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What happens to your mind after death?

EnlightenedMadman
Posts: 44
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5/22/2014 12:41:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
From my understanding, your consciousness wrapped up in your brain, and is not quite physical in nature; and your brain slowly rots following death. So the next question would be whether or not your consciousness lives on after you die until your brain rots away. Would one still be able to think and remember things while the brain is still preserved without feeling anything else? And what would happen to the consciousness as the brain begins to rot?

Is any of the above true at all?
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iamanatheistandthisiswhy
Posts: 720
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5/22/2014 1:50:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 12:41:08 AM, EnlightenedMadman wrote:
From my understanding, your consciousness wrapped up in your brain, and is not quite physical in nature; and your brain slowly rots following death. So the next question would be whether or not your consciousness lives on after you die until your brain rots away. Would one still be able to think and remember things while the brain is still preserved without feeling anything else? And what would happen to the consciousness as the brain begins to rot?

Is any of the above true at all?

None of the above is true.

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chui
Posts: 507
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5/22/2014 8:41:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 12:41:08 AM, EnlightenedMadman wrote:
From my understanding, your consciousness wrapped up in your brain, and is not quite physical in nature; and your brain slowly rots following death. So the next question would be whether or not your consciousness lives on after you die until your brain rots away. Would one still be able to think and remember things while the brain is still preserved without feeling anything else? And what would happen to the consciousness as the brain begins to rot?

Is any of the above true at all?

I would say this is not a question science can answer. If the mind is something other than physical in nature then it must have a supernatural element, so is more like a soul. That puts it beyond the reach of empirical evidence and therefore beyond science. Personally I believe the mind is purely physical so stops working on death.
EnlightenedMadman
Posts: 44
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5/22/2014 12:59:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 8:41:40 AM, chui wrote:
At 5/22/2014 12:41:08 AM, EnlightenedMadman wrote:
From my understanding, your consciousness wrapped up in your brain, and is not quite physical in nature; and your brain slowly rots following death. So the next question would be whether or not your consciousness lives on after you die until your brain rots away. Would one still be able to think and remember things while the brain is still preserved without feeling anything else? And what would happen to the consciousness as the brain begins to rot?

Is any of the above true at all?

I would say this is not a question science can answer. If the mind is something other than physical in nature then it must have a supernatural element, so is more like a soul. That puts it beyond the reach of empirical evidence and therefore beyond science. Personally I believe the mind is purely physical so stops working on death.

The conscious mind, it seems to me, is likely a result of the physical processes of the brain and the physicality of the mind itself. The conscious mind may die right away, but do the memories live on until the brain rots? They're not easy things to ponder...
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Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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5/22/2014 4:05:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 12:41:08 AM, EnlightenedMadman wrote:
From my understanding, your consciousness wrapped up in your brain, and is not quite physical in nature; and your brain slowly rots following death. So the next question would be whether or not your consciousness lives on after you die until your brain rots away. Would one still be able to think and remember things while the brain is still preserved without feeling anything else? And what would happen to the consciousness as the brain begins to rot?

Is any of the above true at all?

Depends on whether or not you accept dualism, or some forms of idealism.

Even assuming materialism however, the mind does not equal the brain, but rather the state the brain is in and it's interactions with itself and the various segregated parts of it.

So consciousness can disappear long before the brain rots or decays. Similarly to how turning a computer off loses all computation that is going on.

There was an interesting cartoon posted on this forum a couple of weeks ago which had a man which thought that each time he fell asleep, he effectively 'died', since consciousness ends at each passing night.

It was a interesting read considering I am a materialist, you might also find it interesting regardless though.
EnlightenedMadman
Posts: 44
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5/23/2014 12:32:39 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 4:05:01 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/22/2014 12:41:08 AM, EnlightenedMadman wrote:
From my understanding, your consciousness wrapped up in your brain, and is not quite physical in nature; and your brain slowly rots following death. So the next question would be whether or not your consciousness lives on after you die until your brain rots away. Would one still be able to think and remember things while the brain is still preserved without feeling anything else? And what would happen to the consciousness as the brain begins to rot?

Is any of the above true at all?

Depends on whether or not you accept dualism, or some forms of idealism.

Even assuming materialism however, the mind does not equal the brain, but rather the state the brain is in and it's interactions with itself and the various segregated parts of it.

