Puzzling NDE questions

#81
The Book of Revelation (21:4) describes the new heaven and earth with contrasting negatives: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." I agree: how would we have the concept of joy without the negatives to contrast it?
One cannot experience without contrast.
 
#82
One cannot experience without contrast.
I wouldn't be so confident about this. As others have pointed out it is highly unlikely that we need green (or any other color at all) to experience red. Red is an experience regardless of other colors. Sure, if only red existed it would be a very boring and indecipherable reality. Contrast "is needed" to have different experiences, maybe. Variety would also do it.

Cheers
 
#83
I wouldn't be so confident about this. As others have pointed out it is highly unlikely that we need green (or any other color at all) to experience red. Red is an experience regardless of other colors. Sure, if only red existed it would be a very boring and indecipherable reality. Contrast "is needed" to have different experiences, maybe. Variety would also do it.

Cheers
I'm not sure that contrast is the best word. Context seems a better word.

As for colour, it doesn't exist. If you were exposed to a featureless expanse of reflected energy in the red wavelength, without any other context... you wouldn't be able to understand it as red. Why? Because colour arises internally, from processing the luminosity of different surfaces in context with the rest of the scene. It's a way of identifying a permanent property of surfaces (colour constancy).
 
#84
I wouldn't be so confident about this. As others have pointed out it is highly unlikely that we need green (or any other color at all) to experience red. Red is an experience regardless of other colors. Sure, if only red existed it would be a very boring and indecipherable reality. Contrast "is needed" to have different experiences, maybe. Variety would also do it.

Cheers
I think you're right.
I also think that there might be a difference between concepts that have their root in an existing phenomena and concepts that describe the lack of a phenomena.
Some feelings, like boredom for example, might be the sensation of the lack of certain feelings, joy on the other hand (I would argue) is a feeling in and of itself. The contrast between boredom and joy could enhance the awareness of joy, but I think this can be achieved by enhancing the magnitude of the feeling joy, as well, or by evolving the sense of awareness.

I'm not sure that contrast is the best word. Context seems a better word.

As for colour, it doesn't exist. If you were exposed to a featureless expanse of reflected energy in the red wavelength, without any other context... you wouldn't be able to understand it as red. Why? Because colour arises internally, from processing the luminosity of different surfaces in context with the rest of the scene. It's a way of identifying a permanent property of surfaces (colour constancy).

As an abstract concept it might seem like light and darkness is just a binary choice. But darkness is only describing the lack of light whereas light is meant to describe a phenomena with extreme variety. The colour red also holds a great variety within itself. I think that you have to go extraordinarily tiny/specific in order to avoid context, and I'm not even sure it can be done at all. It seems to me that life itself is always interconnectivity in some way.

EDIT: I totally agree that context seems a better word to get to the core of this question.
 
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#85
I'm not sure that contrast is the best word. Context seems a better word.

As for colour, it doesn't exist. If you were exposed to a featureless expanse of reflected energy in the red wavelength, without any other context... you wouldn't be able to understand it as red. Why? Because colour arises internally, from processing the luminosity of different surfaces in context with the rest of the scene. It's a way of identifying a permanent property of surfaces (colour constancy).
I don't understand your last statement. You can build an empty room and flood it with only one colored light (e.g red light) equally distributed in all directions. It would still be perceived as red.

ETA: re color doesn't exist. It mainly depends on the philosophical assumptions. Materialism postulates that color does not exist. Other positions have equally valid, but different, ideas.
 
#86
I don't understand your last statement. You can build an empty room and flood it with only one colored light (e.g red light) equally distributed in all directions. It would still be perceived as red.

ETA: re color doesn't exist. It mainly depends on the philosophical assumptions. Materialism postulates that color does not exist. Other positions have equally valid, but different, ideas.
Generally colour perception is an internal process that arises from the different amounts of energy, around 3 different wavelengths, reflected from all the surfaces in a scene.

Without any different surfaces and thus reflected energies in a scene to allow you to make comparisons, you could not properly process and thus understand the energy you are seeing.

Watch the BBC's "colourful notions" if you are interested in understanding more about colour.

