The Longevity Thesis Book Video

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Boy, am I ever procrastinating.

I wonder what it's like to be dead. I don't mean that in the morbid sense, but when you read about traditional or speculative or rational expectations of what happens when you die, it seems we have three options: (i) one passes into some sort of afterlife, good or bad, (ii) one spends some time in the "in between" prior to selecting or being assigned the next incarnation, or (iii) that's it. Nothing more happens.

Is the equation oversimplified? I can readily accept that our physical bodies are the result of evolution. Our minds, I think, are much more complex, and develop from pressures applied from the environment, nutrition, and genetic expression – but, what "evolutionary" pressure causes us to be able to appreciate, say, a painting? What is the selective force that encourages us to express ourselves through art in the first place? Judging from the monetary traffic that passes through Hollywood or MTV, we clearly value such things intensely. Perhaps it's nothing more than a viable aberration that arose randomly, and since it didn't interfere with homeostasis, there was no negative selective force against it.

I still ponder the question of there being something else we cannot perceive scientifically. If matter cannot be destroyed, only be changed in form, is that the same for consciousness? If the brain runs on electric impulses, and matter can convert into energy and vice versa, then can the electrons that power our thoughts also convert into a different form of energy -- perhaps one that melds into the thoughts of some other physical entity? Is the origin of consciousness a particular collection of energy that changes form depending on what mortal coil it inhabits? And if that is possible, what evolutionary force would select for that?

I guess I'll eventually find out. There's a 2/3 chance I'll find it interesting, and a 1/3 chance I won't be able to care.

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