I don't really see much discussion around death, but let's face it - it's one commonality to the human condition - inevitably at some stage we all must die.
My son's jujitsu teacher died in a motorcycle accident very recently. A young man, in his prime, early 30s. I was given a very grim prognosis and have been fighting cancer for 3 years now - but may live another 30. Who knows ?
But I do sometimes think about death: what will it be like ? Will it truly be the end ? Will it be linear consciousness, and then, nothing ?
I've never *not* been. I can't remember the womb, I can't remember many things from my childhood. Slippage slippage, time drifts by.
When my son was a toddler, just learning to speak, I asked him if he could remember being in Mummy's Tummy. He said YES. I asked him what it was like. He said it was warm. Bright. I asked him if he could remember BEFORE THAT. He said YES. I asked him what it was like. He didn't have the vocabulary.
Who knows ? Maybe there is something spiritual to us, something that exists before and after our corporeal existence ends.
Maybe not ? Maybe it feels like falling into a dreamless sleep that you never wake up from - so the very concept of "feeling" becomes a redundancy.
Will I one day be no more ? Will I go on somehow ?
There are people who will say stuff like "By Jesus' Grace, if you believe in Life Eternal you will go to HEAVEN (amen)", and that's OK. There are people who say "logic dictates when your meat dies your perceptions end, game over". (An equally viable BELIEF SYSTEM).
I don't have any specific belief construct. I'm just musing, just throwing my thoughts out there into the void, in case some other passenger on Spaceship Earth is pondering the same stuff, and our common experience helps to shrug off the anxiety that perpetually surrounds death.
Hey, there are folks that believe you're already in heaven, or hell. One of the (supposedly) smartest folks on the planet recently asserted that the odds are we're already living in an AI manufactured virtual reality (something like that great movie THE MATRIX). Ok. Belief systems are like rectums - pretty much everybody has one, and it's not much fun to compare them.
If I were a betting man, I'd probably speculate:
1) there is some kind of finer spiritual meaning to our life, we (meaning the spark of creative life within us) go on somehow
2) maybe consciousness CAN reform, be it in a bird or a fish or another human foetus
3) The idea of Heaven & Hell is ever so much bullshit invented by early-man clubs looking to control the masses, and we never quite grew out of it. Dogmatic religion is bullshit.
4) There MAY be some kind of God or Creator, may even be deeply aware and woven into our lives
5) Or death MAY be just like falling asleep and never waking up. If you're in pain, it's an ending of pain.
6) Most of the reported near death experience stuff is probably bullshit - a kind of hysteria induced mass hallucination where we experience things based on common comforting themes shared previously in a kind of 'group think'
7) Even so we MAY transition to some completely new state of existence. This body and mind slip away, consciousness reforms elsewhere, it could be like being in a cataclysmic car crash that impairs your mental function .. you were a living human, you're gone, now you're a baby, and reasoning and linear memory is reduced down to "warm", "cold" "scared" "hungry"
Anyway, if you're dying or think you're dying - don't be afraid - you're on the edge of humanity's enduring undiscovered country. We can explore continents, the oceans, eventually space, our own internal physical and mental processes - but death is that ultimate mystery.
Until that final moment, reality is a temporary idea, something we've taken on sensory logic built over time. It's possible that the objective reality you've accepted your entire life is an illusion.
Hey - maybe you're God, and when you get weary or start to work out that you're God, you reboot into a new life, a new reality, and endless series of The Sims style stories.
Whenever and however it happens - it's a bit of a backhanded gift and small consolation: at least we may get to find out, eh ?
I think that this is a really interesting subject. But each time I try to respond it brings up some uncomfortable memories, so I can't bring myself to talk about them.
What an interesting topic! I was intrigued to read about your son, as a toddler, saying he remembered being in his mothers womb, and even earlier.
I had a similar experience with my daughter when she was around 3. She was sitting in front of the tv, waiting for Play School to start. I was in the kitchen that opened off the room she was in.
