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Old 12-03-2019, 06:52 PM
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Is there any difference between not being born and being dead?


A century ago I did not exist nor will I exist a century hence (we'll assume that religions are all false). But is there a difference between those two states of non-existence? Is there a potentiality for life in both cases? And yeah, I'm getting old and clutching for straws.
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:58 PM
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Well, in the case of not being born yet, you have your whole life yet to look forward to ahead of you. After you're dead, not so much.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:48 PM
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Are you asking whether the experience is different, or whether your future in each case is different? Because the answers are no and yes, respectively.

I'll note that I personally find this rather comforting. There are lots of things worse than mere nonexistence.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:55 PM
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If you're never born, you have no legacy. If you're dead, you can leave behind children and assets and history that continue.

Think if Lister had never been born. Or Hitler.

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Old 12-03-2019, 07:59 PM
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You became slowly self-aware at some point after conception, putting it no more controversially than that. That's when *you* starts to exist

When you die, *you* ceases to be. It's not like you are going to be able to reflect on things, or worry about stuff undone, or how folk are getting on without you. You are gone, absent, null.

If you've had children there is continuity there. If you haven't, then that is a line of ancestry billions of years old that ended with you. I find that quite a thought, to be perfectly honest,
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:34 PM
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I’ve always thought that the answer to “where do you go when you die?” is “back to where you came from.” Which is to say that I don’t think there’s any difference to “me” 100 years ago and “me” 100 years from now.
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:41 PM
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We the undead were formerly the unborn but all things must pass. My decaying remains will feed further life. That's good enough for me.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:07 PM
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If one believes one did not exist before birth and will not exist after death, then both are states of nonexistence. By definition, nonexistence is the same no matter when it happens. Therefore, there'd be no difference.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:24 PM
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If you were born you existed and affected the world. In fact you probably always will exist because the passage of time seems to be an illusion of human perspective.

If you were never born then you do not and never did exist and you never had any effect on the universe. And you are also a member of a much, much, much larger group of never-realized possibilities; only a very small percentage all all possible people will ever exist.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
I’ve always thought that the answer to “where do you go when you die?” is “back to where you came from.” Which is to say that I don’t think there’s any difference to “me” 100 years ago and “me” 100 years from now.
God said it first! (Gen. 3:19, NKJV)
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For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:51 PM
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If you were born you existed and affected the world. In fact you probably always will exist because the passage of time seems to be an illusion of human perspective.

If you were never born then you do not and never did exist and you never had any effect on the universe. And you are also a member of a much, much, much larger group of never-realized possibilities; only a very small percentage all all possible people will ever exist.
Haven't been here in a while, so I hope I don't mess up my first post, but I remember the tendency to wish there was a like button or it be more acceptable to simply agree with a post without it being seen a non-content. This post is very accurate to my view on the question posed by the OP.

And yet, if one wanted to needlessly be a bother maybe they could respond, "If only a very small percentage of all possible people will exist, were those others possible?" But, not really interested in the reply. It's more rhetorical and annoying a question to begin with, not a true inquiry.

I mean, unrealized possibilities can't be measured. But you accounted for that. I feel like you could be more accurate, but lose relatability. Not that I have a right to grade. Nor am I trying to.

Now for my honest answer to the OP, which is hugely egotistical on my part to even imagine I know enough about the subject to reply. No one knows the answer. Yet, here we all are.

I would suggest, in my infinite wisdom (sarcasm and also nudge to the 'religions' comment) that only if one exists was there potential to ever exist. And the difference is there, and matters, but from what perspective we're measuring is not delineated. And the perspectives could be as countless as all the things that never did exist in themselves. Whether existence mattered depends upon the value one places on a life. The impact large or small and what it may have had. Which, of course, cannot be measured.

Going for the most objective answer possible, the fact that you existed at all must have mattered enough to happen. And it did. That cannot be denied. The why of your existence might be obscured, the impact, the worth. But it cannot ever be totally denied, as it was the result of many countless actions of this ever-expanding universe that life even came to be, and your species survived until your birth, and will survive after you.

But, are you insignificant? I think that is the heart of the question. I am assuming, but I think that the question was less academic than it was wistful and forlorn. We are all small when we compare ourselves to others. In truth, we see what amounts to no percent of the wide array of possibilities in life. And we often, to fit in and exist and find acceptance and love, shrink our worlds to fit the space we occupy. That makes our experience of life very distorted.

