What's so bad about ceasing to exist? What's so great about existing forever?

Theia
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What's so bad about ceasing to exist? What's so great about existing forever?

I've often been asked how I can stand the thought of no afterlife, of the idea that I may simply cease to exist when I die. To many theists that's just too horrible a fate to think about.

Why? I won't know I don't exist any more. To me something is only horrible if you can experience some sort of misery from it. But I won't be able to experience misery. I won't even be able to think about experiencing misery. So what is there to be afraid of?

Anyone else seriously disturbed by the idea of simply ceasing to exist? Why?

On the flip side, what's so great about living for all eternity? Do those who want to live in the afterlife for all eternity really understand just how long eternity is? What are you going to do forever and ever? Even if the afterlife is the most wonderful, fun place you can imagine, is it going to stay fun forever? Even if it were as great as experiencing continuous orgasms while riding a roller coaster drunk, isn't that going to get old after, oh, say, 500 years or so? Then what? And it's supposed to be wonderful because you'll be reunited with your friends and family. Heck, you can barely stand them long enough to get through Thanksgiving dinner. You don't think you'll be sick of them after 560 billion+ years? Seriously, what will you do FOREVER, and what would be the point?

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Theia wrote:Anyone else

Theia wrote:

Anyone else seriously disturbed by the idea of simply ceasing to exist? Why?

I think you will quickly realize that what disturbs most people on this board is how too many people continue to exist when they should have ceased existing a long time agoi.

Quote:
Even if it were as great as experiencing a continuous orgasms while riding a roller coaster drunk

You've just described my tuesday night.

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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I don't have a problem with

I don't have a problem with not existing. I tried it out for a few billion years before I existed. Was no big deal.

I used to think living forever would be cool, always getting to see "what's next". But after a while you get to understanding that "what's next" is usually very easily predicted. I think I'll live 'till 70 or so, then go explode in the middle of some field somewhere, the explosion ejecting hundreds of little streamers each with "WHAT AN EXIT!" written on it. Yeah.

illeatyourdog wrote:
Theia wrote:
Even if it were as great as experiencing a continuous orgasms while riding a roller coaster drunk
You've just described my tuesday night.
Weekends must be extra special. Sticking out tongue

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Theia

 Dost' though worry of non important things.   Relax.   Or better yet let me reassure you by paraphseing Samuel L. Clemons,  aka  Mark Twain. 

  I will think about life after death the EXACT same way I thought about life the billions of years BEFORE I was born;   nothing at all.

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Jillswift

JillSwift wrote:

I don't have a problem with not existing. I tried it out for a few billion years before I existed. Was no big deal.

I used to think living forever would be cool, always getting to see "what's next". But after a while you get to understanding that "what's next" is usually very easily predicted. I think I'll live 'till 70 or so, then go explode in the middle of some field somewhere, the explosion ejecting hundreds of little streamers each with "WHAT AN EXIT!" written on it. Yeah.

illeatyourdog wrote:
Theia wrote:
Even if it were as great as experiencing a continuous orgasms while riding a roller coaster drunk
You've just described my tuesday night.
Weekends must be extra special. Sticking out tongue

[/ quote]  

  Jillswift can we please spend a weekend together  (on knees)   pretty please.

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Theia wrote:On the flip

Theia wrote:

On the flip side, what's so great about living for all eternity? Do those who want to live in the afterlife for all eternity really understand just how long eternity is? What are you going to do forever and ever.

I would learn EVERYTHING.  But by the time I finished I would have forgotten a lot of shit. 

So I'd have to start over.

But it ain't going to happen.  *sniff*

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Existing

Co-workers of mine have me where I will go after death.  I can only say that I will probably go back to where I was before I was born.  This seems to quiet them for a time, but they do react to me differently than others around.  I think they are so afraid of not having any idea, and just becoming worm fodder that these people will grasp onto anything.


