Mod+ What Do We Really Know About Matter?

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chuck.drake

#1
In the latest podcast David Lane said "So on one level, here’s a different way of putting this — if we are matter, what is the matter? My point being is what is the problem if we are just the brain? Physics itself, like matter itself, is more mysterious in a weird way than spirit even describes."

So when you get right down to it, how big a mystery is matter? What do we understand about matter? What don't we understand about matter?
 
#2
Matter has properties. What underlies those properties and how we perceive them is a big question. My suspicion is we live in a highly organised illusion that provides consistency but the only really meaningful aspects are emotions, which are fundamental to consciousness. One NDEr claimed the world he'd left was like an empty papier maché model compared to the one he'd seen. I can well imagine that to be the case, and matter is no more than expedient for the illusion.
 
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#3
I don't think we have to believe the world as an illusion. Personally (;)) I am favor of there being an external reality. Science has certainly done well (concerning material things so far, at least), so I expect that generalizations to include mental and spiritual things cannot be that difficult. We do, therefore, have to think more imaginatively how material and mental things are related. That's why skeptiko is interesting to me.
 
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chuck.drake

#4
But what does science say about matter? When you drill into matter far enough don't we run into all the typical quantum physics issues?
 
#6
I don't think we have to believe the world as an illusion.
Illusion may be the wrong word, dream state might be nearer the mark. In the moment, everything appears compellingly real, but think back half an hour, or ten days ago, or twenty years and we have to wonder how important those moments were, and if we imagined them. When I was a child I recall a friend's father saying to my father, that his life had been like a dream. He was younger than I am now when he said it, and has been dead seventeen years, and my father almost thirty. The lack of permanent signposts suggests that matter is part of the same consensus dream state. I'm not saying its role is unimportant, but it may be a proscenium stage for something more concrete, something revealed when the stage curtains part and the plywood scenery is rolled away.
 
#7
Illusion may be the wrong word, dream state might be nearer the mark. In the moment, everything appears compellingly real .....
Can you imagine a dream state, but one in which people live permanently? That would be the kind of spiritual world need for survival after death. It would be based on people having (or being!) permanent loves, once they have settled into their 'proper home' in the heavenly realms.

At present, our dreams are conflicted because we are conflicted: we have multiple loves that are not necessarily all good :(, and hence produce a mental world with irregular and impermanent content. What we see in our dreams.

But we can imagine that after death that our conflicting loves are resolved by removing from our life those things we can agree to part with, and seeing what core is left that is us. Then we become 'whole' and with integrity in our spiritual life (if we did not get there early on earth).

And I see no reason why such a spiritual realm (of permanent loves) cannot coexist with our material world. Perhaps, I should think, we are continually helped here by influx from the spiritual world. Seems like that to me.
 
#8
And I see no reason why such a spiritual realm (of permanent loves) cannot coexist with our material world. Perhaps, I should think, we are continually helped here by influx from the spiritual world. Seems like that to me.
The fall narrative is one I've always found interesting. It raises many questions if taken literally, but the story reflects how things seem to be closely enough to act as a useful hook. In it man had the potential for perfection in this life but screwed things up, and inherited a hollow version of the real thing. We continually strive to find meaning in the material world, but it all turns to dust in the end. That's the reality.

We strive to be like gods, but the task will always be beyond us because we are not fully awake. Emotions are real and connect us to perfection, but the other stuff is so much Lego for us to play with, and like Lego we imagine the same few shapes as different things. It certainly feels like that for much of the time.
 
#9
The fall narrative is one I've always found interesting. It raises many questions if taken literally, but the story reflects how things seem to be closely enough to act as a useful hook. In it man had the potential for perfection in this life but screwed things up, and inherited a hollow version of the real thing. We continually strive to find meaning in the material world, but it all turns to dust in the end. That's the reality.

We strive to be like gods, but the task will always be beyond us because we are not fully awake. Emotions are real and connect us to perfection, but the other stuff is so much Lego for us to play with, and like Lego we imagine the same few shapes as different things. It certainly feels like that for much of the time.
You seem rather pessimistic today!
Surely you have given ideas on this forum which you think are true, so that we all benefit as a result of those posts. I think so. And we learn from them that we are striving to find meanings, but not just in the material world! That material world may turn to dust in the end, but the truths we learn do endure beyond material things since they come from what is eternal.

This does not require us to strive to be gods, only to strive to learn what God is trying to tell us and from the way that God is trying to get us to see things in the proper light of truth. We can never be God, but if we do what we should, then we get to wake up eventually. But you seem to know this already! So: why are you attached to (or bothered by) the Lego so much?
 
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chuck.drake

#11
No takers on that then...
Wasn't familiar with it, but I did the wikipedia version just now. The saying from it:

"I am the light that shines over all things. I am everything. From me all came forth, and to me all return. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift a stone, and you will find me there."

