If one day we are shown undeniable and scientifically verifiable evidence that we are more than the physical self that we identify with, will this discovery affect your life personally? Will it alter the way you think of behave to know that we are a consciouse entity that is not reliant on a physical body to exist? What kinds of questions would you begin to ask after learning this? I can understand that this idea and question is a bigger challenge for an Atheist to answer because I assume that Atheists reject the notion of life after death. Correct me if I am wrong about that. I do understand that a person does not have to believe a god of some sort in order to accept life after death. The concepts are not necessarily related. Even so, I would imagine this new evidence would have a more profound effect on an atheist. I only recently discovered that there’s a label (and i don’t like labels) for my own viewpoint. That is Agnostic Atheist, for those who require it.
@i4cim2b, I was just pondering this very thing a few minutes before I saw your post. If I found out there was life after death for sure, it would change things for me. I would immediately feel relief because I would know that my life span on earth is not all I have, but only a small chapter in awareness. I think it would be easier to view life in a playful and experimental fashion rather than stressing over getting things “right”. Things would seem less serious and dire. Even as I say all of these things I realize that there should be no prerequisite for those realizations.
@i4cim2b, I don’t think it will change much of anything, a lot of people already believe in a life after death, so they will rub it in everyone’s face, and people who don’t, well; there is a phenomena called “The God Complex” where people insist they are right, this causes either denial or they take new information and try to twist it to their own world view. So I don’t think it will change much of anything.
Perhaps life and death are but different levels of awareness, maybe within the body. For if there is life after death, that would prove that death is an illusion. So wouldn’t that be the same for life? Maybe this is why the spiritually aware, or Christ consciousness individuals can surpass death and “ascend” with the body. Makes ya wonder ;)
I think this question could also be reversed: what if it was proven that this is the only life you have? That’d be a great motivator, I think.
Indeed, knowledge of an eternal soul or afterlife (besides reincarnation, possibly) would probably be a tremendous relief to most. It depends on the quality of the afterlife, of course (more of the same, heaven/hell etc). I think it would also make progress (technological or moral) in this life seem redundant to some people.
If the afterlife was the same sort of “life” as this one (for example, reincarnation):
A lot of relief, I suppose. A greater need for progress – especially with the idea of reincarnation, since the people we oppress could be us in the future. It makes the strife of unknown people a very personal issue, I think.
If the afterlife was hellish/horrible = we would probably start working on immortality pretty darn fast. :D Life would seem a pretty big deal, but we’d really question the nature of existence from this new perspective, and I bet we wouldn’t come to any happy conclusions. Of course, immortality would become our highest objective, after which things could really go either bad or well. We’d appreciate life more. Death as punishment would be deemed even worse than it is now – this could create tyrannies, of course.
If the afterlife was pleasant/good/heavenly: Why live this life? Why not kill yourself and go straight to the pleasure-part? The suffering in this world wouldn’t make sense, except as a “school of life”-thing, but even then, if you’re going to enjoy the afterlife, what for do you need to learn things?
Death would be deemed an acceptable thing. Immortality would probably be made into a punishment. The world would change pretty darn fast, since no tyrannies through violence would work anymore the same way they do now. On the other hand, there wouldn’t really be any real need for change – it’s all going to be better after death, anyway.
Religions, as we all know, combine these issues to create conducts which the masses are made to live by. “The afterlife will be pleasant UNLESS you kill yourself, and as long as you follow these rules.” This is an ingenious way of controlling huge quantities of people, and to make change and progress in this life seem less important.
The question of life after death is obviously a very intriguing one, but I think while we’re alive, it is sort of beside the point. Does it not make more sense to focus on making the current life more bearable to all living things, instead of fantasizing about what will happen once life ends? What happens, will happen anyway, regardless of us knowing about it. I’m fairly sure it’s about as unpleasant as birth – and we all remember how bad that was, right? Heh.
Death creates room for life.
