The Instigator
iamcoffee
Pro (for)
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The Contender
CaptainShiny
Con (against)
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We Are All One (Consciousness)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/30/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 147 times Debate No: 96528
Debate Rounds (3)
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iamcoffee

Pro

Since the last debate of this same title wasn't going anywhere, and you said in the comments that you were interested in discussing this topic, I'd like propose we discuss this topic together. See if we can make some interesting headway.

To get some grounding I'll state points that I hope we both share, then go from there.

The big bang (or there abouts) and Evolution conclude that all matter stems from the same point and life as we know it evolved from the same single origin.
Likewise, as Humans, we are 7.1 billion different people but have the same single point of origin, so in turn we are intrinsically the same at root source.

If we can agree on those points then I feel we can proceed with the standing that at root source we are all linked.

Now onto my argument. The Mind and Consciousness

As humans we feel split from others because we all perceive the world though a different mind. A mind that has identity, creates and ego and talks inside our heads.

Though different techniques, hallucinogens, meditation, injury, near death experiences, 'moments where god talks to a person' [1] the Ego, Identity and the voice that talks in our heads can be put aside and observed rather than engaged.

This separation is called many things under different religions or practices but experience wise would be best described as (pure) awareness.

This awareness of existence and/or experience is a thoughtless space in ones head (as I said above, it's more of an observer than an engager in our mental activity) that feels in touch with everything as a whole in the universe.

Again this is nothing new and is talked about in many religions and practices I am just going through it for clarity of my argument.

I would like to argue that much like when our physical bodies are broken down into atoms and empty space, that if the mind (our Consciousness) is examined closely enough, we can see the raw material (or immaterial) that is our existence and because it's outside of ego self it is the same for all humans. And if that's so then it could theoretically be the same entity. Much like atoms are building blocks that connect all physicality, this inner space of awareness could be the foundation of all minds.

Very hard thing to prove of course because we can't even know if each other really exists, but an interesting topic none the less.

Please poke as many holes in this as you can, I'm very interested in your opinion
IAMCOFFEE

1. Where god or heavenly bodies talk to people or speak to people though prayer, I am simulating to 'emptiness of mind' or 'ego loss' or something similar, i feel that people who have seen god through prayer are just attaching their god to the experience because of their previous belief.
CaptainShiny

Con

Well all right then. First off I'd like to say that I come from a heritage of both pagan and taoist beliefs, in which this idea, in some shape or another, is a central concept, so I've been having this discussion for a while. Unfortunately, though, I don't believe the conclusions I've drawn will make as much headway as you hope. Skipping to the end, a "Very hard thing to prove of course, because we can't even know if each other really exist" pretty much sums up my opinion on the matter. I fully acknowledge that I have no idea what the answer to this, nor do I think I'm capable of coming up with one. It's one of those things that really just can't be proven given our current circumstances.

But we can try.

"At the root source we are all linked"
I generally agree with the theories that provide for these origins, that life stemmed from a common ancestor and matter taken in the shape we can observe probably originated from a single event, however there's an incorrect conclusion being drawn there. A single point of origin does not imply that all descendants are the same thing. "Intrinsically same at the root source" is a bit of a confusing statement, because at the root source, a common ancestor, there is only one item in the set, so it would be the same as itself, which I suppose is true, but then, "we" are not that common ancestor, so to say that we are intrinsically the same at the root source is somewhat like saying, "We are the same because we come from something that's the same as itself." The thing is here that we are related to and descended from the 'root source' but we are not the source itself. From the perspective of the inherent wholeness you're suggesting, the leaves on a tree are not the same as the seed from which the tree sprouted both physically and chronologically, even if they are, holistically, the same tree. Otherwise I accept those premises.

As for the second portion, I see two arguments being, one, "As humans we feel split from others because we all perceive the world through a different mind," and two, "Much like atoms are the building blocks that connect all physicality, this inner space of awareness could be the foundation of all minds." Neither of these, to me, seem to be addressing the topic that "We are all one." You talk later about different techniques one can use to "observe, rather than engage" one's mental activity. You postulate that the mind, or more specifically the conscious mind, is a tangible entity that can be observed under the correct circumstances, and this tangible mind is what gives us our distinct, individual identities. This is important to the topic, but isn't actually supporting it as it is. Suggesting that consciousness is tangible doesn't suggest that all tangible consciousness is a singular thing. Similarly, "Split from others because we all perceive the world through a different mind" seems to actually contradict the topic, if we all perceive the world from a different mind, then how can we all share a single mind? I do think where you're going with it is important, but it needs elaboration and connection to the original premise of a shared consciousness.

