Reply To: Entertaining doubts about rebirth

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Laura Cavina

Wow that’s impressive. I enjoyed trying your experiments and have no real objections to the idea that mental images (MI) are not physical, hence cannot be measured using physical laws of velocity and all the things you eloquently point out.

If I understand correctly, you argument goes a bit like this:
1. You prove that MI are not physical
2. You deduce that the mind that generates them must also be not physical
3. It follows that the laws governing mind and its MI must also be different from those of the physical world

If my understanding is correct, then
A) How does your argument help us understand the possibility of rebirth? (especially, I think, given point 3)

B) Is it not plausible to assume that for MI to be effective (e.g. manipulated so as to mentally eat the apple smell it etc) they ought to be generated precisely in accordance with the attributes/ components / laws of the physical world?

In support of B) I’ll give you the example of machine learning. I was into robotics for a bit – wasn’t very good at it, not at all in fact so what am I talking about. Still.

I seem to remember that training an automatic speech recognition system to correctly recognise the word “apple” (for instance) in any sentence using a statistical method called Hidden Markov Models required enormous sets of corpi made up of repetitions of “apple” in:
– different phonetic contexts (e.g. the combination of phonetic sounds preceding and following apple) but one voice
– different voices but same phonetic context
– different types of voice quality (whispered, nasal, etc)
And so on.
The principle is that training the machine on each corpus will make it learn the average sound of “apple” for the specific attribute that is core to that corpus. When you put all these averages together you should (if you’re lucky) have a system able to know “apple” in different phonetic contexts, voices, voice qualities etc.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that you need to harness and organise as many physical qualities / attributes as you can for a machine to generate a MI/sound “apple” that is sophisticated enough to enable it to recognise “apple” whenever it comes across it. That MI is created specifically on the basis of the physical attributes of the word “apple”.

Therefore effective manipulation of that MI (e.g. for recognition, or labelling) requires a match between that non physical knowledge (MI) and the presence of the physical components that enabled its generation (someone saying “apple”)

It is only at this point that we can assume that, although non physical, mind must mimic the laws of the physical world because its MI are generated thus.

Safe and sound we now go back to Ian’s garden and Diana’s clouds, take a deep breath and think: rebirth is plausible.


Over to you. Go ahead and destroy my arguments, but please do so sympathetically. My mind is not only simple, but fragile too
(Not a bad attempt at emotional blackmailing, hey? Haha 😁✌🏼)