REASONED SPIRITUALITY: exploring spirituality, the meaning of life, the concept of God.

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Strange concepts to contemplate; just for the fun of it.

How do you know that you are not the only entity that exists in the universe?
All that you are aware of is simply your perception of it: what you see, what you touch, everything that exists to you is experienced in your consciousness. Could it be that nothing actually has a physical existence, but only seems that way because you believe it to be so? Perhaps your awareness is all that creates this view of the universe; that it is structured in this form because it is the only way that you can make sense of it. The universe may be strictly ethereal in nature, and you must create forms that you can relate to. Your mind creates other people, in order to simulate interaction, and allow for diverse and interesting mental experiences (such as you do when you dream). Good and bad events are mental illusions to create contrast: to know what pleasure is, one must experience pain; to know the satisfaction of a fine meal, one must experience hunger; to know the sensation of a cool drink on a hot day, one must know thirst.
Your awareness may be the universe; only it exists, and all else is a creation of it. Nothing is ever so bad, in your consciousness, that it destroys you; no matter what has occurred in this illusion of a physical world, you continue to exist and experience it all. The unexpected is not as it seems; for if you didn't structure your world to include constant surprises, you would quickly loose the will to continue: you need constant change in order to experience, to be thinking, and changing as well.
If this is not the case, then how do you prove otherwise?

There are thousands of beliefs about life after death: let's add one more.
Remember the time when you slipped and hit your head; or were hospitalized; or had that near-disaster in traffic; or went to bed with a terrible headache? What if that was your moment of death? Perhaps one of these events, that you remember as an insignificant occurrence, was actually the end of your physical existence; which your awareness (or "soul") refuses to accept. Maybe your subconscious mind blocks out the memory of the true details about the event that led to your demise, and constructs an illusion of a continuing life. The afterlife may be something you never actually realize consciously, because your subconscious creates an elaborate facade in order to cling to existence. The imaginary world your awareness exists in is complete and unquestionable; otherwise, it would fail. You cannot have a life of perpetual good fortune: obviously, that is unrealistic. Good and bad events must randomly occur, in order to make life appear normal. You, and others, must gradually age: but time is relative; and what seems a year to you, may be ten thousand in the real world you left behind. The people that populate your world are illusions: some are the people you knew when you died, and you continue to create a believable storyline for them; others are people you encountered, but do not clearly remember, that you insert into your ethereal existence to continue to have new experiences: which are simply past experiences rearranged to seem fresh. Occasionally, your subconscious mind uses something that isn't buried quite deep enough; and you have an uneasy feeling that you have met the person before, or that this exact event occurred in your past; but you quickly dismiss this as deja vu.

Thanks to Phillip Hoffman, of the U of C Philosophy department, for teaching me this one.
This is a two part thought experiment, so don't dissect the logic; just the concept.

You are walking along the railroad tracks when you hear a train racing up behind you. Beside you is an unlocked rail switch, at a 'Y' in the tracks. Ahead, you see five rail workers having lunch on the tracks: all wearing headphones, and completely unaware of the train bearing down upon them. On the other branch is one person sitting on the rails; also unaware of the train. You only have a moment to decide: do you throw the switch, and send the train toward the lone individual, and cause his death; or do nothing, and allow the five men to die?
You are the finest doctor in all the land, doing charitable work in the wilderness. While you are doing a routine checkup on a man, five people are brought to you who were critically injured. Coincidentally, all five victims, and the man in for a checkup, share the same blood type. Each of the victims is injured in a different vital organ, and will die without a transplant. You are such a great doctor, that it is virtually guaranteed that all the transplants would be successful, and each person would make a complete recovery. You only have a moment to decide: do you kill the healthy individual and harvest his organs, so that the five men will survive; or do nothing, and allow the victims to die?
Is there any difference between the two scenarios?

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Part 1:  IntroductionPart 2:  BalancePart 3:  DivisionsPart 4:  Unitypart 5:  Concept of GodPart 6:  Defining GodPart 7:  SexualityPart 8:  Instinctive MoralityPart 9:  Moral Compromise - ReproductionPart 10: Moral Obligation - reproductionPart 11:  DeterminismPart 12:  Determining Our DestinyPart 13: Good and EvilPart 14:  Crime and PunishmentPart 15:  Belief - fact and faithPart 16: MaterialismPart 17: AppreciationPart 18: Abstract PerceptionPart 19:  RelationshipsRelationships (conclusion)Part 21:  DeathPart 22:  KnowledgePart 23: Knowledge - geneticsPart 24: Knowledge (conclusion)Part 25: Meaning of LifePart 26: Meaning of Life (continued)Part 27: Meaning of Life (conclusion)

Copyright 1998 B.W.Holmes - all rights reserved (unless noted otherwise). Quotes from ancient literary works do not carry a copyright.