry our Karma and reincarnation wouldn't exist. Am I wrong? Am I missing something? Am I misunderstanding something?

2 comments:

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Cardozo said...

I stand with Schopenhauer and Einstein on the notion of a soul. If I understand them correctly, they would both argue against the notion of a unique soul, at least if that term implies an autonomous consciousness, or will.

They both believe, I think, in a kind of un-conscious predestination. The behavior of all things is determined by everything that came before it. What I'm typing now I MUST type...I can do nothing more nor less than what I end up doing. (I may be under the illusion of free will, but that makes it no less an illusion.) Therefore, I am not so much an individual as a manifestion of the inevitable chain reaction of events begun with the creation of the universe.