With the "inner space of awareness", the issue is the same as the first. There could very easily be something, physical or immaterial, that serves as the functional element of consciousness, I personally wouldn't be surprised if this was the case, however, that still does not imply a single consciousness. The entire universe as we know it may be made out of atoms, but there isn't just one atom. Even if two atoms, say of Hydrogen, were physically identical, there would still be two distinct Hydrogen atoms. The same would apply here. Even if all consciousness was made of the same source, the consciousness themselves are still distinct.

Now, some other food for thought, before we can know if consciousness is shared, we need to have a clear idea of what consciousness is. This, unfortunately, is where the discussion breaks down, because as far as we know it's impossible to answer that question. If a consciousness is the sum of one's memories, then it's impossible that it's shared, because memories are infinitely unique. If consciousness is simply awareness, then that raises further questions. What are the bounds of awareness? If it's something that occurs perpetually in the moment, then what happens when you sleep? Or blink? Or lose your train of thought? How can a consciousness be universal if we can't even figure out when consciousness is present? If, on the opposite hand, it is a universal, what causes the divide? If we are both one mind, why am I not you? How do I know I'm not you? How do I know I'm a single me, rather than a collective of different mes that make up what I consider my conscious identity?
Debate Round No. 1
iamcoffee

Pro

CaptainShiny you are a legend, your response was really thought provoking, I've enjoyed mulling over in the last day or so.

Lets get down to it.

"the leaves on a tree are not the same as the seed from which the tree sprouted both physically and chronologically, even if they are, holistically, the same tree"
I see where your coming from, but I have to disagree.
With this reasoning you would not be the same person as we were when we were young.
Much like the seed, you started as s sperm and have changed, grown and become a different physicality from when you were a baby or the glint in your fathers eye. Holistically the same, but at a cellular level you are different.
We know that cells are not created from nothing, so you are not new cells, or a new person, you are your old cells that have just divided then multiplied as time moved forward. Your original cells may all be dead now but splitting and multiplying over time keeps the connection in tact.

In this way everything is linked to it's predecessor.
The same happens in the seen and tree example.
Interestingly if a tree is broken up into small parts there will be nothing about the tree that can be called 'tree'.
It would just be 'leaf' 'bark' 'root' 'branch' and so on.
These holistic labels we use are counter productive in scheme of 'oneness' that I'm talking about, but are valuable in letting us make sense of our human experience and can be used in explanation.

If we use this example of cutting the tree into small parts, but replace the tree with our bodies we come to the same conclusion, that there is no part of us that we can call 'I'

Descartes said "I think,"therefore I am". Personally I feel that if I were cut into small parts (without dying) this is fact, there would be still some small part of me that thinks.
If it's physical or not, can't be known but this thinking part, this conscious part, I would call 'I'.
Through meditations, drugs, transcendence or such technique we can separate ourselves from ego and identity (accumulated memory's of self) and are left with what? A stripped down version of 'I' that no longer necessitates a body, or identity.

Ok, so if everyone did this you could still argue that it's not the 'oneness' that I am arguing, you could say that what's left is individual stripped down versions of consciousness, one for every person.
This is where it get's interesting and this is where my argument is.

If this bodiless, egoless self is non physical, then trying to explain it's existence could be like trying to explain a 3rd dimension to a 2 dimensional being, of trying to contemplate the infinite or that existence that is timeless. It seems like a losing battle.
However, I believe we have examples of no physical being in our world and you brought one up in an example. Dreams. A highly debated mystery that we take for granted but everyone of us has had them. We can't deny their reality but can agree that they are non-physical reality. Something that happens in our minds eye so to speak.

This relates back to my original argument 'We are all one (consciousness)' simply because our universe and experience is physical but from dreams and consciousness/awareness we see there can also be a nonphysical. 'Matter' and 'non-matter'.
Our tools of perception and or experience are based in the world of matter so our observations of non-matter is limited, but can be glimpsed in dreams or cutting through self and experiencing consciousness/awareness.

So.. we have 'matter' and 'non-matter'. 'Matter' is things and things have space, labels and substance, 'non-matter' will be the opposite of this and so will be formless, timeless, non divided (one).
The fact that we can look into our mind space and glimpse this 'non-matter' (even though we don't understand it) and this non matter being singular and non divided makes me think that we are all connected consciously at base level. Only being able to glimpse it also makes sense, because if it's a non-thing when we perceive it with our human experience tool of matter, we assimilate references of our material reality to it and paradoxically snub out the experience.

This connected oneness can't feel like you and I are the same because that would imply that we are still divided by memory of experience. A true experience of oneness should be an experience of detachment from physicality (like in dreams), it would be a feeling of base level connectedness not so much shared experience (even though the divisions of experience are experiencing things differently.. i.e. me typing from my computer, you typing from yours).

This last paragraph is difficult to write let alone comprehend but because we are connected but disconnected, think of it like a tree again.
The upper most branches on the left and right side of a tree are disconnected from each other, they have leaves that are not leaves on the opposite side of the tree, but come from the same roots.
If a leaf on each side of a tree had consciousness and those consciousnesses traveled down through the branches, back the trunk, then down the trunk to the roots, the leaves would no longer conciser themselves leaves but would be able to understand that they are the same tree.

