Even if in some unknown manner multiple clones could survive in an ever-expanding universe, the idea that they are perpetual extensions of their donor seems less than credible. Such a perpetual presence seems to be more like an endless path of meaningless individual moments experienced by many me's, than a continuous meaningful existence. Furthermore, if there is no life after death, it would make no difference if an individual cloned or otherwise continued to exist, or "died" in one hundred years or in one billion years, because "death" would annihilate the individual's past, present, and future we discuss this in the next chapters.
Even though we are convinced that physical death is not the end of your existence, if it is the end should you be frightened by the certainty of your demise? If indeed you cease to exist, you need not fear death, for after your death you will feel neither pain, nor pleasure, nor peace, nor torment. The resulting void is just that, a complete and total void. There is nothing to fear, for there will be no one to experience anything negative.
There is nothing to look forward to, for there will be no one to experience anything positive. The only way you can visualize what is usually called a "nihilistic" death is to picture yourself after death as being in the same state you were in before birth of course you were not really in any state at all. Such a fate would leave nothing to be feared. Philosophers often speak of the void that would follow physical death without life after death as the abyss, the unknown, the approaching void, etc. All of these suggest that we are on a journey to a "place" which lies at the end of our physical lifetimes.
If on our death we cease to exist, this idea that we are traveling to our ultimate destiny is false. We are not traveling to an abyss, the void, or the unknown, for these words suggest that we are moving toward something. I recognize the seeming absurdity of the language, yet if on our death we cease to exist, then "nothing" totally consumes us. This is the heart of the problem, we cannot in any way whatsoever understand or visualize "nothing". When we think about "nothing", we turn it into "something" that can be thought about.
The moment we attempt to comprehend or visualize "nothing", we interject something into "nothing", preventing us from reaching our goal. The only way we can answer the question "what is nothing? If we are no more than physical beings, and if "nothing" follows our physical death, then at the moment of our physical death, "nothing". The possibility of "nothing" absolutely frees us from any concern we may have about a physical life that has an end, and demands that we live for the possibility that there is "something".
We discuss why this is true in the next chapter. What should our response be to all of this?
My paranormal adventure in pursuit of life after death | Aeon Essays
We strongly believe that there is absolutely no reason not to live for the possibility that life has meaning and value. We think we are right about the transitory nature of physical consciousness, but we may be totally wrong. If we are wrong, if each of us has a singular physical consciousness that somehow survives physical death, or if there is some other form of existential existence that gives meaning and purpose to our physical lives, then our life may have meaning and value even if there is no non-physical life after death.
We will not pursue this possibility, yet you should recognize that it might exist. A brief comment on the word possible. Saying something may be possible is misleading in the case of mutually exclusive options. When we say there is a possibility that our conclusions are wrong, or a possibility that there is no non-physical life after death, or a possibility that there is existential meaning without a non-physical life after death, we are talking about facts that are either true or false.
Our conclusions are right, or they are wrong, either there is a non-physical life after death or there is no non-physical life after death, either there is existential meaning absent a non-physical afterlife or there is not.
If life has no existential meaning without a non-physical existence after physical death, and there is no life after physical death, then there is no "possibility" of existential meaning. If there is existential meaning to life without non-physical existence after death, then the possibility of existential meaning exists and always has existed.
Is there life after death? Contrasting Christian and Epicurean views
If in fact there is no non-physical life after death, then there is no possibility of a non-physical life after death and such a possibility never existed. Yet if there is a non-physical life after death then the possibility, indeed the actuality, of life after death exists and always has existed. Whenever you see the word possible, and similar words like might or may, remember that if something does not and cannot exist, then that something is never possible the probability is zero. If something can exist, then that something might represent an actual possibility.
If we are right, if our consciousness and existential physical being do not survive physical death, our death may mark the end of our existence. Yet if our physical consciousness dies, it is still quite possible that we will not face a "nihilistic" death. Perhaps we have a non-physical consciousness that survives physical death, and that gives meaning and value to our lives. We consider this possibility in more detail in this and our other book as we search for a reason for living. Beyond the human desire for meaning in life, we would suggest that the logical consequences of what philosophers call a nihilistic death require the search for alternatives to nihilism.
Those who believe that the nihilistic void is approaching are, by the very nature of their humanity, required to search for something to believe in other than the void. While it appears to be impossible to scientifically prove that life has meaning and value, it is equally impossible to prove that life has no meaning and value.
No matter what the person who concludes that life is meaningless believes to be true now or at any other particular time in their life, the possibility always exists that he or she may eventually find true meaning and value. The following is very hard to explain and may take several readings and a great deal of effort to understand. The limits of human comprehension make it extremely difficult to recognize the fact that if there is a nihilistic void after physical death, then there is absolutely no reason at all to think about the "nothing" that may follow physical life.
