Are spirits in the material world

8 08 2010

I don’t believe in life after death.

There is life, here, in this world, and death both is and signals the end of life.

Now, is there something else, after life? That, I don’t know.

If there is something else, it doesn’t seem that it would conform to notions of Christian or Muslim heaven; those seem so earth-bound, so reflective of what we already have here, only someone’s version of better.  (A multitude of virgins or streets paved with gold? Really?) If there would be something else, wouldn’t it be. . . something else?

Backing up: I think of life as bounded by this earth, but I’m fudging on the whole existence thing, that is, we exist in life, here, and if our existence continues, then it would be in some other way.

Furthermore, that there could be something else doesn’t mean it’s supernatural. I don’t believe in the supernatural; I think everything—everything—is natural, and that that which is called ‘supernatural’ is simply something for which we lack understanding.

(And woo? Woo is a cover, a con: obfuscation masquerading as understanding.)

This isn’t rank materialism. I also don’t believe the (natural or social) sciences are sufficient to make sense of all worldly—universal—phenomenon; I’m not arguing that understanding necessitates a reduction of all things to the latest brand of physics. It’s simply that, if there is nothing beyond nature, then we’ll need new ways of understanding—new sciences—to make sense of that which current scientific methods cannot.

Does this tend toward a Theory of Everything? Perhaps, but since TOE is conceptualized in contemporary terms, it may be inadequate to describe all that there is.

And ‘is’ itself may be—hell, already is—called into question, along with ‘all’ and ‘that’.

*Sigh* It’s late and I”m not making sense.

I’m wondering about death because a little over a week ago Bean died and a little over a year ago Chelsea died.  I don’t think they’re in pet heaven or regular heaven or whatever. I don’t know if they’ve gone some place after death, if their existence continues, or what relationship that existence has to any worldly one. Maybe there’s nothing, maybe there’s something. I know they’re not with me.

But I would like to think, that if there is something, that they neither forget nor are constrained by life. This existence on earth, this life, is powerful, and if there is something else, I’d like to think it offers us more without taking away what we already were. Perhaps there is no full understanding on this earth, no way for us to comprehend all there is; perhaps life is to get us started, but it’s not enough, not enough for us to know.

I don’t know this, of course. And maybe this is it, and this life which is not enough is it. Perhaps this life is enough.

My methods are insufficient to determine one way or the other.



4 responses

8 08 2010

Well, we’ll all find out. Eventually. One reason I want to be conscious when I die. and preferably in physical pain, so it’s easier to leave all this.

But one thing I’m fairly certain of, as certain as anyone alive can be, is that ego does not survive death. It’s too tightly tied to this body.

And, anyone who pretends to know what happens after we die, is full of shit.

All of that said, those we love have affected us, and part of that effect is, too, in the body. We feel their loss. And part of that loss is the effect of their presence. We wouldn’t miss them if we hadn’t known them; that much of them, we keep forever.

It’s hard to make sense of this stuff in language. One of the best things I ever heard – wish I could remember the quote, or who said it – was that, the longer you’re alive as a physicist, the more mystical you tend to become.

8 08 2010

I once saw someone eat a hotdog with ketchup and mustard but WITHOUT a bun. How natural is that, smarty-pants?

At any rate, try not to stress about existence after existence. When the show ends, we will either get that encore or we won’t. However, there is very little we can really do about it.

I take life as one big narrative. In the end, we’re all just a bunch of stories and concepts told to future humans that don’t even exist yet. If you still love your pets and remember them fondly then they are just as valid and meaningful as any thing else.

8 08 2010

@Christine: If there is anything left of us to find out. As for the conditions under which I die: I’d like to be ready, whatever that means. Not that I wouldn’t be afraid, but that I’d think, Okay, this is where I’m headed. But who knows.

@Posky: I revise: There’s nothing natural about a hot dog. . . .

As for not stressing about what comes next, I don’t really. I think that if there’s something there, then it’ll be there, worry or not; and if there’s nothing, well, then nothing to worry about. That’s why I think worldliness is a good thing: It’s what we’ve got, now, so here is where we should be paying attention.

9 08 2010

I hope, however I go, that it’s quiet, straightforward, peaceful. And not stupid. I mean, I really don’t want to make my exit because some stupid 10-year-old blinded the bus driver of a bus I’m on and we drive off a cliff…

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