This is what I'm getting at when I say that 'We are all one (consciousness)

"............
I tried to get in answers to you questions but will write them below for clarity also

""If a consciousness is the sum of one's memories, then it's impossible that it's shared"
I agree

If consciousness is simply awareness, then that raises further questions. What are the bounds of awareness?
I'm just trying to use our human experience as our test dummy, because it's all we have to work with. This is why I brought meditations, drugs, life death experiences, dreams and things that can be observed (even if not entirely understood) into the equation.

If it's something that occurs perpetually in the moment, then what happens when you sleep? Or blink?
Sleep.. this could be a key to understanding emptiness and no physicality
Blinking, our sense of sight is temporarily blocked by a small sheet of skin :)

Or lose your train of thought?
Thoughts are part of our mind but I wouldn't conciser them base level consciousness, there is obvious observable division.

How can a consciousness be universal if we can't even figure out when consciousness is present?
We can define conscious experience by thinking of 'unconsciousness' . I.e a boxer was knocked unconscious.The opposite of that is conscious but yes I agree this is tricky and the line is blurred. I think in the main body I did a better definition than I can fit here.

If, on the opposite hand, it is a universal, what causes the divide?
The devision of cells, movement and expansion of physicality.

If we are both one mind, why am I not you?
Good point. I worked on clarifying this in the main body, you are correct, we can not be one mind (of memories and life experience) but at the core as explained above I feel we can still be connected and one .

How do I know I'm not you? How do I know I'm a single me, rather than a collective of different mes that make up what I consider my conscious identity?
I think you answered your own question here, you are an accumulation of your identity, your memories upbringing, conditioning and experience in your physical body, because of these differences in experience we are divided.

---------------
Loving this debate so far CaptainShiny
Again.. please cut my theory to pieces as much as you can

Looking forward to your reply
IAMCOFFEE
CaptainShiny

Con

Why thank you. Being thought provoking is my favourite perk of being sentient, and I try to do my best.

Now, onwards!

Your first paragraph seems a bit contradictory. You disagree with my statement, and suggest with the logic I used I wouldn't be the same person as I was when I was young, but then go on to say, I am "holistically the same, but at a cellular level different." According to my logic, and that premise, it's therefore true that I, in fact, wouldn't be the same person as I was when I was young. You'll have to clarify what you mean by "the connection" in your last sentence, but it seems to me we're dealing with a good ol' fashioned Ship of Theseus (https://en.wikipedia.org...). If you take an object and call it the sum of it's parts, and then replace all of those parts with identical copies, is it still the same object? When we refer to our physical presence, the same paradox applies. With what you're saying, you seem to be agreeing with this premise, rather than disagreeing as you claim.

You then take this further, saying that if we observe ourselves as nothing but parts we have nothing to call a self. I would argue that if the, "I" is the sum of those parts, then we can call all of those parts "I", so long as they are still, in fact, a part. Removal of those parts generally disqualifies one as being a self entity, you lose the "I" if you lose the parts, just as you lose a tree if you lose the branches, trunk, and roots. This is a confusing element of this argument as it's mostly semantics. Am I simply the sum of my parts? If so, the parts are me. If I'm not, how is that possible? If my individual parts, physical and mental alike, become arranged in such a way that it can be called me, it would follow that I am the sum of those parts.

Cogito Ergo Sum (https://en.wikipedia.org...), the Latin name for "I think, therefore I am", while an excellent philosophical proposition on it's own unfortunately doesn't help us in this debate. That sentence essentially postulates that, If I am able to doubt my existence, I must exist. While you are correct in saying that if parts of you were removed, and they doubted their existence, they would exist (as a consciousness). We've already established the existence of consciousness as a necessary condition for the rest of the argument, so there's no need to further prove it here. This "I" could be anything, we don't really have a way of knowing at this time, but it doesn't really matter, because as long as there's some part of you, physical or not, to exist as a self, as an "I", then we can proceed with the rest of the debate. It could be anything, your entire body or a single neuron, and it wouldn't change the premise.

It's a bit of a tangent as well, but what is this stripped down version of self that no longer necessitates a mind or identity? While I could reason that this either a, doesn't exist, or b, can't possibly be proven to exist, what you're postulating is a essential, most bare form of consciousness. But this consciousness wouldn't be a stripped down version of "I", because the condition in order to achieve it is to remove the "I" and see what's left. This pure consciousness would be completely devoid of everything that made it your pure consciousness.