Nothing cannot affect our physical lives, either positively or negatively. It cannot be a part of our existence, it cannot be a part of our thoughts, it is "nothing". If after our physical death there is "nothing" then when we die we will not experience calm or peace or pain or distress, we will not experience anything because we will not exist.
You will not remember the good times or the horrific events in your life. We need to accept the difficult but essential point, if nothing follows physical death then there is no peaceful sleep because no one exists who can sleep, there are no nightmares because there is no one to dream.
All will be as if it never was. If you live five years in excruciating pain and there is nothing after physical death, then when you die the pain does not "end", it is as if those five years never happened. If you live fifty years in excruciating pain and there is nothing after physical death, then when you die the pain does not "end", it is as if those fifty years never happened.
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If there is nothing after physical death, you gain nothing if your physical pain lasts only five instead of fifty years, there is no difference. In both cases on the day of your death the excruciating pain does not "end", it is as if the pain never was. There is a profound difference between pain which ends and pain which never was. It may seem that anything which results in pain being as if it never happened is an end to the pain we are suffering, but that is not a true description of the "reality" of not existing, of "nothing".
Take the time to really think about the difference, you will eventually realize that if on our physical death our past is consumed by nothing, it is no worse to suffer fifty years of pain than suffer five years. If in fact there is nothing after physical death, then if you live one minute, or 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 more years, all the horrors in your past, present, and future will be "consumed" by nothing.
This is not the same as saying that we find "peace" in a nihilistic death, we find "nothing". Similarly, if you live a long and comfortable life filled with personal accomplishments, and there is nothing after physical death, then on your physical death "nothing". If there is nothing after physical death you will have no past. It will be as if you were never born, as if you never existed. If there is nothing after physical death, there can be absolutely no benefit to a shorter life, no logical reason to want physical life to end.
Even though it may seem absurd, if we do not exist after our physical death we have no reason to fear, or avoid, five years or fifty years of the most horrible pain. The all consuming nature of the "nothing" that may follow physical death is what human beings find almost impossible to comprehend. If you are living a pleasant life your initial response to the possibility of "nothing" may be that it is frightening, or if you are suffering it may feel somehow comforting, both thoughts are totally, unquestionably, wrong.
If on our physical death there is nothing, then there is no rational or logical reason to think about physical death as fearful or peaceful. If there is nothing after physical death then the experience of physical death perhaps it is better to say the experience that never happens is the same if it occurs in one day or one year or one hundred years, during a period of great joy or great pain.
There would be "nothing" in your future to look forward to, there would be "nothing" in your future to fear.
It is very important to recognize that nihilism can never lead to suicide, for nihilism tells us that if we do in fact live in a nihilistic world, nothing that happens in our lives, no matter how badly we may feel about it at the time, has any "real" consequence at all. If there is nothing after death, then it makes no difference to you if your life was filled with pain or pleasure, because you will not exist to feel pain or pleasure.
Yet if there is an existence after death, then by having chosen to endure physical pain and chosen to live the most positive physical life you can, you may find after your physical death that memories of even the worst pain are overwhelmed by "joy" and "disappear". If there is an existence after physical death, or some other existential meaning to life, then enduring a lifetime of pain and emotional hurt may result in a timeless eternity of peace and happiness. If there is an existence after death, and you choose suicide, you may be rejecting that peace and happiness.
The possibility of nothing leaves you absolutely free to live a life filled with both pain and joy, knowing that if you live in a meaningless world the pain will be as if it never was. Terminating life never brings release from pain and peace, rather it destroys the possibility of a meaningful, perhaps joyful, existential or non-physical life. I am absolutely convinced that the philosophical neutrality that nihilism demands, means that nihilism never suggests or supports suicide as an option for any human being.
If you believe that suicide is an option, you totally misunderstand what you have read, you do not comprehend what it means to say that "nothing" may consume your past, present, and future. You do not understand what it means to say that all will be as if it never was. You need to reread the last three chapters until you understand that nihilism renders false all arguments for suicide. Philosophical arguments about existence are fragmented almost beyond recognition. The number of logical branches seems endless. I have considered the major possibilities, including the possibility of existential meaning in a purely physical life.
Physical life without life after death may have existential meaning. If you believe that there is a possibility we might be right, please read our books for a detailed discussion of our conclusions. We have received comments from readers who tell us that our ideas caused them to be distressed or depressed. If you are one of those readers you need to consider the following.