As a parting last ramble, I'll add that I am a very weird thinker. And I believe the only way out of that shrunken worldview and into a fully-aware perspective (so much as humans are capable of) is through learning. Facing fear when it is felt. Always asking why and believing the why is something you have the intelligence to glean and understand. It helps to create a separate, stubborn sense of self that discounts the opinions of the others or standards of others to exist. And it cannot be stopped because it is just one's own reasoning process that creates this unique, vast experience.

That's my attempt to respond to what I believe was the semi-sweet longing implied in the OP.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:57 PM
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This reminds me of the fact that even if I believed in reincarnation it would not comfort me in the least. Since I have no memories of previous versions of me (inarguable), I infer that a future me would have no memories of me and, for this version of me, I am my memories.

I have three children and six grandchildren, so I have some hope for future effect, but my main hope is that at least one of my mathematical ideas would survive as long as there are mathematicians.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:02 AM
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The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Stuff suggests that every possible thing that can happen must in fact happen in at least one universe ("world") somewhere. Some implications, or questions:

1. We've all, I suppose, heard of Quantum Immortality, the notion that there must be at least one "World" in which you live forever.
2. Does this also suggest there must also be a world in which you have already existed forever?
3. So there must also be a world in which you have existed forever in the past but will die in the future,
4. ...and a world in which you are born at some point in space-time, but will live forever into the future,
5. ...and a world in which you exist, have always existed in the past, and will always exist into the future.

And...
6. There must also be a world in which you have never existed, don't currently, and never will. You don't want to go there.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:21 AM
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The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Stuff suggests that every possible thing that can happen must in fact happen in at least one universe ("world") somewhere.
Who's to say that this isn’t the only possible universe ("world")? Because I personally am not yet satisfied that it is possible for the events of this universe to have played out any differently, from its inception up to the present, nor am I satisfied that the future of this universe and all the matter/energy in it is not set along a pre-determined path.

So, first demonstrate that it’s possible for some other universe to exist. Then we can talk about whether or not it’s possible for you to have lived forever in any possible universe. Then we can discuss whether such a universe with such a possibility realized must necessarily exist.

Put another way, you might posit that any given atom of Uranium-235 might spontaneously fission at any moment, but it’s not like you can dial back the clock (as in, through time travel) and actually put that theory into practice by re-running time and showing that in some timelines, other things being equal, that particular atom of U-235 spontaneously fissioned just now as I was typing, while in another it spontaneously fissions tomorrow, while in yet another it is the very last atom of U-235 left un-fissioned and un-decayed in the universe.

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Old 12-04-2019, 02:22 AM
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If you were born you existed and affected the world. In fact you probably always will exist because the passage of time seems to be an illusion of human perspective.
You may affect the world if you live some time after being born; otherwise, not much. And nonhumans (including plants and geology) seem affected as time passes. Did time exist before something resembling humans evolved? Does time exist on Ganymede?

Quote:
If you were never born then you do not and never did exist and you never had any effect on the universe.
It's genetic. If your parents never had children, you probably won't, either.

Quote:
And you are also a member of a much, much, much larger group of never-realized possibilities; only a very small percentage all all possible people will ever exist.
Oh, the zillions of human sperm and ova wasted in masturbation etc or menstruation! Oh, the quadrillions of possible people who will never exist! Oh, housing crisis averted!

I apply "human" loosely. The current count of known human species might be up to 15 or 17. Lots of bestiality interbreeding there led to zagillions more possible "people" who could never be. Oh, the humanity!

The spiritual implications of (non)existence probably involve alternate universes.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:24 AM
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Not to you, but not having been born yet does save on the funeral expenses.
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Old 12-04-2019, 03:14 AM
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A whole lot of drunken debauchery.
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Old 12-04-2019, 03:51 AM
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You may affect the world if you live some time after being born; otherwise, not much. And nonhumans (including plants and geology) seem affected as time passes. Did time exist before something resembling humans evolved? Does time exist on Ganymede?
Time is everywhere; it's the passage of time that is likely an illusion. The evidence seems to be that past, present and future are all equally real and co-existent.

And you (along with everything else) affect the entire universe and will continue to do so as long as it exists, in a sphere expanding at light speed.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:19 AM
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The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Stuff suggests that every possible thing that can happen must in fact happen in at least one universe ("world") somewhere. Some implications, or questions:

1. We've all, I suppose, heard of Quantum Immortality, the notion that there must be at least one "World" in which you live forever.
2. Does this also suggest there must also be a world in which you have already existed forever?
3. So there must also be a world in which you have existed forever in the past but will die in the future,
4. ...and a world in which you are born at some point in space-time, but will live forever into the future,
5. ...and a world in which you exist, have always existed in the past, and will always exist into the future.

