On Cosmic transfiguration and the afterlife

What follows is part of an email exchange. The identity of my correspondent shall remain private. The subject of this email is “Prot, What happend to previously dead people our grandfathers, forefathers?”.

  • Where are they ?

  • Where are all the billions of dead peoples our forefathers?

  • I was shocked . There is group of real scientist, doctors , psychologist , researching after life, when they found most of patient usually children who give details , family secret, names, of people or place they never heard, never gone to. what do you think what is this prot?

If there is like say after life, where are billions of people who died? or new who are new born? as population is increasing .

Do you have any video about this prot?

Starting from the end: no, I do not have a video on this topic. Though I will speak my mind about it.

As I told you in a previous message, I am of the view that there is no true birth or death in the Cosmos. Everything is subject to transfiguration. The same underlying substance takes forms which are deconstructed and reconstituted as new instances. A cycle everlasting. This is part of what I said in my video on “Cosmos, Logos, and the living universe” and which I will hint at throughout the rest of my commentary herein: https://protesilaos.com/books/2022-02-05-cosmos-logos-living-universe/.

What I mean by that is that everything necessarily comes from something and goes into something. It is impossible for something to come from nothing, to be in nothing, and to go towards nothing. This applies even to the Christian God who is claimed to have created the world “from nothing”: it cannot be true because God is not nothing (so if God is the starting point, it still counts as “something”).

From our perspective, birth and death are realities. They mark the boundaries of a certain phase during which a particular form is made manifest. They are not the “beginning” and “end” in absolute terms. They just appear as such even though the underlying reality is that of Cosmic transfiguration. Just how carbon and water are out there in our planet as seemingly lifeless elements, yet also are constituents of our very being. The human body is made from the same “star dust” as the rest of the world around us. What makes us different from, say, a dog and a tree is the specific combinations of elements, the systems of systems those produce, and the emergent phenomena derived therefrom.

So while we perceive of our human existence in linear terms, we already understand that nothing in the universe is coming from nothing and moves towards nothing. Birth is not the creation of life and death cannot be its end. These are but instances in a continuum where forms of life manifest and reform anew. Life is immanent: it is everywhere, to the point that all is life. Everything has Logos built-in: rate, ratio, reason, cause, language. Everything!

What transfiguration means is that nothing is ever lost and nothing is ever created from zero.

With those granted, let me answer your questions:

Prot , What happend to previously dead people our grandfathers, forefathers?

  • Where are they ?

  • Where are all the billions of dead peoples our forefathers?

In the immediate sense, they persist through us. Their genes form part of our genes. This, however, does not imply that they are us and that we are them. A part of them is present in incarnate form. Same principle for instincts, talents, character traits: they practically are codified experiences and/or underlying patterns of feedback loops passed on from one generation to the next (a feedback loop entails language).

This brings me to the point of what exactly is the human organism. Is it a constant or a variable? Is it monolith-like or a composite? Consider the concept of resurrection. You die and somehow are brought back to your human form. The body is restored and everything works the way it did. Which instance of the body? And what is “the body”, anyway? We consist of systems of systems. These have cells which subsist in a cycle of their own, while we also are the host of benign microorganisms whose presence is necessary for our existence (we have a symbiotic relationship with them). Because the cells and the microorganisms have shorter spans of transfiguration than we do, we have to conclude that the human organism is a variable: it is always changing. This organism that understands itself as “Protesilaos” is akin to a city where people come and go: the city lives on through the centuries, while each individual person does not. If we believe that the human organism exists as such, and not as a mere collection of its subsystems, then the city must also exist in the same way.

What does this say about individuality? That the point of no further division (individual==non-divisible (also see “atom” in its original sense, not the misnomer of physics)) is a matter of expedience: it has its utility in our everyday affairs, but is otherwise not representative of an indelible line separating scopes of application in the world. The perception of selfhood must thus be conceived as a continuum of increments, couched in terms of our variability. To resurrect someone is to pick an arbitrary instance of their self.