Edit:
 
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#87
I wouldn't be so confident about this. As others have pointed out it is highly unlikely that we need green (or any other color at all) to experience red. Red is an experience regardless of other colors. Sure, if only red existed it would be a very boring and indecipherable reality. Contrast "is needed" to have different experiences, maybe. Variety would also do it.
The contrast to color is no color. Red, green, etc. are vibrationally separated but are not contrasting.
 
#88
As organic creatures, we are born to strive. In a time-based world, that seems a given. I'm not sure what pertains in a world where "there is no time" though. Perhaps change has a very different meaning in such a world, or perhaps it just doesn't have a meaning.
There has to be time in the spiritual realm so that there is consciousness, albeit a different perception of time.
 
#91
The contrast to color is no color. Red, green, etc. are vibrationally separated but are not contrasting.
No,
you said --> one cannot experience without contrast.

I don't think this is the case, especially in the absolute way you put it. You only need happiness to experience happiness.
A toddler playing with his toys or a pet is happy because that's what he feels. He's not feeling happy because he's contrasting this moment with his past suffering...

Also I don't want to be picky but there's a whole field of study in visual arts called "Color Theory" that studies how colors work and how they contrast:
http://www.worqx.com/color/itten.htm
 
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#91
Can someone hypothetically experience only red or only happiness? I suppose so, but in my opinion that is not the heart of the question. To me the question is: does it make sense for a universe to exist with only a small segment of the electromagnetic spectrum or only a small segment of the emotional spectrum? We only have red and happiness because it exists on a spectrum. You cannot remove a segment of the spectrum and give it its own separate objective existence. It all grows and flows together in this reality. Is it possible that there is another reality that has only happiness or only red? Maybe but I can't imagine how that would work since all of our logical conceptual thinking involves opposites and the spectrum between.

As I said somewhere else: can you physically alter someone's brain so they only see red or don't feel pain? Probably... Can you take a plant and put it in capsule in space and say that plants grow in space... maybe... But these aren't the environments that people and plants grow out of so our existence doesn't make sense without the context from which we originated.
 
#92
No,
you said --> one cannot experience without contrast.

I don't think this is the case, especially in the absolute way you put it. You only need happiness to experience happiness.
A toddler playing with his toys or a pet is happy because that's what he feels. He's not feeling happy because he's contrasting this moment with his past suffering...

Also I don't want to be picky but there's a whole field of study in visual arts called "Color Theory" that studies how colors work and how they contrast:
http://www.worqx.com/color/itten.htm

Hmmm, I think the process of conscious perception may require the ability to discriminate. Think of say a photodiode that can say whether there is light or not--it discriminates between two different states.

Let's say that we manufacture the photodiode in an environment that always has light, then hook it up so it can now work, and always leave it in the environment with light. It would still signal that it detects light even if it never experiences darkness, and that ability is because it has the ability to discriminate between two different states.
 
#93
Can someone hypothetically experience only red or only happiness? I suppose so, but in my opinion that is not the heart of the question.
Hmmm, I think the process of conscious perception may require the ability to discriminate. Think of say a photodiode that can say whether there is light or not--it discriminates between two different states.
I understand your points, it make sense that we can talk about joy or pain and the contrast between the two.
But in principle I don't see why the experience of joy requires pain. Joy can also arise from the end of a painful situation but in principle, joy doesn't require pain to be experienced.

We can think about happiness by contrasting with opposite feelings and we can give value to happiness etc... but most of this is intellectual work. It's got nothing to do with experience.

I think a happy toddler is joyous because that's his experience, independent of conscious discrimination or contrast with other feelings.
 
#94
I understand your points, it make sense that we can talk about joy or pain and the contrast between the two.
But in principle I don't see why the experience of joy requires pain. Joy can also arise from the end of a painful situation but in principle, joy doesn't require pain to be experienced.
This is what I was alluding to above: while our comparisons to other experiences will shape the experience itself, we will still have some kind of experience without the contrast.

Take the checkboard illusion for example. Our experience of the colours is directly influenced by the other colours around it. Adding or removing adjoining squares alters our experience - but we still have an experience.



We can think about happiness by contrasting with opposite feelings and we can give value to happiness etc... but most of this is intellectual work. It's got nothing to do with experience.
I get the point, but just to say that it does have something, I think, to do with the experience. Our prior experiences I think will have an effect on our current experiences.

