Auteur Topic: Anatta en wedergeboorte  (gelezen 2012 keer)

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Anatta en wedergeboorte
« Gepost op: 08-01-2018 16:31 »
Goeiedag en een gelukkig nieuw jaar iedereen.

Ik ben een 26 jarige jongen/man uit België en denk al van jonge leeftijd graag na over verschillende ‘filosofische’ vragen. Wat is moraliteit? Hebbe we een vrije wil? Etc.

Om een niet zo lang verhaal nog korter neer te schrijven:  Op een gegeven moment ontdekte ik  dat de “Ik” of “zelf” zeer waarschijnlijk een illusie is en dat wedergeboorte (rebirth in het engels), de theorie van Boeddha over wat er gebeurt na de dood, zeer logisch is en waarschijnlijk zelfs waar.

Ik wil niet narcistisch of arrogant overkomen door dit te zeggen, maar ik heb gemerkt dat voor veel boeddhisten/ mensen die geïnteresseerd zijn in het boeddhisme het concept van Anatta (geen zelf) en de daaruit volgende theorie “wedergeboorte” niet echt duidelijk is.

Ik heb de uitleg origineel neergeschreven in het Engels en wou ze vertalen naar het Nederlands voor dit forum, maar ik stootte al snel op het probleem dat het Nederlands in mindere maten over de juiste woorden beschikt om de theorie duidelijk neer te schijven.

1.The Premises

I will start with the two premises that rebirth is based on:

Premise 1: The body or brain does not contain a soul. / There are no souls in the universe. (Anatta)

Premise 2: This isn’t how conscious experience and death works:
Conscious experience follows continuous streams, and when a stream ends or is cut a ‘person’ dies.

2.three questions

I want you to quickly think about the following three questions:

1: Teleportation:

If you teleport a human, will the same ‘person’ experience the conscious experiences created by the brain before and after teleportation?

2: Worm butterfly:

In case you did not know: In the cocoon, a caterpillar doesn’t “grow wings onto its body”, but rather dissolves its whole body into a mush of cells which then reform into a butterfly
Are the butterfly and the worm the same person? In other words; are the experiences of the worm and the butterfly experienced by the same person or ‘experiencer'?

3: Conscious robot.

It’s the far future and humans are capable to create conscious robots. We have a robot which is conscious just like you and me. It has a bunch of sensors as input signals and multiple mechanic arms and tripod like legs as output possibility’s. Its central ‘brain’/‘computer’ processes the input signals and creates a proper output to guide it through the world. Much the same way our brain logically processes its incoming signals (our senses) to generates a proper output (to our muscles etc.) to guide its biological robot though the world.

Off course the scientists want to make sure that throughout time, all the conscious experiences are experienced by the same ‘experiencer’ or ‘person’ but at which point do we kill one?  Can we turn of our robot and turn it back on the next day?  Are we allowed to alter our robot, and in which way?

3. The self/anatta

The following is a quote from Sam Harris:

“I’m not arguing that consciousness is a reality beyond science or beyond the brain or that it floats free of the brain at death. I’m not making any spooky claims about It’s metaphysics . What I am saying however is that the self is an illusion. The sense of being an ego, an I, a thinker of thoughts in addition to the thoughts. An experiencer in addition to the experience. The sense that we all have of riding around inside our heads as a kind of a passenger in the vehicle of the body. That’s where most people start when they think about any of these questions. Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like there inside the body. And most people feel they are inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion. It makes no neuro-anatomical sense. There’s no place in the brain for your ego to be hiding. We know that everything that you experience – your conscious emotions and thoughts and moods and the impulses that initiate behavior – all of these things are delivered by a myriad of different processes in the brain that are spread over the whole of the brain. They can be independently erupted. We have a changing system. We are a process and there’s not one unitary self that’s carried trough from one moment to the next unchanging. And yet we feel that we have this self that’s just this center of experience.” – Sam Harris- Neuroscientist

“In Buddhism, the term anattā (Pali) or anātman (Sanskrit) refers to the doctrine of "non-self", that there is no unchanging, permanent self, soul or essence in living beings.” – Wikipedia

However  “The early Buddhist texts suggest that Buddha faced a difficulty in explaining what is reborn and how rebirth occurs, after he innovated the concept that there is "no self" (Anatta).”

When we use names like Bob or Lisa, we use them to identify groups of cells (body’s) or the evolution thereof, however this body doesn’t contain an effective ‘person’, ‘soul’ or “thinker of thoughts”

The feeling/ illusion  of the self

Although an effective ‘experiencer’ or ‘self’ is invisible, we can logically deduct at which point the feeling of the self will emerge .

1 Information:

When ‘Bob’ has an experience (A) in which he thinks about what he ate yesterday (B)
This experience (A) is an experience that exists. In it is visual and other information encoded recorded by (B).
(A) also knows that the recording of this information was coupled with experience.
Naturally (A) will think it also experienced (B)

If we teleport a human, then naturally the experiences created after teleportation will have the feeling of a common self with the experiences before teleportation, given the information within them.