And...
6. There must also be a world in which you have never existed, don't currently, and never will. You don't want to go there.
I believe #6 is unavoidable, under the circumstances.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:20 AM
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There must also be a world in which you have never existed, don't currently, and never will. You don't want to go there.
No, you *cant* go there!
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:46 AM
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What, no Monty Python jokes yet?
"You come from nothing, you go back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing!"
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:19 AM
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To me, and stating it to leave open the possibility of reincarnation.

1 - Not being conceived but in existence, a part/aspect of God (which is alive), but has not taken up a life of its own yet. So part of the Whole.
2- Conceived but now yet born, time with God, but time converting to a individual as well.
3- Born, becomes a human and a resident of this planet, has roots on earth and it's society.
4 - Alive as human, a member of humanity for the advancement of the soul and to be a aspect of God within humanity (some people go the other way, however God will turn this for the greater good in time)
5a - Leave the body, end of human existence, but the experience gained will go to advance the soul on it's journey
5b - Go into death, mainly for those who chose to cling to worldly things, they will experience death - as is their right to do so, the soul will still exist, but things will not be so nice, till they decide to leave that death behind.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:26 AM
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If one believes one did not exist before birth and will not exist after death, then both are states of nonexistence. By definition, nonexistence is the same no matter when it happens. Therefore, there'd be no difference.
This. Non existence has no attributes or characteristics. It's simply nothingness and can't be qualified.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:32 AM
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I'm going to assume that "not being born" means "was never conceived".

I think the fundamental difference between the two would be that never having been born means that you had ZERO impact on the universe- you aren't even 'you', you're just a statistical outcome that didn't happen.

Being dead means that in some way, you affected the universe- you interacted with your surroundings- you breathed, you took up space, you metabolized food, etc... So you're forever more than just a statistical outcome that didn't come to pass.

That's not even getting into the idea that there are souls and that never having existed means that your soul was never created, etc...
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Stuff suggests that every possible thing that can happen must in fact happen in at least one universe ("world") somewhere. Some implications, or questions:

1. We've all, I suppose, heard of Quantum Immortality, the notion that there must be at least one "World" in which you live forever.
2. Does this also suggest there must also be a world in which you have already existed forever?
3. So there must also be a world in which you have existed forever in the past but will die in the future,
4. ...and a world in which you are born at some point in space-time, but will live forever into the future,
5. ...and a world in which you exist, have always existed in the past, and will always exist into the future.

And...
6. There must also be a world in which you have never existed, don't currently, and never will. You don't want to go there.
And a world in which you are trapped in a room with hyenas for your entire existence, and are able to experience pain and fear, but cannot die.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:02 AM
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And a world in which you are trapped in a room with hyenas for your entire existence, and are able to experience pain and fear, but cannot die.
But if you never know life can be anything but eternal imprisonment with bloodthirsty hyenas, you dont know you even have it all that bad. /glass half full
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:03 AM
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Is there any difference between not being born and being dead?


I don't know yet.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:13 AM
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(we'll assume that religions are all false)
Does this rule out coming back as a zombie or a vampire?
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:15 AM
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But if you never know life can be anything but eternal imprisonment with bloodthirsty hyenas, you dont know you even have it all that bad. /glass half full
But surely, if you believe in this "all possible worlds" hypothesis, you must also grant that there is such a world in which you are aware that it is possible for people other than you to experience better things? Not only 'a' world, but infinitely many such worlds.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:39 AM
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...
I think the fundamental difference between the two would be that never having been born means that you had ZERO impact on the universe- you aren't even 'you', you're just a statistical outcome that didn't happen.
...
I would argue that this would make some impact on the universe under some conditions. If the woman felt the loss of the pregnancy, there is a difference that will ripple through. Is there something uniquely 'you' in that? Perhaps or not, but there appears to me to be a bond between mother and unborn child.

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Old 12-04-2019, 11:57 AM
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But surely, if you believe in this "all possible worlds" hypothesis, you must also grant that there is such a world in which you are aware that it is possible for people other than you to experience better things? Not only 'a' world, but infinitely many such worlds.
Absolutely. But how would the lone eternal human living in the universe of only aggressive hyenas ever come to such an awareness? How would they be aware that reality could possibly ever be anything different in any way that what they have experienced as the uniform totality of existemce? How would the concept of "other" have any meaning at all?
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:00 PM
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But surely, if you believe in this "all possible worlds" hypothesis, you must also grant that there is such a world in which you are aware that it is possible for people other than you to experience better things? Not only 'a' world, but infinitely many such worlds.
Sure, but where's the fun in that?
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti
(we'll assume that religions are all false)
Does this rule out coming back as a zombie or a vampire?
Only for the religious. Undead atheists could return somewhere. That certainly would reduce the crowding if all religions were true in this universe.