So consciousness can disappear long before the brain rots or decays. Similarly to how turning a computer off loses all computation that is going on.

There was an interesting cartoon posted on this forum a couple of weeks ago which had a man which thought that each time he fell asleep, he effectively 'died', since consciousness ends at each passing night.

It was a interesting read considering I am a materialist, you might also find it interesting regardless though.

Interesting. However, the thing about a computer is that all the memory and data is intact and in some cases still working after the shutdown. If the consciousness dies, do the memories live on? Or stay intact before the brain decays?

Can you post a link to the cartoon?
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DesertEagle
Posts: 17
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5/23/2014 2:11:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Memories can be stored and analyzed in the different parts of the body, not just the brain. It's possible when two neurons send strong stimulation signals to each other simultaneously, the synapse undergoes a process called synaptic plasticity (weakening or strengthening of a synapse) because of the strong simultaneous neural communication, it strengthens and results to long term potentiation.

Long term potentiation serves as a vital part in the establishment of long term memory. This can occur to other parts of the body as well and not just the brain. For example, memorizing a chart while tapping your hand. The tapping can enhance the hippocampus' performance and if tried repeatedly in a number of times, it's not just the specific brain part alone that'd be vulnerable to long term potentiation but your hand tapping as well. If you try hand tapping, you might recall the chart you encountered before or even be stored as a long term memory in the process. So in short, other parts of the body can also store, recall and process memories.

So, back to the original question; "Do the memories live on? My answer would be depending on the current situation but on the long run, no. Specifically because of the brain stem and the heart.

The brain stem include a number of the parts of the brain adjoining the spinal cord. Its main purposes include heart rate, breathing, sleeping, eating as well as the sensory and motor functions.

When the brain stem stops functioning, a person can be considered brain dead or become dead later on if the lack of life support is detected. However, if another part of the brain ceases to function, excluding the parts of the brain stem, the intact parts will still continue their roles. The heart is the most vital part of the body though. If the heart becomes affected, biological death is possible, and thus resulting to every part of the body's cessation to function.

When that happens, memories will no longer be present. Simply because, the parts that are maintaining them are no longer functional. How can you recall something when you can't? You can't process information anymore. The things that keep memories alive are now archaic. Unless of course, if other parts are kept intact imperatively with the heart and the oxygen flow. But if biological death will be the confirmed result, I don't think the memories would continue to live.

And also just to note, memory is associated with remembering. It is not a piece of information, rather, the same piece of information that is remembered or being remembered.

As for consciousness, the human senses are vital. Without them, how can you have a state of awareness of yourself or the environment? Well there are dozens of senses that people believe and not just the primary 5, so it varies.

I wanted to answer this without any form of philosophy in association for the reason that this was posted in the science section. But you are free to believe in anything. And I apologize if this was rather lengthy..
Truth_seeker
Posts: 1,811
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8/7/2014 10:20:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 12:41:08 AM, EnlightenedMadman wrote:
From my understanding, your consciousness wrapped up in your brain, and is not quite physical in nature; and your brain slowly rots following death. So the next question would be whether or not your consciousness lives on after you die until your brain rots away. Would one still be able to think and remember things while the brain is still preserved without feeling anything else? And what would happen to the consciousness as the brain begins to rot?

Is any of the above true at all?

Lol I think you're asking a metaphysical question belonging in the philosophy forum. I don't think science has an answer.
sadolite
Posts: 8,839
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8/9/2014 6:01:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 12:41:08 AM, EnlightenedMadman wrote:
From my understanding, your consciousness wrapped up in your brain, and is not quite physical in nature; and your brain slowly rots following death. So the next question would be whether or not your consciousness lives on after you die until your brain rots away. Would one still be able to think and remember things while the brain is still preserved without feeling anything else? And what would happen to the consciousness as the brain begins to rot?

Is any of the above true at all?

nO LIVING PERSON WILL EVER KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION
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Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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8/10/2014 4:02:16 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I lean towards the view that the mind is dependent on the brain, so when the brain no longer exists the mind ceases to exist.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
Master_De_Bater
Posts: 8
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8/10/2014 12:30:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
It ends. It stops. Why is everyone so curious about this. To me it's just like before you were a baby. Like all the way back to before you were even a zygote. You didn't technically exist. That's how it'll be when you die. I think.