Is this all? Or is the human organism a system of systems that operates within a wider system of systems? Put differently, is a human self-contained, having a standalone presence? Or is it part of a greater whole? I will answer by way of an example. Right now there is a lot of dust in the atmosphere where I live. It makes it difficult to perform certain tasks, such as go hiking. It also affects my overall ability to write, as it makes me feel more tired than usual. This means that the “Protesilaos” with the extra dust in the air differs from the one without the extra dust, ceteris paribus. The weather defines my existence. And we can extend this to the very prerequisites for human sustenance, but you get the idea. The point is that in order to resurrect a given instance of a human, it is necessary to also recreate the conditions which framed and ultimately brought about said instance of human. If we extend this for ever-greater supersystems, we have to conclude that the resurrection of one instance requires the recreation of the entire universe, else the chain of dependencies will not be satisfied recursively.

In this regard, no set of factors, no concatenation of events, is ever exactly the same as before. Different loops of transfiguration entail incessant differentiation.

Which brings me back to your question: our forebears cannot persist as constants. Whatever remains of them is subject to differentiation. And whatever appears to be lost, is transfigured into new forms of being.

  • I was shocked . There is group of real scientist, doctors , psychologist , researching after life, when they found most of patient usually children who give details , family secret, names, of people or place they never heard, never gone to. what do you think what is this prot?

I will not comment on the findings of a research programme whose details I do not know and whose technicalities lie outside my area of expertise. A philosopher in their capacity qua philosopher can only connect the dots and trust in scientists to do their part in earnest.

Taking your claim at face value, this is not surprising. Our body comes with knowledge that we never learnt through direct experience, let alone a formal setting. The lungs knows how to breath and filter air. The heart knows how to beat and send blood to the rest of the system. The brain knows how to discern patterns and parse or guess their meaning. Muscles have a memory of their own. Our mitochondria are mini power plants that know how to convert energy that is ultimately useful for the human organism as a whole. And so on.

If some knowledge is inheritable and/or built-in and assuming we cannot identify a robust terminus, it follows that “some more knowledge” can also be passed on to next generations. Whether it can be retrieved, decoded, and rendered lucid is another discussion.

Ultimately though, this reminds me of a tenuous dichotomy we have between the genetic and epigenetic magnitudes: nature versus nurture. I understand them as analytical constructs, which means that they only have a standalone presence conceptually, not in their actuality. In truth, there is no “human nature” in abstract, in some pristine condition that we may study in vitro. What we can only ever study is the human in vivo and this necessarily involves experiences of all sorts: in short, it encompasses what would qualify as “nurture”.

If there is like say after life, where are billions of people who died? or new who are new born? as population is increasing .

If the afterlife is taken literally, then we already have that: it is called “life”. Life is immanent and everlasting. There is nothing before and nothing after it. The universe is alive. Life is ever-present. If, however, the afterlife is supposed to be a place where humans continue to exist after they die as a faithful copy of their self minus integral aspects of their selfhood, then I have some serious doubts.

In cultures I am aware of, there is a deep-seated belief that a human has a body and a soul. These are thought of as two distinct magnitudes, with the soul counting as the “real self”. The body is perishable, while the soul is eternal. To me, this contradicts the reality of the human organism I elaborate on earlier. If some dust can condition my existence, and if all other factors from my subsystems to the supersystems I am present in will inform, influence, frame, or otherwise determine my actuality, how can there be an immutable self? At its best, an immutable kernel of selfhood is just that: a kernel, not the whole thing. Consequently, even if the soul exists, it does not have a standalone presence and does not represent one’s true self.

Transfiguration implies that nothing is ever truly created or truly lost. The notion of a soul as some transcendent magnitude makes perfect sense poetically: it is easier to say that some kernel of selfhood persists in the universe, than to explain that actually a pattern in a structure of patterns (and systems of systems) may be reproduced—and be discernible—in another structure. While expressing myself with metaphors and similes, I can claim that an aspect of some ancient philosopher is present in me, made apparent through the inexorable inclination to do philosophy. Though such an ancient philosopher cannot be me, due to what I explained about resurrection: to reproduce a given instance of selfhood, the entire universe would have to be recreated in its given configuration.

In conclusion, nothing is ever lost and nothing is ever made out of nothing. What remains is a facet of Logos, which is present in everything: patterns of combinations, else language and reason, which inform emerging systems of systems. Everything persists as knowledge and as a memory of its presence. And everything is, in essence, a remix of available information: a reconstitution of factors in sequences which engender ever-changing states of affairs. The idea that there is an afterlife where humans continue to live as humans despite not having the corporeal presence that defines them as human simply is a testament to our anthropocentric biases.