The Soul and Christianity

Thou shalt not steal? It seems the foundation of Christian principles are a bad sequel of Greek tradition.

The correlation between concepts of human spirit, soul, heaven, and God presented by Greek philosophers and the fundamental principles of Christianity is awing. If there were such a thing as copyright laws at the time, Christianity would be battling a tough legal case. While the parallels are evident, Christianity’s perversion or adaptation of the soul, building upon Platonists’ intent of abstract concepts (Forms), morphed the religion into a new way of life and perspective of the soul and world.

The Old Testament is largely a creation story and description of God. God is a single true reasonable being (relatable to the embodiment of Parmenides’ cosmic heaven and Plato’s Forms), existing as a perfect conception unlimited by the material / empirical world. God created heaven and earth; the reasonable and empirical. Man is introduced upon earth and created in God’s image, but having no knowledge, or need of knowledge. Man is then stricken with peril as he becomes aware of himself through sin—disobeying God by eating from the tree of knowledge and gaining an understanding of “good” and “bad” (reasonable and empirical). This self-awareness hints of an “I”, consciousness, or spirit.

AI and Immortality

Immortality awaits! Suppose the kind corporate folks at MindCloud offer you the following "deal":

In exchange for your earthly, bodily existence (and maybe a few ducats), MindCloud will upload all of your memories, hopes, aspirations, and emotional and affective dispositions up onto a secure place in the cloud. In this place "you" will be able to explore and experience the ever-increasing contents therein, where "you" may contribute to such content by building up a new cloud-based narrative of "your life," and where "you" will also be able to satisfy virtual analogues of felt bodily urges and needs, without having actually to attend to the hassles of tending and caring for a corporeal body.

Would or would not accept such a deal? What would your concerns be? Here's what I think:

MindCloud is entertainment. MindCloud is fiction. And I can’t help but take the idea to its absolute—becoming God.

The Soul and Plato

What is the soul and how does it work? Is your soul exploited by the State through the Noble Lie?

Plato (429—327 BCE) serves as the backbone of Western civilization and philosophy–recounting and preserving the theories of his contemporaries, as well as his own. Socrates (469—399 BCE), having never written a surviving word himself, is captured by Plato and acts as his mouthpiece. Though the duo seem inseparable, Plato credits Socrates as the original source of thought and almost all the philosophical work is presented by or through him.

Socrates is a proponent of ante rem dualism; presuming a prior existence of the soul [i.e., spirit / mind / psyche] and its separation from the body. The soul is a non-composite substance that is indescribable and existed among the Forms (partaking and understanding of their true / necessary perfections) prior to becoming, or existing through its encapsulation of the sensible body; the soul creating a bridge between the reasonable and empirical.

The Challenge of AI

The greatest challenge to General Artificial Intelligence (GAI) is human intelligence.

We as humans would be the GAI’s creator and its dependency lies in our ability to first understand our own intelligence—a field of study that is improving, but has yet provided answers to the most glaring questions. Once, and if, the questions of thinking, consciousness, and intelligence are answered, we’d then need the technical skill of developing that through duplication or imitation.

With that said, I believe human-compatible GAI is one day possible but it’s a long time coming. This isn’t so much of an issue of hardware or processing power, but due to how little we know about the human brain and how that lump of gray translates into a personality (“I” or consciousness) and intelligence.

The Soul and Parmenides

Things are One and Being is truth.

The pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides, who is thought to have been born between 540 and 515 BCE (dates are contested between Plato and Diogenes) is often dubbed “the father of metaphysics” and the first noted dualist. As the first a priori philosopher, Parmenides developed the modality of necessity, positing that true knowledge is obtained by reason alone, and largely rejecting a posteriori knowledge, or sense experience, due to the senses being misleading or causing false judgement.

In Parmenides’ poem, On Nature, he states that all knowledge should begin with “it is” and proceeds with reasonable deductions to explain being. This mental exercise yields certainty of truth (way of truth), and therefore is superior to empirical knowledge that can only offer a high probability of truth (way of seeming).

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