Suddenly I heard her shouting out OOOOH OOOOOH OOOOH! Very loud and very very excited. I went running into the room to see what was happening.
She was pointing at the tv and terribly excited. On the tv was the end of a travelogue showing a boat going down a river somewhere in Germany.
I asked her what was the matter, she shrieked I lived there! I lived there! I asked her when she lived there, she said When I was a man!!!
I asked her when she was a man, but Playschool started and the moment was lost.
So yes, I do believe we have other lives part of our consciousness survives.
It's such a tricky topic, as with anything that revolves around belief.
A sceptic will find 100 reasons why the idea of consciousness beyond physical life is 'illogical nonsense'.
A believer will find 100 anecdotal cases (like this kid in Glasgow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wvbEQytuQk) where people speak compellingly about past life expeirences, and put it forward as evidence.
A rational person untainted by bias will have an open mind. (As with anything touching on belief the ultimate answer is 'we just can't know for sure')
For my part, I think there's enough of those anecdotal cases, where young kids have described things from 'past lives' .. that it would give a thinking person pause. You'd have to reach the ultimate, black-and-white, irrevocable conclusion that ..... "it might be so, who knows, it could be possible"
If it's a logical system, then I think it is POSSIBLE that human existence continues in a cycle, and that spark of sentient life inside us, that potential to create and destroy, is something both more & less than our individual identity today.
It *MAY* have existed before and continue to exist after.
Moving from the physical body, it could even be .. you know .. ghost stuff .. a discorporeal spirit.
Then, inhabits a human foetus, and pretty quickly loses memory of the 'before' in new impulses of 'light' 'hunger' 'fear' 'mother'.
Or maybe we're all just meat, descended from monkeys.
My wife is re-watching THE BIG BANG THEORY on Netflix, an the funny thing about darwinism and the BBT is that it doesn't actually really answer the question of 'how did life begin?' .. which is more like an unanswerable chicken/egg riddle.
The theme song says it "The Whole Universe was in a Hot Dense State, then nearly fourteen billion years ago, expansion started. Wait."
It doesn't work.
Question: How was the universe created ?
Answer: The whole universe was in a hot dense state
Question: hold on, before that .. no universe .. how was it created ?
Answer: Oh. Right. Uhh .. there was a big bang.
Question: where did that bang come from ?
Answer: You know .. sciencey stuff.
Question: Is there a God ?
Answer: Don't be ridiculous.
Question: If there's a God and God created everything ..... who created God ?
Answer: Probably a big bang or some other sciencey stuff.
It's a circular, eternal riddle. Anyone who says they KNOW is flat-out-bite-a-dog crazy.
I think though, that's the intriguing and exciting thing about Death.
You may get a new clue to the riddle.
I believe in reincarnation.
I think my youngest child has been here before, & I think he holds my father's soul, as he was born the day after my father's death. I've never had to show him how to do anything. He has always known & is very mature. I think he's a very old soul.
It's a really interesting topic.
Write a book or 2 if you can. You're writing is fantastic. Easy to read, inspirational, interesting, relatable, thoughtful and thought provoking.
I think about end of life. What do we look like? Pasty ghostly white, shrivelled like a dried grape, lying in bed with loud breathing sounds not able to move the body or communicate however see/feel all through eyes wide open? Until we're given a lethal shot of morphone and die? Do we leave our dead bodies and float to heaven, can we still be apart of our nearest and dearest after we pass?
I don't really know what to think.
It's all pretty stuffed up. I was involved in a major motor vehicle accident many years ago which resulted in a severe acquired brain injury. They had to drill 3 or 4 holes into my skull for drainage including one in to the middle of my brain because of a large brain haemorrhage causing high pressure inside my skull. I won't go into the gory details, but it gets a lot worse.
The end result is that when I woke up, it's like someone had taken my brain out and put it in a blender, then put it back in again and left me to try and make sense of everything again.
