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  1. #1 Greatest Question ? 
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    What is the greatest question one can ask in a philosophical sense and why?

    Any and all opinions appreciated.


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  3. #2 Re: Greatest Question ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin
    What is the greatest question one can ask in a philosophical sense and why?

    Any and all opinions appreciated.
    "Why is there something rather than nothing"?
    I think this is the greatest/ most profound question one can ask altho' it is very possible there is no answer to the question.
    The question of how the universe began will only ever be answered by future advances in mathematics and physics.


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  4. #3 Re: Greatest Question ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin
    What is the greatest question one can ask in a philosophical sense and why?

    Any and all opinions appreciated.
    What does "greatest question" mean?

    Does it mean that if you have the answer to that question then you have the key to anwer all other questions? In that case wouldn't the greatest question be: "how does one find the best answer to questions?"
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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    Bravo Mitchell

    I like that one, well done.
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  6. #5  
    Time Lord
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    My answer is:

    "What is the factory of all factories?"

    We always ask ourselves what causes something, and then we're happy if we get an answer, and we stop asking. We don't ask what causes the cause.

    Sort of like how some people are happy believing that a god created the universe, but never focus much attention on asking what created god. Or they turn to nonsense like God existing "outside of time", whatever that's supposed to mean.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D. Darius's Avatar
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    "why?"
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    "why?"
    Is this an answerable question?

    In my mind I see a child repeating the same question "why?" to every answer I give.

    Perhaps the greatest question is the most unanswerable question?

    Personally I don't think this question is objectively answerable because it is a fundamentally subjective question in the first place. Thus we answer this question only by an assertion of self. "That is my answer because of who I choose to be." In that case, perhaps the greatest question is the one to which we ourselves are the answer.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  10. #9  
    Forum Freshman LotusTiger's Avatar
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    I think that's obvious but the awnser is startingly complex. What is the right balance between suffering and happyness in society? By balance I mean you dont make some people really suffer so some can be happy.
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  11. #10  
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    "Why do you want to know?"(this is a real question, not my example of the best question, please work with me, this is a philosophical experiment)
    Dick, be Frank.

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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Is this an answerable question?
    Quite simply, "why" is the greatest question because it can be used in an almost infinite array of contexts to obtain detailed information about anything. Your inability to answer it in any context is either from ignorance or stupidity. No exceptions.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Your inability to answer it in any context is either from ignorance or stupidity. No exceptions.
    You seem to ignore the possibility that one does not want to answer. Such ignorance is illogical.
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  14. #13  
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    Unwillingness does not equal inability. Must I educate you further on language, John?

    By "no exceptions" I meant no exceptions. If you can't answer "why is the universe here?" you are ignorant. So is everyone else. There are some questions that cannot be answered in the forseeable future, and some that individuals are simply too ignorant (as in lacking knowledge) to answer ones we (as a species) can answer.

    That and, again, unwillingness does not equal inability.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  15. #14  
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    "What" is a far more useful word than "Why," but I am curious more or less.

    "Your inability to answer it in any context is either from ignorance or stupidity. No exceptions."

    Why?


    And just to save time:

    WHAT is more useful than WHY because many things find their purpose in their design and/or their context. Asking WHAT something is; WHAT system(s) it is a part of; and/or WHAT parts it is made of- will often reveal WHY it does what it does and WHY it exists.

    Why is WHY such a useful question? Because it helps us understand WHAT things are. The reason you ask WHY is because you don't know WHAT; if you did know "WHAT" you would also know "WHY" but not necessarily the other way around.

    The heart is an organ that pumps blood to the rest of the body, this is a simple way of saying WHAT it is and WHAT it does. Why does the heart exist? Because the design of the body caused cells to form tissues that formed the heart to perform this vital function. Because of "WHAT" it is and "WHAT" it does.

    Due to the unavoidable nature of WHAT nature is I will admit bias and ask you to think of meaning of something that we could not derive from it's "design" and/or "context"
    Dick, be Frank.