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JillSwift wrote:I don't have

JillSwift wrote:

I don't have a problem with not existing. I tried it out for a few billion years before I existed. Was no big deal.

Techincally, there would not have been any "I" since there was not even a "you" .

illeatyourdog wrote:
Theia wrote:
Even if it were as great as experiencing a continuous orgasms while riding a roller coaster drunk
You've just described my tuesday night.
Quote:
Weekends must be extra special. Sticking out tongue

I consider sleeping extra special yes Sticking out tongue

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Watcher wrote:Theia

Watcher wrote:

Theia wrote:

On the flip side, what's so great about living for all eternity? Do those who want to live in the afterlife for all eternity really understand just how long eternity is? What are you going to do forever and ever.

I would learn EVERYTHING.  But by the time I finished I would have forgotten a lot of shit. 

So I'd have to start over.

But it ain't going to happen.  *sniff*

 

Plato proposed that conception of an afterlife.  The body does nothing but keep your psuche from appreciating the true forms anyway, he would say.

" Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff


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Assuming room temperature....

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I do not fear BEING dead, that is simple non-existence. Dying bothers the shit out of me... I've seen a lot of it, in all of it's forms and it's seldom pretty or pleasent.

I've been working my tookus off lately at the hospital, we've had an upsurge in people shuffling off the mortal coil. Todays treat, a Murder/Suicide ala hose to tailpipe. He was facing bankruptcy, she was in the early stages of altzheimers, tommorow, a 9 mo baby... Yeah, gawd is great.....

LC >;-}>

 

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Jeffrick wrote: Jillswift

Jeffrick wrote:
Jillswift can we please spend a weekend together  (on knees)   pretty please.
My knees wouldn't take it. Sticking out tongue

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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illeatyourdog

illeatyourdog wrote:
JillSwift wrote:
I don't have a problem with not existing. I tried it out for a few billion years before I existed. Was no big deal.
Techincally, there would not have been any "I" since there was not even a "you" .
My poor, poor joke. Analyzed to death!

 

illeatyourdog wrote:
JillSwift wrote:
Weekends must be extra special. :P
I consider sleeping extra special yes :p
It's good to be right Sticking out tongue

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Louis_Cypher wrote:I've said

Louis_Cypher wrote:

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I do not fear BEING dead, that is simple non-existence. Dying bothers the shit out of me... I've seen a lot of it, in all of it's forms and it's seldom pretty or pleasent.

I've been working my tookus off lately at the hospital, we've had an upsurge in people shuffling off the mortal coil. Todays treat, a Murder/Suicide ala hose to tailpipe. He was facing bankruptcy, she was in the early stages of altzheimers, tommorow, a 9 mo baby... Yeah, gawd is great.....

LC >;-}>

 

Well for my family that have died in my lifetime...one grandfather blew his brains out.  Not pretty but not all that painful.  Another grandfather had a bout of pneumonia for a couple months, then had the telltale "Indian Summer" cheerful attitude right before his death, one grandmother that died in her sleep from Heart congestion, another that just got really confused in her final day, laid down, and passed away.

So my family so far hasn't been having painful horrifying deaths.   I'm hoping I'll follow any of their examples.  Old and either sending myself out of reality with a quick blast to the melon, in my sleep, or just confused.

Famous last words...

  • Why, yes, a bulletproof vest.
    • Who: Domonic Willard
    • Notes: Willard was a small time foot soldier during the Prohibition. Just before his death by firing squad, he was asked if he had any last requests.
  •  

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    Theia wrote:Anyone else

    Theia wrote:

    Anyone else seriously disturbed by the idea of simply ceasing to exist? Why?

