Why life does not really exist

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby daverupa » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:17 pm

Anicca can be observed, and could be by forest monks BCE; vibrating chemical reactions could not, and for the most part cannot be so seen by modern folk, and so this functions as a model of impermanence virtually divorced from observation and, therefore, soteriological function.

:shrug:

Anicca isn't just some micro/macro-scopic quality of matter... tying chemistry and astrophysics in to the Dhamma is going the opposite direction from satipatthana, imo - the actual basis for observing anicca.

SN 12.61 wrote:Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more.


This, despite vibrating chemicals and dynamic equilibrium.

Anicca just isn't properly seen in these ways.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:40 pm

Mkoll wrote:For those who don't know about equilibrium, here is an explanation from a chemistry perspective.

In a chemical reaction, chemical equilibrium is the state in which both reactants and products are present at concentrations which have no further tendency to change with time.[1] Usually, this state results when the forward reaction proceeds at the same rate as the reverse reaction. The reaction rates of the forward and backward reactions are generally not zero, but equal. Thus, there are no net changes in the concentrations of the reactant(s) and product(s). Such a state is known as dynamic equilibrium.[2][3]


The point I am trying to make is that nothing is static. A state of balance or equilibrium is actually quite dynamic.

This natural dynamism that is always present in all conditioned things may be what is referred to by "impermanence"...


Your quote defines dynamic equilibrium, but does not deny the possibility of static equilibrium. N2 has a triple bond and is ridiculously stable, so a closed system consisting of N2 and 02 wouldn't react with each other at all. It would be a chemically static equilibrium.

Dave is right: looking for anicca through physics is a waste of time. We don't need to prove anicca. We need to see it with our own eyes. Otherwise the science suffers as we try to mold it into our Buddhist views (and vice versa).
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:09 pm

Irony alert... my first post on Dhamma Wheel was an effort to prove kamma through physics. :toilet:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby manas » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:17 am

Hi Cooran,

an interesting article, but regarding this

Such dilemmas plague just about every proposed feature of life. Responding to the environment is not a talent limited to living organisms—we have designed countless machines that do just that.


The experience of conscious awareness - something which every one of us reading this post can verify for themselves in this present moment - is not something machines are capable of. There is a difference, and even a little child can see this, unlike some mechanistic philosophers and scientists who wish to reduce all of experience to atoms and molecules. I've heard all of this before, I'm afraid.

“Avida is not a simulation of evolution; it is an instance of it,” Robert Pennock of Michigan State University told Carl Zimmer in Discover. “All the core parts of the Darwinian process are there. These things replicate, they mutate, they are competing with one another. The very process of natural selection is happening there. If that’s central to the definition of life, then these things count.”


But does this program have even one experience of conscious awareness? No. That is not to say that consciousness is self; but rather, that it is immaterial, does not arise from some special combination of matter, and
is at least as real as the atoms and molecules that make up these bodies of ours.

"This is the extent to which there is birth, aging, death, passing away, and re-arising. This is the extent to which there are means of designation, expression, and delineation. This is the extent to which the sphere of discernment extends, the extent to which the cycle revolves for the manifesting (discernibility) of this world — i.e., name-and-form together with consciousness.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


To say that name-and-form and consciousness depend on one another 'for the manifesting (discernibility) of this world', isn't the same as saying that they are, ultimately, one and the same thing.

metta,
manas.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby chownah » Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:59 am

manas wrote:That is not to say that consciousness is self; but rather, that it is immaterial, does not arise from some special combination of matter, and is at least as real as the atoms and molecules that make up these bodies of ours.

There are many things considered to be immaterial which are considered to arise from things considered to be material.......things like magnetic fields, electric fields, gravity etc. So I guess it might not be so unusual for one to think of consciousness as arising from the material. Can you give a reason why you think this does not happen?
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby manas » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:17 am

chownah wrote:
manas wrote:That is not to say that consciousness is self; but rather, that it is immaterial, does not arise from some special combination of matter, and is at least as real as the atoms and molecules that make up these bodies of ours.

There are many things considered to be immaterial which are considered to arise from things considered to be material.......things like magnetic fields, electric fields, gravity etc. So I guess it might not be so unusual for one to think of consciousness as arising from the material. Can you give a reason why you think this does not happen?
chownah


Hi chownah,

I can recall (reading) Ajahn Chah as making that distinction also, that matter is one thing, and mind another. I really don't know how Buddhists can allow the kind of nihilism that has pervaded much of modern scientific thought to invade their own thinking. Can you actually see these words? There, that's an instance of consciousness. The force of gravity can't see these words. The Earth's magnetic field can't see these words. But you can. It's not rocket science, it's actually self-evident. No amount of clever combining of atoms and molecules can produce even one moment of conscious experience. We have managed to send human beings to the moon, but we have not been able to create even one single-celled organism (such as an amoeba, for example), even with all of our technology. That's because living things come from other living things, they don't arise out of dead things. As for how it all began, well that's one of those imponderables that we need not trouble ourselves with, is it not?

metta,
manas.
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby chownah » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:38 am

manas,
You say that the earth's magnetic field can not see these words, but why not say that my dna's consciousness can. In both cases there is the supposition that there is a material self which gives rise to a non material self..in one case the ability to see is not manifest and in the other case it is........in one case the ability to deflect the needle in a compass is manifest and in the other it is not. Why is one view acceptable to you while one is not?

Also, I think you are not aware of the advances in the field of artificial life....pretty much all of the chemicals of life have been fabricated and shown to be effective in maintaining life. Perhaps no one has actually started with inorganic compounds and ended up with a living cell but it really does seem that in principle it could be done......and if not now then surely in the near future. Nothing has been found that indicates that doing this would be anything other than just manipulation of physical chemicals and there is no life chemical which presents what seems to be an insurmountable problem.

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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby Mkoll » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:54 am

Buckwheat wrote:Your quote defines dynamic equilibrium, but does not deny the possibility of static equilibrium. N2 has a triple bond and is ridiculously stable, so a closed system consisting of N2 and 02 wouldn't react with each other at all. It would be a chemically static equilibrium.

True. But particles would still be moving around. I should have used that as the example: particles are always moving. There is always movement.

Dave is right: looking for anicca through physics is a waste of time. We don't need to prove anicca. We need to see it with our own eyes. Otherwise the science suffers as we try to mold it into our Buddhist views (and vice versa).

Agreed. I just find the parallels between the Buddha's teaching and much of science most extraordinary whilst being well aware of the limitations of comparison.
Peace,
James
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Re: Why life does not really exist

Postby cooran » Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:24 am

Hello all,

Interesting -
The Science of Why the Past is Different from the Future - Animated
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/ ... e-entropy/

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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