Intelligence

I’m going to post a link to a video by Neil deGrass Tyson upfront just so I don’t forget later. I’m going to be paraphrasing parts of this to bolster my point, but he really does verbalize my points better than I ever could. Do yourself a favour, go check the video out. Also, I watched a bit of his back catalogue and I feel like a moron now. Do so at your own risk.

In the video linked above, Neil talks about how we defined intelligence, so we dictate what it looks like. It got me wondering if we were right in doing so. I realize that the questioning of that brings up only more questions, but I just wonder what we discount to keep ourselves on the high end of the scale that we manufactured.

We say intelligence is defined, in part by, our ability to converse and illustrate ideas. The issue with using that as a barometer is that we have, as a species, defined what conversation and a sharing of ideas even looks like. To say something is not intelligent negates every possible “advantage” that we have never even considered.

I could get into the idea of a soul, general consciousness, and things of that elk. Fortunately (unfortunately?) I don’t even pretend to have answers to those. Religion used to exclusively have perceived answers, and people now pretend that they have grander explanations. Luckily for you, I don’t even pretend too have answers. I don’t even have an idea how to go about answering the question of intelligence and how it could be defined anyway that has not been prescribed by humans.

/I’m probably wrong…

WARNING! This post goes in the face of most established spiritual concepts and may result in frustration to some.

I have found myself questioning my belief structure a lot as of late.

When I was faced with my death five years ago, my thoughts on how there is no reason to anything were confirmed. This vindicated a lifetime of being a devoted atheist and solidified views on nihilism. The resulting several years have given me more than ample time to reflect on and research concepts that people have been arguing over for millennia.

So, what have my observations brought me to? It is clear when you read my latest book how I view life in particular, but in regards to our purpose in life I have always been a bit dodgy.

That fact relates right to how I view spirituality as a whole. It also explains my humour. It does not matter, there cannot be reincarnation (because it makes no sense) and there cannot be an afterlife. Therefore, when we die, we die.

Those more astute may ask “why do you claim reincarnation is impossible and an afterlife is silly?” and I cannot fault you for thinking that.

Reincarnation is the idea that we get reborn into another being. Now, this has been explained that we get brought back into another human and that we get brought back into animals. Both I find equally improbable and silly. To say that “we get brought back” is to admit that we have a soul. Fine, I say, but what defines a soul? I have looked it up, and find the definition unsatisfactory. To assume that we have a soul and nothing else is just horribly ignorant, and to say everything has a soul brings into question what everything is. It you use the definition where everything that is alive has a soul, what is considered alive? Are you including plants, cells, and animals? If you do, the argument could be made that you could come back as a brain cell and a skin cell could be the next generation. If your answer is no, then the definition of a soul is restrictive.

For an afterlife, you have to consider how long life has existed. How diverse all of everything is; how varied your day-to-day is. What definition is there to be considered for this afterlife? Do NOT say religion: that would imply that if you have no choice in your faith and everything is meaningless.

Seriously, though: all because Jim (you know, that guy who did that amazing thing that saved humanity) had no way of being involved with that one deity, he has no right to be in your afterlife? And what exactly does happen to him and his “soul?” If the argument is going to be hell, that is a full place. If the argument is purgatory, there are billions of people there. If that doesn’t matter because reasons, why did I not see the gates or door or whatever of these places when I died? Did I not really die because I came back? Were the doctors just mistaken on what there machine read, and they got kicks out of telling my family that I was gone?

I will end this by saying I am sorry if you became frustrated by any concept I dwelt on for more than a couple of words. I wrote this simply because I found myself being asked a lot about whether the character in my new book was dead or not. Please, leave any arguments below. Regardless of whether or not I respond, I will be thinking hard about what you have to say and I will be questioning my personal anguish in relation to your insights.