Tag Archive | existence

Dr. Ehsani’s Talk: Scientific Insights into the Reality of Man (Part 2)

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

As promised, here is the second half of Dr. Ehsani’s talk. This part focused a little less on the scientific perspective, and a little more on the philosophical and spiritual side of our existence. Just like before, this overview of what was discussed will be presented in point form, and it might not make complete sense. Leave your comments or questions below if you require any clarification. Otherwise, enjoy ^_^

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Scientific Approach to Consciousness

  • We are not conscious in the past or future, only in the present

“The future does not exist until it is manifested in the present”

  • It’s all about controlling the “future ego”, which obsesses with what could or might happen, to avoid missing the present moment

“There is nothing material about the material world”

  • The material world in which we immerse ourselves is but a feature of the reality in which we exist.

Alfred Whitehead…

  • Familiar things happen to us on a daily basis, but for the most part we don’t bother to notice them.
  • We crave complexity and difficulty in our lives, grasping at things that are out of our reach.

Spiritual Approach to Consciousness

  • Becoming aware of our consciousness is the purpose of our creation

From “Faith” to “Certitude”

  • Faith is close to doubt, but it is also the first step away from doubt
  • Certitude is when you can see it! There is no doubt.

Things to think about…

  1. What is the most essential, most profound thing about you?
  2. Is it your wealth, power, education, or accomplishments?
  3. Is it your life, friends, family, your loved ones?
  4. If you lose everything, then what do you have left?

“I am still here”

  • When you are on the verge of dying, you don’t have anything else
  • That is the moment where you are free from everything, with nothing led to lose
  • In the end, there is only you and what you really are
  • Time stops, replace with timelessness
  • You achieve true clarity — the truth

“Intentional Suffering”

  • There are some religions, cultures and beliefs that encourage the idea that we are required to suffer in order to achieve enlightenment.
  • There is no rational need for us to need to suffer.
  • It is our ego that affects our perception, making us seek difficulties and trials.
  • “Free will” is the will to give up our suffering and to simply be aware of our own consciousness

“The world has a lot to teach us if we shut up and stop talking about ourselves”

There are many different attributes to our consciousness:

  • Joy (not happy/unhappy) – the ability to be thankful for everything, good or bad, without being selective
  • In touch with reality (can clearly see what is and is not possible) – giving the possible your all
  • Anchored in the here and now
  • Sense of timelessness and eternity
  • Practical, efficient, effective (free from illusions)
  • Creativity (selflessness)

– The ego is what prevents us from achieving these attributes… not that the ego is only a bad thing. It is what motivates us to achieve greater things, to strive towards higher goals.

  • Humans have a lot more intelligence than is required for the basic things they need to do
  • The ego is not only what makes us crave more intelligence, but it is also an emergent property of the mend, created and developed by that excess intelligence.

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I never though of myself as having a big ego, but when I consider some of the things I have striven towards, and the intention with which I would do things, I suppose I cannot deny having overfed my own ego a little bit. It’s only natural, though. We all want to become better than who we are, to stand out of a crowd and have other recognize what we have done. It’s only a bad thing if that becomes all that we are fixated on. Working towards a better future is a noble endeavor, but if we only exist within the present, then perhaps we need to let our ego’s rest a little while we enjoy what is available for us now.

That’s all for today. I hope this was able to suffice for those of you who were unable to come out to the talk. I found it to be a rather illuminating experience, giving me a whole new outlook on life. Feel free to leave your own opinions in the comments, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

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Dr. Ehsnai’s Talk: Scientific Insights into the Reality of Man (Part 1)

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

WARNING: The following is a perspective on the state of reality, both from a scientific and spiritual perspective. I do not wish to force these ideas or beliefs upon anyone, and they are by no means finite responses to the worlds biggest question: why and how do we exist.  Also, this is my interpretation of Dr. Ehsani’s views, and therefore may not be entirely accurate, and possibly altered to suit any personal biases. Keep this in mind while reading or commenting. Thank you.

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As promised yesterday, here is an overview of the key things that were discussed during Dr. Mehrdad Ehsani’s talk, and what I was able to extrapolate from them. There are some pretty heavy topics, and there is a lot that even I do not entirely understand, but it definitely provokes a whole new outlook on life. Hopefully the notes I took are clear enough to give you at least a general idea of concepts discussed. If you need any kind of clarification, do not hesitate to ask, and I will do my best to deliver. This is just my way of showing you how everything we are can be reduced to the written word, although even that does not do this talk absolute justice…

Dr. Mehrdad Ehsani’s talk on the Reality of Man

“Man’s Station in the Universe”

Absolute Nothingness…

“The perception of one’ nothingness will lead to a deep spiritual transformation that will change the self and everything”

–          True reality lies within the simple things that we neglect to notice

“Does a fish understand the ocean?”

  • Our science used to be guided by pre-conceptions and beliefs, which led to near total misunderstandings of our world…
  • For instance, we used to believe that the earth was flat, or that it was possible to fall of the edge of the earth. Thanks to scientific investigations, we now know that the earth is, in fact, a more or less spherical shape, and gravity prevents us from falling off its surface

“I’m interested in the way science is pointing” – Ehsani

  • when we see a sign, we do not think about the sign itself but the direction in which it is pointing…
  • Science led us to the discovery of many a phenomenon, the most miraculous of which was the Black Hole.

Black Whole”: a collapse of matter in on itself

  • There exists a black hole at the center of our galaxy. At the center of the black hole, there exists an “event horizon”, which is the point of no return – where time literally stops.
  • The stopping of time, or something that does not require the existence  of time, is what science regards as ‘eternity’.

