There is no Death! There is no Life either! (A child, a brain map and a coincidence? – Part II)

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Some days ago Harmonia Philosophica posted an article about how a Truth Puzzle filled in by a child was amazingly enough indicating something that could be of importance for philosophy (check the “There is no Death! (A child, a brain map and a coincidence?) article”).

Now a new twist was added to the plot.

Some days after the Truth Puzzle was filled in the way it was (missing ‘Death’ as one can read in the above-mentioned article) the same child struck again.

During a discussion about life and what life means, the child simply asked the obvious…

‘How do you know you are alive?’

(silence)

‘But I can eat!’ I answered back.

‘So? You are not alive!” said the child and giggled.

(laughter)

To cut the long story short, to whatever I said the child continued to answer back that there is no proof I am alive. And this discussion brought into my mind the previous Truth Puzzle instance and the lessons learned from that. For the same lesson should be learned from this story as well.

Of course the child was playing. Yet, within that funny game of denying the obvious (that I am alive), it showed something very serious and important: Why should we take for granted anything? Our knowledge about metaphysical questions regarding existence and being is zero. We do not know what the cosmos is, we do not even know what our consciousness is, if such thing even exists. The greatest philosophers and scientists have tried to answer such questions regarding the nature of our life and failed miserably.

So who are we to claim that we are alive?

Is it because we feel something? But what does that mean and how can we interpret it with zero knowledge about the meaning of all this ‘something’ that we feel? How can we even know what we see and sense is real without any objective definition of the the infamous ‘Reality’ to begin with? How can we say that someone ‘is’ alive if we have not even reached a consensus on what ‘Is’ is?

It reminds me of the story with the captive Vietnam general who once told his American interrogator that the Vietnamese did not believe they would win the war. The Americans were so much leased with the answer that did not even bother to check out the rest of the interrogation transcript. Because if they did they would see that the same general, when asked if he thought the Americans could win the war, he also answered No…

Question the obvious we must.

And the most obvious thing is our self.

Are alive?

Are we dead?

(Does it matter?)

All I can hear…

Is laughter…

There is no Death! (A child, a brain map and a coincidence?)

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‘No death’ brain map

Harmonia Philosophica has already published articles for the use of brain maps to solve the great philosophical problems of humankind. Check the relative article here.

In summary, the ‘Truth Puzzles’ in Harmonia Philosophica are nothing more than simple brain maps with all the major elements of philosophy (life, death, existence, being, God, truth, phenomena, faith, self, others, knowledge, thinking, consciousness, nothingness, One). Every once in a while we try to draw one new Truth Puzzle (brain map) with all these elements and put random connections between them to indicate the relationship between them. For example an arrow drawn from God to Existence could indicate that God is the source of existence. The connections could be without arrows or with bi-directional arrows as well. There are no rules.

But how are the Truth Puzzles filled in? Based on what thought? Based on what principles?

That is the beauty of it!

The connections in the brain maps are filled in randomly as the writer of the brain map sees fit!

There are no principles!

No thinking!

But could such a random process produce any meaningful result? one might ask…

Sure it can!

Why shouldn’t it?

We know so little about life, death, existence and all the other elements of philosophy, that thinking has not managed to bring us any inch closer to the truth, if such thing ever exists. Our best shot in finding the ‘solution’ to the great philosophical problems of humankind is to just start drawing lines in random based on our instinct or just based on… nothing! Who knows? One of those Truth Puzzles could hold the answer we have been searching for since Plato. And if non-thinking sounds weird to you, read related articles in Harmonia Philosophica about non-thinking (with the tag ‘against thinking’ or ‘non-thinking’) and you will understand what we are talking about here. In short, structured thinking is as good as the principles on which it is based upon. And our thinking about the abovementioned elements of philosophy is based on pure ignorance.

But let us go back to the point at hand.

One day I asked from a child to fill in a brain map. I had entered all the elements and just asked from the child to fill in the relationships between ALL the elements of the Truth Puzzle with whatever way it saw fit.

The child liked the game and started filling in the brain map relationships.

When it finished, it gave the brain map back to me.

To my amazement, this is what it had handed over…

‘No death’ brain map (Truth Puzzle)

The child had put relationships (arrowless relationships to be exact – but having arrows was never a requirement) between all elements of the Truth Puzzle.

Except for one.

The element of ‘Death’ was omitted from the relationships!

After discussing we found out that this was done because the left hand of the child was on top of the ‘Death’ word while filling in the puzzle, something that by itself does not reduce the importance or the amazement element of the coincidence (I would rather say that it increases it, if we see this as a more fundamental way in which the ‘Death’ element was hidden completely from the eyesight of the child). A coincidence that it could alone be the topic of a separate dedicated article. I am sure Jung would be very much interested in such a coincidence had he came upon such.

