The Afterlife is something that has been ingrained in our psyche for nearly the entire existence of the human race. There are stories of people seeking the means towards achieving immortality – the Fountain of Youth. But every single religion past and present gives us this immortality in one form or another through the existence of our Living Spirit. Many religions base the nature of this everlasting life upon our deeds in mortal flesh – either Eternal Bliss or Eternal Damnation. But when it comes to actually describing how it all works, things get more than a little fuzzy. It seems it is simply beyond our ability to understand, despite the fact that we have been able to come to understand a great deal about the universe we live in up to this point in time. We’ve even been able to detect the possible edges of the universe. Yet, the ability to detect anything remotely like Spiritual Energy or this alternate plane of existence is still lacking. Where is the evidence for it? How it is determined who and what can enter this plane of existence.
People will point to near death and after death experiences as the proof that there is something beyond our current mortal existence. Yet those are only anecdotes, and they are anecdotes from a point in time where tremendous trauma has been incurred by the person experiencing them. It is certainly no mystery that there are a great many things that affect our perception and how our brains interpret our experiences. Our experiences and desires most certainly affect our dreaming on a daily basis, so these brushes with death must certainly have an impact on what people perceive to see in such a state. At the end of the day, it is just as likely that any notion of an Afterlife is just the typical human condition of trying to understand something which is beyond our understanding.
For centuries the human race has come up with things to try to explain how the universe works, and to interpret our experiences within the confines of our knowledge at the time. Current science has disproven our ancient concepts of how the planets move, or what controls the elements on our world. We once believed that things were the result of Gods or Magic. We now know that there is a set of mathematical laws that govern the existence of our planet, sun, and stars. So it’s no surprise that lacking any concrete scientific evidence, we must attempt to explain the notion of non-existence in the form of an Afterlife, which negates any concept of non-existence.
What we are is the sum of all the things we experience during our lifetimes. We know of no other way than experiencing this form of Existence. The concept of not existing is completely foreign to us because our brains cannot grasp a concept that we cannot experience. There is no way for us to experience true non-existence because by its very nature it is a complete lack of experiencing anything. We can catch glimpses of it. I imagine that coma patients feel that sense of non-existence from the point of their last memory to the point of their first reawakened memory. I have felt flashes of it during periods of sleepiness – when I look at the clock, and then check again a few minutes later only to find an hour or more has passed. But we are aware of those moments only because we “exist again” after that period of timelessness.
So in order for us to avoid facing the fact that each and every one of us will cease to exist at some point in the future, we have to create this concept of the Afterlife, in which our consciousness – that sum of all of our experiences – continues without a physical body. We still cling to this notion despite the fact that all the power of our science has yet to be able to detect one iota of this otherworldly existence which breaks the current known laws of the physical universe.
But it goes beyond that. Despite the fact that we believe in Eternal Life, we still have an instinctive fear of Death and try to avoid it at all costs. In addition to that, we are so emotionally torn when someone, or something, we care about deeply can no longer avoid Death, that we continue to ascribe further stipulations to our concept of the Afterlife. We are all young looking in the Afterlife and even our beloved pets join us in this new plane of existence. And that’s where it all begins to break down.
What exactly determines who and what is “allowed” to pass over into this separate plane of existence and continue to exist as we are ad infinitum? God? Well, which God then? Humankind has believed in many, many different forms of God over the centuries. How do we know which is the right one? Simply because one form of God is the most popular today doesn’t necessarily make it the right one. The Greek and Romans Gods were the most popular during their time, and according to our modern reasoning, they were incorrect.
So, is it simply a matter of intelligence or consciousness that allows us to continue to exist? We have little understanding on what consciousness is, human or otherwise. But if one subscribes to the fact that humans have an afterlife because we are conscious and self-aware, then that would preclude any other form of life being able to exist after Death. We believe there are several types of animals that are self-aware. Are these animals then also able to exist in the Afterlife? What about those that are not? If we believe all our pets join us in the Afterlife, then certainly there would be quite a few animal types outside of our cats and dogs that would be hanging out there. People have had many forms of reptile, insect, and mammal as beloved pets. Do all join us in the Afterlife? What about those animals in those groups that have never been the subject of a human’s affection – the mosquito for instance. Why would a mosquito not be in the Afterlife, but ants from someone’s Ant Colony would? What about any form of spider that we pretty much fear and detest as humans, compared to a pet Tarantula? What about prehistoric humans? Do they exist in the Afterlife as well? In what form do they exist? What form does the Conscious Energy take in this other plane of existence? Going back even further, what about all these other forms of life that have existed on the planet before Humankind? Some of these creatures were around for millions of years. That’s quite a bit of timed compared to our relatively short existence.
We still don’t know everything about dinosaurs, and never will know everything unless we one day develop the technology to transcend time. We humans have developed a consciousness and self-awareness in our short time on this planet. The dinosaurs had millions of years to evolve and develop. We ascribe simple intelligence to them based only on what we can observe millions of years after they died out, but who is to say that they didn’t develop some form of self-awareness that we have been able to detect in several species of animals today. If that is a qualifier for being able to transcend to another plane of existence – one based on pure energy instead of a physical being, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that dinosaurs also exist in this same plane? After millions of years of evolution, I think it silly that dinosaurs would not have developed at least some modicum of awareness and consciousness. Why wouldn’t there be dinosaurs in Heaven?
This religious notion of an Afterlife doesn’t seem to hold much water if you scratch just the surface of it. Of course all of that is waived away by the notion of God. He/She works in mysterious ways and makes it all possible. Yeah, and Helios drove the chariot of the Sun across the sky each day. If we are, at our core, beings of intelligent ethereal energy, why have we no memory at all of our existence beyond our mortal lives? I can remember all sorts of things from my time here on Earth, dating back decades to when I was a kid. Certain things I can picture as clear as day in my mind’s eye – just like I’m watching a replay of it on a Blu-Ray disc. Yet there is no memory, no inclination of anything outside of my experiences in the physical world. Nothing else aside from that exists in any form in my mind or memory. All memory and function in the brain are nothing but electrical impulses – it’s some form of energy. Yet this energy maintains no blueprint of itself prior to physical existence.
The truth of the matter is that an Afterlife exists because we need it to exist. Our minds are incapable of accepting the knowledge that life itself must cease to exist. We need something to cling to in the face of despair when we witness life ceasing to exist on an almost continual basis. We simply cannot understand the concept of what it is like to not exist just like our ancient ancestors could not understand the concept of the gravitational forces that make the planets orbit the sun. We have to believe in it, otherwise what meaning or value is there to our experiences in our short lives? Somewhere along the way, we as humans have developed this sense that there must be something more in this life and to life. In all reality it seems that Life just is. Just as a mindless energy driven star is born, lives, and dies, so does our not so energetic flesh. The universe is a slave to Time. So long as there is existence, there is a certain knowledge of its passing. It is a cycle that exists in the most primordial of energies and it will consume all of existence as it has and will continue to consume all those that exist within it. Billions of years have passed before our existences, billions more will pass once we are gone. All within the blink of an eye. We cannot achieve immortality as existential beings because we are slaves to time. It is only in non-existence that we break free of that bond and transcend timelessness.