General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Could post corporeal existence be a viable form of life?

Asked by Ltryptophan (12091points) June 29th, 2021 from iPhone

The universe might contain lots of unique life. Some of those beings may rarely ever experience death.

With so much potential diversity, there might even be a life form that becomes spirit, or is even born a spirit.

Could quantum physics allow for a quantum life form?

Could physical life switch to something without a physical organic body.

Could these ‘ghosts’ be the optimal alien astronauts?

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21 Answers

Zaku's avatar

According to many people, yes to the parts abut spirits that survive (and precede) corporeal death, and alien visitors.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Sprites from a video game could technically be alive too.

kritiper's avatar

The laws of physics say no.

stanleybmanly's avatar

as it is, we’ll either all someday find out or it doesn’t matter.

sorry's avatar

Currently, we have a particular definition for ‘life’. It involves things that have a metabolism and are composed of cells, can sustain/maintain homeostasis and have a life cycle. I’m really uncertain what you consider a ‘spirit’ because most of us don’t even think there is such a thing. Because you mentioned quantum mechanics, I’m going to assume you are alluding to some form of mystic energy. Different forms of energy aren’t what we would consider life. That’s like saying static electricity or the potential piezoelectricity in crystals or radioactive decay (ionising radiation) are life forms.

Zaku's avatar

@kritiper No, the laws of physics say nothing about the non-physical.

@stanleybmanly It’s mattered to many people to have or hear of experiences about past lives, ancestral connections, and/or disembodied near-death experiences. And it seems like it matters to the sense of comfort of some materialists to insist that those experiences were all false and couldn’t possibly be true. Interesting.

kritiper's avatar

@Zaku That’s because the non-physical doesn’t exist!

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Zaku Of course it matters to each of us. It is without question the terrifying knowledge of our mortality that drives all the seeking for explanations and the necessity for cults. And every one of them boil down to little more than coping mechanisms to deal with that reality, and of course the great and appalling bulk of them are so frivolous and preposterous in their silliness that death itself is a restful alternative. But even in the midst of the nonsense, the sciences manage to progress. And the present age is notable for the realization that physics and philosophy have now intersected toward parsing it out. In the end, the way I see it, is that if there is a purpose to our existence, the disparity in circumstances and opportunities among us are so lopsided and disjointed that our time here cannot possibly matter as urgently as we all suppose.

sorry's avatar

What do you mean by the ‘non physical’? That’s not really a term we use.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But doesn’t our definition of life insist on physical processes. You’re asking about consciousness or cognizance minus the biological necessities defining us. Are you therefore asking if there can be intelligence without life?

Ltryptophan's avatar

I mean to say: physical life, composed of elements, could generate into something else, more ‘less defined’ by its original bodies limits. This might not mean its existence is outside of the universal laws of physics, but instead somehow gains extra-physical properties through processes I can’t fathom.

Think of it this way. If your ‘intelligence’ could go on actively influencing the present after your physical death, that would have a major impact on many outcomes. Think of how writing has done just that. One could argue, a successful writer could so well transmute their influence so as to have an immortal influence over future readers. Of course their intellect would not have any ‘life’ left in it.

Now consider AI taking up your personality. Surely, it could eventually emulate you quite well, and it might be like you go on living as far as the world is concerned. (You’d be dead obviously)

Now, maybe, it’s not so far fetched to think some natural process could find a way to crystallize a full consciousness into a stable state that is nearly immortal, or perhaps even ‘supervivial’ if you will. That is, the state of evolution might realize it pays to not lose all the effort it put in to an individual.

Perhaps, DNA is already an example of this. But, I could fathom, a DNA protocol that sends the ‘ghost’ into the new offspring as a co-pilot. This is still not enough.

I think there might be a way to jump into some other state of being. For us, this might look like ghosts, but it could have a perfectly normal physical explanation.

Another possibility, an organism could use consciousness as an internal system rather than external. If so, the consciousness(es) experienced would have no real limitations since they would be dream-like only governed by the conscious beings mind. In this case countless micro-consciousnesses might populate a being that itself is a pseudo-universe.

Ltryptophan's avatar

In such a pseudo-universe, well, the laws of physics will definitely show up, but, since the ‘beings’ are themselves in a supermind, they might elude these constraints much like anything can happen in a dream.

gorillapaws's avatar

Is it falsifiable? Is it testable? Is it observable/measurable? Repeatable? All of these things are necessary for science to answer these questions. Without science your hypotheses are equally as likely as souls being the product of goblin farts, or unicorn magic, or leprechaun wishes. There is no evidence to support any of those claims. Science can’t test any of those things, so it’s agnostic on non-falsifiable ideas.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@gorillapaws perhaps. Perhaps only philosophy can answer.

But, I am not really trying to wax philosophic. I want to hear if scientifically there might be alien life forms that are more radio wave, than hardware.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But once again, you are equating life with sentience or consciousness. They by no means can be declared to be the same.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Ltryptophan Radio waves are measurable, testable, falsifiable, repeatable. Thus far there is zero evidence that there are alien radio wave lifeforms. So either you’re talking about physical phenomena that can be measured or your not. Science can only deal with the former and it is silent about the latter. There has been no scientific evidence to support what you’re describing. Could there be some unmeasurable wave or particle that behaves as you describe? I guess. It’s just as likely as unicorn magic though until evidence is produced for its existence.

flutherother's avatar

“That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.”

HP Lovecraft

Zaku's avatar

@Ltryptophan ” I want to hear if scientifically there might be alien life forms that are more radio wave, than hardware.”
– “Science” has a definition of life, that is defined physically, not in terms of awareness, sentience, or consciousness, so if you’re using that definition of life, then no.
– And by talking about “radio waves” themselves, there is nothing life-like about them, even the radio waves that were sent out by humans.
– But I think you mean whether or not there might be something non-physical, such as awareness, consciousness, or sentience, which shares something with our own experience of those things, but which isn’t attached to a physical body. And the scientific answer to that, is we can’t entirely prove or disprove such things, but there are people who have experienced things in those directions.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Zaku ”... there are people who have experienced things in those directions.”

I would clarify this as “there are people who have interpreted their experiences in those directions.”

For example there are optical illusions where the brain interprets certain visual stimuli to be different than it actually is in reality. That doesn’t guarantee their experiences are misinterpretations, but it’s important to acknowledge the fallibility of the human mind to reason about things it doesn’t fully understand, or even to experience things differently despite rationally knowing that it is experiencing an illusion.

Zaku's avatar

There are also people who insist on denying others’ interpretations without even knowing what they are.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Zaku That’s true. It’s not my intent to outright dismiss such claims. I was simply pointing out that when we’re talking about experiences that seem to contradict known science, it’s worth mentioning that what’s being described is the person’s interpretation of that experience. There are countless examples of people who sincerely believe they have experienced/witnessed a bonafide supernatural event—only to later discover that the source of that experience was not supernatural.

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