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Imperator X
Saturday, October 14th, 2006, 08:41 PM
What are your opinions on the afterlife? Does it exist or not? I think that it is possible even though I don't really see why there should be one if we are all just mammals. Perhaps there exists a super-conscious. I get some comfort from the fact that I am going where my forefathers have gone before me, wherever that may be. I have a friend who, had a near-death-experience while almost drowning at 5 years old. She said that she had a vision of a field and sunlight, but then she was saved by her mother's friend who wore a shirt with a garden with a sun.

Kind of discouraging isn't it? :(

Hrafn
Saturday, October 14th, 2006, 09:15 PM
What are your opinions on the afterlife? Does it exist or not? I think that it is possible even though I don't really see why there should be one if we are all just mammals. Perhaps there exists a super-conscious. I get some comfort from the fact that I am going where my forefathers have gone before me, wherever that may be. I have a friend who, had a near-death-experience while almost drowning at 5 years old. She said that she had a vision of a field and sunlight, but then she was saved by her mother's friend who wore a shirt with a garden with a sun.

Kind of discouraging isn't it? :(

Look at it this way: If there is an afterlife, great! If not, you won't have to worry about it, because you don't exist anymore. We have nothing to loose! (well, except if you believe in hell, but there is really no reason to do so).

PS: Yay for 100th post :thumbsup

Theudiskaz
Sunday, October 15th, 2006, 01:10 AM
I have no reason to believe an afterlife exists, so, no, I do not believe in one. :shrug

Moody
Sunday, October 15th, 2006, 04:01 PM
What are your opinions on the afterlife? Does it exist or not? I think that it is possible even though I don't really see why there should be one if we are all just mammals. Perhaps there exists a super-conscious.

For me, the 'afterlife' does not 'exist' in a way analogous to our own existence, i.e., as a parallel way of life which continues for the dead [although I don't know that that is not the case - it could be].

Rather, the afterlife is a form of experience which I have here and now [something like your "superconscious"].

It tends to creep up on me unawares.

Only last night my late paternal grandfather and grandmother were crashing into my silent thoughts; 'speaking' to me, guiding me - telling me inarticulate things I never knew before.

So they they are certainly in some way 'living' 'after' their deaths.

Of course, this could purely be a mental phenomena, a kind of creative memory reflex.

Even so, this is still a form of 'after life' which takes place in 'inner space'.

And yet, I have experienced ghosts too - in places where I knew nothing of the history; and yet I experienced ghostly indicators of the past rising into my consciousness.

These instances have all been 'involuntary' - I willed them not.

So did a spirit enter into my Being from the Afterlife, or did I just unconsciously invent these experiences?

Probably the latter; but then the human imagination for me is something Divine.

So I would say that the Afterlife exists within the human consciousness - and that the human consciousness may be something far greater than we imagine and it may be linked to other energies in the Universe [and therefore a Superconsciousness] of which we are still quite ignorant.

So, for me, the Dead do live on.
Indeed, as Shelley indicated in his Adonais, it is not the dead who are dead, but we the living who are dead - dead to the realm of spirit.

And we should harken to our ancestors, no?

And that spirit realm is full of the dead and is visited only by sensitives, mediums, poets and ... madmen!

Siegfried
Sunday, October 15th, 2006, 04:13 PM
So I would say that the Afterlife exists within the human consciousness - and that the human consciousness may be something far greater than we imagine and it may be linked to other energies in the Universe [and therefore a Superconsciousness] of which we are still quite ignorant.

I agree with that, and you expressed it very eloquently. I think the individual consciousness cannot survive the dissolution of the body, and there is therefore no afterlife for the individual consciousness as a concrete entity. I may be pulling something way out of context, but Carl Jung once described spirits as "unconscious personalities, splinter personalities, and complexes". This fits my own view that one's personality, or aspects of it, may live on in the collective subconscious despite the death of the personal [self-]consciousness. The fractured survival of personhood in the collective subconscious may account for the uncanny feelings that usually surround experiences involving spirits of the deceased. I am also reminded of the shamanic journey, found in diverse cultures all over the planet. It is a descent into the spirit world that is also described as an often shady underworld; I interpret this shamanic experience as a journey into the collective subconscious. Several religious traditions allow for great men to escape into another, radiant realm upon death. Insofar as these descriptions should not be taken as allegorical descriptions of initiation, they may indicate that extra-ordinary personalities (or, more likely, the nobler fragments of it) will end up in the superconscious instead of subconscious.

I am, of course, glossing over the Hell/Heaven views that have gained currency among the Semitic monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity), as I find these images, or at least their popular forms, simplified, if not degenerated, forms of the above. It should be noted, however, that the early Judaic description (possibly of Sumerian origin) of the afterlife as Sheol fits the image I painted of the collective subconscious fairly well.

Moody
Sunday, October 15th, 2006, 05:39 PM
I think the individual consciousness cannot survive the dissolution of the body, and there is therefore no personal afterlife.