That's one prospect, you know. All religions (Scientologists excluded; they'll be devoured by Cthulhu) are true, all with their own paths to their own afterlives (if included). As the saying goes, "It's YOUR bible! They're YOUR rules! YOU go to Hell!"

Another prospect: Existence is suffering, therefore life is Hell. Pre-life and after-life may or may not be extensions of Hell. If not, then life is punishment. If so, then yikes. An optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. A pessimist fears this is so.

What is existence before and after existence? A dance in the sun, at best.
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:55 PM
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Well, in answering this question, the soul and its dispensation make all the difference in the world how one answers this question. However, since you insist on eliminating that for consideration, the easy answer is, no, it makes no difference.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:17 PM
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Same thing assuming you cease to exist at death.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:16 PM
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Absolutely. But how would the lone eternal human living in the universe of only aggressive hyenas ever come to such an awareness? How would they be aware that reality could possibly ever be anything different in any way that what they have experienced as the uniform totality of existemce? How would the concept of "other" have any meaning at all?
These would be the hyenas from the lion kind, of course. Are you saying that a believer in the "all possible worlds" hypothesis would reject the hypothesis that talking/sentient hyenas, who are nevertheless vicious, would be impossible, but everything else in the incredibly contrived scenario wouldn’t be?

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Sure, but where's the fun in that?
To the hyenas, it's hilarious! Can’t you hear them laughing?

BT

On a dead serious level, reverting to my genuine skepticism towards the "all possible worlds" hypothesis, I would say the difference between not being born and being dead is that a dead person has been empirically demonstrated to have been capable of being born. A hypothetical person who has not been born has not been empirically demonstrated to have been capable of being born. Thus we can say that the dead person's existence was at some non-zero (however negligible) period of time possible, whereas we cannot say the same for the unborn at this time.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:32 PM
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Same thing assuming you cease to exist at death.
But why make that assumption? Wouldn't you be open to a lot more possibilities if you were, well, open to more possibilities?

But I see the OP made that assumption, too:
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Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
(we'll assume that religions are all false). But is there a difference between those two states of non-existence? Is there a potentiality for life in both cases? And yeah, I'm getting old and clutching for straws.
If there were any chance of post-existence then it's much more fascinating. And a shit-ton more "potentiality for life".

It sounds a bit like "Tell me about the lands across the sea (we'll assume the world ends at the horizon)".

I'd love to hear people's conjectures about life before and after death, whether religious or not... if the OP would consider it.
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Old 12-04-2019, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Stuff suggests that every possible thing that can happen must in fact happen in at least one universe ("world") somewhere. Some implications, or questions:

1. We've all, I suppose, heard of Quantum Immortality, the notion that there must be at least one "World" in which you live forever.
2. Does this also suggest there must also be a world in which you have already existed forever?
3. So there must also be a world in which you have existed forever in the past but will die in the future,
4. ...and a world in which you are born at some point in space-time, but will live forever into the future,
5. ...and a world in which you exist, have always existed in the past, and will always exist into the future.

And...
6. There must also be a world in which you have never existed, don't currently, and never will. You don't want to go there.
You're making the rather overt error of assuming that all these scenarios are possible. For example I have personally come to the conclusion that 'have existed forever in the past' is an incoherent concept and that nothing with that property can ever exist. If you don't have a specific age at any given time, then you're not real. The closest you can get would be to have been born (or otherwise come into existence) at the dawn of time.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:26 PM
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Is there any difference between not being born and being dead?

That is the question, isn't it?

To be, or not to be?
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:50 PM
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Frank Capra answered this question in 1946, It's a Wonderful Life.

Last edited by aceplace57; 12-04-2019 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:09 PM
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Frank Capra answered this question in 1946, It's a Wonderful Life.
I distrust fluttering angels. They have their own agendas.

Back to the OP.

I see options for "never been born":

1) Nobody tries nowhere --> nullity.
2) Parents plan a child but fertilization fails.
3) Wasted sperm and ova spurt uselessly into the void.
4) Pregnancy occurs but embryo miscarries.
5) Mother has embryo removed.

Then there's "barely been born":

6) Various cultures don't consider an infant to be a "person" till they've survived X amount of time, from a few minutes to a few years.

