Author Archives: signature103

About signature103

Teacher, Husband and father, Zen Buddhist, weekend farmer.

hippocampus

a college (esp. for hippopotamuses) which specialises in the study of the workings of human short-term memory.

selfish

a person who hoards the money he or she makes from selling a lot of fish.

Verifiability and Falsifiability

There are some things which are neither verifiable nor falsifiable, like God. If God is unchanging, permanent and all-pervasive then nothing we can do will ever give us a place where it is absent and therefore observable. So it is quite pointless to even talk of its unverifiable/unfalsifiable existence.

But there are things which are verifiable but have yet to be falsified, like gravity or the speed of light. What we have is a physical world that can be tested shown to work in a certain order to be able to call it a law. But there is no reason why it cannot be falsified, only that it has not been falsified.

From experience then we can say the world works in a certain way, the way it works holds true in most, if not all places. The chance that it might not hold true in some place we have yet to discover is not as important as the fact that it holds true in every place we have seen it. That, in itself, is our only judgement of the world.

We may make deductions (conclusions from general truth to a specific one) and inductions (conclusions from specific truth to a general one) but really they are all abductions, conclusions from probable observed outcomes of general and/or specific truths.

Reincarnation in Buddhism

Reincarnation or rebirth, contrary to popular Western belief, is a negative term in Buddhism. The goal of Buddhism is to end reincarnation, not perpetuate it. 

How this misconception arose is various. It could have been from a generalisation from another Eastern religion – Hinduism – in which it sees rebirth as a positive term, where being reborn means to improve to higher states of being until Oneness with God, or moksha. In contrast Buddhism does not aim for oneness but “release”. 

To be “reborn” in English also seems to suggest to return anew. This image can be seen in the term “Born-Again Christian”. Whereas no such concept exists at all in Buddhism. 

Thoughts on the Mind

To me, there is no doubt that the mind is product of the physical brain that is of the physical world. Without the physical world there is no mind. By extension all concepts are therefore a product of the physical world by way of the physical brain. Once every living sentient thing disappears (if that is at all possible) from the physical universe then all concepts disappear. What remains is a physical universe without sentient being. That is quite possible because there is no law that says there must be sentient beings. In fact at the very beginning after the Big Bang it was quite possible that the universe did not contain a single sentient entity whatsoever. This being the case then it is possible that there can be a time in the future without sentient beings as well.

The faces of Foucault

Not many people know it but Michel Foucault had (at least) a public and private face. I will not elaborate. But perhaps it is only important to remember that we are protean in nature.  Everyday we play many roles. Most are chosen. Some are not. Many, you may see. Others are unnoticed, camouflaged or outright hidden from you. 

The Existential problem

I am happy with the concept though not with the term of the absurd. The definition that everything is meaningless is perhaps better rephrased as “without intrinsic meaning”. This is better captured in the term “without essence”. There is only existence. At first glance this sentence seems to indicate that existentialists are a kind of realist, materialist or physicalist. But the concerns of existentialists are how to live with freedom of choice. In other words, existentialists are concerned more with the mind than the real. The so-called freedom of choice, then, is seemingly complete freedom. Existentialists ignore the physical limitations that we are bound to, opting to place priority to the mind.