WARNING: As usual I have meandered to and from my train of thought so please bare with me, or don’t, it’s up to you, but I do genuinely think this is quite an interesting topic.
From the moment you have an understanding of what life and death mean, or at least our common understandings, a sickness sets in. What happens when we’re gone? Is there an afterlife? If so then surely death isn’t the end of life but merely a transition onto the next stage of life. Life 2.0. Thus rendering out understanding of death moot.
The most difficult thing to deal with is that we will never know. It seems that anything following our concept of death cannot interact with our existence. The same way zombies cannot exist in a reality where the word zombie already exists (save a few exceptions).
I’ve been reading a book all about religion. The varieties, the supposed origins, the reasons for their existence. Admittedly it is a very simplified version but it illustrates the key beliefs and where they come from. From my interpretation a lot of it stems from our need to explain or rationalise that which we don’t understand. I feel this can seen through the transition from polytheistic religions to monotheism. Many gods exist in many forms, often representing or symbolising things that were inexplicable. Sun gods, river gods, wind gods etc. Following this notion you could say that some theoretical sciences are gods as we create rules for things we don’t 100% understand but these rules allow us to speculate and hypothesise about things. Maybe black hole gods or quantum gods. We put our faith in some of these constructs, along with ideas such as gravity and maths. Faith and trust are quintessential qualities of religion. An acceptance of a ‘fact’ without incontrovertible evidence that this is how things are.
Back to the movement between theisms. Polytheistic religions still exist but many have been relegated to the division of mythology and are no longer considered religions. They are stories and fables akin to folk lore such as King Arthur or Robin Hood. Now why is this? What gives monotheistic religions more credibility? These are questions I can’t answer and doubt anyone can.
As stated before I feel religions are needed to give humans closure. A reason to accept how things are. It is almost like a sedative, or to quote a well known dude an “opiate of the masses”, for our curiosity. With these questions no longer needing answers it frees our minds and energies up to pursue other things, helping to prevent our brains from exploding trying to understand everything.
Let’s take a look at prophets, messiahs and the like. Heralded as messengers of god, interpreting their command and sharing it with the people. I have no doubt that people like Jesus, Muhammad and Abraham existed but I seriously question whether they were hearing the voice of god. I am fairly convinced they were just people with radically forward thinking ideas. These ideas, so far from the common mentality, that the only way man could make sense of it, was to attribute it to divine or otherworldly intervention. The inconceivable ideas could not come from the mind of a mere mortal, so these ideas are translated into stories, fables that are more accessible to the human mind. Thus a messiah is born rationalising and justifying this wild ideology.
However as always I’ve gone off on a tangent, this is meant to be about the ‘afterlife’. We fear what’s next, not in some biological fear of our species dwindling or from a purely evolutionist standpoint to survive and exist. We know love, longing, pain, suffering, and we fear not feeling all these things which have come to define and mould our existence and thus define us. We fear for loved ones we would leave behind, legacies untold, did we use our lives efficiently?
It’s crazy to think that we worry about when, as physicists would tell you, everything is energy. Transformed, repurposed, recycled, but never vanishing. If this is existence and it can be boiled down to electron imbalances and charge, what does it matter? Our energy will still be our there when we die, so why won’t it be us?
Again all these worries that plague my mind are inconsequential as what would finding the ‘answer’ do for me? Understanding existence, how does that benefit the human race? It makes me think of that whole “if you could know when you would die would you want to know?” thing. Once the mysteries of the universe are unravelled, what’s next? If everything is known what journey is there? At that point I fear we would be merely existing and cease to live.
If anyone has any opinions on this I’d like to hear as I don’t really know where I’m going with this, it has more just been a catharsis for some of the things swimming around in my mind.
This post was really bland so here’s a pretty picture!