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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    "What" is a far more useful word than "Why," but I am curious more or less.
    I think you mean "how" as in "how does it work?"

    "Your inability to answer it in any context is either from ignorance or stupidity. No exceptions."

    Why?
    Don't know! See? Ignorance! It's like an axiom. We don't know why it works. It just does.

    WHAT is more useful than WHY because many things find their purpose in their design and/or their context. Asking WHAT something is; WHAT system(s) it is a part of; and/or WHAT parts it is made of- will often reveal WHY it does what it does and WHY it exists.
    "Why is it a part of this system?" "Why does it exist?" are two questions that come to mind to equal the "what". "why" not only helps us understand what things are, but why they are. You get two packages in one.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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  17. #16  
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    I think it's circular, we could go back and forth with it and find the value of the words to be based on their context... as the value of all things are

    and no, I didn't mean how, although that could be used, if you change the context of the word
    Dick, be Frank.

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  18. #17  
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    It was my first thought, to say "What should I ask?" is the best question, but then I realized that this was the same as the original question... but I've thought about it all day and yes, indeed, it seems to be the best question

    this is of course assuming there are answers that can be determined through philosophical means. Developing a methodology for finding the answer to this question regularly would indeed make you the best philosopher. You would probably be killed... hemlock I would guess

    Bamboo is the ideal philosopher: hard outside, empty inside
    Dick, be Frank.

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  19. #18  
    Forum Senior Yash's Avatar
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    How Big Is Nothing ??
    :-D ^_^
    Satisfaction Should Be Given First Priority
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    A unspoken question, has no answer. It equals without value, without value there is no relativity. Where everything and nothing is the paradoxal equal in what we want to see.

    This is not the question, but the answer to "Why".
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yash
    How Big Is Nothing ??
    :-D ^_^
    Thats actually not a bad question. But since you ask, you expect there is something which in my eyes is correct. Where nothing is relative to infinity there could be anything.
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    1. What is the difference between a concept and Reality?

    a. A concept is a result of conceptualization, which is the process of separating and naming.
    b. Conceptualization is a process learned in early childhood. The infant does not conceptualize because its intellect is undeveloped. In contrast, the sage has a well-developed intellect and conceptualizes but sees that separation is an illusion.
    c. Without conceptualization, there are no objects (e.g., in dreamless sleep, under anesthesia, or in samadhi) because, by definition, objects are always separate from each other.
    d. Reality is not a concept. Rather, It is absence of separation. Therefore, It is also absence of concepts and objects.
    e. Conceptualization appears to fragment Reality (which is also Wholeness) into separate objects so that Reality no longer seems to be whole. However, Reality remains unchanged by it.
    2. What is meant by true and untrue concepts?

    a. A belief is a concept to which the mind is strongly attached.
    b. A belief that cannot be verified by direct seeing is always subject to attack by a counter-belief. Therefore, it must be constantly reinforced by repetition of the belief.
    c. Since Reality is absence of separation, It cannot be perceived. Therefore, concepts cannot describe Reality (but they can be true, see g and h below).
    d. Example: A material object by definition is separate from other material objects. Therefore, material objects are not real. The belief that material objects are real is constantly reinforced by materialistic culture, and is sustained only by a failure to see the distinction between objects and Reality.
    e. Although concepts cannot describe Reality, they can point to Reality.
    f. A pointer is an invitation to see directly the distinction between an object and Reality.
    g. If a concept asserts or implies the reality of any object, it is untrue. If it negates the reality of an object, it is true (but not a description of Reality). A true concept can be a useful pointer to Reality.
    h. Example: The concept that material objects are not real is true, and is a pointer to Reality.
    3. What is the world (the universe)?

    a. The world (the universe) is the collection of objects consisting of the body-mind and all other objects. The world appears to exist in time and space.
    b. However, time and space are nothing but concepts. They are not real.
    c. Time is the concept of change. Since all objects change, all objects are temporal concepts.
    d. Space is the concept of extension (size and shape). Since all objects are extended in space, all objects are spatial concepts.
    4. What are polar, or dual, pairs of concepts?