You could be right, and most probably are; but then are you not assuming too much about the nature of life and about the nature of the body?
I mean this; there are an infinite number of things that we can say about the body.
And we could speak about the body for a lifetime and still leave volumes unsaid.
And life is the element of this body - and another inexhaustible subject is this life; as infinite as that of the body.
Even when we close-in on just an aspect of the body, such as the consciousness, we still cannot say everything, and we can still not say enough about it.

Therefore the possibilities of that life, that body, that consciousness, cannot be exhausted either.
It is highly possible that an afterlife in some form exists somewhere, and that the hints of it that men have had for tens of thousands of years have been very real hints of a picture that is too vast to be appreciated from the very shallow perspectives that we all have ordinarily.

Also, this begs the question; if we say 'after-life', then the implication is that we know what life is. Sure, we think we know what death is, but do we know what life is?

Do we know why life is?

We ask ourselves, 'why is there life rather than nothingness'?

If life is such a mystery, then how can we be sure if there is or is not an 'afterlife'?

Can you imagine your life without you in it?

We assume that time is ranged in past-present-future, and make our image of life/afterlife upon that.
But what if time is a sham and the past present & future are all happening here at once.
If that is so, then we are living alongside our own deaths and rebirths, our own lifes, beforelifes and afterlifes.


one's personality, or aspects of it, may live on in the collective subconscious despite the death of the personal [self-]consciousness.

I think that is a very good hypothesis. If we accept the idea of a 'collective subconsciousness' we are - in a way - already accepting the idea of an Afterlife of sorts.
If someone was asked: 'do you believe in the Afterlife?', and they replied, 'No, I believe in the Collective Subconsciousness' [CS] instead', we could be forgiven for thinking that they had answered affirmatively to the initial question, rather than negatively.

For, what supports this CS?
Where does this CS reside?
What is the survival mechanism of this CS?
I mean, did the CS survive the the Ice Ages?

Is the CS an entity in and of itself that is beyond the coming and going of life and death?
If so, then the CS is an Afterlife.

It is the kind of Afterlife that I experience.

Indeed, did Jung just rename the Afterlife as CS in a more scientific age?

Also, you mention the "personal" frequently.

Is the human being composed of the 'personal' and 'non-personal'?

If so, why would only the non-personal survive - why not the personal too?

The non-personal could survive in the CS Afterlife while the personal consciousness could survive in the individual egos of those who survived that being.



The fractured survival of personhood in the collective subconscious may account for the uncanny feelings that usually surround experiences involving spirits of the deceased.

But as I say, these experiences are often very personal - they are not always collective.
I would argue that these very personal experiences exist too - when the persona of a dead person suddenly comes screeching like a banshee into our unguarded minds. There is nothing 'collective' about that; so I am up for both; the personal ghost of Hamlet's father and the CS to.


I am also reminded of the shamanic journey, found in diverse cultures all over the planet. It is a descent into the spirit world that is also described as an often shady underworld; I interpret this shamanic experience as a journey into the collective subconscious. Several religious traditions allow for great men to escape into another, radiant realm upon death. Insofar as these descriptions should not be taken as allegorical descriptions of initiation, they may indicate that extra-ordinary personalities (or, more likely, the nobler fragments of it) will end up in the superconscious instead of subconscious.

And these shamanic journeys are very real to the shaman. We must leave open the possibility that the journey is real in some sense or other.
In all of these phenomena there is the imperative of the messenger.
The Spirits of the Dead, or the Shaman who visits them all want to tell us something that words cannot quite capture.

There is an inarticulate speech which yearns from the beyond [and alien visitors form Outer Space may be brought in here too] to tell us important things which we cannot quite grasp.
Why?
Either way we are trying to tell ourselves things, whether from our own living subconsciousnesses, or from the CS of the dead.


I am, of course, glossing over the Hell/Heaven views that have gained currency among the Semitic monotheistic religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity), as I find these images, or at least their popular forms, simplified, if not degenerated, forms of the above. It should be noted, however, that the early Judaic description (possibly of Sumerian origin) of the afterlife as Sheol fits the image I painted of the collective subconscious fairly well.

Interesting that these traditions paint the Afterlife as a place which is apart from us - just as their God is apart from the world he supposedly created.
I am suggesting instead that the Afterlife is here with us on Earth, just as we too can be gods on Earth.

We are living the Afterlife here and now, only we rarely are able to see it as we have not opened Blake's doors of perception wide enough.

Janus
Sunday, October 15th, 2006, 06:22 PM
We simply cannot answer this question eventually but the simplified views of the semetic religions seems quite improbable.

A concept I consider is interesting is also the origin of the word soul, the hypothetical base of conciousness. It originalled means "come from the sea" and our individual soul or conciousness is just a fragment which came from the whole and goes back to it after our body died. The question is whether the base of life and conscience is purely physical or metaphysical.

