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Featured Non-existence vs an unknown afterlife

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Erebus, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    This is just something I've been pondering lately. Imagine that on your deathbed, the Grim Reaper appears to you and offers you a choice:

    Option 1. is that your death will result in the complete cessation of your consciousness. You may have left a mark on the world and be remembered by your loved ones but you effectively cease to exist.

    Option 2. is that you pass on into the afterlife. However, the Reaper won't tell you what the afterlife entails. You're stepping into the unknown if you take this option.


    Which would you choose and why?


    Just as a note, I know that some people will be tempted to say something along the lines of, "Well I know what's going to happen after I die." For the sake of this thread please play along and assume that your choice is between non-existence and an entirely unknown afterlife.
     
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  2. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    I'll step into the unknown... because I'm more curious than afraid.
     
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  3. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    If they "know" and what they "know" lines up with option 1, they would choose option 1.
    If they "know" and what they "know" does not lines up with option 1, they would choose option 2
     
  4. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    That really would depend on my life circumstances, accomplishments, and state of mind at the time. But probably option 2.
     
  5. Onoma

    Onoma Active Member

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    I love surprises, personally
     
  6. QuestioningMind

    QuestioningMind Well-Known Member

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    Sure... if there's another adventure waiting for me after this one, I'm up for it.
     
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  7. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    I'm with the adventurous folk.
     
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  8. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Option 1, because to my mind, that already reflects the known reality of things. However, there's something very important to add to this related to how we conceptualize identity.

    Identity is, of course, a construct. While Western culture tends to be self-centered in how it conceptualizes identity, there are other ways of framing things. As someone who as studied ecology, I can't conceptualize identity in such a self-centered fashion. I understand, for example, that there is no "you" without a surrounding environment. As such, our identities are inexorably bound up with the environment. So much so that individual identities would hold no meaning at all without a context to exist in. We know that the environmental context persists after the "death" of the "you." The world does not end when a loved one dies. It keeps on going. And so do they, our loved ones, our ancestors. They are here, right here, right now, through the legacy left by their inexorable ties with the world, including "you."

    I don't agree that the "you" at any point "ceases to exist." I feel no need to believe in some sort of "after" life because I see and recognize a continuity of existence where "individuals" hold no meaning without the tapestry we are all part of. I realize this probably throws a wrench in the intended scope of the exercise, but it's how I view things when I'm not working with someone else's map of the territory.
     
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  9. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    If given the option I would continue to exist because existence is fun for me.

    I see it as a challenge/puzzle trying to deal successfully with any situation you find your self in. I like stepping into the unknown and seeing if I can come out on top.
     
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  10. Amanaki

    Amanaki Veteran Member

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    Not a very difficult choice to make :) choice number 2.
    Even I already believe in "afterlife" and have a general understanding of what I could face there, I can of course not fully know at this point in life.
    And follow the " Grimm reaper isn't a option to me.
     
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  11. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    I’d definitely roll the dice with option 2.
     
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  12. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Some good responses so far folks :)

    Personally, I'm inclined to go for option 1. I'm very much a pessimist and an unknown afterlife just holds too many nightmarish possibilities for my liking!


    I agonised over how best to word my post since I'm aware that "you" can be interpreted in quite a few ways. Still, I think you picked up the gist of the post and you expressed your views well so it's all good.
     
  13. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    If the choice were between a continuance of my consciousness and complete obliteration, I would likely choose the continuance. I don't fear obliteration, mind you - it is exactly what I expect upon death in this life - but I wouldn't mind sticking around. I've always thought that those saying they wouldn't want eternal life were just trying to console themselves in a way.
     
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  14. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I'd probably pick option one. Option two sounds like it's contradicting the nature of reality. It also seems like its deterring from the inevitable and to find the permanent. I have too many conflicting ideas of what the definition of an afterlife is, so if I answered option 2 it would be 'just because'.
     
  15. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Dawkins once said he'd like to live to age 200 at most but not for an eternity. But I'm not sure--I think eternal life could be fun.
     
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  16. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    It's one of those questions that we might simply not be equipped to answer since eternity is well beyond our capacity to properly comprehend. Whether or not eternal life would be tolerable would almost certainly depend on what that life was like. I would say that if we're talking about a heaven scenario, one of the ways to make eternal life appealing would be to have infinite new things to discover.

    If you haven't read it, you might find Stephen King's short story The Jaunt interesting. Without giving away too much, it touches on the possible effects of retaining consciousness over an extremely long period of time.
     
  17. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about this. There are plenty of things I have already "discovered" that I enjoy coming back to time and time again. For example, walking into rushing water on a hot day, or the feel of walking on wet sand. The rush of wind in the heat that cools you down and somehow also lifts your spirits. That first bite of something delicious - even if you've had it a thousand times. Things like that never fail to be rewarding. I think those types of qualia-driven experiences can keep things interesting to a degree, and you'd have infinite amounts of time to discover more of them. Loss of liberty to experience those things would obviously put a damper on that, however.
     
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  18. YoursTrue

    YoursTrue I'm found.

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    We can hope for something, but when I read the thread title I thought, we know we're alive. Unless of course we're brain dead but still breathing. Most of us, however, KNOW we're alive. Of course when we're in a deep sleep we don't 'know' much. :)
     
  19. YoursTrue

    YoursTrue I'm found.

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    There are so many things I'd like to do. Learn. No time now. I'll worry about nothing left to do later...
     
  20. Daemon Sophic

    Daemon Sophic Avatar in flux

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    Option 2. Dead ends are boring, and I’m kicking the bucket anyways.
    [​IMG]
    I’ll take the red pill and find out how deep the rabbit hole goes. :cool:
     
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