I quickly want to make a definition; Conscious experience that share information and follow each other up in time are what I will call “information chains of experience” .

2.The body:

The most logical place for consciousness to be created in a law based universe is in the form of life.
Because of this, conscious experience that share information are (basically) always found in the same group of cells or evolution thereof. We are therefore inclined to identify with our body’s.

Take the worm-butterfly example. If butterflies had any decent thinking ability it wouldn’t be unnatural for it to have the feeling, or the inclination to think that ‘he’  used to be a worm, since we are talking about the same group of cells or evolution thereof.

The same probably counts for you, sure ‘you’ were also the baby your mother gave birth to all these years ago, ‘you’ experienced it’s experiences.

4. Two thought experiments

I will try to explain rebirth using two different  experiments.

Experiment 1:

We have scientists who create 10 conscious robots. They let them live for a while, and then from time to time they destroy some of the robots, and from time to time they create new ones.

(you can also do this experiment with humans if you want)

Experiment 2: The apartments thought experiment.

We have a drug which is capable to regulate to which part of the brain memory is written/read.

We put Bob in the following building; It consists of a central room with a bed, and surrounding it are 10 different apartments which Bob can access from the central room.

Each of these 10 apartments are different, and has different things to do in them.

We will label the apartments with numbers 1,2,3 etc.

Bob will live a day in apartment 1, then goes to sleep in the central room, after which he spends a day in apartment 2 and again sleeps in the central room.

He does this with all the apartments after which he starts again with apartment 1 and continuous this loop during the experiment.
Depending in which apartment Bob will live in the next day, he will be given the correct drug so that he can read/write the memories of that specific apartment. Memories of different apartments are not saved in the same part of the brain.

Because of this when Bob participates with the experiment, he appears to be experiencing the life of only one apartment.
When he lives a day in apartment 1, and goes to sleep, the next thing he knows is that he once again needs to go to apartment 1.
When Bob experiences apartment 5, it seems to him that he only experiences apartment 5. When apartment 5 is boring or has bad living conditions he can say it was just bad luck that ‘he’ ended up in apartment 5.

Also when Bob participates with the experiment, there isn’t a chance that he is going to die doing it. It is not that because there could’ve been 11 apartments, 10/11 of him will survive, and there is a 1/11 chance that Bob will die and be in some sort of ‘eternal nothingness’ because apartment 11 does not exist. In essence Bob can’t end up or ‘collapse’ with a non-existing apartment.

We can also expand the experiment:

Bob can communicate with the different apartments via email and we could give each apartment a different  job, for example Bob from apartment 1 is a mailman, apartment 2 is a cashier, apartment 3 a taxi driver etc.  Each will have different salaries, coworkers and friends. In essence each apartment will have their own live.

As a last edition, the scientist who run the experiment will let the original ten apartments live for a while, after which from time to time they end some apartments from existing, and from time to time they create new apartments.

What’s really, really important with this experiment is that you visualize it from a first person perspective.


If premise 1 and premise 2 are true, in other words; if we live in a universe in which the body doesn’t contain a soul, locus of consciousness or experiencer (1) and conscious experience doesn’t go by uncut streams or otherwise the ‘experiencer’ by default changes (2), then both experiments can be described in the following way:  The laws of physics start off creating, over time, ten information chains of experience, after which from time to time information chains end, and from time to time new information chains start. However there are no literal souls, selves or experiencers in the universe who experience the different experiences of those chains. In other words: there is never a literal experiencer in addition to the experience
 Bob the self/ experiencer does not literally exist in the second experiment.

Offline MaartenD

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Re: Anatta en wedergeboorte
« Reactie #1 Gepost op: 08-01-2018 21:30 »
Beste Filosoof,

Welkom op boeddhaforum! Het is fijn je werk te lezen. Vermoedelijk komen we er samen wel uit met de vertaling naar het Nederlands.

Je boude bewering Premise 1: The body or brain does not contain a soul. / There are no souls in the universe. (Anatta) brengt me de Sabbasava sutta in gedachten waarin de Boeddha spreekt van een 'thicket of views' typerend voor de onopgeleide wereldling zich bezighoudt met vragen die niet de juiste zijn. Anatta betekent mijns inziens niet direct 'er bestaat geen ziel'. Dit is een extreme visie, net als de idee 'er bestaat een vaste ziel'.

Anatta kan niet bestaan los van de rest van de Dhamma. We leren ook over anicca, dat we rechtstreeks op het zelf kunnen toepassen maar dan maar beweren dat er niks is, gaat te kort door de bocht. Tenslotte kunnen arahants al 'hun' vorige levens zien en is er zoiets als citta, weliswaar steeds veranderlijk van moment tot moment maar wel coherent en aansluitend. Maar misschien snap ik je bedoeling niet omdat ik er zelf nog te weinig van weet.

Wellicht wil je je ideeën nog wat verder uitwerken zodat ik het ook begrijp?

Met warme groet,