Now, I will point out immediately that there is no substantial, empirical evidence to support the non-physical, bodiless, egoless self, or at least if there is a bodiless, egoless self which can be experienced through the suggested methods there is no proof that it fits within the bounds of non-material as you've suggested. We don't really know what dreams are. They could be points of pure consciousness, but they could equally simply be our perceiving our brain, for lack of a better word, defragment itself like a hard drive. We don't know. However, rather than simply use that as an excuse to invalidate the whole thing, let's run with it.

First of all, the example with dreams. If dreams truly are the most base state of consciousness, demonstrating a non-physical, and therefore unlimited and universal existence, why don't I have the same dreams you have? I know from experience that my dreams have form, because I've never had one that's identical to another one. I know that my dreams experience time, because my dreams yesterday weren't the same as my dreams last week. And, I know my dreams are divided, because you don't have them too. It would seem to reason that dreams aren't actually "non-matter" as it is postulated.

But let's say that this essential consciousness is non-material. It is therefore formless, timeless, and singular. This is intriguing on it's own, but doesn't solve the issue of you and I. We have established that the self is either an identity, a physical form, a collection of memories, or some combination of the lot. All of these are material, and therefore can't be the essential consciousness. If they come from the essential consciousness, they still aren't the essential consciousness. If, in order to create "you", the essential consciousness must have your memories and identity added to it, and it must be squeezed into the brain you possess, then it has become a material you, and by definition can't be that essential consciousness. If you remove all of the you in order to return to the essential, then you are no longer existing to experience/possess it, and so you can't be the essential consciousness. You simply can't both exist and possess something that's exclusive to your existing. If we are able to unlock our minds eye, this wouldn't be the essential consciousness, because in order for it to exist you can't be looking through your minds eye. Not only that, if you are able to glimpse at something in this state, how do we know it is, in fact, the essential consciousness that is non-material which we observe?

I don't know about you, but I find it extremely hard to wrap my head around. You touched upon this concept in the last couple little paragraphs. A couple of other things to address, though (geze, I might actually run out of room here):

"Thoughts are part of our mind but I wouldn't conciser them base level consciousness, there is obvious observable division." Is there? If so I've never observed it. Please do elaborate on this.

"We can define conscious experience by thinking of 'unconsciousness'"
But don't we define unconsciousness as a lack of consciousness? Seems like a bit of a paradox, I also couldn't find that elaboration in your main body, but I'm probably just misunderstanding. If we can't know where consciousness is, we can't know where it isn't.

Ultimately, it seems almost like we're saying the same thing. You say here, "Only being able to glimpse it also makes sense, because if it's a non-thing when we perceive it with our human experience tool of matter, we assimilate references of our material reality to it and paradoxically snub out the experience." And I'm simply arguing that because of this, we can't perceive it, or further than that possess it, and still be us. The fact that we know we're us, cogito ergo sum, means that we can't be the connected, essential consciousness.
Debate Round No. 2
iamcoffee

Pro

Cheers again CaptainShiny

Thanks for the Ship of Theseus"link, it exactly sums up the paradox I was toying with and cheers for pointing out the trap I had set for myself where I contradicting myself in the beginning.

I won't use this round to debate further because the debate could now go in a few different interesting directions and I fear that we won't be able to make any headway in a single round.
I've got to say that this debate has done exactly what I needed it to, cut holes in assumptions I didn't know I was making and you also gave me a lot of fuel for thought. Thanks.

As I'm thinking now, I would agree with you that consciousness may not be 'one' even if physicality is somewhat connected

Through methods we've been talking of, detachment from self and ego is possible, but it doesn't mean that consciousness would join. A feeling of connectedness could be to do with the obvious link of all physicality, but not of mind and even that link could a sensory illusion.

--------------------------
I saw this yesterday and thought you might be interested, it could be something to watch on topic of measuring consciousness.

https://aeon.co...

"These findings take us all the way back to Descartes. Instead of "I think therefore I am" we can say: "I predict (myself) therefore I am." The specific experience of being you (or me) is nothing more than the brain"s best guess of the causes of self-related sensory signals.'

"It now seems to me that fundamental aspects of our experiences of conscious selfhood might depend on control-oriented predictive perception of our messy physiology, of our animal blood and guts."We are conscious selves because we too are beast machines ""self-sustaining flesh-bags that care about their own persistence."

---------------------------
Questions this debate has brought froward for future discussion:
What is consciousness?
How much of belief is anxiety driven ignorance?
Are we all ghosts in machines?
Does everyone manifest their own god?

And a random one inspired by animal farm:
Should we measure a humans worth?
How do we measure a humans worth?

Feel free to start a debate on any of these, or a topic of your choice.
I thoroughly enjoyed that.
IAMCOFFEE
CaptainShiny

Con

Alright, we'll call that a wrap. That was certainly engaging, and I'm more than happy to continue down any tangents you fancy starting, they all look fascinating.

I would probably agree for the most part with that article.

Thanks for an awesome debate!
Debate Round No. 3
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