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Why I can't understand no afterlife

rockwater
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6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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6/28/2013 1:06:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

Totally on board with this one. I've even tried imagining non-existence (which, of course, is a self-defeating exercise, though it's generated some ... interesting sensations).

At an emotional level, it does drive a sometimes compelling desire to think that there has to be something more than, eternity of nothing > born > live > die > eternity of nothing, but it's unresolved what that may be.

Unfortunately, while you have the wherewithal to understand that this isn't proof of an afterlife, trillions of people over the course of humanity's time here have succumbed to the wishful thinking that it is.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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6/28/2013 1:57:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

I was born in 1987. My death will be just like 1985. No life. Before death is just like after death, nothingness.
Poetaster
Posts: 587
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6/28/2013 1:58:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
What was it like for you in Scotland during the year 1834? What happened to your consciousness; your thoughts, feelings, personality such that you can't access your absence at that time and place? That emptiness is no less, and no different, than that portended by death without afterlife.

That is, imagine what the world felt like to you before you were born; death is the appropriate symmetry to that experience. Where you go will feel the same way as that from which you came.

I could be wrong, but I try not to fret over unlikely asymmetries.
"The book you are looking for hasn't been written yet. What you are looking for you are going to have to find yourself, it's not going to be in a book..." -Sidewalker
Rational_Thinker9119
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6/28/2013 1:58:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

- Mark Twain
rockwater
Posts: 273
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6/28/2013 2:15:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:58:43 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

- Mark Twain

It is not that simple though. Prior to conception/birth I did not exist. After death I will exist as a body but, if there is no afterlife, I will not have a consciousness. Before life we have neither a body or consciousness. After death we have a body but no consciousness. Also there is the transition from having consciousness to not having it, which is not necessarily anything like falling asleep. I do not think that reminding myself that I did not exist before I was conceived makes the absence of an afterlife any easier to understand.
Rational_Thinker9119
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6/28/2013 2:20:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 2:15:36 PM, rockwater wrote:
At 6/28/2013 1:58:43 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

- Mark Twain

It is not that simple though. Prior to conception/birth I did not exist. After death I will exist as a body but, if there is no afterlife, I will not have a consciousness.

Yes, you will not have a consciousness. Just like you had no consciousness before birth. Same thing.

Before life we have neither a body or consciousness.

What does a body have to do with it? A dead body has as much life as a rock.

After death we have a body but no consciousness.

The body decays, organisms may get to it. You could get cremated like a lot of people. Either way, it does not matter.

Also there is the transition from having consciousness to not having it,

With conception birth/ there is a transition of not having consciousness to having it. Death is just the reverse. Back to the nothingness from which you came.

which is not necessarily anything like falling asleep. I do not think that reminding myself that I did not exist before I was conceived makes the absence of an afterlife any easier to understand.

It is easy to understand. IT is just "like" before your conception/ birth. No consciousness, nothing. Easy to understand, what's the problem?
Quan
Posts: 97
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6/28/2013 2:27:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 2:15:36 PM, rockwater wrote:
It is not that simple though. Prior to conception/birth I did not exist. After death I will exist as a body but, if there is no afterlife, I will not have a consciousness. Before life we have neither a body or consciousness. After death we have a body but no consciousness. Also there is the transition from having consciousness to not having it, which is not necessarily anything like falling asleep. I do not think that reminding myself that I did not exist before I was conceived makes the absence of an afterlife any easier to understand.

The law of conservation of mass-energy. Everything you are made of has always existed and always will exist. But if you really want your mind to blown, consider the following quote:

Steve Grand wrote:
Consider yourself. I want you to imagine a scene from your childhood. Pick something evocative... Something you can remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all, you really were there at the time, weren't you? How else would you remember it? But here is the bombshell: you WEREN'T there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place. Every bit of you has been replaced many times over... The point is that you are like a cloud: something that persists over long periods, whilse simultaneously being in flux. Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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6/28/2013 2:31:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 2:27:07 PM, Quan wrote:
At 6/28/2013 2:15:36 PM, rockwater wrote:
It is not that simple though. Prior to conception/birth I did not exist. After death I will exist as a body but, if there is no afterlife, I will not have a consciousness. Before life we have neither a body or consciousness. After death we have a body but no consciousness. Also there is the transition from having consciousness to not having it, which is not necessarily anything like falling asleep. I do not think that reminding myself that I did not exist before I was conceived makes the absence of an afterlife any easier to understand.