    I, for one, find the idea of oblivion quite comforting. Absolutely no politics or religion there! Tried it once, it was boring, or I think it was, or must have been....  Actually, the only thing I remember was seeing a bright light, but, I think that was the paramedic checking for intelligence.  At any rate, I'm kinda looking forward to it.  Not that I'm in any hurry, I  plan on wearing this body down to the bones before I kick it. Hopefully another 40-50 yrs, don't think I'd much enjoy living beyond that.  Ain't gonna worry about it until I get there.  The only thing I find seriously disturbed about it is all those nut cases out there believing in the end times who want a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran to bring about all that magical crap. Can't say we don't live in interesting times.

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    I think Watcher and

    I think Watcher, in his first post, and Louis_Cypher gave some of the best answers, and thus I agree with what they're saying. Well, I don't have any experience like that of Louis_Cypher's, but I can only imagine if even that. I will provide some more answers:

    I suppose for the same reasons we all want to have sex, eat, etc... For those organisms that 'want' to have sex, they will be more likely to pass on their genes. And, for those that 'want' to stay alive, they naturally will be more likely to do so long enough to pass on their genes. That may not be precise, but that's probably close to the evolutionary reason (I put it this way, b/c of words I chose like 'want' etc... for lack of better wording).

    If you want more of an 'in my mind's eye' type of reason, it will go along with the reason I gave above. I can't explain the neurobiology of it, but I just want to be alive. Now that I am alive, and I am able to reflect on my current situation, it just seems like to permanently cease seems... well, not comfortable.

    I'm probably kicking a dead horse since I suppose everyone else probably realizes all this, but I'll go ahead with it.

    What I'm getting at is... of course I won't be able to think about myself after I'm dead. But reflecting on the possibility of not having the ability to think, while I am able to think, is where the discomfort occurs. It's the before, not the after, of death where, or even the now that I am conscious and sapient, it seems disturbing.


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    JillSwift

    JillSwift wrote:

    illeatyourdog wrote:
    JillSwift wrote:
    I don't have a problem with not existing. I tried it out for a few billion years before I existed. Was no big deal.
    Techincally, there would not have been any "I" since there was not even a "you" .

    Quote:
    My poor, poor joke. Analyzed to death!

     

    illeatyourdog wrote:
    JillSwift wrote:
    Weekends must be extra special. :P
    I consider sleeping extra special yes :p
    It's good to be right Sticking out tongue

    Enjoy it while it lasts Eye-wink

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    I would like to live forever

    I would like to live forever very much, but believing in god is just simply stupid.

    And actually the only state of existance which i like is right now right here.


    Theia
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    ctressle wrote: I can't

    ctressle wrote:

     I can't explain the neurobiology of it, but I just want to be alive.

    Do you want to do laundry for 500 billion+ years? I don't know about you, but I'm already sick of doing laundry! 

    Ok, you probably wouldn't have to do laundry in Heaven because it's supposedly such a wonderful place. But I know theists who are so freaked out about death (which is odd if Heaven's so wonderful) that they actually want to live here, on Earth, as we are, as flesh and blood humans, FOREVER.

    Man, that's a lot of laundry!!!!!

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    I don't want to die, but I

    I don't want to die, but I don't fear death. Once I am dead I won't exist so it won't bother me at all.

    I do want to live forever (unless our solar system dies and we still can't travel to a better one), but in this reality... It is always changing and interesting.

    But that is just wishful thinking.

    It wouldn't matter if I couldn't stand the thought of no afterlife. Reality doesn't care if you have a problem with it. That would be like saying, " I have a real problem with the idea that gravity dictates that I have to fall down, so I choose to believe that I can fly." It is not a valid argument.

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    ronin-dog wrote:It wouldn't

    ronin-dog wrote:

    It wouldn't matter if I couldn't stand the thought of no afterlife. Reality doesn't care if you have a problem with it. That would be like saying, " I have a real problem with the idea that gravity dictates that I have to fall down, so I choose to believe that I can fly." It is not a valid argument.

    You mean it's not a rational argument?

    But people do, however, continue to argue it...or, not so much argue it as simply deny it:

    "I have a real problem with the idea that when I die I will cease to exist, so I choose to believe in Heaven and an afterlife."

