What the paradox of death tells us about time, infinity, and consciousness.

Photo by Stan Daskalov

You may have thought about it before — how unfathomable death seems, from the perspective of a living, thinking being.

And yet, perhaps you have convinced yourself that, because you can observe the death of others, then that must mean that you will eventually die too.

If so, then you are not only wrong about death, but you simply do not understand what it means to be alive.

For it is an inherent truth of consciousness, that you will never experience your own death, since by definition, you will not be conscious in order to perceive it.

And since our ability to understand is entirely dependent on our ability to perceive (collectively as individuals), it could mean…

…Do we even stand a chance?

closeup of elderly man’s face walking down a street in London
closeup of elderly man’s face walking down a street in London

To be human is to be neither mammal nor machine.

For much of how we think is too structured — perhaps even robotic.

And yet, we share a profoundly sombre fate embedded deep within our core.

For what we have inherited from our fellow Earthling ancestors is the fragile nature — the intuitive, unforgiving Tragedy of Emotion.

As the capacity to feel is (perhaps to us) a cherished remnant of what it means to be alive.

One that started with unicellular life, and has continued through the development of plant, animal, and — indeed, human existence on what would have been a rather ordinary planet, orbiting a rather ordinary star.

And we would say that the presence of ‘life’ is what makes it…

Voting against your problems won’t make them go away.

If you would so humour the view of an outsider to politics, and perhaps even an outsider to life…

It just seems completely mad to me that so much of what is being discussed when it comes to politics, is such absolute, mind-boggling nonsense.

Lets be honest here:

It doesn’t matter who the leader of your country is, if half your country believes it should be someone else.

But go ahead and vote.

Do as you will.

Because reality will do as it will, and there will come a time when the very foundations of society will cease to function in the face of unprecedented technological developments.

They already are, but don’t mind the raging inferno heading our way.

Beginning to have an inkling of what is at stake?

If you are under the misguided belief that you are having…

How gradual change goes unnoticed until it’s far too late.

A crowd of people in London.
A crowd of people in London.

The idea goes like this: If you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. But if you put it in lukewarm water and gradually increase the temperature, it won’t notice and it will be cooked alive.

While this, of course, isn’t actually true, it paints a useful picture that feels far too familiar… And is rather disconcerting.

For it appears to be a common view — that the world around us is changing at an exponential rate — technologically, culturally, and politically.

As it seems to begin with scientific development (and rightly so), which then becomes technological innovation, which in turn affects us culturally, and finally leads to sudden political shifts, which…

Following on from The Illusion of Identity

At the heart of our misunderstanding is the discrepancy between concepts and reality:

As the reality is — what works on paper never actually works anywhere else. For the conceptual world is an imaginary one, whereas the real world is what sets the terms. The only reason why our theories “work” in reality is because we adapted them into practical experiments. In other words, it is the experiments, and not the theory, which hold the claim to truth.

Of course, if it wasn’t for the theories and concepts behind them, the experiments would never have been attempted, and as a consequence, the knowledge wouldn’t have been…

Face disintegrating into lines
Face disintegrating into lines

It has been an age-old, philosophical problem… And quite possibly, one impossible to solve:

What is identity, and how is it retained over time?

No matter what answer we give to this, or any other question concerning identity, we end up with either an unhelpful, mystical explanation, or an objective, yet unsatisfactory response.

And perhaps, the reason for this is because the very concept of identity is the product of a fundamental misunderstanding of both reality, as well as the nature of consciousness itself.

Here is a quick summary of where things go wrong:

Language does not begin when we think, speak, or write. …

Stan Daskalov

Writing about language, logic, philosophy, psychology, identity, politics, art, music, and technology.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store