As human beings become anxious they often lose their focus and objectivity, and misinterpret what they are reading.enter site
If you understand what we are saying, there is absolutely no reason to be depressed by our ideas. Why not? First, our conclusions may be right, we may have a permanent non-physical consciousness which gives meaning to life. Second, we may be wrong, life may have permanent existential meaning and value without a life after death. Third, if there is nothing after physical death you are absolutely free to live a life filled with both pain and joy, knowing that if you die today, or next year, or ten years from now, the "pain" will be as if it never was. No matter which of the three is right, depression and suicide destroy the possibility of finding the meaning and purpose which may in fact exist in each and every human being's life.
We are a small part of the whole. Unless the answer is revealed to us by the whole, we can never know during our physical lives what really happens when our physical life ends. Life may have physical or non-physical meaning and value right now that we do not, and perhaps cannot during our physical lives, recognize and understand. This fact is extremely difficult to accept if you are searching for meaning in your life, you do not believe that there is a life after death, and you are discouraged or depressed before you start reading. If your mind is not receptive and clear, when you read our ideas they may touch raw nerves, and you may stop understanding what we are saying.
If you do not agree that the possibility of "nothing" absolutely eliminates suicide as an option then carefully reread our book, including "Afraid of Nothing?
There is no reason whatsoever to be depressed, there is every reason to do that which is good and live the most positive life you are willing to live, with the hope that life has meaning and purpose. There is no reason at all to reject the possibility that each of us has some kind of permanent physical or non-physical consciousness. There is no reason at all to reject the possibility that each of our lives has existential meaning and purpose even if there is no life after death.
There is no reason whatsoever not to search for an alternative to nihilism, to seek existential meaning and purpose in our lives, to explore the possibility of a permanent physical or non-physical consciousness, to search for a reason for living. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever not to live for the possibility, however remote you may believe it to be, that you can make choices now that will lead you to a positive life that has meaning and value. We have readers who indicate that they are distressed and depressed by the possibility that they may have committed the eternal sin.
If God exists and if there is an eternal sin, then God gives us the choice to commit the eternal sin or not to commit the eternal sin, period. It would seem that those who have not committed the eternal sin would be distressed if they believed that they might have committed the eternal sin. It would seem that the very fact that someone is distressed by the belief that they may have committed the eternal sin may suggest that they have in fact not committed the eternal sin. Physical and mental disease cause extreme anxiety and depression, and may lead a person to believe that they have committed the eternal sin and that they will live in hell after their death when in fact they have not committed the eternal sin.
If you are distressed and depressed by the possibility that you have committed the eternal sin, then you need to talk with those who you believe have not committed the eternal sin, including religious counselors. Talk to several people, especially mental health professionals if there is any possibility of psychological or emotional influences or problems, so that you may better determine what you have and have not done.
People like the idea of everlasting life because it gives them more time.
Notes On Socrates And Religious Beliefs Essay
In the reading, the debate between Williams and Fischer sheds light on the issues of immortality. Williams argues that living forever would eventually lead nothing but boredom. While on the other hand, Fischer is adamant that there are certainly pleasures which are not self-exhausting pg I would have to argue though, that if there is any question to boredom, if you must struggle to find these pleasures that are not dull to you anymore, is that really worth it?
It is the thrill of having to make choices about what opportunities to take. Life should take a lifetime. The reading also brings about the argument of reanimation; if your body is in fact reanimated, is it really you? If there is such a thing as life after death, the last thing involved would be the body.
It is impossible to account for consciousness in only the physical sense. You are made up of much more than simply a body and mind. You contain your memories, experiences and emotions that shape who you are and that identity can be recognized as your soul. And all of those experiences and memories and emotions did in fact happen, so therefore they cannot simply disappear after you expire. So assuming that the soul is immortal still does not guarantee a life after death. Is it that the survival of the soul means the survival of you? Well this depends on if those memories, experiences, and emotions stay within the soul and continue into eternity.
Interactionism in Philosophy of Mind. Parapsychology and Consciousness in Philosophy of Cognitive Science. The Soul in Philosophy of Religion. Edit this record. Mark as duplicate. Find it on Scholar.
Request removal from index. Revision history. Configure custom resolver. Chapters BETA. Leonard Angel. Near-Death Experiences Are Hallucinations. Susan Blackmore. Raymond D. Why Survival is Metaphysically Impossible. Theodore M. Rocco J. Brain, Language, and Survival After Death. Terence Hines. Jamie Horder. Jaegwon Kim. Giving Up the Ghost to Psychology. Conjecturing Up Spirits in the Improvisations of Mediums.
Claus Flodin Larsen. Is There Life After Death? A Review of the Supporting Evidence. David Lester. Carlos J. Problems with Heaven. Michael Martin. Dead as a Doornail: Souls, Brains, and Survival.