    "The Bible looks like it started out as a game of Mad Libs" - Bill Maher


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    Theia wrote:ronin-dog

    Theia wrote:

    ronin-dog wrote:

    It wouldn't matter if I couldn't stand the thought of no afterlife. Reality doesn't care if you have a problem with it. That would be like saying, " I have a real problem with the idea that gravity dictates that I have to fall down, so I choose to believe that I can fly." It is not a valid argument.

    You mean it's not a rational argument?

    In a strictly logical sense he is correct.  It is invalid to argue that becuase the state of the world is X I will believe that the State of the world is Q, therefore, Q.  Granted, many theists try their damndest to not sound like this but all their best arguements have this formula whether its the Argument from Morality or the argument from Design.  It always begins with them wanting to believe that there is Morality or that the World is designed, with no real argument as to why, and then building on the arguemnt from that.  When you press them as to why it is they respond with "I can't explain it" or "I refuse to believe it was not designed by a creator" which really is the same thing in theist language.

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    I've a hypothesis that we're

    I've a hypothesis that we're dying all the time anyway. We're like waves. Our "life energy" (for want of a term that doesn't sound so woo-ish) is basically what we eat breath and drink, and that's replenishing itself all the time.

    If one assumes the brain is powered by oxygen, (which may be untrue or at least way more complicated than that but I still think my logic would fit whatever is closer to the truth) the oxygen is always in flux, and the you that is experiencing yourself one moment dies once the oxygen is used up.

    The reason people have this illusion of a constant, unchanging self, is due to their brains backlog of memories, that create the illusion that the energy that experiences the memories is the same person that recorded them.

    If one was to swap their "soul" or "life energy" or whatever you wanted to call it with another person, neither person would notice any difference, because that's not who they are. And their memories on their own aren't who they are either. We're waves, and the you that was alive yesterday is dead today.

    I suck at articulating this hypothesis,  (maybe it isn't even worthy of that word) and I don't *believe* it's true, but it makes alot of sense to me.

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    illeatyourdog wrote:Theia

    illeatyourdog wrote:

    Theia wrote:

    ronin-dog wrote:

    It wouldn't matter if I couldn't stand the thought of no afterlife. Reality doesn't care if you have a problem with it. That would be like saying, " I have a real problem with the idea that gravity dictates that I have to fall down, so I choose to believe that I can fly." It is not a valid argument.

    You mean it's not a rational argument?

    In a strictly logical sense he is correct.  It is invalid to argue that becuase the state of the world is X I will believe that the State of the world is Q, therefore, Q.

    aha and : because the state of the world is X I will believe the state of the world is Q, therefore X will be Q is irrational but it looks cool, like a Dali.

    Anyhow, we don't know what X is, we only know what it looks like from a distance, and that's what people tend to be afraid of. 

    As for eternal life, I agree it would have to be worth the time and effort but not enough people question that in my opinion. Is endless purposelessness in 'christian' heaven enticing... er NO! 

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    Theia wrote:Anyone else

    Theia wrote:

    Anyone else seriously disturbed by the idea of simply ceasing to exist? Why?

    I'm not disturbed about not existing. I am disturbed I won't live long enough to travel off this rock, out into space, where I think we should go. I'm disturbed I probably won't see the sunrise across an alien horizon.

    But even worse, I'm afraid nobody will see that. I'm very much afraid that we will all just die off before we are given the chance to thrive among the stars. Now, that's an irrational fear. Not because it won't happen (we will probably die off long before we make it out into space in any kind of meaningful way), but because it's irrational to desire us to spread out across our galaxy. After all, the death of our species is no more notable than the death of a homeless person. Nobody's gonna notice, and that's a shame.

    I just think it'd be cool to travel freely through space, and I'm gonna miss it.

