Thoughts on death...

The big question–“what happens when you die?”
I post this topic to inquire what the great minds of this forum think about this question.

I often think to myself–“what will become of me when I die?”

  • An afterlife?
  • Reincarnation?

Obviously the first 2 are theistic and made by man, thus I can weed them out… but not-existing?

Do you have any idea how scary it is to NOT EXIST? Ok think about when you sleep: you have no conscious thought, no senses; all you have is your sub-conscious (if you’re a believer in that). Now consider death: it is like sleeping but without the dreams, without any subconscious, and without ever waking up.

According to science, and any logical thinker, when a person dies their brain and body cease to function–they no longer exist.

Now consider your life. You can see, talk, breath, think, etc. What will happen to this ‘mind’ that you have when you die? It will NOT EXIST.

If you think about this enough, you will get f*cking scared. After you die will be EXACTLY like before you were born–>


Why is it scary? In such a case, after you’re dead, you won’t know about it. How can you be afraid of something you won’t experience?

Only from your own point of view, which doesn’t exist anymore. There might be some people who remember you. For a little while anyway.

This is purely a problem of your own ego.

I don’t believe in an afterlife or reincarnation. I believe I will simply cease to existence when my physical body dies. Does it bother me? Nah. I wonder if that’s why I have absolutely no desire to affiliate myself with any particular religion. It seems like that’s a major part of religion for people – needing to have a belief that there’s something beyond life here on Earth.

Good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell, but it’s all karma coming back to get you at the last moment. If you die with a good conscience, even if you aren’t ready to die yet, everything simplifies to the simplest of simple, time becomes irrelevant and you are stuck with becoming Grateful Dead, and if you have a bad conscience, you fade away wishing you could do it over the right way, and time becomes eternal with you stuck in it, that is your existence.

I had a semi-near-death experience (well at least I thought I was gonna die) and I was able to pull myself out of it by shear will to right my wrongs. I saw what I did right and what I did wrong, and was all simple.

But those are my thoughts. YMMV

I believe in an afterlife yet I have no problem whatsoever with the idea that I will cease to exist upon death. When it happens, after all, I will have no idea that I have ceased to exist.

I have been thinking about this one a lot lately (I’m 25 BTW and hopefully not close to learning the answer anytime soon).
My Mom came waaay too close to Death a few months back (She’s 45) which got me thinking. My personal philosophy is similar to kuroashi’s. I do think Karma seems more plausible than the Dogma of “Bad People can be forgiven but Unsaved albeit Good People will be screwed” (I paraphrased that a bit) :wink: I think we’re here to improve what we can, love & be loved. The rest is just bullshit that will fade away. My $0.02

I dunno, I personally have to agree with Checkmate here. For years now I’ve been an atheist, completely comfortable with the implications of a non-theistic reality. I know and accept the fact that upon death, I will cease to exist. I can no more control this fact than I can keep the sun from rising tomorrow. However, I really must admit that some nights I will be in bed and I’ll start panicking because I cannot even begin to fathom non-existence. I’ve had family members be diagnosed with terminal illnesses and that’s the way I feel sometimes, that life itself is a terminal illness. Of course, on the flip side, knowing and accepting your eventual death (hopefully) should put your life in a whole new perspective. But yeah, YMMV.

Try this on for size:

many cultures have legends of people who are immortal.

you many of these stories would you consider “happy”?

Mortality is your friend :slight_smile:

Actually, you bring up another equally good point. The only thing I’ve ever thought of that has frightened me more than non-existence has been the true implications of immortality. Living forever means you’ll survive long enough to see Earth destroyed when the sun dies. You’ll live on and on as entropy increases and protons start to decay. Perhaps you’ll live long enough to find out whether we live in an open or closes universe. Beyond that though, immortality means infinite boredom. That just sucks. :wink:

I’m with tourbot here. Non-existence does not frighten me in the least. As was mentioned, I won’t know, so I won’t care. While it may be a difficult concept to wrap one’s head around (largely, I think, because we try to imagine the experience of oblivion, when, in fact, there is none!), it isn’t a particularly frightening one.