Yet, I am not talking about the coincidence of omitting only the ‘Death’ element from the Truth Puzzle. What I am talking about is something much more fundamental: The child did not use all the elements in the brain map even though it was told to do so! This might sound mundane to you, but it not. We constantly make assumptions in our thought and based on these assumptions we produce more thoughts. We deduce conclusions, we derive theorems, we build science and cultivate philosophy. However we keep on forgetting that our assumptions are here only to be questioned and replaced by new ones at our own free will!

In the Truth Puzzles I created I made the assumption that all these great words (Truth, Death, Life, Existence, …) should all somehow be connected with each other.

A random (and beautiful) coincidence reminded me of the need to be more vigilant of my own dogmatism. I should never take for granted rules that I myself invented.

This applies to me, to you, to all philosophers, to all scientists, to all thinkers, to all humans. We should constantly question the obvious and make irrational thoughts. Only the irrational is free enough to actually produce valid results without the need for unfounded assumptions.

At the end, I am not certain whether there Death does not exist.

But from now on, I will also keep in mind that I do not know whether Death exists either…

Related Articles

Santa Claus exists. And tooth fairies. And mermaids. Oh, and so do you…

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Small children believe in Santa Claus. They are thrilled when the presents arrive and even try to find proof that he exists by placing cookies for the saint to eat along with a glass of milk…

But we are grown ups. We know that he doesn’t exist.

And we all struggle and question ourselves. Should we let them be? Should we perpetuate the lie or should we inform our children that he is just a fantasy, along with fairies and unicorns?

Such a wrong dilemma.

Rational people tied up into the chains that they created.

Could we be more wrong?

I am not going to get into the ‘Saint Nicolas was a real person’ line of thinking. Indeed Saint Nicolas was a real person and he indeed gave gifts to the poor. One could simply argue (and he would not be far away from the truth) that it is the spirit of Saint Nicolas – a very real person that did exist – that still endures and makes all those presents be. Every parent follows his example when dressing up like Santa Claus (a name Saint Nicolas came be known by because of his Dutch nickname, Sintar Klaas – see here).

I could also go into more extreme arguments, like the quantum superposition argument. One can read here an interesting article on how Santa Claus exists and is in fact a macroscopic quantum phenomenon, with its wavefunction collapsing when into ‘dad’ when Santa Claus is observed. It is quite amusing to see how our definition of reality and the limited knowledge we have about it can give birth to multiple ideas that question the most common of our beliefs. Do not take this article as an amusement article only. Our knowledge for reality IS limited. Our senses and NOT reliable. We know NOTHING about being or existence per se. As Oscar Wilde once said, the most serious things are said in jokes…

But there is a more fundamental line of thinking that can explain and justify the existence of Santa Claus. As Harmonia Philosophica has tried to explain for years and years, asking the simple questions is the way of true philosophers. And as many of you know, philosophers have been trying to find out answer to the most fundamental questions of humankind but with no success. Many might believe that this means they have failed. But that would be incorrect. For the purpose of true philosophers is not to lead to the truth, but to make it clear that we can know nothing about it. Because such thing as the ‘truth’ does not exist. (Non-thinking is the way towards the cosmos, try to read more in Harmonia Philosophica about it).

So let us re-examine our question.

“Does Santa Claus exist?”

Aristotle once said that any question contains its answer. So true. “Does Santa Claus exist?”. A phenomenally simple and innocent question that is loaded with so many beliefs and so much dogmatism. A question saying so many things about the people who ask it. It implies that we know about existence. It implies that we know who and what exists and what does not. It implies that non-existence is also… existent. Last but certainly not least, by asking about the existence of Santa Claus we clearly imply that he might not. We wouldn’t be asking for the existence of our self for example, would we?

“Does Santa exist?”

Let me ask another thing though.

What about you?

Do YOU exist?

Foolish question it seems. But not so foolish after careful consideration. How do I know you are there? Perhaps because of some undeniable proof? Should I take your word for it? Why should I believe you are a human and not a perfectly programmed robot? How could I know you are saying because of your own free will and not because your cells are programmed to do so? Could you convince me your are not a zombie? (The Zombie argument is a cool argument by the way for the existence or non-existence of consciousness)

Mermaids exist. They just hide beneath rocks when we look for them…

~ unknown kid

What is more, what IS existence? What does it mean to exist? Philosophers for thousands of years have not solved that problem so how could you even consider saying that you exist? What IS Being? The greatest philosophers of all times failed to give an answer. So how could you be so arrogant to claim that you “are” and others not? What IS reality? Who can claim that he or she has access to that magical thing called ‘reality’ without discarding thousands of years of philosophy trying and failing to find out what that thing is? Even for the phenomena we observe, the surface of the ocean we swim in, our senses and science can only explain a minor fraction of that world we capture with our senses; let alone things that lie beyond them. So what makes you so arrogant as to ask such a dramatic question?

