Saturday, November 29, 2014
Afterlife (Part 2) - David Schumann
This post is the second (and final) post of my afterlife presentation. In this post, I will discuss some of the approaches that exclude the idea of a typical afterlife. This post includes the monistic idea of Epicurus, the “Afterlife” community of Samuel Scheffler, and the Pantheism/Buddhism beliefs. These three beliefs aren’t all of the beliefs that do not include the typical afterlives, but they are the focus of my discussion.
The question we will be looking at for each belief is this: What happens at death and beyond?
Well, Epicurus’ answer was that nothing happened. He believed that since we didn’t experience anything BEFORE life, we surely wouldn’t experience anything AFTER life. This would obviously be a monistic idea from Epicurus; he assumes that the body and the mind (or soul) die together, and that the mind (or soul) cannot live past the death of the body. This is a very logical conclusion if a monistic approach is taken, as it just assumes that the death of a person is the ultimate and final end of their life.
The next theory that I’ll discuss is the Epicurean theory of death with a spin on it; Scheffler offers a thought experiment that adds to the Epicurean theory by proposing this: “would it matter if the entire world expired shortly after your own death?” This thought experiment is what presents Scheffler’s main point. He acknowledges that the life that exists after ours, the lives we know AND the ones we do not, are important to us. He points out that these literal after-lives are what exists of the afterlife. The existence of life after us and the existences of the lives that we have loved and affected is enough for an afterlife. This is, in my opinion, a beautiful idea. Whether it is applied to a monistic or a dualistic approach, the continued existence of life is significant and beautiful enough for us to endure the idea of death.
The last theory we will look at is the theory of the Pantheist/Buddhist afterlife. This theory says that we do not experience our own afterlife, but we attribute to the general energy and life of the world around us. Since this afterlife is not actually experienced, the actual life is of other things; the nature, environment, and people around us get our afterlife-energy in order to live on or take our place after we die.
All of these theories, whether affirming or denying afterlife, are merely ideas. We do not know the truth with 100% confirming evidence, nor can we confirm the correct theory. However, this is when faith is presented, or believing without demanding complete evidence. Although nobody has the physical authority to talk of afterlife, considering we have never been after our lives, we do continually theorize to try to see how the afterlife may or may not exist.