    a. Conceptualization always results in inseparable pairs of concepts (polar, or dual, pairs) because every concept has an opposite.
    b. Reality is apparently split into polar (dual) pairs by conceptualization. However, no concept is real since Reality cannot be split.
    c. The result of apparently splitting Reality into polar pairs of concepts is called duality.
    d. The two concepts of a pair are always inseparable because the merger of the opposites will cancel the pair.
    e. Example: "I"/not-"I" is a polar pair of concepts. If the "I" and not-"I" merge, neither concept remains.
    5. What is Awareness?

    a. Awareness is what is aware of the world.
    b. Awareness is self-evident because you are aware and you know that you are aware. It does not change and It has no extension. Therefore, Awareness is not a concept or object.
    c. The terms “Awareness” and “Reality” are equivalent conceptual pointers.
    d. All objects appear in Awareness and are Its contents.
    6. What are You?

    a. You are not a concept or object. Clear seeing shows that You are not the body-mind because You are what is aware of the body-mind.
    b. Therefore, You are Awareness.
    c. The world and the body-mind appear in You--You do not appear in the world.
    7. What is existence?

    a. An object formed by conceptualization plus identification is said to exist.
    b. Without identification, there is no object—it is just a concept.
    c. No object is real because Reality is absence of separation. Therefore, no object exists.
    d. The apparent existence of objects is called dualism (not duality--compare with duality in 4c above).
    e. The sage, being only Awareness and knowing only Awareness, sees no separation, thus he/she sees concepts but no objects, i.e., duality but not dualism.
    8. What is the "I"-object?

    a. The "I"-object is an assumed entity that results from identification of Awareness, which is real, with the "I"-concept, which is unreal. The "I"-object seems to exist, but clear seeing shows that it does not.
    b. You are not an object and You do not exist--You are Reality (Awareness).
    9. What is it that makes other objects seem to exist?

    a. Whenever the "I"-object appears to arise, the not-"I" object also appears to arise. Then the dualism of desire for, and fear of, the not-"I" object appears to arise also.
    b. Thus, the not-"I" object seems real.
    c. Further conceptualization then splits the apparent not-"I" object into a multitude of objects, and fear/desire makes them also seem real.
    10. What is God?

    a. God is another word for Consciousness, which is what You are.
    b. Transcendent God is pure Awareness, while immanent God is the Background of the objects of Awareness.
    c. Thus, God is What is aware of objects, and God is also the Background from which objects arise.
    d. The Background is not different from its objects. Together with Awareness they comprise Consciousness. God, Consciousness, and What-Is are all pointers to the same thing.
    e. God, Good, and Love are all the same. Therefore, you are God, Good, and Love.

    11. What is the personal sense of doership?

    a. The illusory "I"-object carries with it the illusory personal sense of doership.
    b. However, since the "I"-object does not exist, there is no doer, no thinker, no chooser, and no observer.
    c. Therefore, you have no control. Thus, if something must happen, it will. If not, it won’t.
    12. If there is no doer, how do things happen?

    a. Doership is a concept that assumes that both the doer and causality exist (“'I' can cause this to happen”).
    b. However, since there is no doer, causality is nothing but a concept and is not real.
    c. Since all objects are nothing but concepts and do not exist, everything that appears to happen is also nothing but a concept and does not exist.
    d. Everything that appears to happen happens causelessly (spontaneously).
    e. Even if objects existed, it is easily seen that no putative cause could ever be isolated from the rest of the universe, so it could never act alone. Therefore, the entire universe would have to be the cause.
    f. Because the "I"-object and causality are nothing but concepts, so is free will. It too does not exist.
    13. What is suffering?

    a. Identification as a doer leads to the belief that “I” can change what-is and get what "I" want.
    b. With this belief comes the sense of personal responsibility.
    c. With the sense of personal responsibility, comes regret, guilt, and shame for the past; and worry, anxiety, and fear for the future.
    14. What is awakening (enlightenment)?