The law of conservation of mass-energy. Everything you are made of has always existed and always will exist. But if you really want your mind to blown, consider the following quote:

Steve Grand wrote:
Consider yourself. I want you to imagine a scene from your childhood. Pick something evocative... Something you can remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all, you really were there at the time, weren't you? How else would you remember it? But here is the bombshell: you WEREN'T there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place. Every bit of you has been replaced many times over... The point is that you are like a cloud: something that persists over long periods, whilse simultaneously being in flux. Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made.

The transfer of atoms is a gradual process, it is not like you get stripped of all your atoms at once. Therefore, you are always being "maintained", even if eventually all your atoms are different than at one other point. What we do know that is consciousness is dependent on neural activity. Therefore, if we have no neural activity, we should expect no consciousness. Simple cause and effect.
Poetaster
Posts: 587
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6/28/2013 2:33:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Well, OP, if you are vexed by the counterintuitive, consider that the assertion of an afterlife is one that death doesn't really exist; that this world is some metaphysical game of hide-and-seek, and the dead are just well-hidden.

It should be sufficiently counterintuitive to trouble you. That is, if that sort of thing does.
"The book you are looking for hasn't been written yet. What you are looking for you are going to have to find yourself, it's not going to be in a book..." -Sidewalker
rockwater
Posts: 273
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6/28/2013 3:02:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 2:20:28 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 6/28/2013 2:15:36 PM, rockwater wrote:
At 6/28/2013 1:58:43 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

- Mark Twain

It is not that simple though. Prior to conception/birth I did not exist. After death I will exist as a body but, if there is no afterlife, I will not have a consciousness.

Yes, you will not have a consciousness. Just like you had no consciousness before birth. Same thing.

Before life we have neither a body or consciousness.

What does a body have to do with it? A dead body has as much life as a rock.

After death we have a body but no consciousness.

The body decays, organisms may get to it. You could get cremated like a lot of people. Either way, it does not matter.

Also there is the transition from having consciousness to not having it,

With conception birth/ there is a transition of not having consciousness to having it. Death is just the reverse. Back to the nothingness from which you came.


which is not necessarily anything like falling asleep. I do not think that reminding myself that I did not exist before I was conceived makes the absence of an afterlife any easier to understand.

It is easy to understand. IT is just "like" before your conception/ birth. No consciousness, nothing. Easy to understand, what's the problem?

I guess you could think of this as an issue of mind-body duality. If consciousness ends at death but the body remains, then it means that the mind is separate from the body. Quan suggested that life and identity, and therefore consciousness as well, should be defined as a chemical reaction rather than a material object (the body and/or brain). Therefore, just as the life-sustaining chemical reactions end at death, so do the conscious-sustaining chemical reactions in the brain.

Ok - so I guess the main point of confusion for me is what the experience of losing one's consciousness forever - of being annihilated - feels like. I never experience falling asleep. I am just awake and tried one moment at night and then awake again in the morning, with possibly dreams inbetween. I am never aware of being unconscious. What does dying feel like? Is it slow, painful and terrifying like slowly becoming paralyzed and feeling your mind with all its memories and thoughts slowly dissolve? In fact that is the only understanding of dying, if there is no afterlife, that I can think of.

But then there is the possibility of being blown up and instantly incinerated. In that case the chemical reactions in the brain all end in an instant. I cannot conceive of how I could have consciousness one second and not have it the next. Could it be that even if death is instantaneous, our perception of it is stretched acros a very long time as time collapses in our minds (basically our consciousness falls down a metaphorical black hole and our awareness of the passage of time slows down approaching infinity). There is no reason to believe this, but it makes more sense than consciousness being turned off like a switch, which makes a lot of sense to the other people here but makes no sense to me.

If this metaphor were applied conversely to the beginning of life, that would have also felt like an eternity. Maybe it did but we just don't remember it, like forgetting a dream?
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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6/28/2013 4:02:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 3:02:14 PM, rockwater wrote:
At 6/28/2013 2:20:28 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 6/28/2013 2:15:36 PM, rockwater wrote:
At 6/28/2013 1:58:43 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

- Mark Twain

It is not that simple though. Prior to conception/birth I did not exist. After death I will exist as a body but, if there is no afterlife, I will not have a consciousness.

Yes, you will not have a consciousness. Just like you had no consciousness before birth. Same thing.

Before life we have neither a body or consciousness.

What does a body have to do with it? A dead body has as much life as a rock.

After death we have a body but no consciousness.

The body decays, organisms may get to it. You could get cremated like a lot of people. Either way, it does not matter.