We exist within a realm of nothingness, an empty space which contains everything which is necessary for us to live. The things is contains can be warped and manipulated by us and by nature.

“Emergent Properties”

  • This is when 2 elementory things combine in a certain way, and reveal traits/properties that are not inherent to either of one.

Example: B+E = Be

  • In essence, life itself is an emergent property of the elements. It is a very complex one, of course, one which requires a constant energy source in order to be maintained. In fact, animals and humans are the biggest consumers of energy:
  • Sun: 0.00019 W/kg
  • Planets: 0.00088 W/kg
  • Animals: 1.3 W/kg
  • Human Brain: 16 W/kg

Based on this, if there were to be other such complex creatures existing elsewhere within the galaxy, then they would be subject to the second law of thermodynamics, which is that in order to maintain entropy, there must be a maximum efficiency placed on the allocation of energy and resources. In other words, there is not enough for life to be supported elsewhere, unless we give up something.

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This concludes my notes from the first talk. I elaborated on some points, to make sure that they read more clearly, and I only included that which I deemed to be the most important and fascinating. Tomorrow, I will post the notes from the second half of the talk.

I hope you found this to be every bit as interesting as I did. There is no conclusive answer as to our existence and whether it actually means something, but the theories and methods that people have devised in order to try and answer them shows that there really is not limit to the intellect, nor its imagination, which is also something that will be covered tomorrow.

That’s all for today. Once again, the Ottawa weather has switched from one extreme to the next. If it wasn’t for all the snow, I would be outside waltzing around without a coat on. Stay up to date with the weather so you don’t make a wardrobe mistake, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

My Poetry Corner

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

I apologize for my post arriving so late in the day. I am in the midst of a midterm study blitz, which requires isolation from any possible distractions… well, I tried. My brain was already distracting me, so I figured I might as well take a few minutes to jot something down to show that I have not forgotten about you guys.

This poem, which I literally came up with on the spot, was inspired by the talk I attended this weekend on the Reality of Man, given by Dr. Mehrdad Ehsani at both the University of Ottawa and the Baha’i Center of Ottawa. The principle concept that I gleaned from his talks was that whether it is from a scientific perspective, or a spiritual one, our existence seems to be based on the same conclusion: we do not really exist. Trust me, it’s not as scary as it sounds. I’ll be summarizing the lecture tomorrow, but for today, enjoy a little taste of my procrastinating, yet philosophical poetry ^_^

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I am Nothing, Yet Everything

My fingers dance across the keys in front of me, tapping out a familiar tune.

The words blur across my vision, forming strange patterns I cannot comprehend.

I try to commit this nonsense to memory, but to no avail.

There is so much to learn, so little time to learn it in …

“Why must I memorize this?”

A voice intrudes upon my thoughts, distant yet familiar.

“What purpose will it serve?”

I continue to tap away at my keyboard, distracted by these intermittent thoughts.

“Will my life be better if I know this?”

I shake my head in frustration, the voice becoming more pronounced.

What meaning does this knowledge give to my existence?”

I push the keyboard away, sighing, sore eyes cast towards the ceiling.

“If I did not exist, would this knowledge still exist?”

Darkness looms over my eyes as they close, blocking out the world.

“If people did not exist, would anything exist?”

I feel the pull of sleep tugging at my consciousness …

When I sleep, does the world still exist …. do I exist?

We are nothingness, but within this nothingness, everything exists.

I open my eyes and returned, blurry eyed, to my computer, the voice finally silenced as I returned to reading about other people who existed, or still exist within the all encompassing nothingness that is our reality.

I hope this didn’t confuse you guys too much. Sometimes the things I write don’t even make sense to me, but connecting even the most random of thoughts into a poetic pattern helps me to refocus my brain when I’ve been studying for three days straight.

As always, I welcome any comments, questions or concerns, and until next time, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Words of Wisdom

Hello All!

There’s nothing like curling up in a Snuggie, a laptop on your lap and a hot lemon and honey tea on your bedside table, to make those unseasonably cold days all the more enjoyable. As I write this, I’m taking a break from reading the first chapter of “Introducing Philosophy to Canadians” by Robert C. Solomon and Douglas McDermid. It’s explaining to me how the practice of philosophy came about, and how it has changed depending on the philosopher we focus on. Thus far, we have gone through the theories of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and now we are focusing on Descartes. It’s interesting to study the different ways in which people have viewed the nature of reality, depending on the facts available and how they supported or contradicted the human experience.

Today’s “words of wisdom” is a phrase I am sure most of you are familiar with, but one that tickles the innate human curiosity without fail every time I think about it:

I think, therefore I am

Rene Descartes

This is a quote taken from the famous french philosopher, René Descartes, as he tried to explain how we can determine our existence. This may be true for people, but what about animals? Plants? Bacteria? They cannot necessarily think, so does that mean they do not exist? Also, what if a person is in a coma? Or they have some kind of brain paralysis that prevents them from thinking. Does it mean that during that time, we do not exist? And finally, what about when we’re sleeping? We dream, but it is not something that we do purposefully, so do we actually exist while we sleep?

It can be rather frightening sometimes to consider the possibility that we may be living within a Matrix, while in reality our bodies are hooked up to machines to be used as biological batteries. And yet some of the greatest stories and movies of all time have come out of envisioning realities that may be possible if certain things were to happen.

That’s all for today. Until next time, happy reading!

Cheers 🙂