Take the simple example of how we feel experiencing something for the first time, versus a repeat. It's not quite the same, though they are still experiences - and may both be what we would consider positive, or non-painful.

The fact that we might have experienced something truly horrific may lead us to perceive something joyful in a different way than someone who has not experienced something so bad.

I think a happy toddler is joyous because that's his experience, independent of conscious discrimination or contrast with other feelings.
Agreed. Though that is not to say that if it could compare the experience to a previous unpleasant one, it might be a different, if still joyful, experience.

Note that having had previous terrible experiences might have the effect of making a joyful one seem more joyful, but it can also have the opposite effect, tainting the otherwise joyful experience with negative feelings. It can work different ways, especially if previous bad experiences lead to ongoing feelings of dread, despair, fear, lack of trust, etc.
 
#95
I understand your points, it make sense that we can talk about joy or pain and the contrast between the two.
But in principle I don't see why the experience of joy requires pain. Joy can also arise from the end of a painful situation but in principle, joy doesn't require pain to be experienced.

We can think about happiness by contrasting with opposite feelings and we can give value to happiness etc... but most of this is intellectual work. It's got nothing to do with experience.

I think a happy toddler is joyous because that's his experience, independent of conscious discrimination or contrast with other feelings.
Regarding what I highlighted in bold, it's not that the experience of joy would require the experience of pain, but that the system involved requires the capacity to discriminate between the two states. It may only ever experience joy, but the capacity to discriminate allows this to occur.
 
#96
Regarding what I highlighted in bold, it's not that the experience of joy would require the experience of pain, but that the system involved requires the capacity to discriminate between the two states. It may only ever experience joy, but the capacity to discriminate allows this to occur.
If we bring this to the extreme and suppose there is only joy (so there's nothing else for us to discriminate) wouldn't the experience of joy be the same?
Also is discrimination essential?
When you feel joy, do you need to discriminate it from something else? Isn't the discrimination just more thinking that is useful but not necessary to the experience?
 
#97
If we bring this to the extreme and suppose there is only joy (so there's nothing else for us to discriminate) wouldn't the experience of joy be the same?
Also is discrimination essential?
When you feel joy, do you need to discriminate it from something else? Isn't the discrimination just more thinking that is useful but not necessary to the experience?
You're confusing the capacity to discriminate with the experience. If the experience of pain was the same as joy, then this means the system was unable to even in principle discriminate between the two states, which means that the state of joy could not have been experienced in the first place.

Think of the photodiode. It has two possible experiences--light or dark. That's it. If it did not have the ability to discriminate between light and dark, then it could never say "light." But since it has the capacity to discriminate, even if it only ever experiences light, it can say "light" because it can tell the difference in principle, i.e. The system has the potential.

The discrimination is not necessarily a conscious discrimination. The system just needs the capacity to discriminate. Go back to the photodiode; it doesn't consciously discriminate between the two--the intrinsic way the system processes information allows for the discrimination to occur.
 
#98
Neil, you're probably already sick of me questioning the coherence of your position, but...

Here are two posts, the first from this thread and the second from another thread:

You're confusing the capacity to discriminate with the experience.
What if the Mystics were right? What if, by quieting the mind completely, one could directly experience pure consciousness? Tononi even mentioned this in Integrated Information Theory, where perhaps experience of pure consciousness could be possible with no activity because of the potential to discriminate from a vast repertoire of states.
These seem to me to be contradictory. In other words, in that other thread you wrote about the "experience of pure consciousness", which I understand to be synonymous with "pure experience", and yet in this thread you seem to suggest that experience cannot be pure but is necessarily tied to "discrimination".

But perhaps I'm simply not understanding you properly.
 
#99
And now I see that I *have* misunderstood you, because in the second quote you talk about "the potential to discriminate". Sorry for the false alarm.
 
In any case, personally, coherence (which you don't seem after all to lack) aside, I'm skeptical that "pure consciousness" (or pure experience) is or would be tied to "potential to discriminate". I'm on the side of those in this thread arguing that joy is possible in the absence of (even any concept of) pain. I'd argue that, consciousness being primary - which you seem to believe too - its "purity" is primary too i.e. prior to or independent of any potential (to discriminate or otherwise experience) which it might have.
 
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