Is pretty much how I have felt about matter and The Source since I was a child. I forever have had an innate idea that all matter is literally made up of The Source. May not make much sense to most folks, but I can't really see it any other way.
 
#12
Wasn't familiar with it, but I did the wikipedia version just now. The saying from it:

"I am the light that shines over all things. I am everything. From me all came forth, and to me all return. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift a stone, and you will find me there."

Is pretty much how I have felt about matter and The Source since I was a child. I forever have had an innate idea that all matter is literally made up of The Source. May not make much sense to most folks, but I can't really see it any other way.
I was pointed at it in my mid thirties - not being religious I didn't know anything about it - since then I've thought about the meanings from time to time, and become more interested in it again recently.

I like the Lambdin translation translation best...

http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gthlamb.html

I do think these saying intend to imply that the 'internal' is the 'external', and the 'external' is the 'internal', and that recognizing this, and reconciling our separated 'external' and 'internal' perceptions as one perception - is some sort of goal.
 
#13
I can't prove anything to you obviously and I don't expect anyone to listen to me particularly :) but I am absolutely certain that this world is not the real one. One shouldn't have certainties I guess but nevertheless I know what I knew all those years ago . It's what Ebert said...it's a hoax and I don't know for what reason it was set up or to what end because it's certainly a painful hoax, agonizing for some poor souls (and why them ?)

As we continue to get more and NDE/ADE reports from "the revived" so to speak we ought to be able to correlate the majority consensus of what they tell us to get an answer to what the hell we are doing here. It seems that Parnia and his team are keen to do this by what he's been saying recently. Of course it sounds ridiculous but I don't see why eventually (when it's routine to revive people with very high success rates) we won't be able to answer questions like "What is matter ?"

After all, are the "dead" resuscitated not explorers of a kind ?
 
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chuck.drake

#14
I can't prove anything to you obviously and I don't expect anyone to listen to me particularly :) but I am absolutely certain that this world is not the real one. One shouldn't have certainties I guess but nevertheless I know what I knew all those years ago . It's what Ebert said...it's a hoax and I don't know for what reason it was set up or to what end because it's certainly a painful hoax, agonizing for some poor souls (and why them ?)

As we continue to get more and NDE/ADE reports from "the revived" so to speak we ought to be able to correlate the majority consensus of what they tell us to get an answer to what the hell we are doing here. It seems that Parnia and his team are keen to do this by what he's been saying recently. Of course it sounds ridiculous but I don't see why eventually (when it's routine to revive people with very high success rates) we won't be able to answer questions like "What is matter ?"

After all, are the "dead" resuscitated not explorers of a kind ?
I guess I would question what you mean by "real." It's quite obvious to me that I am here in what we refer to as a physical reality. That was kind of the point of this thread to begin with--to explore what is actually "real" about physical reality. I have a toddler's understanding of physics, but it is my understanding that matter and energy are two sides of the same coin. Add that to the idea that the atoms alone within the Empire State Building, minus the empty space within those atoms, would occupy something the size of a box of sugar. I daresay that removing the "empty space" from the atoms in myself or in this laptop I am typing on would leave something quite negligible. That seems to leave a fairly large mystery about the nature of reality, both physical and non-physical.

Even if this physical reality were entirely engineered, and even if our journey here were only temporary as part of that design, I would be loathe to describe that experience as not real. I like this chestnut from McKenna:

"The mushroom said to me once, apropos of nothing: "What you call man, we call time."

And many others have expressed something along those same lines, that this physical existence is a reality where our greater selves are confined within the constraint of time. Because things grow in time.

I am loathe to adhere too strongly to the experiences and the messages coming from any non-physical travelers, be they OBE people, NDE people, UFO people or anyone. These are messages and experiences through the lens of a physical being constrained by time and tainted by language, culture and conceptions of mind. I'm more inclined lately to grow my sense of mystery.

Not to quote McKenna twice in one post. And I was going to try and create a thread on this quote alone, but I will include it here. It sums up a lot of how I feel about our current conceptions of reality: (It is transcribed from a talk, so the grammar is wonky.)

"What I think a psychedelic society, what that notion means, applies to me in terms of ideology, is the idea of creating a society which always lives in the light of the mystery of being. In other words that solutions should be displaced from the central role that they have had in social organization. And mysteries, irreducible mystery should be put in their place. The British enzymologist, J.D Howden, in the 1920s in an essay, said the universe may not only be stranger than we suppose it may be stranger than we can suppose. And I suggest to you that as we look back over human history, every pinnacle of civilization whether it be Mayan or Greco Roman or Sung Dynasty has believed that it was in possession of an accurate description of the cosmos and of man’s relationship to it . This seems to go along with the full flowering of a civilization. But from the point of view of our present civilization, we regard all those conceptions as, at worst quaint, and at best half right, and congratulate ourselves that our civilization at last has its finger on the real description of what is going on. But I think that this is not true, and that actually what blinds us, or what makes historical progress very difficult is our lack of awareness of our ignorance, and that beliefs should be put aside and that a psychedelic society would abandon belief systems for direct experience."
 
