When did life start? Weird human memory.

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Confucius
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I don't know about anyone else but my life started at around 3/4 years old because that's as far as I can remember. I have tried to remember what has happened before that, but it seems as if I popped into existence at 3 years old. Where did the rest of my life go. Also Year 3 and 5 have just vanished from my memory, the whole two years. Its weird not knowing what happened before you and how you even came into existence. So what happens when we die? Surely we don't just go into blackness or just die. I mean we have no concept of what nothingness is or what life is. So surely there has to be a God and we cant just disappear our consciousness cant just vanish, think about it, it has to stay with you somewhere. And we dont even remember how we came into existence.

So this is why I cant bring myself to think there isnt a God, there has to be. Athiests what do you think?
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skunkboy
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Under hypnosis or meditation, you could remember what happened while you were still existing in your mom's womb.



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arcturus7
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(Original post by Confucius)
I don't know about anyone else but my life started at around 3/4 years old because that's as far as I can remember. I have tried to remember what has happened before that, but it seems as if I popped into existence at 3 years old. Where did the rest of my life go. Also Year 3 and 5 have just vanished from my memory, the whole two years.
I have vague recollections of all parts of my life from about age 3 onward, getting better as time goes on. I can remember bits of every academic year I've studied.

(Original post by Confucius)
Its weird not knowing what happened before you and how you even came into existence.
But I do know both of these things; I studied history and biology. I know lots of stuff about what happened before I existed, despite not physically being there or being alive. I also know exactly how I came into being. It's not as though we don't know how we came into existence...

(Original post by Confucius)
So what happens when we die? Surely we don't just go into blackness or just die. I mean we have no concept of what nothingness is or what life is. So surely there has to be a God and we cant just disappear our consciousness cant just vanish, think about it, it has to stay with you somewhere. And we dont even remember how we came into existence.

So this is why I cant bring myself to think there isnt a God, there has to be. Athiests what do you think?
Sure we can. You didn't exist in 1750; to you, 1750 is just inky blackness. You were nothing then, and you'll probably be nothing by 2150 as well. You are only alive for the most fleeting glimpse of cosmic time - you are kept alive by your body and when that fails, there is nothing. You cease to be. Your consciousness is nothing more than brain chemistry and electrical signals, and if the signals stop and the chemistry stagnates, your brain stops functioning. You no longer are able to process information and react to it.

Life itself in my opinion has no purpose. It just is. I am totally unpersuaded by any argument which suggests that life has some sort of ultimate goal, or that tries to explain life as being anything other than a happy quirk of chemistry. I don't believe it was created by a deity, I believe it arose totally naturally and spontaneously when the necessary constituents came together under the correct conditions. I have to accept this hypothesis for now, since it is the only testable and falsifiable one I can imagine. If it turns out to be proven wrong, I'll update my opinions. Until then, I will trust the biologists to find an answer that doesn't involve invoking the almighty.

Life and mortality certainly aren't proofs of God. It's just a belief that is propagated to make people feel better about dying; you choose to believe that some part of you lives on after death. There's nothing wrong with this per se, and if it makes you more comfortable then carry on believing it - it certainly isn't a damaging belief. I simply object to people appealing to life/death as a proof of God, when it isn't.

As an atheist I find it completely acceptable to believe that when I die I just stop existing. I'm fine with that. I just accept that this is my one life and I should make the most of it while I still breathe, because there's a damn good chance I wont get another shot at it.

My thoughts on death are summed up by very succinctly and eloquently by Epicurus;

Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist as long as I do?
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KeepYourChinUp
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(Original post by arcturus7)
...
Fantastic post. Enjoyed reading

(Original post by Confucius)
I don't know about anyone else but my life started at around 3/4 years old because that's as far as I can remember. I have tried to remember what has happened before that, but it seems as if I popped into existence at 3 years old. Where did the rest of my life go. Also Year 3 and 5 have just vanished from my memory, the whole two years. Its weird not knowing what happened before you and how you even came into existence. So what happens when we die? Surely we don't just go into blackness or just die. I mean we have no concept of what nothingness is or what life is. So surely there has to be a God and we cant just disappear our consciousness cant just vanish, think about it, it has to stay with you somewhere. And we dont even remember how we came into existence.

So this is why I cant bring myself to think there isnt a God, there has to be. Athiests what do you think?
To experience nothingness would be the same as if you were never born in the first place. Before you were born, you had no idea the universe was here. Let me just be clear that you never forget anything. Everything you ever see, hear, read, smell ect is stored in memory it's just you can't access that portion of your memory. There are some people who can access the long term storage of their memory but having this ability often leads to some severe mental illnesses, Savant Syndrome being the main one.

