Regarding the recent case where the U.S. Supreme Court turned over a death penalty case concerning rape of young children: Such cases beg the question as to whether the death penalty should be available in general. That is, there may be crimes that are considered just as heinous as murder, whether or not rape of children is one of them. What if the convicted person has blow torched 95% of the body of a surviving victim covered with 3rd or 4th degree burns? Does this not border on the total destruction of a life? I would say that it does. Yet for me, the death penalty should be totally abolished. Among the many reasons for doing so, one of the main ones for me is that the state should be setting the example for the highest regard for human life. When the state kills people, it fails to do that, and establishes that it is okay in certain circumstances to kill people.
We see things, not as they are, but as we are. ~ Anais Nin While I don’t know the context of the Nin quotation, I appreciate it because I believe so much of what we believe is based on what and who we are. There are at least two levels to this idea, in my mind. One is what we believe relating directly to our sensory information, and the other is higher level beliefs based on culture. On the sensory level, we may see “red” for instance, but the color red has no objective existence as a color. The data coming into our eyes is a bunch of photons that vibrate or resonate with sensors in our retinas and parts of our brains where red “occurs”. Red has a subjective existence. If you were color blind, you would see a more limited spectrum and find it impossible to differentiate some colors. Some animals, take bees, can see ultraviolet in their visible color spectrum. We cannot see ultraviolet. Yet the electromagnetic reality of ultraviolet, photons vibrating within a particular frequency range, exists. The color ultraviolet exists for the bee but not for us. An example of the cultural dimension would be how so many Americans feel about nationalized health care, like the single-payer universal health care of Canada, with all the biases of their brainwashed minds, that there is something sinister or unpatriotic about it, even though the large majority of Canadians like their health care system. While I don’t believe that everything is subjective, I do believe that everything we believe is ultimately subjective, even though we may seek objectivity. In the world of science, the model of the world is made to correspond as well as possible with all the data, yet our models and our perceptions still cannot avoid the subjective limitations of the scientist or observer.
Out there, there is no time. Yet without time, there is no consciousness. And without consciousness, there is no time. Thus are time and consciousness identical. If there were no conscious beings in the universe, there would be no time. And if time doesn't exist out there, does it make sense to talk about the beginning of the universe? The question of the origin of the universe disappears, and it becomes simply a matter of transformations ad infinitum. The universe does not exist in time, but we exist in time by virtue of our consciousness. Time is our virtual reality. But we surf on a timeless sea.