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Thread: Nothingness After Death

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    For those that are interested, can I give more Biblical input into the discussion as I see folk here, although not professed Christians, using terms such as "soul", which is probably a mis-understood Biblical term, that has permeated society to the extent even non Christians have embraced it.

    Churches of man teach that the soul is something inside you that lives on after death, this doctrine however seems to then contradict the scripture I quoted earlier where the Bible says, "dust you are, and to dust you will return".

    However, rather than describing the "soul" as something that lives on, the Bible uses the term thus:-

    Genesis 2:7

    King James Version (KJV)

    7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

    So it doesn't say God formed a man of the dust of the ground and put a soul in it, it says when the breath of life was put into the dust formed object in the shape of a man, it "became" a soul. That is, it became a living entity.
    The Hebrew word translated as soul, literally means, "life as a breather".

    Modern science confirms oxygen, taken into the blood as ox-haemoglobin, is what gives us life, interesting then to read what the Bible says about the location of soul,

    Leviticus 17 Rather, For the soul of all flesh is its blood with its soul (i. e. its blood and soul together): therefore spake I to the children of Israel, Ye shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the soul of all flesh is its blood,

    This is the reason Abrahamic religions like Judaism and Islam have their kosher and Halal meats. Its Gods breath of life, that is carried in blood, that is the Biblical meaning of Soul. Oxygen animated dust.




    Another Biblical falsehood that is related to the above misinterpretation of the word soul, is this whole business of life after death, it is found in all religions including Christianity which claims when you die you go to Heaven or Hell, yet Gods punishment in Eden was

    "17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. "

    Not go and live somewhere else where you will be eternally tortured, dust you are and to dust you will return, that is what death and Gods punishment for sin is.

    So, where does all this religious business of having a soul that goes off and lives somewhere else, that doesn't die come from?

    Genesis 3 v 4 "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:"

    Its the original lie, from the Devil, the same lie that has permeated the thinking of even non religious people, and that is perpetuated by all his religions including Christendom.

    And just as people can "hear voices in their head", the Devils host is quite capable of putting images in peoples minds to perpetuate his original lie that you don't die, like these people who see a light at the end of a tunnel with their dead relatives welcoming them, when they haven't really died, all thats happened is their heart has stopped beating for a bit.

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    Senior Member feisty goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigyn View Post
    I'm personally fond of the Finnish concept of "Tenhi", where the dead are unaware that they're dead, and wander around in this world doing what they normally do, just as another dimension of reality. It makes the most sense, perhaps.


    Well, our ''consciousness'' is basically our perception of the real world and our memory, which is filtered through our brain. When we lose that, we die.
    That doesn't mean anything, because you are not your brain. Your brain is just an organ that filters a certain KIND of consciousness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralf Rossa View Post
    [...] I see folk here, although not professed Christians, using terms such as "soul", which is probably a mis-understood Biblical term, that has permeated society to the extent even non Christians have embraced it.
    'Soul' is not an originally Christian term.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Şoreiğar View Post
    'Soul' is not an originally Christian term.
    Well yes I realise that as it can be found in the Old Hebrew Testament, the point I was trying to make was that our present society, though no longer as Christian as it once was, still has retains the trappings of its once Christian past and effects most peoples notion of an inner being that lives on after death.

    Pagan religions that might also share this belief and that predate Abraham I mentioned are believing the Devils original lie, though the average person of today has little knowledge of, or are effected by the modern revival of these pre-Christian beliefs, most of which are variations, including Christendoms version of Christianity, of the worship of Nimrod.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feisty goddess View Post
    That doesn't mean anything, because you are not your brain. Your brain is just an organ that filters a certain KIND of consciousness.
    Lets rephrase it this way.

    Your brain is a biological computer that runs the Mathematical Algorithm which amounts to your Soul or software which is "You".

    But just like most of the other things that exist in mathematics, they are virtual in that since that there is no real substance. "You" exist on your brain as long as it has the ability to process that data.

    What we do not know is that once the neurons which store that information in chemical electrical form, deteriorate and die, can that information could be retained?

    My guess is the answer is yes.