The only argument you have for your existence is your feeling and knowledge that you do. Feelings and knowledge that you cannot transmit to others no matter how hard you try.

Guess what.

Santa Claus exists for children for exactly the same reasons!

This is not a shallow trick-argument to solve the problem. No. As already mentioned above, our total lack of knowledge regarding what existence and being are is totally true. Our total inability to know what ‘reality’ is also is something totally true. What we really KNOW are the things we have immediate experience of. Our existence. Our thoughts. Our consciousness. A peach we eat. A lonely summer night. The love of our parents that are here. Santa Claus bringing gifts which we sleep…

Something magical.

And because of that, truer that anything can ever be.

You see, magic in life is something we forgot. And yet, it still drives our destiny.

Love is magical. Our own life is magical. Santa is magical.

But we got carried away. And again we forgot the simple question we started with. “What about you?” we asked. Tell me my child, do you exist? How do you know? More importantly. How do I know? All my science, all my knowledge, all my philosophy cry out loud that I could never be certain for the existence of anyone else than me. And yet, I am certain for your existence. More than I am certain about my own!

You see…

It is not Santa Claus that is magic.

It was never a question of whether he existed.

It is all about you my child.

It was about you from the beginning.

You are magical!

Believing in good in a place full of evil. Loving and caring without expecting anything in return.

You DO exist!

Now go get your presents.

Santa was here while you were asleep…

Questions… Hiding the Answers…

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We keep on asking our selves how we can live forever.

We keep trying to find answers on deep philosophical questions for the meaning of life.

We insist on trying to find out what ‘reality’ is.

Only because we are afraid.

To admit that there are no answers to our questions.

We always knew that.

You see, the questions we pose are not here to reveal the answers.

But to conceal them.

For we knew the answers from the moment we thought the questions.

Questions that never existed anyway.

We thought of those questions.

In a void world full of nothing but existence.

How could there be answers to things we ourselves thought of?

Look at the calm lake.

The only reason you are asking so many questions about the waves on its surface.

Is because you want to hide.

The fact that your are the one disturbing its peace…

Oh, humans.

Gods.

Destroyers of the world…

If only you kept silent.

You would hear all the answers…

Inside the void that bred them.

Truth Puzzles: Solving the mysteries of the world…

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Philosophers have pondered on the answers to the great metaphysical questions of humankind for aeons…

And they have failed miserably to find definitive answers.

Every philosopher has his or her own views, which usually are in complete opposition to the views of other philosophers.

There is currently no way to decide who is right and who is wrong. Perhaps there will never be.

Truth puzzles are here to the rescue!

But what are they?

Simply put, they are a way to easily and quickly draft your thoughts on how the great elements of philosophy and life connect to each other.

The elements of the puzzle are the major elements that trouble philosophers for centuries: God, existence, Being, self, others, life, death, phenomena, reality, One, faith, nothingness, knowledge, senses, thought, consciousness. You can of course add more as you please, but these are the major ones.

Major elements of a Truth Puzzle

The goal of a truth puzzle is to draw the connections between these elements.

How to fill in the puzzles?

It is very easy: Just take all the elements, draw them on a paper and then connect them! The connections could be simple lines, lines with arrows or even lines with explanations detailing the nature of the connections.

I have created Truth Puzzles on paper while sitting for coffee, or with any of the various mind mapping applications available. For example the below image was created with the miMind Android application. Any brain map application will do the trick.

Truth Puzzle 2021-07-24 by me

Now the important part of the instructions: Don’t think too much!

As said already, the solution of the problem is not evident and perhaps will never be! So don’t bother with thinking. Just like in automatic writing, let yourself go and just randomly draw lines and connections between the elements of the puzzle!

Given the complex nature of the problem and our almost total ignorance of what life and existence truly are, there is really no point in trying to think how to draw the Truth Puzzle.

Truth Puzzle 2021-07-25 by Karpouzi

And to be honest, randomly drawing without the arbitrarily created obstacles by human-defined logic, could be the best shot we ever had at the problem in the first place!

So go on and have fun!

Fill in your Truth Puzzles, share it with your friends or even send it to Harmonia Philosophica for publication and, you never know…

What you created might be the solution of the mysteries of the world that Parmenides and Aristotle were looking for…