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Time of Death

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:15 am
by Methiculous
"Time of death....."
You hear this is movies and television and if I ever witnessed a real surgery gone awry, I bet it happens in real life too. They record the time of death for the records.

But when was the exact time of death?

I thought about this one day as I was sipping some sherry. I was about to take a sip when I noticed a fruit fly floating on top. Not one to waste good booze, and not one to enjoy others' suffering, I fished it out with my finger, letting the surface tension and viscous nature of the liquid stick it to my index finger. I tried to save it, and gently swiped it, not wanting to harm it, onto a sanctuary in the form of a square of toilet paper I yanked from the bathroom. I took another sip as I watched, and longed for it to start crawling, beat the liquid of it's wings, and fly again.

It didn't.

It wasn't dead though. It's legs still flailed in an attempt to survive. But I knew it was a lost cause; sherry is too sugary and sticks to it like glue. Without wanting to watch it suffer any longer, I used a finger to euthanize it, and smeared it's helpless guts in a stained line.

Then I asked myself: Is it dead now without suffering? I looked, and although the body was dismembered and mangled, that was not enough for me to give a diagnosis. You can be conscious without a body. I then looked at the head. It too was smeared and I realized, now it must be dead because the brain has ceased to function. There is no way the electrical activity that makes up its consciousness can function when parts of the brain are so far apart.

Then I asked myself another question: WHEN did it die?

I played it back in slow motion in my mind and thought about it. As my finger smeared its brain matter, how long did it take? A second? Half a second? A half a half a second? A half of a half a half a second.......?

What's the smallest unit of time to measure the exact moment when brain activity is functioning, and when it ceases all together?
What is the smallest fragment of time?

(I've got ideas, but I'll let my vivid story sink in a little and see how the replies go).

Re: Time of Death

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:14 am
by Majic
Awesome post and if my brain was a little sharper tonight I would reply with some thought provoking words - but just cant do it so will ponder this one

Re: Time of Death

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:29 pm
by Methiculous
Another thing that bothers me is when I hear, "They died instantly". I'm sure there was some brain activity for a few seconds. And just how instant is 'instant'?
If I strapped a nuclear bomb to my forehead and detonated it, that would be the closest thing to instant death, but it's still not instantaneous.

One of the simplest fractals is if you take a line segment and then cut it in half. Now you have two line segments. Take one of those and cut it in half. Then repeat. You can do this forever because there are an infinite number of points on a line no matter how small it is. Now imagine doing that with time. Cut a second in half. Cut the half second in half and repeat. Can you do this forever? Does that mean there is no exact time of death?

Or is there a limit where the two points in time are so close that there is not enough time for absolutely anything in the universe to move or change positions at all. You can't measure any smaller fragment of time beyond that because nothing happens or changes. There is no rate of change for comparison. That would mean that time flows in discrete increments. I think I heard Tom Campbell say something about that. I'll paraphrase, but I think he said there are a certain number of cycles per second or something like that.

Another thing to consider is the speed of consciousness and our thought processes. It's not instantaneous either. That's what makes time flow at the relative speed that it does from our perspective. With a quick search I found it takes several hundred milliseconds to process information and it varies depending on whether you are seeing new information or remembering internally. What if that rate changes as the brain is in the process of dieing? We would perceive time differently.

I want to think about this some more too. That's why I posted it.

Re: Time of Death

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:44 am
by Majic
Also this all relates to time and what we think it is or measured time and that being the foundation stone I think we have a shaky start

Re: Time of Death

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:55 am
by Methiculous
It's certainly a conundrum.

Re: Time of Death

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:15 pm
by astralzombie
At least that fly went out with a smile as sherry is a nice drink.

Isn't it crazy how killing this poor little fly got your brain spinning about such a deep topic?

Clinical death is easy enough to define but on a philosophical level it gets a bit tricky as you have figured out. As that fly's soul was floating up to that large decaying carcass in fly heaven, I imagine it was wondering if it led a good life, a life good enough to being worthy of reincarnating as a butterfly on its next go around.

Seriously though, the only thing that I can think of is that a body is "dead" when it is no longer capable of supporting a consciousness. As if that answer really helps clear anything up. :D

Re: Time of Death

PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:45 am
by Xanth
And that brings up the next unanswerable question regarding death and astral projection... if astral projection is what awaits us after we physically die here, or is astral projection only an experience of a physically living conscious body? Hmmm :)

We all have our own answers for that one, I guess. lol

But yeah, time of death isn't really something humanity has been able to peg down yet. There are lots of stories of people being pronounced "DEAD" only to "wake up" moments or even days later. Strange thing.