evannichols (evannichols) wrote,

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I'm Going To Die

I mean, I'm going to die someday; I have no plans to do so in the near future. In fact, my aim is to live to 120 years old. The point is, sometimes I think about the fact that one day, I too will die.

For the most part, I'm okay with it. I'm not looking forward to my demise; I've got way too much going on to want to check out now. I do wonder how and when I will expire. I would much rather be struck by a meteorite sometime in 2082, instead of, for example, be eaten by Wild Animals next week at the mall. The uncertainty that I'm least fond of is wondering what happens afterward.

Not so much here, as I'm sure life will go on for everyone else. I firmly believe that the world will continue to exist after I die (those of you who have studied Philosophy can appreciate that this is a non-trivial issue). But as for what happens to the essence of Me when I Shuffle Off This Mortal Coil, I'm less sure.

With all due respect to the world's religions and metaphysical philosophies, I see the panoply of post-death theories as a collection of opinions, without much in the way of substantiated proof. And for whatever reason, I find I can't just accept somebody's word about what happens next.

Compare it to the Geocentric Universe. By observation, the sun is about the size of the moon, and it revolves around our planet, rising in the East and setting in the West. Despite appearances, I firmly believe what Science tells us about the relationship between the Sun, Earth and Moon; a Heliocentric perspective. Even if I haven't been able to stand far enough back to see the Earth unquestionably going around the Sun myself, I find the preponderance of scientific evidence thoroughly convincing. I have no doubt about how that aspect of the universe works.

When it comes to the Afterlife, however, I am less certain. I know there are many accounts of near-death experiences and people who say they've lived many past lives, but those claims don't seem to hold up well to rigorous examination. There's enough doubt cast on these experiences for me to have difficulty accepting them into my paradigm.

If I push down to the bare metal and look at what I believe, it's that there probably isn't a Next. I don't know for certain, but I'd guess that when you ring down the Final Curtain, and after your brain goes through those terminal images and sensations, the house just goes dark. Death is literally the terminal experience.

I understand if you find this upsetting. Most religions tell us that we go on, in some form or another. I think that speaks more for Humanity's dislike of nothingness than any certainty about unending existence after death. I know I'm not particularly thrilled with it. Just because I occasionally think about it doesn't mean I'm looking forward to it happening.

I've wondered if the Afterlife was like in the Discworld books, where what happens to you is solely based on what you thought would happen; so those who believed in Valhalla would get to fight and carouse forever, and those who believed in Hell would suffer endlessly. If this is true, believing that I'm heading into oblivion is a bad strategy; a self-fulfilling prophecy in the worst way. I figured I should pick something that sounded like a good way to spend Eternity and believe in that. But I'm not good at selecting something I want to regard as true, and making myself believe it just on force of will. I'd want proof. Or at least some compelling evidence that made one theory stand out above all the rest and seem more likely.

But will what I believe make any difference?

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