The possibility of a painful, lingering death scares me, but not the act of dying in and of itself.

I don’t think I’ve ever been afraid of dying. I’ve always been able to accept it as a natural, required thing. I’ve always been curious about what comes after life though. If it’s non-existence then it’s a non issue. Human beings cannot understand what it is to be non-existent, because by definition, there is no definition that can be applied that will make sense to us(did that makes sense?) Reincarnation is an interesting idea. Every day I see people who just natrually seem to understand the world better than others, is that a hint that they’ve done it before and remember somehow? I don’t know how I feel about the Heaven/Hell idea. On the surface it seems like just a ploy to get people to act nice to each other, which is a very admirable goal. I don’t fear Hell, if it exists, because I know that I am basically a good person.

What I do find unfortunate about death though is how much time living people spend worrying about it. To me death is a part of life, and the real debate lies in wondering if death in this world is the end of the whole thing, or just the end of this act, so to speak.

Having abandoned religion in the past year or so, I’m pretty much of the “nothing” school. But I’m fine with that because it makes me appreciate my time here more. To me, the odds of my being actually exisiting are so ridiculous that I’m happy to be here.

I think Eric Idle said it best–“So remember when you’re feeling very small and insecure / how amazingly unlikely is your birth”

Instead of postponing happiness or whatever in hopes of being rewarded later, I want to enjoy what I have right now, and help others do the same.

Well, I believe that there is some sort of afterlife… but I have no idea what it will entail. I’m kind of looking forward to finding out! How exciting!

OTOH if it is simply non-existance, OK, no skin off my nose… I LIKE sleepy-time!:smiley:

I can quite honestly say that the idea of death doesn’t frighten me at all. Dying painfully, though, I will try to avoid.

“Don’t worry, no one has ever failed to die.”

I’ve posted this before, but it really helped me to come to terms with dying when I first heard it. Death is a part of life, it’s the end of it, but not a separate experience.

I don’t believe in an afterlife. I’ve screwed up my existence enough, and will probably do it some more. So the thought of non-existence is actually comforting at times. No more joy, love, or happiness. Oh well, those have been in short supply anyway. No more pain, sorrow, guilt, or regret. Bring it on.

That’s exactly it. There is no such thing as experience of oblivion.

Me, I’d rather not die painfully, I’d rather not have my mind die years before my body, and I’d rather not cause my dear ones too much grief, suffering and stress in my last days. Dying itself doesn’t bother me a great deal. My life is finite, and will have an end. Like Jimmy Quasar suggested, I’d rather not live through the heat death of the universe. Brrr. shudder

I know I can’t thwart oblivion any more than I can stop the sun from rising. I don’t want to do either. I’d rather death came at the end of a life well lived than at the end of a pointless little waste of existence - and that’s something I do have power over.

I think that maybe some people are very afraid of oblivion because they see it as the ultimate abandonment. The whole Universe abandoning them. I think that in that case, it’s the abandonment anxiety that needs sorting out, not the fear of death per se.

Which brings up the questions of how we are animated I suppose. As to oblivion I’m unsure of that, but as to ongoing conciousness I doubt it. I’ll check with my ouija board and let you know.

George Carlin said it best when answering the question of whether there will be sex after death, his answer was, sure you just won’t be able to feel it.

I sympathize -COMPLETELY- with Checkmate.

It’s not so much a fear of actually -dying-…as it is a fear of non-existance that gets to me every time I think about it.

It’s the root of what causes my anxiety problems…what keeps me awake every night.

And the sad thing is…I don’t think there’s any way to -stop- thinking about it. Without a direct frame of reference–it’s impossible to tell whether one will exist or not.

I try not to worry about it, but it’s one of those things that always comes back to bother me whenever I spend too much time thinking.

(As I get older–I will probably be driven to insanity by it’s obcession. The end will come beyond chaos.)

What if THIS is the afterlife?

What if THIS is the afterlife?

I like that as a rhetorical question, madcat. It implies the question: If an afterlife is what gives meaning to this life, what gives meaning to an afterlife? Is persistence (e.g., immortality) all it takes to make existence meaningful?