    But with current technology and the current state of human knowledge we just don’t know.

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    Senior Member Alfadur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EQ Fighter View Post
    What we do not know is that once the neurons which store that information in chemical electrical form, deteriorate and die, can that information could be retained?
    Indeed, I tend to agree with that. It's one of the main reasons why I started this thread. However, I don't think we'll ever find the answer to exactly what happens after physical death - I doubt human technology will ever go that far.

    The scientist Kary Mullins has a sensible opinion on this, in the interview fragment below. I agree with the opinion expressed in this interview, except that I am not of the opinion as she is that our mind will dissolve completely into nothingness (I have no beliefs yet on this topic, only an intuition). Here is her interview:

    David: When I interviewed parapsychologist Dean Radin he described experiments that he did showing people images on a video screen that were either pleasant or shocking, while a galvanic skin response system continuously monitored the people’s reactions. A computer randomly chose the image five seconds before displaying it. The fascinating thing was that there was a significant change in the electrical conductivity of people’s skin five seconds prior to their seeing a shocking image.

    Kary: I sat wired up in front of Radin’s machine myself one morning. I was intrigued. My skin conductivity could respond, not every time, but a statistically significant percentage of the time, to what sort of stimulus his absolutely random machine was going to present to me. I don’t know what it means, but five seconds is almost an infinity compared to fractions of a picosecond, so I don’t think that what Radin is investigating is the same thing as what Heisenberg is suggesting with the Uncertainty Principle and the fuzziness of time over ultra-short intervals. Both are weird from the standpoint of our normal sense of reality, but in a very different way. Picoseconds are not in our personal reality. Radin is addressing something to do with human minds on our time scale; whether our minds are really localized in space and time, like we normally think of them. He is not presenting a theory about things almost incomprehensibly small. He is demonstrating an empirical fact, a strange and unexpected property of things, on a scale of seconds, with which we are personally familiar, and he is doing it in a technically convincing way. I don’t know what it means, that’s why it’s intriguing.

    On a related but very different note, in one of the chapters of my book, I was talking about whether a computer could be ahead of you by looking at your brain activity. Before you would know you were going to do something, it would know. I feel like that’s probably possible, but it doesn’t suggest any radical new concept.

    What Radin is getting at is something more curious. If you think about yourself as something going through time, how thick are you? You’ve got to have a certain finite ‘thickness’ in time, or you wouldn’t exist. So you might be a fraction of a second, or a second wide, or five, sliding through time.

    David: And your ‘thickness’ may change, depending on your neurochemistry at the time. (laughter)

    Kary: Yes.

    David: Perhaps our conscious experience of ‘now’ has a thinner ‘thickness’ than other unconscious aspects of our brains? I’ve wondered if this possibility might be an explanation for what people have described as precognition. What do you think?

    Kary: It might be that certain parts of you are weeks, months or years wide. Or maybe some part of you is “now” all the time–from your birth (or maybe even before birth) to your death. Some part of you is in the future at any moment, and some part of you is in the past, because you couldn’t possibly be just in this infinitesimally thin thing we call “now”– because there wouldn’t be room for you in there. (laughter)

    That’s using a lot of concepts that come out of physics and maybe don’t belong in that context, but I’ve always thought that a little bit of me has got to be in the future.

    David: Or part of your brain can be processing information about an aspect of “now” that you’re not quite conscious of.

    Kary: Not yet conscious of, or maybe you won’t ever be. Maybe it sticks out in lots of directions. (laughter) I mean, there’s no need for this place to be just three-dimensional space and time. We have a subjective sense of physics that is consistent with three-dimensional Euclidian geometry. Euclid probably did too. But, a lot of modern physics says that this place has more dimensions than that. String theory says that it is all made of strings, vibrating in eleven dimensions. We are made out of things that are eleven dimensional.

    David: At least.

    Kary: This physics claims that eight of those dimensions have shrunk to such proportions that we can’t perceive them in our normal life. They’re just not wide enough to see. But we can infer them from the properties of tiny particles that we can see with enormous machines that we can build at great expense. And we can only understand the properties of all the particles we know about, from those machines, if the strings that compose them exist in eleven dimensions. That is to say, if these things which we are postulating to explain the things that we can see with machines are really things–meaning, they have a finite spot where they are sometimes, and they have a certain energy associated with them–then they have properties that can only exist in an eleven-dimensional space. This concept would be helpful if you could imagine an eleven dimensional space, which I can’t. I’m still having trouble with five.

    In my book I try to express this. I don’t like to preach to people and tell them what I think they should be, but a lot of people need to be waked up to the fact that they follow like sheep. They think that the world has gotten too complex and that they can’t decide for themselves about complicated issues.

    Let’s look at global warming. If those guys with the satellite sensors and the banks of computers running global circulation simulation programs call a press conference to say, “If you don’t stop burning fossil fuels the earth is going to get hotter and hotter until you’re dead,” most people will believe them. They don’t think about the fact that with every scientific utterance that you hear or read, somebody’s making a living.

    Scientists get paid for making statements like that, and the more impact that their statements seem to make on our life, the more we’re willing to support that sort of research. I make a case in my book for the fact that we’re supporting a lot of research for very foolish things. We’re still living on the frontier. We should be worrying about practical things.

    David: Like the asteroids that may come crashing down on us.

    Kary: Yes, like the asteroids. We’re spending three million dollars a year on that. We’ve spent three billion dollars on trying to figure out some way to experimentally confirm the existence of something called the Higgs particle. Nobody on this whole block cares about it, and nobody’s going to care about it, unless they happen to be in the group that discovers it.

    We’re putting money into things that often don’t matter. If we believe there is a hole in the ozone, and the “experts” say we must replace the former refrigerants with new ones, patentable to a company like Monsanto, there is more profit to be made. The freon patents have run out. We will spend trillions on replacing it with something, equally likely to be bad for us in some way, and creating a black market for freon.

    It’s a ridiculous waste of the world’s resources to be doing things like that, because there’s no evidence for a hole in the ozone. Some labs were probably about to go out of business and needed a reason to exist and be funded.

    If you really care about the planet, you don’t have to always be torn by the latest fad, or the latest substitute for Catholicism–which I think environmentalism is in a way.

    David: In other words, question authority and think for yourself.

    Kary: And ignore alien orders. (laughter) Yes, absolutely question authority, because there isn’t any real authority. It’s a democratic place in a way. The whole concept of evolution says that we all have the same sort of beginnings. We don’t come from something above, telling us what’s right and what’s wrong. We have to figure it out for ourselves.

    We’re here, and we each have a spirit inside of us somehow that can make those decisions–if you keep informed. Don’t read trash all the time. Every now and then read something that attempts to be factual, and try to make sense out it. But don’t accept it as being factual. Just accept the fact that if you look at enough information, for a long enough time, you will start being one of the people in the world that can make decisions about what’s really good for the planet.

    David: What do you think happens to consciousness after death?

    Kary: I think that consciousness decays to nothing after death. My approach is to ask myself what do I have evidence for? It seems like every living process does end at some point. It’s a fuzzy thing, but as your body dies, I think your consciousness probably dies with it. Now, that’s what I think–but what I would like to believe might be different from that. I’m not absolutely certain that that’s a question that I have enough evidence to answer. In science you’re supposed to have evidence.

    It’s all right to have a hypothesis, but you still have to have some evidence. You need to have something, like an indication, to make the hypothesis more than just a wish. Of course, being a scientist doesn’t mean you don’t have wishes. But, from a scientific point of view, I would say consciousness is definitely associated with the body as we know it. There’s no reason to make up stories about things that we don’t know anything about.

    However, when I’m thinking about what’s possible, then anything is possible. I think it would be pretty neat if we didn’t dissolve after our death. It’s not a question that there is an answer for. There’s no reason to think that consciousness continues after death, besides just the fact that we would like it, and that we don’t want to dissolve–but that’s not really a reasonable kind of a scientific premise.

    You couldn’t get a National Science Foundation grant to study it properly, because we don’t have any kind of indication that consciousness survives death. There are a lot of people that think that consciousness continues after we die, but I don’t think that is reason for the scientist part of me to give it any truck at all. But there is a part of me, just like the rest of those people that feels immortal, and would like it to be that way. That question does not really have a rational answer.

    David: It’s a question that fascinates me because I think it really stimulates the imagination.

    Kary: Yes it does. If you were to take a vote around the planet, it would definitely come out that we are eternal and responsible somehow for ourselves and our actions forever. But that’s not a rational point of view. There’s nothing that we accept like that in science except for mathematical truths. The universe itself, we would say it changes, and it has a lifetime. And at some point, it will either return to a singularity, or it will just expand itself out of existence, or whatever. I mean, there’s nothing around us that has that property of being immortal.

    David: When I spoke with Rupert Sheldrake he told me that he questions the idea that there are these eternal, unchanging mathematical laws that govern the universe.

    Kary: He questioned that too?

    David: Yeah, he thinks of them more like habits than laws, and that they could be evolving, just like everything else in the universe is evolving.

    Kary: Our idea about mathematics is that, once a theorem is proven, that it will always be true, because of the whole interwoven structure of mathematical logic. But a lot of things that we think are true in terms of physics, which is different from mathematics, have changed–like Newtonian gravitation, for instance. In the Seventeenth Century it seemed to be true, then, after three hundred years, with more thinking and better observations, it turned out not to be exactly true. Relativity came along and said no, you’re dealing with elements like mass and length as though they were absolute and none of them are. Space is not absolute. Only the velocity of light is absolute. So everything had to be changed. But in mathematics, as long as we keep the definitions clear, it seems that a mathematical truth is eternal. The fly in the ointment, of course, is that mathematics does not say anything directly about reality. We make the associations intuitively and we also up the axioms for want of any other way to get them. But we wouldn’t want it to be simple here, would we?

    David: What Rupert questions is the idea that universal constants, like the speed of light, or gravitational constants, remain eternally unchanging.

    Kary: There’s no reason to think that those things can’t change.

    David: Yet that’s the assumption that most scientists have.

    Kary: The speed of light is something that actually is a measurement that we make, and special relativity says it will always be the same for everyone. But special relativity is just a theory in the same way that Newtonian mechanics was a theory. We could find out that in certain circumstances special relativity wasn’t quite true. What we found out from Newtonian mechanics was that, in certain circumstances, Newton was wrong. The mass of something does seem to increase if it is going, relative to us, at a speed near the speed of light. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be going near the speed of light. If it’s just moving at all, the mass increases. It’s just that the increase is kind of small until it gets up to a very high velocity. Newton thought that mass would always stay the same.

    David: Has your use of psychedelics influenced your scientific work, and how has it affected your perspective on life in general?

    Kary: I would say that it was a mind-opening experience. It showed me that it might be a lot weirder here than I thought it was. So pay attention. Know what your assumptions are, and which of those are just arbitrary. Notice that things might be a little bit different than you think they are. I wouldn’t say that it led to any particular developments in my thought, except that it just expanded it a little bit. I think almost anyone who’s had those experiences would say that this place might be a little weirder than it appears. I’m not so certain anymore that the world is exactly the way I think it is. Most people get fairly stuck in ways of thinking that really are the current fashion, the current theory–like Newtonian mechanics seemed to be the way that things were for two hundred years.

    David: What is your perspective on the concept of God?

    Kary: It’s a notion that really doesn’t solve any philosophical questions; it just puts it off a little bit. On the other hand, it’s a concept that occupies the minds of a heck of a lot of humans, so it’s an important concept to keep in mind. But if you look at it in a philosophical way, it simply puts off any kinds of thoughts that you might have of your origins, or of your purpose. To just say, I’m here because of Allah, and I’m here to do his will, doesn’t really tell you what to do, or why you’re here. It just gives it a name, and there’s nothing really specific about anything of it.

    David: Do you think it’s possible that there could be any type of intelligence or consciousness inherent in nature?

    Kary: Well, what we know of the universe is so big, and so complex–on a large scale or on a small scale–that nothing really should be all that shocking to us. If it turns out to have properties that echo various religious beliefs, I don’t think it would be terribly shocking.

    But there’s no evidence for such a thing. If you read and follow the thinking of those theories that are prominent today in terms of physics–like how physicists envision the whole of existence–and when they start talking about things like quantum mechanics, you realize that this place is so complicated, and so non-intuitive in a way, that anything is really possible, and nothing should surprise you.

    But, on the other hand, there’s no evidence that we are being lead by some divine purpose. There’s no evidence for that, and there’s no evidence against that. It’s not a question that science really needs to address, because there’s no evidence to support it. But we often ignore some of the weirdest things on the planet.

    David: Like what?

    Kary: Crop circles, for example. People might say that they don’t exist, or they’re all a hoax, but that’s pretty silly. I don’t think anyone could make some of the ones that I’ve seen. Either the pictures are faked, or the things are made by some kind of forces that we don’t quite understand. They’re not made by people going out in the middle of the night with sticks and ropes. There are a lot of things like that that we don’t understand.

    If you ask people the question, “Have you ever had any experience that you just could not explain at all, but you couldn’t deny it?” most people will say, yes, that happened to me at least once. I consider that the experiences that I’ve had in my life are real in a sense. I don’t make them up. Some things have happened to me that I can’t explain, and I can’t deny that they happened.

    David: What are some of the things that have happened to you that you can’t explain?

    Kary: All kinds of things have happened to me that I can’t explain. They happen all the time. Don’t you ever have what you might call an intuition, but really it seems that you have seen into the future?

    David: Sure.

    Kary: I have that happen a lot. Just simple little things that are kind of contrary to any sort of scientific explanations that I can see. Actually, there’s nothing in present day physics that says that you can’t have precognitive experiences. Like I was saying earlier, part of you exists in the future. Present day physics says that the percentage of you that exists in the future drops off exponentially, and there’s not much of it really, but how much does it take to see something in the future? I have all kinds of experiences that don’t fit with the very simple and Newtonian picture of causality. Things seem to be connected by more dimensions than I can perceive with my vision, and modern physics says that’s true.

    David: Why do you think it is that so many conventional scientists are opposed to the idea that telepathy or precognition might have a basis in reality?

    Kary: Maybe they think there’s scientific reason to doubt that those things could possibly exist. I don’t think there is scientific evidence for these phenomena. Science has been silent on those things because scientists don’t know how to deal with them. They don’t really present a side we can grasp.

    David: Actually there has been quite a bit of serious research done trying to measure things like telepathy, and other forms of psychic phenomena.

    Kary: Yes, but it’s not been terribly successful. Some people claim to have telepathic powers, but they can’t always do it on demand.

    David: I don’t think that anybody could ever have telepathic abilities or see into the future repeatedly. Or at least, I’ve never heard of anybody doing that.

    Kary: I don’t think so. If somebody could, they probably would, wouldn’t they?

    David: You’d think. (laughter)

    Kary: If people can really see into the future consistently, then they ain’t telling me that. Nobody’s ever told me they could see into the future anytime they wanted.

    David: But then weird things do happen though.

    Kary: Yes they do. Weird things like me dreaming about the lottery. I don’t normally buy tickets. It has that element of somehow seeing into the future, but you can’t really understand how it works. Anyone who doesn’t think the world is much more mysterious than the simple picture that a physics laboratory would give you, has not really been watching closely. If you think that everything that goes on here follows a set of Newtonian rules of mechanics, or even Einsteinian kind of stuff, then you’re not paying attention.

    David: There are a lot of people like that.

    Kary: Yes, they’re not noticing it in their own life. They think it’s just a coincidence. It’s hard to say what the probability is that you will have a dream in which you’ve won the sixteen million dollar lottery, and in a few days, it is sixteen million, and you damn well almost win it. What is the probability of that? There’s no way to compute what the probability of having a premonition dream is, and having it be close.

    David: You could start keeping a log of your dreams.

    Kary: If you do keep a log, and you’re paying attention, then there will be more chances to notice things. There are more weird things going on in your life then you expect by pure chance. I’ve never had any luck moving things with my mind, like making a penny fall the right way. I know there are people who can guess them sometimes, but they can’t do it all the time. So, I would say that this place is not as well behaved as our theories about it would have it be.

    And exactly what we are–which goes back to your question about whether or not consciousness vanishes when we die–is something that we don’t know. Most of the people in the world think that there is a nonphysical part of people. By nonphysical, I mean that you can’t weigh it. But if it weren’t physical in some way, if it never had any effects on what you think of as real, it wouldn’t matter whether it was there or not, would it?

    There are a lot of people who feel this weird thing about their soul. However they define the soul, they think it’s there. They say that the soul has certain properties, and you can make it be either happy for you or sad, after you die, by doing certain things. I consider these people to not be deep thinkers.

    David: Do you think their beliefs are some kind of psychological defense mechanism, or that their religious ideas come out of their fear of death?

    Kary: I don’t know where it comes from. Different cultures have all kinds of myths that are strongly adhered to by people. Christianity is one, and Islam is another. There are things in Buddhism that I would look at in the same way. They’re just little myths that we don’t really know much about, yet some people feel very strongly about them. So if you are studying humans, you certainly would not ignore religion, because it’s probably one of the strongest forces that have affected us in the last three or four thousand years, and probably from long before that.

    If you are studying what you think to be ‘the entirety of existence’–like somebody who studies physics would think–and you can’t put an experimental framework on it, then it’s not really useful to entertain that sort of myth. In other words, if there’s nothing you can do about it–you can’t measure it, use it to predict something with, or do something with it that you can’t do without it–then you have to ignore it. One of the principles in scientific investigations is that you keep it as simple as possible. You don’t introduce an extraneous idea that doesn’t have some sort of meaning in terms of an experimental proof that you can do.

    So introducing this idea of a greater-than-human force–a god, with human characteristics (which is usually the way religions picture this thing, who has it all figured out–has no basis, as far as I’m concerned, in my experience, or in the experience of reliable observers that I have access to. I don’t see any reason to use that as a hypothesis, and try to figure out an experiment to prove it or not.

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    Senior Member Sigyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feisty goddess View Post
    That doesn't mean anything, because you are not your brain. Your brain is just an organ that filters a certain KIND of consciousness.
    Yes, but what would we be without our brain? That's where our consciousness is, after all. We die when our brain stops functioning. The question is, what happens with all the information and knowledge (our "personality") in our brain when it dies?

    In the end, I agree with Alfadur above - we can only have intuitions about what happens in the afterlife, not set beliefs.

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    Senior Member Erlkönig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigyn View Post
    The question is, what happens with all the information and knowledge (our "personality") in our brain when it dies?
    Energy is not destroyed, it is only converted, so it seems logical that the energy which sustained consciousness would transform into something. The problem is you only experience consciousness through the context of the brain, it is probable that you wont recognize yourself after death..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erlkönig View Post
    Energy is not destroyed, it is only converted, so it seems logical that the energy which sustained consciousness would transform into something. The problem is you only experience consciousness through the context of the brain, it is probable that you wont recognize yourself after death..
    This is basically what I was trying to say in my previous post, except you did it better. The experiences we've had that develop our minds into what they are when we die don't go away, it just changes into a different form of "consciousness" without the electrical impulses of the brain. The experiences are repressed until almost nonexistant in the mind, but often they show up in deeply subconscious choices (how a person chooses to be early on in life or personality) in the next reincarnation on earth. When you die, you are losing the opportunity to live your life according to how you've currently been born. It is, in a way like going away for ever, but not really.

    The interesting thing is, it's normal for children not to recognize past lives like you say, but in rare cases they do very vividly, which probably means there can be some peculiarity with the process of death in which they can retain some of their original consciousness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erlkönig View Post
    Energy is not destroyed, it is only converted, so it seems logical that the energy which sustained consciousness would transform into something.
    While energy can't be created or destroyed, information can certainly become garbled. Atm there is no known medium in the universe that could sustain the consciousness other than structure of the brain and no reason to believe that the one exists.
    Close observation may result in feelings of horror, wonder and awe at world you find yourself inhabiting.

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