There are various theories as to why you can't access the long term memory, from a scientific view there is reason to believe that if you could remember everything you'd ever read, seen, heard ect would drive you insane. You simply wouldn't be able to cope. For example when you walk down the street, you see many many things but your brain doesn't process everything. You'll see a few dozen cars along the way, but that is all your see is a car. Your brain doesn't acknowledge the colour generally, unless it's a rare car that gets your attention.

Another example is right now, as you read this post, you're reading it but you're not acknowledging that your sitting on a chair or that you're looking at a monitor. Everytime you walk into your house you see hundreds of objects, but you only really acknowledge a few. Maybe the door, the stairs and probably a coat rack or something.

Sorry for the long winded story but it helps to try and explain this phenomenon. Basically if your brain takes in too much of the surrounding stimuli, you'll literally go insane, unless you have the brain power to process all that stimuli. This condition is called Low Latent Inhibition.


Now from a religious / god view, one could argue that god prevents you from remembering you child birth and first few years of your life because god is inside you and you would remember his presence. Truth is nobody really knows but the scientific view of "lost memories" is more favourable in my opinion.

Also just quickly I forgot to mention about not knowing what happened before the age of three or so. The scientific understanding is that you do not have the language capability to be able to convert those raw memories into words that your adult brain can use to recall that memory.

A babies brain remembers things obviously, but they only remember things in the context that their brain without a language can use. Pictures, sounds, smell, taste ect.
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Sunny_Smiles
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(Original post by Confucius)
I don't know about anyone else but my life started at around 3/4 years old because that's as far as I can remember. I have tried to remember what has happened before that, but it seems as if I popped into existence at 3 years old. Where did the rest of my life go. Also Year 3 and 5 have just vanished from my memory, the whole two years. Its weird not knowing what happened before you and how you even came into existence. So what happens when we die? Surely we don't just go into blackness or just die. I mean we have no concept of what nothingness is or what life is. So surely there has to be a God and we cant just disappear our consciousness cant just vanish, think about it, it has to stay with you somewhere. And we dont even remember how we came into existence.

So this is why I cant bring myself to think there isnt a God, there has to be. Athiests what do you think?
what?! :lol: what do you think happens when you go to sleep?
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arcturus7
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(Original post by KeepYourChinUp)
Also... ...about not knowing what happened before the age of three or so; the scientific understanding is that you do not have the language capability to be able to convert those raw memories into words that your adult brain can use to recall that memory.

A babies brain remembers things obviously, but they only remember things in the context that their brain without a language can use. Pictures, sounds, smell, taste ect.
This is a very good point.

OP; Imagine giving someone who had been born blind the gift of sight after 30 years; their brain would be unable to express that information in a way they would understand. It's much the same principle.

I heard of a similar scenario once that ran along the same lines;

Take someone blind at birth and give them a sphere and a cube. Let them feel those shapes; the vertices and the faces and the curves so that they can interpret that information and use it to tell the difference between the two. The method they develop to distinguish between the shapes is entirely independent of the ability to "visualise" the shapes - they can't paint a mental image of them because their brain doesn't understand how to. They don't think in images. If you gave the person their sight back and told them to point out the cube or the sphere using just their eyesight, they would be unable to do so. They would need to touch them and feel the edges like they did before so that their brain could make the link between how a corner feels and how a corner looks.
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Hertz
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(Original post by skunkboy)
Under hypnosis or meditation, you could remember what happened while you were still existing in your mom's womb.



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Really?

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hellodave5
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(Original post by Confucius)
I don't know about anyone else but my life started at around 3/4 years old because that's as far as I can remember. I have tried to remember what has happened before that, but it seems as if I popped into existence at 3 years old. Where did the rest of my life go. Also Year 3 and 5 have just vanished from my memory, the whole two years. Its weird not knowing what happened before you and how you even came into existence. So what happens when we die? Surely we don't just go into blackness or just die. I mean we have no concept of what nothingness is or what life is. So surely there has to be a God and we cant just disappear our consciousness cant just vanish, think about it, it has to stay with you somewhere. And we dont even remember how we came into existence.

So this is why I cant bring myself to think there isnt a God, there has to be. Athiests what do you think?
Brain was in developmental stages during early life, so explicit memories and their recall cues are very fractured... too much so to remember.

