Do not click the spoiler if you don't want coal for Christmas you naughty kid.
So as Christmas is near, I was thinking whether there's some way in which Santa Claus might exist. Like all imaginary things, he probably doesn't exist in the form we imagine him to be(an old fat guy who miraculously goes all over the world through everyone's chimneys to give them gifts etc..)
edit: I think I kinda disproved the above statement by the end of this post. Sorry, I didn't know myself that it'd end like that, I just went on ranting xD
But imaginary things do exist, in the sense that we can discuss them, remember them, etc. And the same thing applies to
all abstract things like ideas and thoughts and concepts. What makes us able to do that? They must exist.
So as far as I know, thoughts and all abstract things exist in a brain. According to what I've learned from Youtube videos, neurons in brain transmit data related to some activity/thought/anything.. the more your transmit it, the easier the transfer between related electrons become. That's why the more you practice something, you get better at it. Sometimes this relationship between the set of neurons becomes so strengthened that it's maintained for a lifetime. Ofc this might not explain all mental phenomena like why can memories be triggered even after many years of forgetting them.. there might be more to this, but I think this explanation is plausible enough to believe.
So all abstract things 'exist' in the sense that they're those neurons in the brain between whom transfer is easy.
And there is some part in the brain which assigns meaning to this pattern. This part is probably called soul or consciousness. But what is consciousness exactly?
Quote by wikipediaConsciousness is reality. It is the quality or state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."
all i can make out of this is that consciousness is consciousness, and so and so are synonyms for consciousness and even
they're vaguely defined.. so it's just a mysterious thing.
(reads the Cartesian dualism argument of Descartes, my it's so similar to what I had in mind a few days ago(except pineal gland) o.o' but i see that new philosophers laugh it off >.>)
I think it'll be easier if we consider a computer as an analogy.. as computer's inspired from human behaviour only.
A computer stores memory in its registers, very similar to how neurons store information in interconnections. The 'consciousness' of a computer can be considered how it 'interprets' the data. By interpretation, I mean, assigning a meaning/action to the pattern of 1s and 0s (high and low voltage) stored in its memory.
It interprets data according to a program which itself is data. If the data is used to make image, it's which frequency of light is to be emitted with what intensity(RGB); if it's audio file, it produces vibrations at particular frequencies to make sound. But the most interesting interpretation is that of the program memory, which i feel is similar to human brain. Just how the serrations of a key opens a lock, the matching opcode of a command makes the computer do things. It's totally mechanical.. or electronic. So somehow or brain has been hardwired to do some things and feel some things when some things happens.
But this analogy doesn't at all explain what gives us the feeling of being.. and that is because we can't really define
that feeling well.. I can just say that I have a consciousness, I can't really be sure if others do. Others can't prove
it to me, and neither can I prove it to others. But since we all say the same thing, we believe each other. Oh and don't
think you've got much of a free will, a few internet videos about mental diseases is quite disillusioning.. scientists
have even made rats behave in a certain way by sending electrical signals.. and i think they Believe that the Want to
behave that way and do it.
So maybe we're all just programs.. it might also imply that computers have a conscience just that they don't have any program to express it!
^ this problem is what probably made Descartes make that Cartesian Dualism argument that there is a different dimension for 'thoughts' or whatever causes them. The interaction between the physical world and the thought world occurs in some part of the brain, which is present in animals too, which gives us consciousness.
I think this type of thinking is like pushing the dust under a carpet.. we can't explain consciousness using known law of physics, so we just construct another dimension and then we don't care about that dimension because we can't interact with it.