Also there is the transition from having consciousness to not having it,

With conception birth/ there is a transition of not having consciousness to having it. Death is just the reverse. Back to the nothingness from which you came.


which is not necessarily anything like falling asleep. I do not think that reminding myself that I did not exist before I was conceived makes the absence of an afterlife any easier to understand.

It is easy to understand. IT is just "like" before your conception/ birth. No consciousness, nothing. Easy to understand, what's the problem?

I guess you could think of this as an issue of mind-body duality. If consciousness ends at death but the body remains, then it means that the mind is separate from the body.

It does not matter whether the mind is separate from the body or not, that does not seem like an interesting question. The issue is whether the mind is dependent on the brain or not. It is. Therefore, we can reasonable conclude that it fizzles out with the death of the body.

Quan suggested that life and identity, and therefore consciousness as well, should be defined as a chemical reaction rather than a material object (the body and/or brain). Therefore, just as the life-sustaining chemical reactions end at death, so do the conscious-sustaining chemical reactions in the brain.

Chemical reactions produce these experiences, but I find it hard to believe they are identical.


Ok - so I guess the main point of confusion for me is what the experience of losing one's consciousness forever - of being annihilated - feels like.

There is no feeling, as you have to have consciousness to experience.

I never experience falling asleep. I am just awake and tried one moment at night and then awake again in the morning, with possibly dreams inbetween. I am never aware of being unconscious. What does dying feel like? Is it slow, painful and terrifying like slowly becoming paralyzed and feeling your mind with all its memories and thoughts slowly dissolve?

It all depends on which way you die. You can get a swift decapitation and it wouldn't be painless I could assume, or you can be tortured to death, or starve to death, which would be painful.

In fact that is the only understanding of dying, if there is no afterlife, that I can think of.


But then there is the possibility of being blown up and instantly incinerated. In that case the chemical reactions in the brain all end in an instant. I cannot conceive of how I could have consciousness one second and not have it the next.

It's very easily conceivable, to me at least. I have no problem with it.

Could it be that even if death is instantaneous, our perception of it is stretched acros a very long time as time collapses in our minds (basically our consciousness falls down a metaphorical black hole and our awareness of the passage of time slows down approaching infinity).

I have thought this myself. Maybe the five minutes it takes for you to die really feels like a thousand years, because your brain cannot "pick up" reality properly anymore like it used to. Perhaps, the afterlife is just the state of dying slowed down!

There is no reason to believe this, but it makes more sense than consciousness being turned off like a switch, which makes a lot of sense to the other people here but makes no sense to me.

I never said it turned off like a switch.


If this metaphor were applied conversely to the beginning of life, that would have also felt like an eternity. Maybe it did but we just don't remember it, like forgetting a dream?

Ya but that's ad hoc and a violation of Occam's Razor. It is more reasonable to assume no afterlife.
1Devilsadvocate
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6/28/2013 5:00:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:06:18 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

Totally on board with this one. I've even tried imagining non-existence (which, of course, is a self-defeating exercise, though it's generated some ... interesting sensations).

At an emotional level, it does drive a sometimes compelling desire to think that there has to be something more than, eternity of nothing > born > live > die > eternity of nothing, but it's unresolved what that may be.

Unfortunately, while you have the wherewithal to understand that this isn't proof of an afterlife, trillions of people over the course of humanity's time here have succumbed to the wishful thinking that it is.

That seems a little high to me. Was that a typo, exaggeration, or do you actually have some source for that number?
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
1Devilsadvocate
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6/28/2013 5:00:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:06:18 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

Totally on board with this one. I've even tried imagining non-existence (which, of course, is a self-defeating exercise, though it's generated some ... interesting sensations).

At an emotional level, it does drive a sometimes compelling desire to think that there has to be something more than, eternity of nothing > born > live > die > eternity of nothing, but it's unresolved what that may be.

Unfortunately, while you have the wherewithal to understand that this isn't proof of an afterlife, trillions of people over the course of humanity's time here have succumbed to the wishful thinking that it is.

That seems a little high to me. Was that a typo, exaggeration, or do you actually have some source for that number?
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
1Devilsadvocate
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6/28/2013 5:02:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Sorry, I didn't realize that I double posted, but isn't the site supposed to not allow double posts?
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
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http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
bladerunner060
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6/28/2013 5:08:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 5:02:02 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Sorry, I didn't realize that I double posted, but isn't the site supposed to not allow double posts?

Yeah, it usually errors out "Your post is not unique". But yours isn't the only double-post I've seen recently; perhaps there was a site hiccup.
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drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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6/28/2013 5:49:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 5:00:33 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 6/28/2013 1:06:18 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

Totally on board with this one. I've even tried imagining non-existence (which, of course, is a self-defeating exercise, though it's generated some ... interesting sensations).