Another completly atheistic possibility is that there is an afterlife which is our life. According to the big bang theory our universe expands untill it isn't possible anymore and then tights "until" the big bang happens again. Since everything is determined and coincidence does not really exist we're living our life again,again and again for eternit which is a quite good reason to reach for a good life ;)
A funny aspect would be if the universe tightens in the same way it expanded so we'd also live our life backwards :D

Dorff
Sunday, October 15th, 2006, 08:10 PM
I don't know how you can believe in religion if you are interested in anthropologie lol. No afterlife, just your corpse rotting in the ground:D

Janus
Sunday, October 15th, 2006, 09:05 PM
I don't know how you can believe in religion if you are interested in anthropologie lol. No afterlife, just your corpse rotting in the ground:D

Which is a just as meaningful post as if somebody said "Jesus is the Lord, believe in him or you'll go to hell".

Thus, actually nobody has stated any religious believe. We're discussing philosophical possibilities.

nicholas
Sunday, October 15th, 2006, 09:09 PM
http://www.coasttocoastam.com/

sheriff skullface
Sunday, October 15th, 2006, 09:42 PM
I have always seen the afterlife as the parallel dimensions and many different planes of existance that one's soul essance resides and travels

Moody
Monday, October 16th, 2006, 05:21 PM
WI get some comfort from the fact that I am going where my forefathers have gone before me, wherever that may be.

In a way, this is almost one of the counter-arguments against the hypothesis of an Afterlife, as it is based on the idea of a comfort zone.

If the Afterlife is just a 'holy lie' which helps us to get over the fear of death, then we would be right to be quite suspicious of it.

Therefore, I don't view the Afterlife in this way of it being a 'comfort', so much.
I more view it as a contemporary experience where the barriers between past/present/future and life/death and subject/object break down.

In some ways this is a disconcerting view, rather than a 'comforting' one.


Look at it this way: If there is an afterlife, great! If not, you won't have to worry about it, because you don't exist anymore. We have nothing to loose! (well, except if you believe in hell, but there is really no reason to do so).

I like these kinds of Pascal's Wager type formulations

But the Afterlife doesn't carry such a moral imperative.

However, if we shift on to the related notion of Reincarnation (and I always do in these kinds of discussions!), then a belief in reincarnation must affect our behaviour if [and only if] we care about who or what we come back as!


We simply cannot answer this question eventually but the simplified views of the semetic religions seems quite improbable.

But the all pervading notions of an Afterlife, whether simplified or complex, found in most - if not all - cultures across the world and throughout time, suggest that there may be a kernal of truth [no matter how slight] in them somewhere.


A concept I consider is interesting is also the origin of the word soul, the hypothetical base of conciousness. It originalled means "come from the sea" and our individual soul or conciousness is just a fragment which came from the whole and goes back to it after our body died. The question is whether the base of life and conscience is purely physical or metaphysical.

That is indeed interesting - we have a good thread on the soul [or in this Race Soul] here;
http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=58600

There is a reference there to the idea that the 'soul' goes [i]back to the sea, after death.

However, I remember reading the great linguist Max Muller's view of the word; he suggested that 'soul' meant originally to shake or move[just as the sea might do], and that this notion of an unending tidal movement was a metaphor for the living body; dead bodies don't shake!

This may be compared to the word 'spirit' originally meaning something like 'breath'.

Again, living creatures both breathe and move - they have spirit and soul.

Is this a reductionist view, or were mythical elaborations based on what were originally quite functional and non-mythic concepts?

Of course, our coming from the sea is quite suggestive if one thinks of the basic evolutionary view that life began in the sea, and that the foetus mimics those stages of evolution from the fish onwards.


Another completly atheistic possibility is that there is an afterlife which is our life. According to the big bang theory our universe expands untill it isn't possible anymore and then tights "until" the big bang happens again. Since everything is determined and coincidence does not really exist we're living our life again,again and again for eternit which is a quite good reason to reach for a good life

The latter idea was taken up by Nietzsche, of course, in his version of the Eternal Return [found in ancient India and amongst the Pythagoreans too].

The Big Bang brings in the problem of what there was before the Big Bang, which shows that Metaphysics still has some work to do!


A funny aspect would be if the universe tightens in the same way it expanded so we'd also live our life backwards

Yes - this is easy to imagine in the modern world with the ability afforded to us by the invention of film to run things backwards. Life would then be lived from death to old age and then onto birth etc., We would then be after a good birth [eugenics?] rather than a good death!


Thus, actually nobody has stated any religious belief. We're discussing philosophical possibilities.

Yes - although the early religions probably began as philosophical possibilities, just as science began as philosophy.

The problem is when such things 'harden' into a formula;
when things become totally exoteric they no longer allow thinking - this goes for science, philosophy and religion.

We must wonder about these things as if we are children.


I have always seen the afterlife as the parallel dimensions and many different planes of existance that one's soul essance resides and travels

That is probably one of the better modern versions of the Afterlife which has much in common with ancient Aryan mythology.