So I add further that just how certain particles like photon which do not interact with say.. Higg's field which gives
particles mass, have no concept of mass, but do exhibit momentum, our consciousness might be similar to this. Maybe the
particles which interact with our brain use physical particles to interact with other physical particles. They can
interact with the brain particles because of maybe some shared phenomenon just how light shares momentum with particles
having mass and how it gets absorbed in a black hole as if it had mass.. similarly, the thought particles exhibit some
similar phenomenon to physical particles and that phenomenon is merged in the brain because something in the brain acts
like and analogy to my black hole example. And I think the thought particles need not be in a different dimension..
scientists have found a whole lot of mass/energy which we can't interact with, aptly named dark matter/energy because
we're in dark about it. Maybe thought particles makes some small or big part of it? (i'm going into fiction now :P)
Maybe on birth, some black hole-light and brain-thoughts analogy thing is created and that's where we get
^ I know it's a very weird and the analogies are confusing.. but it somehow makes sense to me >__<
It's still pushing the reason of consciousness to thought particles instead of other dimension now.. but oh well that's the best I could do. I'm no philosopher or physicist.
So now that that's settled somewhat.. let's now see what makes these abstract concepts and ideas. My answer is
'pattern'. Every abstract thing is a pattern. The 1s and 0s in a chip, the connection of neurons in the brain, the
arrangement of pixels on a screen, everything is a pattern.
And the best thing of a pattern is they are abstract, so they can take any shape and still remain the same. And that property of being same is because of ability of consciousness to assign meaning to it. This meaning can be in form of interaction of thought particles, I don't know.
But this thing is very awesome in my opinion. The abstract things, provided that there's a consciousness to interpret
them, can pop in and out of existence unlike normal particles! If a pattern(abstract thing) is present, it's born, if it
gets distorted, it dies, and is born again if we arrange it back.
If the consciousness interacts with neurons in the brain, it gives the person an identity, when a person dies for some reason or the other, it becomes difficult for the body to sustain those neuron patterns probably. Hence the consciousness tries its best to maintain that pattern. Science says that no cell of your body is the same as that of you 10 years ago! (this also leads to a famous paradox.. that if someone exchanges your body cell by cell with your friend, at what point will you become him? Well I say when you replace the brain cells which the consciousness interprets..) and still we identify ourselves as a continuous entity, why? Because the pattern of the brain cells which is interpreted by the consciousness was maintained! Also, when the consciousness realises that it'll be difficult to sustain the brain cells and thus the pattern, (because of say extreme loss of blood etc. fatal things) the consciousness stops interacting with the brain black hole part and we're said to 'die'. Also, this would imply that if we were to exchange consciousness of two beings, they'd still be exactly the same because the physical patterns interpreted by the consciousness, one or the other, hasn't changed! And hence the interpretation, that is the sense of being, should not change either.
^ yes this is very fiction-like and maybe childish, but this is an anime forum, so I can be childish right?
So anyways, coming back to imaginary things and more importantly, Santa Claus.
Santa Claus, (or any other idea like any fictional being) is a 'pattern', it has very common traits like big belly, red dress, a tendency of extreme generosity, etc. A very complex pattern indeed, but still, a pattern.
And it can be interpreted by consciousness. And if we call the interpretation of the patterns in neurons and the
performance of the functions implied by the patterns as 'real' or 'living', I think it's very very reasonable, to call
interpretation of the traits of santa claus and then performing the acts which those patterns imply as the 'real' thing.
So that means, every time you see someone wearing a white beard, big belly, santa costume, reindeers, etc. and most importantly, giving gifts; santa exists at that time in that very person who's doing it. And yeah, that'd imply there's not one, but multiple Santas who are as real as you and me, though they exist momentarily for 2 days at the most.. but so do we.. just for a few years. Anyone who gives presents to kids during Christmas is the Santa at that point of time.. and then santa dies but that's a different thing >__<
So yep, Santa Claus is real in my opinion :P
Merry Christmas(in advance) everyone ^^
merged: 12-07-2013 ~ 07:34pm
O.k. So my friend kuchukuTulip said I could have said all that in fewer words... But that ruins the fun of ranting >.< anyways, here's the tl;dr-
We call things alive just because something in our brain interprets the patterns formed in brain by our experiences and acts accordingly. And any abstract thing can be called a pattern in a very broad sense. So if someone interprets the concept of Santa Claus, appearance, kindness etc. And acts accordingly, then we should not hesitate to actually acknowledge Santa Claus's existence as that person. It's no different than us humans.