## If Death is the End (some thoughts)

• 150
Many people believe death is not the end. When the body dies, they believe that heaven or reincarnation or some other fate awaits. And, of course, they may be right. Yet, as far as I am aware, no iron-clad proof exists about what happens after death; it’s still an open question. If God and an afterlife do in fact exist, then apparently God doesn’t want us to be too sure about it, so religions offer conflicting answers about the afterlife.

So, the possibility remains that death is the absolute and final end, that when it’s over, it’s over. Period. Let’s think about that.

One comforting thought is that if I do, indeed, cease to exist when I die,I will never know it. It is not possible for me to experience anything if I no longer exist. The writer Mark Twain once wrote: “I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” (I expect Twain had “conceived” in mind rather than “born”) If I cease to exist when I die, then I’ll be in the same state I was before I existed. Both states are equally impossible for me to experience.

So, if no after-death state, then no worries? Not quite. Because if I cease to exist at death, then all the people I’ve known and loved who have passed have also ceased to exist, a sad thought indeed. A thought that leads to questions about the meaning and purpose of life itself. If we utterly cease to exist, then it’s easy to feel, in the words of Shakespeare, that
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


These thoughts are sad but they also contain lessons. The people around you may one day cease to exist, so appreciate them while they are here. This life may be all that there is, so make the most of it. Treasure each day. Not a bad takeaway from such sad thoughts, I’d say.
• 999
(I expect Twain had “conceived” in mind rather than “born”)

Ha ha ha! I expect Twain had in mind exactly what he wrote. He was that kind of writer.
• 2.1k
Nothing is absolutely created or destroyed, it only changes form.

When a star explodes, its atoms continue, and their trajectory reflects and continues that of the star, including the added effects from the event of its demise. In fact, if you view the star as a gravitational phenomenon from far enough away, it has a very similar profile before it has actually ignited and after it explodes.
• 2.9k

Do you get no comfort from the suggestion that we are all connected via the components we are made of? Conservation laws? Only the form changes, nothing is destroyed or created. We disassemble after death and what we were become universal spare parts again. How many atoms in you right now were once part of other life forms? All newborn humans are made from components which have existed in different forms, since the origin of the universe. Maybe some sub-atomic bits of you were once bits of Aristotle, uggar the now completely unknown friend of Lucy the Homo Sapien, a tree, a comet, a star and Adolf Hitler.
• 2.8k

Yes. However this thought does not arise when one is dead, IF we are correct in assuming that post-life is a similar state than pre-life. Death is "only" painful for the living who experience it of others and to people who are on there way out. But the actual "state", is not a reason to worry, I think.
• 2.2k

Nothing is absolutely created or destroyed, it only changes form.

When a star explodes, its atoms continue, and their trajectory reflects and continues that of the star, including the added effects from the event of its demise. In fact, if you view the star as a gravitational phenomenon from far enough away, it has a very similar profile before it has actually ignited and after it explodes.

:up: :100:
• 9.8k
:fire:
Death is nothing to us. When we exist, death is not; and when death exists, we are not.  — Epicurus
What you find hateful [harmful], do not do to anyone. — Hillel the Elder
A free man thinks of death least of all things, and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life. — Spinoza
Carpe diem! Non serviam. Sapere aude. Amor fati ....Memento mori, memento vivere. :death: :flower:
• 7.6k
Postmortem scenarios

1. Awesome: Heaven
2. Bummer: Nothingness
3. F**k: Hell

Which of these 3 obtains is, luckily/not, past our event horizon. What determines which of these 3 outcomes will come to pass is also very doubtful (no pattern that could've come in handy in solving this puzzle holds).
• 150
Death is nothing to us. When we exist, death is not; and when death exists, we are not. — Epicurus
I like it. Haven't seen it before.
• 150
Do you get no comfort from the suggestion that we are all connected via the components we are made of? Conservation laws? Only the form changes, nothing is destroyed or created. We disassemble after death and what we were become universal spare parts again.
Good point. I'd say the OP concerns the ego but we also may be said to have a deeper self in that we are an expression of the entire universe, not that we are the universe but rather that the universe is us.
• 3.7k
Philosophy is preparation for death. — Socrates

In typical Socratic fashion, this is not an answer but is intended to raise questions.
• 316
No, it is just a step unto a far plane.

A more advanced view of death can be achieved, as with Da'at in kaballah. Under the name Da'at, death is first to be known it's 'step' value, rather than ceasing and rebirth. In theory Da'at is a sharper understanding of death and may be wiser in some situations. However, death in it's placid and not lucid form is the only knowledge that counts.
• 80
There are questions. How can we know anything about death when life is a mystery. I contemplate consciousness and reason the consciousness I experience belongs to my body. When my body dies, my consciousness will end. The consciousness simply belongs to this one body. This is something that becomes confused by the ego, and I think things like I am a possibility of existence like anything else that exists, my consciousness is possible. But that is the ego talking. If something happens once there is a better chance at it happening again, than something hypothesized that has never happened to happen once. Like the woman of my dreams that has never materialized. In short, I let my ego convince me that I am an occurrence of the natural world, consciousness and all, and it will fade in and out of existence improbably throughout the eons. Each time living as if for the first time and dying as if for eternity.
• 694

Some of the fear of death may be connected to a fear of an after-life.

There is the prospect of torments as spelled out in The Inferno. The scariest part of that to me is a living person getting to have a tour. So it is the imagination itself that causes despair.

Like those nightmares where each strategy to escape a scene leads to another scene. One comes to wonder: is this a tourist visit or am I dead?
• 3.7k
Do you get no comfort from the suggestion that we are all connected via the components we are made of? Conservation laws? Only the form changes, nothing is destroyed or created.