    a. Awakening is disidentification from the sense of personal doership.
    b. With awakening comes the awareness that there is no doer and there never has been a doer.
    c. Consequently, there is also no separation, and there never has been any separation.
    d. Since there is no doer, there is no regret, guilt, or shame for the past; or worry, anxiety, or fear for the future.
    e. With awakening also comes the awareness that Reality, which is what We are, has never been affected by either conceptualization or identification.
    15. What can we do to awaken?

    a. Since direct seeing shows that there is no doer, there is nothing that we can do to awaken.
    b. Since awakening transcends time, and all practices are time-bound, no practice can bring about awakening.
    16. Does this mean that there is no hope for the sufferer?

    a. Definitely not. There are many practices that will lead to less suffering. However, like all other actions, they are never done by a doer since there is no doer. Therefore, we cannot do them, but if they must happen, they will. If not, they won’t.
    b. Any practice of direct seeing can reveal Reality:
    c. Example: To see that there is no “I”, look inward for it and see that there is none. See also that everything that happens, including all thoughts and feelings, happens spontaneously, so can be no doer.
    d. Example: To see that no object exists, look and see that all objects are nothing but mental constructs. Then, look and see that no object could ever bring you peace. Finally, see that nothing can affect You who are Awareness/Presence itself.
    17. What else can we do?

    a. We can practice mindfulness and become aware of our attachments and aversions. We then see that our suffering is nothing but a habit that we can disidentify from.
    b. We can go inward and downward and feel our breath. This takes us out of the head and the thinking mind and puts us in the body and its sensations.
    c. We can go inward and downward feel the Presence. This takes us to the present moment where there is no suffering.

    This page last updated March 25, 2009

    FROM: http://www.faculty.virginia.edu/consciousness/

    It would be nice to hear what others have to say about the above

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  23. #22  
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    Merlin said

    "a. You are not a concept or object. Clear seeing shows that You are not the body-mind because You are what is aware of the body-mind.
    b. Therefore, You are Awareness.
    c. The world and the body-mind appear in You--You do not appear in the world."


    But my body no doubt exsistis on this material level


    and both my body and conscience mind where created by this world ( in my mothers womb)


    So i think i do apear in this world and i think this world is very real because this world exsisted before my mind became conscience and had the ability to perceive it
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    Merlin said

    "a. You are not a concept or object. Clear seeing shows that You are not the body-mind because You are what is aware of the body-mind.
    b. Therefore, You are Awareness.
    c. The world and the body-mind appear in You--You do not appear in the world."


    But my body no doubt exsistis on this material level


    and both my body and conscience mind where created by this world ( in my mothers womb)


    So i think i do apear in this world and i think this world is very real because this world exsisted before my mind became conscience and had the ability to perceive it
    Hey Jon.

    I guess what he is trying to present has to be understood in logical progression- Step by step.

    By pulling out that quote- It just takes it all out of context.
    If you relate the quote your referring to with the above statements it becomes more clear.

    One thing he is pointing out is that *you* and *your body-mind* are not necessarily the same thing.

    He is pointed out the way we automatically IDENTIFY with out body as *me* without investigation due to materialist notions we are brought up with and never question.

    Try reading it step by step again. Its quite interesting! When you begin to make the connections in your own mind and grasp what he's saying it becomes a very good 'thought excersise'.
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  25. #24 Re: Greatest Question ? 
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    Wow, lots of smart people here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday

    Why is there something rather than nothing?
    I agree with you Halliday. Because all questions seem to funnel down to this one. In other words, everything is a mirror, but where do the mirrors come from?
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  26. #25 Re: Greatest Question ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin
    What is the greatest question one can ask in a philosophical sense and why?

    Any and all opinions appreciated.
    Nothing?

    No seriously, that is the question.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  27. #26  
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    What is your favorite color?

    I originally intended that as a joke but it has an ironic purpose to this discussion.

