Here it is Friday, the beginning of the celebration of the death and resurrection of a brilliant prophet just over 2,000 years ago and/or the pagan festival of chocolate.
It got me thinking about life and death.This whole doom and gloom thing for me was helped along by a recent television episode of a detective series where people had themselves frozen, or at least their head frozen, in the belief/hope that they would be brought back to life, or resurrected, at a later time (cryopreservation). Unfortunately, the company went broke and they the bodies and parts were discarded – a bummer but a high probability I would say. Still, a significant number of us seem to have a fascination with life and keeping it or getting it back.
Let me state up front, I believe that when my brain and body stops functioning, that’s it, I’m done and literally dusted. I have one chance to be here and be a good person and I’m not going to stuff that up if I can help it.
But… and there’s always a but, what if there is a possibility that our cells, our DNA can provide a second chance at life. That begs the question, would it be me, the me of now, before death. Or would it be another person that has my DNA but not my upbringing or memories? To me it would only makes sense that it would be the second option; another person who looked like me, talked like me but wasn’t me. It certainly wouldn’t have my memories and the ‘I’ of me would be there, my ego and id, my spirit or soul, whatever you call it, wouldn’t be there because it left when that other body I had deteriorated, died.
So what happens if you have your body or just your head frozen and a time comes when it can be reanimated? If it happens within the next 50 years you would probably be OK, you would still have some memories and experiences that could allow for incorporation into the new society.
However, what if it’s over 100 years? Think about the changes since 1916 – beside there being a war on in the trenches in Europe. We have computers, we fly in huge aircraft, our species has been to the moon, sent Voyager out beyond our Solar System and we speak quite differently. Imagine suddenly arriving from 1916 into today? Undoubtedly culture shock would set in. It’s a world that is vastly different from the one you left and anyone you knew when you were alive is either very, very old or most likely gone. You’d have to be a very special person to deal with that.
Take another one hundred years and I’m sure it would be very difficult to even make yourself understood. See how much trouble we have with Shakespeare after 500 years.
Sure, with effort we can understand it, especially if it is played by experienced actors. Yet imagine Shakespeare coming to 2016 – he wouldn’t have a clue.
So I’ve decided this time is the only time. I understand where I am, who I am with and being one of the lucky people, I’m happy and as content as possible.
And then there is the after-life. A significant proportion of people around the world believe (or profess to believe) that there is something after death. Of course the ‘something’ is different depending on your chosen beliefs. Heaven or a variation of that suggests that the soul has somewhere to go. And then there is the whole issue of ghosts – those who stay here.
So what if I’m wrong, and there is something after the body dies? Firstly, I’m going to be very surprised but I guess happily so. Secondly, I’m going to try to find out where the hell I am. I mean, before we went out into space we could believe that that’s where heaven was. Now I guess we’re going to have to think of it as another dimension. I guess that could work. And then ghosts could be those who were, for whatever reason, able to cross the barrier between the living and dead dimensions.
But truly, nah, I don’t think so. I’m an empiricist – I think science has it pretty right – check the proofs of the hypothesis before coming to a conclusion and then still keep a little doubt at hand. There are proofs that the brain and body dies and no proofs of life after.
And as I don’t really want to wake up and deal with the billions and trillions of souls in another dimension, or relearn language and culture in a far distant future, I’m happy to stay in this reality, on this Earth as long as I can, do the best I can, live by the guiding principles of community pretty well set out by the guy who’s death and resurrection we celebrate at this time.
And, of course, eat chocolate.