Then there's "should not have been born" but that's another topic.
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:18 AM
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These would be the hyenas from the lion kind, of course. Are you saying that a believer in the "all possible worlds" hypothesis would reject the hypothesis that talking/sentient hyenas, who are nevertheless vicious, would be impossible, but everything else in the incredibly contrived scenario wouldn’t be?
I think we're not quite on the same page here. What I'm saying is what.would possibly give the lone person whose existence has only ever known one reality, that of the room with the hyenas, the insight into even the possibility of the existence of other human beings, much less of infinite alternate realities (universes)? Wouldn't a knowledge of and belief in the "all possible worlds" hypothesis depend on awareness of an existence beyond the room? And how would this awareness ever be achieved? What might provide the initial suspicion that there existed *anything at all* beyond the room?
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:21 AM
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Is there any difference between not being born and being dead?

That is the question, isn't it?

To be, or not to be?
No, to be or not to be is the wrong question. Not to be or never to have been? That's the question.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 12-05-2019 at 01:23 AM.
  #44  
Old 12-05-2019, 03:21 AM
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I think we're not quite on the same page here. What I'm saying is what.would possibly give the lone person whose existence has only ever known one reality, that of the room with the hyenas, the insight into even the possibility of the existence of other human beings, much less of infinite alternate realities (universes)? Wouldn't a knowledge of and belief in the "all possible worlds" hypothesis depend on awareness of an existence beyond the room? And how would this awareness ever be achieved? What might provide the initial suspicion that there existed *anything at all* beyond the room?
We’ve got a lone eternal person, somehow magic'ed into being in a room full of hyenas, and you’re concerned at how they could be made aware of the infinite worlds hypothesis?

As if we couldn’t also magic that knowledge into their head or make the hyenas talking hyenas capable of relating information (including scientific theories and unconfirmed hypotheses) like in the Lion King (that’s what I meant to say—king, not kind). Because, again, we’re entertaining the possibility of a lone eternal human here. Forget about whether or not talking hyenas could ever possibly exist in any reality (at which point getting a room full of them would be trivially easy) and just think about that for a minute. A lone. Eternal. Human.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 12-05-2019 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 12-05-2019, 04:43 AM
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We’ve got a lone eternal person, somehow magic'ed into being in a room full of hyenas, and you’re concerned at how they could be made aware of the infinite worlds hypothesis?

As if we couldn’t also magic that knowledge into their head or make the hyenas talking hyenas capable of relating information (including scientific theories and unconfirmed hypotheses) like in the Lion King (that’s what I meant to say—king, not kind). Because, again, we’re entertaining the possibility of a lone eternal human here. Forget about whether or not talking hyenas could ever possibly exist in any reality (at which point getting a room full of them would be trivially easy) and just think about that for a minute. A lone. Eternal. Human.
Ok, in that case, just let them eat cake.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:24 AM
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The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Stuff suggests that every possible thing that can happen must in fact happen in at least one universe ("world") somewhere. [...]
And...
6. There must also be a world in which you have never existed, don't currently, and never will. You don't want to go there.
Taken to its logical extreme, this multiverse theory must also mean that there is a Universe out there where there are no other Universes, but only a Monoverse. It is very interesting, but it makes my head spin. A nice feeling, btw.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:37 AM
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Is there any difference between being born and being dead?


Yes. The inconvenience in the middle.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:38 AM
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Taken to its logical extreme, this multiverse theory must also mean that there is a Universe out there where there are no other Universes, but only a Monoverse. It is very interesting, but it makes my head spin. A nice feeling, btw.
Only if that is a possible universe. So far, all we know is that there is at least one universe in which we (you and I) are unaware of the existence of other universes, or whether there even are other universes. No other universe has yet been empirically demonstrated to be possible. We have a sample size of one.
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Yes. The inconvenience in the middle.
*rubs forehead*
Yeah, tell me about it.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 12-05-2019 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:13 AM
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Only if that is a possible universe. So far, all we know is that there is at least one universe in which we (you and I) are unaware of the existence of other universes, or whether there even are other universes. No other universe has yet been empirically demonstrated to be possible. We have a sample size of one.


*rubs forehead*
Yeah, tell me about it.
After reading the last few posts, I had an epiphany... and I've formulated my belief as regards the Multiple Universes Theory:

I'll start thinking about multiple universes as soon as I figure out this one.
  #50  
Old 12-05-2019, 10:46 AM
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Is there any difference between not being born and being dead?


In regard to consciousness, or self-awareness both states are the same. Nothingness.
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