kimblanchard Posted March 1, 2004 Share Posted March 1, 2004 Mortal Thoughts Occasioned by a Diagnosis of S.C. Lung Cancer When I try and think about my forthcoming demise, I am baffled. Eventually my cancer will likely pop up in various places and I will be bedridden, and then, perhaps with the aid of painkillers, I’ll drift into a deep sleep and coma. What next? My consciousness, which over 72 years became aware of constant change, will no longer change. An entire universe will wink out. It’s too much for me to contemplate, not being aware, of not being. In my considerable experience I find I have always been. In life nothing remains the same, even for a nanosecond. Everything we see or do is infinity more complex than seems apparent. My breakfast toast, for instance, was made from millions of grains of flour, which came from perhaps near as many grains of wheat. Each grain had its DNA, its history of sun and rain and butterflies in far flung fields over thousands of miles of North America and beyond. Then there is the number and genealogy of the yeast sacrificed to leaven the bread. Nuclear radiation from the decay of trillions of specific atoms formed in long dead stars and waiting billions of years till then, went into the electricity operating the toaster, helped by the fossilized and carbonized skeletons used in the coal fired part of the electric grid. Which little carboniferous bryophyte bathed in the Mesozoic sun to help brown my toast? Pearly Gates and harps and we all will be re-united with our loved ones to live forever, are nice thoughts, but vulnerable to logic. Priests have been promising these things since Pharaoh built his pyramid, and they have made a good living doing it for millennia. We all desperately want heaven to be true, but why should it be ? Contemplation of the world suggests heaven may be just too good to be real. Observe, a profligate waste of life is constantly occurring. Billions and trillions of unique and beautiful plants and animals are thrown away every winter. A constant cruel slaughter of creatures by disease or for food suggests individuals are not often conserved. The physical laws of nature appear to be the only rules that are constantly enforced and they are not essentially kind or moral. If one has faith, any religion will serve, but all of them are silent or erroneous in explaining facts of nature. Were religions contrived by men with limited knowledge and are thus simplistic in their stories of firmaments and floods and creation? The Christians and Jews view heaven as a “firmament” dividing waters and the Moslems as a fabric that can be torn. Divinely written texts should have accurate astronomy if they are Devin. In Book VIII of the Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, ruler of the wold, noted around AD 170, that there was no reason to fear being dead. If you experience an afterlife you will not be dead, if there is no afterlife you will no longer be aware of any evil. I remember no evil from before my birth, but that was before I existed. My life has caused effects and projects back in time. Are those years frozen in the dimension of time like grooves on a recording that has been played? When one is in a very deep sleep or unconscious, time passes swiftly. The billions of years preceding my birth passed and went by unnoticed. A few billion years hence, as our exploding sun vaporizes the earth and all it contains, will my soul be bothered? The only satisfactory and logical answer I can discover as to what happens to me after death, is that of oblivion. Once anything passes by in time, it is gone. If there were a heaven, it would be like the Rock Candy Mountain, cloying within a few centuries. If my personality and memory were not changed in heaven, I would be less than happy, as I have been much of the time in this world. If I am altered enough to be ‘high’ on harp music am I the soul of Dan? I leave a glimmer of hope for my undying ego, in that I think, in such a complex universe, many strange things may be possible. Dying is the last big adventure, but if there is no afterlife, I’ll never miss it. Dan Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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