Even if the components are not destroyed that does not mean that we are not. Perhaps we are the form those components takes. When the form those components take that is me changes then I am not.
• 2.9k

I agree that YOU as a combinatorial system, no longer exists after death. 'Nothing is destroyed,' only relates to mass/energy equivalence. Any functional system will be destroyed via entropy and will no longer exist in its current form. Death does 'destroy' you in that sense.
• 5k
Because if I cease to exist at death, then all the people I’ve known and loved who have passed have also ceased to exist, a sad thought indeed. A thought that leads to questions about the meaning and purpose of life itself.

Gore Vidal once quipped, 'When I die, I take all of you with me.'

I don't see how meaning or purpose of life are diminished if this is the only life we have and death is the end. It might even be argued that on this basis life could be more precious to us. I don't value my car any less knowing it will be a heap of broken, rusty steel in 25 years. I don't value a lovely spring day any less knowing it will presently be over. I don't value a great evening with friends knowing it will be end in a few hours. I don't value life any less knowing it is finite.
• 323
I can attest that that scenario gives me no comfort at all. Because my consciousness won't be part of it, and if go on to another form of life, I won't remember the previous one{s}.

As a happy atheist I think people would be better off enjoying the life we have now, rather than worrying about, or debating, whether we'll get another one.
• 575

Matter continuing doesn't have to do with conscious existence continuing. In fact matter exists like 99.9999+% of the time line while matter and life together covers the small difference of time in the history of the universe.
• 2.1k
Matter continuing doesn't have to do with conscious existence continuing.

You might be surprised to hear that there are schools of thought that do not concur with your belief.
• 9.8k
• 4.1k
We experience death every night when going to sleep. Meditation and drugs can help with ego-death, as well.

No big mystery. We, the living, are concerned about it because we experience others never waking up again and it’s frightening — so we make up all these stories about it. But all we ever experience is what we experience in life, including what’s mentioned above — sleep being the most common. Take away dreaming and there you have it.

I agree with Twain.
• 111
Here is another thought:

There is no end at all for the self since there is no self that ends. That at each moment the individual dies because they change to a different individual.

Birth and death merge into one and thus disappear into eternity.
• 1.4k
Death is death, like shutting off a computer and then smashing the disk drives. There was a lot on it, but no one would consider that data to "float away" into some other place. So why would we do it?

Concepts of something after death are the result of the fear of death combined with a narcissistic idea that the ego, the self is the center of the universe, so "how could it possibly just disappear!?"

In my opinion, it's a fear and concept that never left a childish state of mind, like how conspiracy people try to understand something really simple with extremely complex and elaborate explanations just because they can't accept the simple as being true. And all attempts to provide rational thought and facts that support the simple truth just make them more scared and in need of even more extremely convoluted ideas about it.

Because they can't simply handle it, "Me... being gone? Preposterous! I'm immortal and evidence of my decay, evidence of mental changes by neurological degradation only means my body dies, and my mind my SOUL will be immortal and exist somewhere else and it will all be better because I will transcend all my bodily pains and aging aches and once again be happy, like I was in my youth... ah, I will be young again, my mind will be young and healthy, and all will be fine, all will be as it was supposed to be for me, all my problems in life, gone, I will be happy again...".

It is... hilarious.
• 1.4k
Meditation and drugs can help with ego-death

I think ego death is the most lacking thing about our modern world. In a world order built around narcissistic tendencies due to the rampage of neoliberal individualism, we would need an ego holocaust to return to something closer to decent morality for humanity.
• 7.6k
Why do people cry when their near and dear ones die? It can't be because the deceased is going to a, ahem, "better place". Ergo ... either nothing or hell awaits us ... postmortem.

However, we're pleased relieved by some deaths (euthanasia, suicide) for the simple reason that there really is no point to living with pain that's unbearable. Ergo ... nothing ... postmortem.

Hence, postmortem one of two things will happen, you'll either cease to be (nothing) or you'll jump from the frying pan into the fire (hell). Put simply ...

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. — Albert Camus
• 150
Why do people cry when their near and dear ones die? It can't be because the deceased is going to a, ahem, "better place". Ergo ... either nothing or hell awaits us ... postmortem.
I agree that many religious people have enough doubts about heaven that they fear dying.
But your quote neglects the possibility that the crying is due to leaving loved ones, even if only for a while (i.e., reuniting in heaven)
• 7.6k
:up: On point mon ami, on point. I've seen people cry during goodbyes even when they knew very well the person leaving was going to return in a year or had found a better life elsewhere. We mourn our loss and in so doing we honor the dear departed.

A question, how do you explain the desire to kill one's enemies and the pleasure one experiences when/after doing so? If the dead go to heaven, why would anyone want to murder one's foe?
• 1.3k

Life is everything, and after death is nothing. It is as if the world starts when you are born, and ends when you are dead. I believe that when it happens, there will be no capacity for any thought or feeling, and all truths or perspectives will lose all meaning. I want to live a good life while I'm alive, but there's nothing I want to do before the coming oblivion, as it seems pointless to care about a time when nothing will exist for me.
• 150
how do you explain the desire to kill one's enemies and the pleasure one experiences when/after doing so? If the dead go to heaven, why would anyone want to murder one's foe?
I'd say that many people really don't believe in heaven and merely want to destroy someone they hate.
But having never killed anyone, I don't speak from experience. :)
• 7.6k
I'd say that many people really don't believe in heaven and merely want to destroy someone they hate.
But having never killed anyone, I don't speak from experience. :)

:ok:
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal