I’m going to attempt to make this as digestible as possible, because this is an extraordinarily complex topic.
We all want one. And we all (at least most of us) prescribe to one belief system or the other which provides us with the comfort of knowing there’s an afterlife. That’s the end game of all religions – what happens next?
Well by now you’re probably aware that I had the misfortune of being cursed with a brain that tortures me at night with questions and curiosity. So obviously this is a topic I’ve thought a LOT about. And here’s where I’m at in this point in my life.
First and foremost, I think religion serves a great purpose. I think it’s one of the most effective tools that humanity has to create a moral compass and to guide people into a general way of doing things.
But this is the issue I have. It seems to me that religions have existed since the dawn of time. And every religion is centered on the concept of an afterlife, giving us an expectation of what comes after death.
That’s where I raise an eyebrow. People, humanity in general, are so utterly terrified of death that we convince ourselves that these stories are real. When in reality, death can be explained in a pretty simple way.
What do I mean? Think for a second about yourself. Seriously, think about it. Ask yourself what you are. What makes you a sentient being capable of self-awareness and critical thought? Well, your senses, that’s what. I’ll try to explain:
Literally everything you experience is within the context of one of your five senses. The world we live in, for example: you see the sky, you see the objects within our realm. You hear the noises going on around you. I could go on, but you get the point. It even applies to our thoughts. Think about it. You see the images in your head. You hear your thoughts when you’re thinking. EVERYTHING you do and experience – it’s all in context of one of your five senses. Now take that into consideration in regards to our “soul” or “consciousness”. Your ability to perceive these things are precisely what make you a conscious human. Perception, that’s all it is.
So then we have this question about death. Well…if we consider the fact that our consciousness is just a conduit for sensory perception, then that would indicate that after we die, we no longer perceive ANYTHING. You literally do not exist anymore. It’s hard to wrap your head around it, I know. But think about it. Imagine taking away one sense at a time. You can no longer smell. No longer hear. See. Touch, taste, you can’t perceive anything at all. What would that mean? It would mean you aren’t there anymore. That simple. The switch is off. Here’s an example, if it helps: do you remember anything before you were born? No? I didn’t think so. Why would we just randomly be churning out soul after soul if life really is eternal? You would have to of started somewhere, right?
So after I began thinking about that, it really sucked because now I see the end. So I had to come up with a solution for my own sanity’s sake. Hopefully I can explain this so it’s understandable.
Reincarnation. I know, I know – it’s a lame replacement. Just hear me out.
Every time a baby is born, you have a brand new human. Well SOMEONE has to fill that tiny little head, right? So this is my theory: our consciousness is basically what we are. That perception thing I was talking about. I think that consciousness is some sort of energy that we probably won’t ever understand. But once you die, that energy can be reinserted into a brand new you. The baby! Like I said, someone has to fill their head. So that’s my coping mechanism when it comes to an afterlife. I can almost see it as some extra-dimensional queue line to be the next person to be born. It’s like hey! We’ve got a bunch of babies being born today, I need some of you guys to become them. Occupy their consciousness, so to speak. Maybe that’s how it works. But if not, its at least a believable concept grounded in logic.
Hopefully that made sense. And hopefully, if you’re reading this, you’ll understand that I’m extremely conflicted on this topic. I don’t want what I just said to be the case. I WANT to believe my mom is somewhere out there. But as I mentioned, this kind of stuff tortures me to think about, and I strongly doubt I’ll ever get a straight answer. The funniest part of all this is that this whole concept is what inspired the book I’m writing. Continuity. That’s what we want. We want to continue after we die.
And who knows. Maybe I’m just crazy and resentful of God because of Mom dying.
Sucks to think about, huh?