#15
Good post, that. When I said "not the real one" I should have said not the one that is our "real home"

I don't really like to talk like this because it just sounds like silly nonsense but if you accept reincarnation as likely to be true then this earth can only be a temporary experience repeated over and over, each body disintegrating whilst the surviving psyche moves on again.

I agree with you also about the danger of listening to messages from NDErs. My point was.. IF... we can get some kind pattern of information repeating from ordinary people who have had these experiences ie 75% said that yes we have many lives... or the earth is a training ground for personal development, that kind of thing. Having said that ...someone's shouting "bollocks" in my ear.....that you, Paul ???

Back to the question. What is matter ? I listen to the physicists on this as they take us down to the tiniest particles they can theorise about but they can't know *what it is* other than what labels they put on it. I like Jung's take on questions like this...."I cannot know why the universe came into existence (or what matter is effectively) therefore I must drop it as a problem etc.

Of course I'm not suggesting that you drop the thread
 
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chuck.drake

#17
Good post, that. When I said "not the real one" I should have said not the one that is our "real home"

I don't really like to talk like this because it just sounds like silly nonsense but if you accept reincarnation as likely to be true then this earth can only be a temporary experience repeated over and over, each body disintegrating whilst the surviving psyche moves on again.

I agree with you also about the danger of listening to messages from NDErs. My point was.. IF... we can get some kind pattern of information repeating from ordinary people who have had these experiences ie 75% said that yes we have many lives... or the earth is a training ground for personal development, that kind of thing. Having said that ...someone's shouting "bollocks" in my ear.....that you, Paul ???

Back to the question. What is matter ? I listen to the physicists on this as they take us down to the tiniest particles they can theorise about but they can't know *what it is* other than what labels they put on it. I like Jung's take on questions like this...."I cannot know why the universe came into existence (or what matter is effectively) therefore I must drop it as a problem etc.

Of course I'm not suggesting that you drop the thread
But isn't that like saying a child's life is not "real" because eventually they grow into adulthood and live in the "real" world? Our experience of the world is in the "now". This is as real as it gets for now. There may be a larger picture, but that shouldn't invalidate our experience here in this physical reality, whatever that is.
 
#18
But it's just a theory, isn't it ? And what makes up the strings ? And what makes up what makes up the strings etc ?
The various versions of string/M-theory are very hypothetical at this point. We have very complex mathematical models with very few testable predictions and no experimental data. Of the testable predictions, we do not have the technology to actually perform the tests any time in the near future. I may be wrong, but I get the impression that interest in string theory is declining since there aren't any tests we can actually perform.
 
#19
But isn't that like saying a child's life is not "real" because eventually they grow into adulthood and live in the "real" world? Our experience of the world is in the "now". This is as real as it gets for now. There may be a larger picture, but that shouldn't invalidate our experience here in this physical reality, whatever that is.
But isn't that like saying a child's life is not "real" because eventually they grow into adulthood and live in the "real" world?

No, it's "real" to them as a child as it is to them as an adult... but the adult is just the child in a grown up body...with a lot more remembered and acquired experience and knowledge. "I" look out of my eyes just the same as I always did and I know I'm still the same person as the little boy I once was....that is *fundamentally* at least. Of course I have become more sophisticated but there were things I knew when I made my entry that were just as profound as anything I can think of now

I see it as an immortal psyche having a real experience in a mortal body on a temporary (cosmically at least) plane of existence. We can wallow in it and let the painful illusion that it is become everything and deny our true nature (as spiritual beings which sounds so bloody silly which is why I don't like talking like this) or we can try to see through it and remember where we came from.

Or we do neither and just live positively/stoically and not bother reflecting like a great many do ...and why shouldn't they ?
 
#20
The various versions of string/M-theory are very hypothetical at this point. We have very complex mathematical models with very few testable predictions and no experimental data. Of the testable predictions, we do not have the technology to actually perform the tests any time in the near future. I may be wrong, but I get the impression that interest in string theory is declining since there aren't any tests we can actually perform.
Maybe philosophy has something to inject here ? If the knife is sharp enough, how many times can matter be divided. Endlessly as in the same opposite way the universe is endless (probably) ...or maybe at some stage in the passage across the stars there's some kind of railway buffer that you come to and disembark to look back on the whole thing..rather like Eben Alexander ish....no
 
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