*Note, I think I'll label the following sections, in case people want to skip what they aren't interested.
Nietzsche, the Ubermensch and My Views
Now, on to the ideas! I'll start with Nietzsche, and the Ubermensch. This concept has been in my head, ever since high school when I was asked to find out some stuff about Neitzsche. At first, Nietzsche's ideas seemed ridiculous to me. However, once I read more of him, and read direct translations instead of people's interpretations... I found I agreed more than I thought I would, and that it was really a great deal of the interpretation that I disagreed with. Moreover, I find that some of what I've directly advocated for the past... year or so, again fits in well with his ideas of the Ubermensch. Namely, questioning the current moral laws and religions, and coming up with your own morals and interpretations... and also an understanding that it is entirely what is done in this life that matters, that you shouldn't do things expecting a reward or punishment after you die... that that should bear no relevance whatsoever on the actions you take in this world, it is part of a lower morality. I find it very interesting that, at least for me, my beliefs, and what I've read from philosophers, logic, religion... to me, they are all pointing in the same way. I see little difference among peoples' goals and cultures (though the diversity is good!), from the philosophers, scientists and revolutionaries of the world. However, this is where I believe I depart from Nietzsche... while ego and my self mean less and less to me, and possession is really an illusion to me now, I have not really created my own morality. I don't live in a world of pure interpretations; I went down as far as I could, and instead of finding nothing, I found solid ground. The concept of creating your own morality bothered me... because to me, it seemed for life to be successful, for people to be successful, they must work together or at least not directly opposed to each other... that there had to be some basis that was shared.
Ants, Bees and Consciousness (Or ABCs)
The next thing I'd like to talk about is consciousness again (now isn't that a surprise?). This was made fresh in my mind when this past week, I asked my old biology teacher (as in she used to be my biology teacher, she isn't actually old at all!) about ants and bees and other hive organisms... basically asking about something that struck me last summer I believe. Namely, that it doesn't make sense to call individual ants or bees the unit of organism... because the unit of reproduction is actually at the level of hive, individual ants and bees are basically just workers for the hive; they are like cells. They even have specialized cells, as some ants are workers, there are some defenders and the queen and males as the reproductive units. She agreed (as did another biology teacher in the room), that it made sense for the actual level of organism to be the hive... I believe I mentioned this concept in a previous LiveJournal entry. Anyway, that got me thinking... that we are basically a collection of cells, though packed more closely than an ant... so, since we are conscious, is it possible for a hive to be conscious? Basically, can a collection of individuals know something that not an individual one of them do? Clearly, this is the case... since from our brains, we have consciousness (unless we attribute actually consciousness to a soul). So it therefore makes sense for a group of people, or for a hive... to have a consciousness, at least on the surface.
First we should explore how a collection of things can carry information that not a single one does. Let's use the example with... I was going to say Star Bright, or whatever that kids toy was called, but people may not know that... ok, let's say with a bunch of pennies lying flat on the ground. Each individual penny is either on heads or tails... and you can make a pattern with it, so that if you have a big square of pennies, you can make a smiley face using one side, with all the others facing the other way (or use a coin with a different colour on each side, that might be easier). Thus, the smiley face is apparent, when no individual penny had that information. However, I have previously said (and I'll stand by that statement), that there are no truly emergent properties in the universe. I'll now add that you can store more information at a higher level however. So... if we picture some cells in our brain as being either on or off and making different patterns, that can be one basis for consciousness... as an overall pattern with more information is created; the group collectively know something the individuals do not.
However, there is a problem with this. For the happy face to have any meaning, there must be an observer... a single entity that can take it all in to recognize this additional information. The only way I can see that being possible is if the mind is like a mirror for itself... but still, that doesn't really make sense, though it sounds really good. Basically, for that extra information to have meaning, there must be a level beyond it that is capable of seeing all the parts at the same time, and finding a whole from it. So while an ant swarm or group of bees may appear conscious, and to be containing more information that the individual bees, unless it has this extra level able to examine all of itself and see that meaning, it would not have consciousness. However, where does this property come from in people? At the moment, I am only left with the idea of a soul, but I will continue to think on it. Any input on this is appreciated!
History and the Mind of God
Another thing I want to talk about is history. From the understanding of the universe that I've developed, in a very real way, there is only the present. However, the past always seemed important to me... I didn't want the past not to matter, even though it influences what currently exists. In my last post I think, in the comments section, I said that if someone could completely understand all aspects of another person, everything about them... they wouldn't really need to exist anymore, that their perspective would no longer be unique. That got me thinking... if there is a God who is omniscient, then presumably God would fully understand all aspects of... basically everything, and that we really could just be an idea in the mind of God. Then I realized that this also provides a way for history to matter, even if it is forgotten. If God remembers everything, this is basically a back up of the entire history of the universe... and each moment that has already occurred continues to exist in a manner (which is what I always believed and felt, but recently I didn't see how that was possible).
Clarification on Love
Finally, I just wanted to clarify... for love in the last post, part of what I believe is in two people becoming one in a way... not completely one, but in joining together, in many ways, to create something new. I just didn't want to leave out the joining together part!
So, that should be it for now! Long post, I know... By the way, the subject of this post is a quote taken from King's Quest VI, in the territory of the bookworm, by one of his... creatures... called Oxymoron. For any who read all or part of this entry... thank you! Welcome to the mind of Daniel Nadolny :P Maybe one day you'll see how deep the rabbit hole really goes ;) Have a great weekend to you all!