There is life after death and there is proof .. Look up the millions of NDE accounts ( near death experiences) NDE ‘s are clinically pronounced dead … And all the NDE’s claim the same thing of life after death and experiencing peace and light and love .. Unlike anything found or experienced on earth. And many of them say they come back to life completely changed, more compassionate,peaceful, loving, accepting and live a deeper more meaningful life. People will always doubt and choose to ignore their spiritual reality, but it still exists… I had a NDE so I can attest of the life that awaits beyond this dense realm…. I don’t think we as humans have even the slightest idea of what awaits … It’s a good thing that we forget, otherwise we’d all be impatiently awaiting our “death”..
@stephgarcia84, there are actually a lot of accounts of horrible suffering and insanity as well, not just the much-hyped peace/light/love. Seeing visions of masses of humans waging war against each other, all the while experiencing all the terror and suffering of the people in the visions at the same time. And these are decent people. It’s not all “tunnel of light”.
That’s actually a pretty good document on this. “A prenatal interpretation of frightening near death-experiences”.
Some people believe that high doses of psychedelics are also simulations of death. “Near ego death”-experiences could be categorized as merely near death-experiences.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead (or “Book for the dead and the dying”) was revisited by Leary, who replaced the “death”-part with “LSD”. The similarities between what is described in the original book of the dead and a high dose LSD trip are striking.
From experience, I’d group high level psilocin-doses with this as well.
http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/Timothy-Leary-The-Psychedelic-Experience-The-Tibetan-Book-Of-The-Dead.pdf here’s the document. Be forewarned though, reading it may affect your subsequent trips in a fundamental way – as all experiences do. This one, though, can lead to experiences that are not too pleasant (as they are described in the book).
I’d be a lot less angry, and much happier. I’d feel a little bit of stress relief. One of the biggest problems I have with life is jobs and how it makes life after childhood “a bitch, and then you die”. If there were an afterlife, this would be gone. I’d feel so much better. I’d still want to get everything I want from this life though, that would not change.
@i4cim2b, You might be interested to read what Wingmakers/Lyricus describes as “The Grand Portal” which is exactly that: scientific proof of the soul, and that incarnation on Earth is not the only reality we experience.
They talk a lot about the personal and sociological ramifications.
@i4cim2b, Very interesting questioning. But for myself, I think I wouldn’t change much, at least in long-term. Months ago I found myself reading an article about the ‘outside world’, how it was all made of energy, and that shook me really bad, seemed like that everything was falling apart, and all that could go on in my mind was ‘Why did I opened that article? Why me?’. That engaged a battle with my ‘solid world’ belief. But with time I started to accept that, and realized that everything was just as it was before. Life was still life.
If there was such evidence, maybe I would get very shaken at first, but then I would just grow up with, accept it, because that is what we do, we adapt to different environments. Maybe it wouldn’t be so different after all, one question would be answered, but another questions would emerge.
@sandman, I checked that out a few months ago. It was interesting and reminds me of some of the most ancient of writings/hieroglyphs. “Nothing new under the Sun” if you know what I mean : ) Although the concept is somewhat advanced, it can open the mind if we only let it.
@vovinawol, I don’t follow the Wingmakers’ whole cosmology, but I like a lot of what’s said in the “Discourses.”
I also agree with them that scientific proof of the soul could be a real game-changer.
I’ve been working on a documentary TV series about past life regression: trying to verify the information that comes up in people’s memories. There have been other researchers/shows that have done this, but the story is always told retroactively, I’m filming people from their initial session, and then doing research from there to catch the whole story on film if possible.
Some believe that we die when we wiggle our way through the dark tunnel of the birth canal into the bright light of the hospital room. I ponder this sometimes. Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel has a multiplicitve inverse that we missed.
“Like you, I take what I feel I need from each perpective that I expose myself too.”
Definitely. I always go back to the story of the blind men describing an elephant. Each argues that they know what it is: a snake! a tree! a rope! But they only perceive a part of the reality.
Honestly, though, I appreciate the treasure hunt and gradual discovery I’ve gone through over the past 20 years or so. If someone had handed me the entire “truth” all at once, I don’t think my psyche could have absorbed it in a useful way.