Why is it weird to 'pop' into existence? That's what all biological life does through procreation in mammalian animals such as ourselves.

Nope, no god... existence vanishes. Religiosity is most likely a defence mechanism to mitigate the fear of death. Once your brain dies, you're gone with it.
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KeepYourChinUp
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(Original post by Confucius)
I mean we have no concept of what nothingness is or what life is.
Here is a solution for you to try and understand this concept although hopefully for whatever reason you don't have to undergoe surgery. If you ever get put under for a surgery or something, bring a camera and request the prodecure be recorded. You'll wake up and have no idea what happened, you'll have no memories and for all intense and purposes, you experienced nothing.

Then watch the procedure back and of course you'll see yourself laying on the table ect. So when you die, your mind will be effectively in the same state as it was when you were under, although obviously you're never coming back.
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Picnic1
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(Original post by skunkboy)
Under hypnosis or meditation, you could remember what happened while you were still existing in your mom's womb.



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You're giving John Lennon's name a bad connotation by putting his image on the same post as some of your musings.
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RandZul'Zorander
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(Original post by Confucius)
I don't know about anyone else but my life started at around 3/4 years old because that's as far as I can remember.
Ignoring the rest of your post...but this seems to me to be entirely a silly basis for determining when a person begins to exist. We know for a fact that memory is not nearly as accurate as we would like to think it is for one. Secondly this means that you're life starts at different points in time throughout your life. Your memory is not constant. You can forget. Particularly for older people does this mean that their life-span has changed? You've essentially said that when a person's life starts is purely subjective which, at least to me, is obviously ludicrous.
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the bear
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some people are able to recall their pre-conception experiences as a sperm ?
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skunkboy
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Probably.
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paddey7
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At the risk of sounding odd, my earliest memories was when I was roughly 4 but I seem to be able to recall like a blackness before it, as if I could remember it
I find it rather hard to explain though
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Aisa
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(Original post by KeepYourChinUp)
Also just quickly I forgot to mention about not knowing what happened before the age of three or so. The scientific understanding is that you do not have the language capability to be able to convert those raw memories into words that your adult brain can use to recall that memory.

A babies brain remembers things obviously, but they only remember things in the context that their brain without a language can use. Pictures, sounds, smell, taste ect.
I don't think that I normally remember things that are not words in words though. I remember pictures as pictures and sounds as sounds. I also don't think I think in words because I know that if someone asks me what I'm thinking, it can take me a while to put my thoughts into words. Also, I believe that people are able to think and feel things that are beyond the limitations of a visual or linguistic format. There are concepts that exist in other languages but do not exist in English, and yet I don't think that monolingual English speakers are fundamentally incapable of understanding these concepts - they just can't process them in language.

It doesn't make sense to me that the problem is that I cannot convert the memories composed only of raw sensory information from when I was a baby, because I am able to recall bits of raw sensory information from my adulthood as well.

(I was just typing this, but I paused to eat lunch, and have changed my mind a bit.)

I can recall a sound without putting it into words, or a shade of a colour without knowing the name of that particular shade, but I can't remember either without them being connected to an idea, even if I don't necessarily think of the word for that idea. The sound will automatically be connected to the idea of music, or screaming, or guitars, or whatever fits it. The shade will automatically be connected to the idea of colour. Both will be connected to the context in which I saw them. As a baby, I was not capable of forging these connections. I don't think that this is due to not being able to use language though. I can remember feeling emotions I can't describe fully, but not without understanding them as being emotions, and not without understanding the context they were in. Because of this, I don't think I can call any of these things 'raw sensory information' as I did previously.

If the concept of a door is inextricably connected with the perception of a door in my mind, then I suppose that would stop me from being able to remember seeing a door when I was too young to understand what a door is, because the two things cannot exist independently of each other in my mind.

I've read about people who have a delay in connecting the information they receive from the outside world with the thing it represents (sorry this isn't very clear, I don't know how to explain it properly). If they were shown a book, they'd be aware that there was something there and basic information about it - rectangular, has writing on it, etc. - but would not make the intuitive link to the concept and function of a book as quickly as most people would. I know very little about this, so my explanation may be inaccurate, but it would be interesting to see how the realisation of what an object is changes how they recall it.

I've also read about feral children, having grown up in isolation or with animals, who are brought into human society as adolescent or older children. It would be interesting to find out how they recall their experiences from before they could use language, or indeed if they can recall their experiences.
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