I can remember being in a a hospital bed (unable to move or communicate - only move my eyes) and looking around and understanding where I was, but hallucinating like crazy.
I can remember yelling in pain for hours on end, but who knows how long it was.
I had amnesia for 3 weeks.
Coming out of the coma, I can remember walking through long tunnels under ground in darkness trying to find my way up to consciousness again.
There is a lot more to this tale, but I don't know how to tell it.
I'm not too sure if there is a God or not. But I think there is something.
Thanks for sharing that, sorry if it was difficult for you.
It's funny, because the question really is just about faith - whatever we say we've experienced can still be rejected by someone else, saying that it was an oxygen-deprivation hallucination, or a narrative fiction created by your mind in it's final moments, blah blah de blah.
For my part, if ten credible people sit down and tell me about out-of-body experiences that they've had, and that they believe those experience were authentic … well, I'd incline to take them on face value and shape my own personal viewpoints accordingly.
Parking aside death - even just the process of dreaming is fascinating.
Some people say they've dreamed glimpses of something yet to happen (I've had one or two like this, but can't hand-on-heart say it wasn't a weird deja vu trick of the mind). Others will say that it's the mental equivalent of farting - passing unnecessary short term subconscious thoughts that you don't need to store...
It's funny, as human beings we are best when we try to relate to each other and understand one another and our common experiences … BUT … I think the final end-point of any philosophy is pretty-much that you can't ever really be certain of what's real. Objective reality simply may be an illusion and all of the known 'facts' in your life just lucky constructs.
See a ghost. Meet God. For me, that's the back-handed gift of Cancer - you get to explore high concepts like this, and potentially have that "doorway" moment .. where you MAYBE pass from one reality into a new one.
Personally, I hope it's something like Gandalf says "Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise."
Or we may just be evolved monkeys, die and get replaced by new monkeys 🙂
Me personally, I believe there's something more, some spiritual meaning and process underlying all this grim old reality around us.
Sorry, I'd had to post yesterday without finishing what I wanted to say. It's quite emotional draining thinking about it and writing it, and if I didn't post it then and there, I would have just deleted it again.
During this time while I was in this crazy state it felt very much like I was neither alive or dead, but in some half way house where I could neither live or die. I was locked in. Often wandering the tunnels, in a world full of pain and torture that I couldn't escape from. I felt like I was moving back and forth in time and space (all of this is actually a condition called Post Traumatic Amnesia), with pockets of semi-consciousness.
Often there was just nothing.
But because I only had isolated patches of memory, I couldn't remember that I was unable to walk, so they had to tie me down to the bed in a straitjacket.
I recall thinking and praying, if there is a God and he loved me, where is he now? How could he leave me here like this trapped inbetween these two worlds?
During one of the pockets of consciousness, I was laying on the bed (I was in a locked ward), watching TV and a priest from my local area was on television being interviewed. Was this a sign?
Two days later, I was finally able to remember something that had happened earlier that day. After more than 6 weeks in a messed up living personal torture chamber I had completed emerging from PTA.
So, after all of this, does this mean I am religious?
Personally I've found that I'm still no closer to an answer that I was before.
I just have more questions.
Which makes me think of this news article about astronauts.
During the address, given to a small crowd in a bowling club in a country town in north-west New South Wales — which must have seemed like galaxies away from space travel glory for Irwin — he described a personal moment that was profoundly affecting.
Standing on the Moon and looking back at Earth, Irwin was able to close one eye, hold up his thumb and cover the entire planet — every mountain, every city, every person, every valley, every ocean.
All under his thumb.
Irwin said it made him feel terrifyingly small.
He went on to claim that many of the astronauts involved in those early days of space walks and Moon visits embraced spirituality or religion. Some had existential crises and struggled to understand the meaning of their lives.
So whether we have been locked inside our own minds or we are astronauts and struggling to come to terms with our own insignificance, we are still trying to work out where we fit in.
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