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    nigelTheBold wrote:Theia

    nigelTheBold wrote:

    Theia wrote:

    Anyone else seriously disturbed by the idea of simply ceasing to exist? Why?

    I'm not disturbed about not existing. I am disturbed I won't live long enough to travel off this rock, out into space, where I think we should go. I'm disturbed I probably won't see the sunrise across an alien horizon.

    But even worse, I'm afraid nobody will see that. I'm very much afraid that we will all just die off before we are given the chance to thrive among the stars. Now, that's an irrational fear. Not because it won't happen (we will probably die off long before we make it out into space in any kind of meaningful way), but because it's irrational to desire us to spread out across our galaxy. After all, the death of our species is no more notable than the death of a homeless person. Nobody's gonna notice, and that's a shame.

    I just think it'd be cool to travel freely through space, and I'm gonna miss it.

     

    You are reading my thoughts. I would give anything, even my life, to do any of those things.


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    nigelTheBold wrote:I'm not

    nigelTheBold wrote:

    I'm not disturbed about not existing. I am disturbed I won't live long enough to travel off this rock, out into space, where I think we should go. I'm disturbed I probably won't see the sunrise across an alien horizon.

    But even worse, I'm afraid nobody will see that. I'm very much afraid that we will all just die off before we are given the chance to thrive among the stars. Now, that's an irrational fear. Not because it won't happen (we will probably die off long before we make it out into space in any kind of meaningful way), but because it's irrational to desire us to spread out across our galaxy. After all, the death of our species is no more notable than the death of a homeless person. Nobody's gonna notice, and that's a shame.

    I just think it'd be cool to travel freely through space, and I'm gonna miss it.

    People have said it would be tragic if human beings became extinct. I find that an odd concept. Tragic to whom exactly? There won't be anyone around to ponder the tragedy. The rest of the species on the planet, if they survive, probably won't think it tragic. In fact, I'd imagine that most will find conditions better without us. The idea of something being tragic is pretty much a human concept so the "tragicness" of it will probably die with us. Similarly, there's no reason to be bothered about no one traveling the galaxy. Yes, it would be cool to see mankind visit other planets. But if no one is around to do the space traveling then no one will be around to notice that it's a shame it didn't happen, either. The shame and sadness of it will cease to exist with us. So there's nothing to worry about. Smiling

     

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    nigelTheBold
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    Theia wrote:nigelTheBold

    Theia wrote:

    nigelTheBold wrote:

    After all, the death of our species is no more notable than the death of a homeless person. Nobody's gonna notice, and that's a shame.

    People have said it would be tragic if human beings became extinct. I find that an odd concept. Tragic to whom exactly? There won't be anyone around to ponder the tragedy. The rest of the species on the planet, if they survive, probably won't think it tragic. In fact, I'd imagine that most will find conditions better without us. The idea of something being tragic is pretty much a human concept so the "tragicness" of it will probably die with us. Similarly, there's no reason to be bothered about no one traveling the galaxy. Yes, it would be cool to see mankind visit other planets. But if no one is around to do the space traveling then no one will be around to notice that it's a shame it didn't happen, either. The shame and sadness of it will cease to exist with us. So there's nothing to worry about. Smiling

    Yep. I agree completely. The shame will be there's nobody around to notice. It's kind of a pre-shame, I guess. A current shame. Once we're gone, our shame goes with us. Even the memory of our shame will be gone.

    It's an unsettling thought for me. It's irrational, I know. But, it's like my kid: she is a fantastic violinist. I have been told she is exceptional, and has the opportunity to become a first-rate concert violinist. However, that's not her desire. She wants to get married, settle down, that sort of thing. It seems like such a lost opportunity, to me, though it's not my life, nor my call. And really, it's up to her to make her own happiness in life, and she may not have liked being a concert violinist.

    If we die out before we get a chance to go out and settle among the stars, we've blown a fantastic opportunity.