    The line is from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In the search for the Grail this question must be answered or the one being asked is cast into a pit. If the Holy Grail is presumably the answer to the greatest question than any question along the way should be equally as great, should it not?
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  28. #27 Re: Greatest Question ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin
    What is the greatest question one can ask in a philosophical sense and why?

    Any and all opinions appreciated.
    The question you just asked? From the discussion, it certainly looks that way.

    Anyhow, I find that question to be too general and lacking in specificity. There might be multiple answers due to that fact and thus no real [single] answer might be applicable.
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    Where do odd socks go?
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  30. #29  
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    How do music cables end up in knots?
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  31. #30 Re: Greatest Question ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin
    What is the greatest question one can ask in a philosophical sense and why?

    Any and all opinions appreciated.
    "why must I suffer in this world" since its the level playing ground everyone plays on.
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  32. #31 Re: Greatest Question ? 
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin
    What is the greatest question one can ask in a philosophical sense and why?

    Any and all opinions appreciated.
    "why must I suffer in this world" since its the level playing ground everyone plays on.
    Your day is only as bad as you chose to make it.

    Does oil processing machinery need to be lubricated?
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  33. #32 Re: Greatest Question ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin
    What is the greatest question one can ask in a philosophical sense and why?

    Any and all opinions appreciated.
    "why must I suffer in this world" since its the level playing ground everyone plays on.
    Your day is only as bad as you chose to make it.
    Suffering visits everyone regardless of our decisions.

    Does oil processing machinery need to be lubricated?
    sure
    SInce its the nature of processing oil that it doesn't reach all integral parts
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  34. #33 Re: Greatest Question ? 
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin
    What is the greatest question one can ask in a philosophical sense and why?

    Any and all opinions appreciated.
    "why must I suffer in this world" since its the level playing ground everyone plays on.
    Your day is only as bad as you chose to make it.
    Suffering visits everyone regardless of our decisions.

    Does oil processing machinery need to be lubricated?
    sure
    SInce its the nature of processing oil that it doesn't reach all integral parts
    Hey, we're looking for questions, not answers! :wink:
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  35. #34  
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    "Hey, we're looking for questions, not answers! Wink"

    Are we?
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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    Well why there is something rather than nothing goes a long way back in time. Our universe probably arose through an ever branching chaotic inflation in which our universe sprang from a previous universe, and that universe came from another still previous universe. That answers why there is something rather than nothing, it came from something else, within the context of our universe. But where did the ever branching string of universes come from. I think it is more pleasing to think of them as always existing rather than coming from nothing. Nothingness is not comprehensible. What is nothingness..there is nothing to ponder. It's like asking whats north of the north pole. But something that has always existed while pleasing to me is also not comprehensible. You can contemplate infinity forever. There is also the theory that the universe is a simulation. Does that suggest that nothing is real? From an outside perspective there is no material world in our universe. So nothing exists, from a certain viewpoint. I think the ultimate question is what is infinity? Or what does infinity mean? Or perhaps, is there a God, a creator? In the level two multiverse in which parallel universes exist in the 11th dimension as separate bubble universes, perhaps some of them have Gods while others do not. But where did all of it come from? I don't think it can be answered. Is it important to know ultimate truth? If the universe is a simulation can we really say we don't exist, surely we do in order to make the distinction. There seems to be a duality in everything, and perhaps there is another option. There may a state in which both poles of the thing in question exist in a unified state as both poles at once. To use a simple example a coin comes up heads or tails, but it may also come up on it's edge. Love, hate, and Ambivalence. In a quantum computer a bit consists of 1 and 0 and 1/0 at the same time. If the universe obeys quantum mechanical laws then at it's very core there is not duality but duality plus it's merger as one. But really I would like to know why there is something rather than nothing. Even if you say that nothing is real, there is something in which you claim does not exist. If it didn't exist you would not be there to claim it doesn't. Thank you for you time.
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  37. #36  
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    Whats next?
    What now?
    What to eat?
    What?
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  38. #37  
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    what happened?
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  39. #38  
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    I don't know what happend. Do you know?
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