At an emotional level, it does drive a sometimes compelling desire to think that there has to be something more than, eternity of nothing > born > live > die > eternity of nothing, but it's unresolved what that may be.

Unfortunately, while you have the wherewithal to understand that this isn't proof of an afterlife, trillions of people over the course of humanity's time here have succumbed to the wishful thinking that it is.

That seems a little high to me. Was that a typo, exaggeration, or do you actually have some source for that number?

Exaggeration.
lannan13
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6/28/2013 5:58:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
If you stick two people on an island at birth they will end up creating their own language and religon. It's because the human mind can't comprehend not existing any more.
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DakotaKrafick
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6/28/2013 6:22:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

I can't imagine what it's like after death and trying to freaks me the hell out.
bladerunner060
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6/29/2013 2:24:28 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
All this existential angst is why I plan to live forever...or die trying.
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Da-Bait
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6/29/2013 9:20:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

It's hard to comprehend, but put it this way, where was your consciousness before you were born? YOU have been in a death-like state for an infinite amount of time already.
sadolite
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6/29/2013 10:59:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

If you believe your life has no purpose other than to be a collection of molecules in a particular configuration for what would be a millisecond in time comparatively. I can't see any confusion about there being no after life.
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Stephen_Hawkins
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6/29/2013 1:24:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 2:15:36 PM, rockwater wrote:
At 6/28/2013 1:58:43 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

- Mark Twain

It is not that simple though. Prior to conception/birth I did not exist. After death I will exist

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Poetaster
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6/29/2013 3:48:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I see the pre-birth simile to death is a popular response to this question. Many here express it well, but Twain said it best.
"The book you are looking for hasn't been written yet. What you are looking for you are going to have to find yourself, it's not going to be in a book..." -Sidewalker
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6/29/2013 3:55:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

No, awareness does not merely "skip" when you are asleep- if it did, there would be no feeling of passage of time. You could accomplish this if you were to upload yourself into a computer and had your thought process frozen for a billion years- you wouldn't even notice that any time had passed.

I am of the opinion that we still retain consciousness while we sleep (not only when we dream)- we simply have no memory of it. And the same concept could potentially be applied to the time before we were born. We really know nothing.
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Eitan_Zohar
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6/29/2013 3:56:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/29/2013 3:48:07 PM, Poetaster wrote:
I see the pre-birth simile to death is a popular response to this question. Many here express it well, but Twain said it best.

Obvious fallacy is obvious.
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Eitan_Zohar
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6/29/2013 3:56:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 1:06:18 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 6/28/2013 1:00:17 PM, rockwater wrote:
I am not arguing that there is an afterlife, I am just saying that I do not understand the belief that there is no afterlife.

No afterlife means that all consciousness ends at death. This includes not only sensory perception, but also all thoughts, emotions, and awareness of time. This is not comparable to sleep without dreams because when we go to sleep without dreaming, our consciousness skips from one moment in time (before falling asleep) to another (after waking up). With death with no afterlife, there is no moment of time to skip forward to. In fact, if there is no afterlife, no words can be used to describe the experience of being dead because there is no longer a living person able to experience things. The whole thing makes my head spin. How can my consciousness just end? How can time just shut down for me? (Even that question does not make sense, because at death if there is no afterlife, there ceases to be a me for time to shut down for.)

None of this is to argue against a belief in no afterlife. I just have absolutely nothing that helps me understand what happens to consciousness at death. All life is a constant steam of consciousness interrupted by sleep. How can a living conscious being conceive of a permanent cessation of consciousness? What explanation can make it more understandable?

Totally on board with this one. I've even tried imagining non-existence (which, of course, is a self-defeating exercise, though it's generated some ... interesting sensations).

At an emotional level, it does drive a sometimes compelling desire to think that there has to be something more than, eternity of nothing > born > live > die > eternity of nothing, but it's unresolved what that may be.

Unfortunately, while you have the wherewithal to understand that this isn't proof of an afterlife, trillions of people over the course of humanity's time here have succumbed to the wishful thinking that it is.

I thought you accepted quantum immortality?
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."
Eitan_Zohar
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6/29/2013 3:59:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 5:58:52 PM, lannan13 wrote:
If you stick two people on an island at birth they will end up creating their own language and religon. It's because the human mind can't comprehend not existing any more.

No, ancient religions didn't always have a concept of an afterlife. I know Judaism (or its theological ancestor) didn't believe in life after death until the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead was introduced.
"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book."