    That's my irrational desire, really. That's the thing that I imagine is my religion-analogue, though I don't have any faith it will come true. But I desire it greatly, and so I work towards that, in the little ways I am able. I know we won't do that unless people work towards it.

    Oh, well. That's a huge tangent from the original proposition. I mean, I'd like a few more years (I think) to see where we're going; but other than that, I can't imagine living a whole lot longer. Life is tedious as it is. It's conversations with the likes of y'all that make it bearable. That, and listening to my kid play violin. (Kid. Hah. She's 20, and in college.)

    "Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


    Jacob Cordingley
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    I actually find the idea of

    I actually find the idea of ceasing to exist quite scary. I know rationally that I won't know about it, but my brain simply can't conceptualise nothing. Nothing is kind of like infinity, totally mind-fucking and this scares me. Rationally I know I have nothing to fear, but emotions are harder to control. I can really understand why people want to believe in an afterlife.

    At the same time, forever is way too much. I think when I'm old I will be ready to die, but I mean really old, 200 sounds nice. At any rate, infinity scares me just as much. I don't want this life to end anytime soon because its the only one I know I'm gonna get. However, this is kinda life affirming, I know I have to make the most of the time I have. I'm a young man in my early twenties with a bright future of rock 'n' roll and academia ahead (despite my currently dark present).


    MattShizzle
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    I would say domestic dogs

    I would say domestic dogs would find it quite tragic, cats less so. Most farm animals would have a hard time making it, too.

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    Theia
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    Jacob Cordingley wrote:I

    Jacob Cordingley wrote:

    I actually find the idea of ceasing to exist quite scary. I know rationally that I won't know about it, but my brain simply can't conceptualise nothing. Nothing is kind of like infinity, totally mind-fucking and this scares me. Rationally I know I have nothing to fear, but emotions are harder to control. I can really understand why people want to believe in an afterlife.

    Have you ever been under anesthesia? There is no sense of nothingness while you are under. It's not until you wake up that you realize you experienced nothingness. And there is also no sense of time. When I've been under anesthesia I've felt like I woke up the same instant I went under. So nothingness also has no sense of time. I suspect being dead is pretty much like that.

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    JillSwift
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    Theia wrote:Have you ever

    Theia wrote:
    Have you ever been under anesthesia? There is no sense of nothingness while you are under. It's not until you wake up that you realize you experienced nothingness. And there is also no sense of time. When I've been under anesthesia I've felt like I woke up the same instant I went under. So nothingness also has no sense of time. I suspect being dead is pretty much like that.
    Only without the follow-up commentary =^_^=

    I've been under, too. It's an odd thing to be... un-alive? Inanimate? Animus-less? There was no "me", just this "potential me" that experienced the time exactly the same way a rock does, i.e. not at all.

    Ahh, yes. I remember it as clearly as I do all that time before I was born. *reminisces*

    Er, but more to the point: Jacob, a nice starting point is to try and separate the idea of not existing from the process of dying/becoming non-existent. Then you can work on equating post-life non-existence with pre-life non-existence. That helped me a great deal.

    "Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


    ProzacDeathWish
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      The thought of living

     

     

    The thought of living forever sickens me....


    Jeffrick
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    Living/dieing

     

       Being a devout atheist, I do not believe in heaven nor hell  so I got no place to go;  ergo I'm not going!!!!

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    illeatyourdog
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    MattShizzle wrote:I would

    MattShizzle wrote:

    I would say domestic dogs would find it quite tragic, cats less so. Most farm animals would have a hard time making it, too.

    Lions, Bears, and Tigers can't wait for us to go away.

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    illeatyourdog
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    ProzacDeathWish

    ProzacDeathWish wrote:

     

     

    The thought of living forever sickens me....

     

    You must really dislike the idea of vampires Sticking out tongue

    " Why does God always got such wacky shit to say? . . . When was the last time you heard somebody say 'look God told me to get a muffin and a cup tea and cool out man'?" - Dov Davidoff