Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hungover Philosophy: What comes next?

I can't get over how much the death question pops up whenever I have a theological debate with someone. The need to live in complete an total fear of absolutely everything is something that I don't share with the majority of the population.

My fears are real and semi-legitimate from my own perspective, but ludicrous to other people. At least my fears are tangible. I don't like tight spaces, poisonous insects or snakes, and I have an irrational fear of water. I am not, however, afraid of death. I'm not afraid of ghosts, ghouls, goblins, spirits, poltergeists, demons, curses, sorcery, gods, devils, etc. because they don't exist.

The popular question I face on at least a weekly basis is, "So what happens when you die?" That's kind of a dumb fucking question because nobody alive has died yet.

"I want to live! That's the whole secret of Life: NOT DYING! I figured that shit out alone in the third grade." ~George Carlin

Now what do I think will happen when I die? I'm assuming the normal decomposition process for the physical me, and as for the mental me, I guess the lights just turn off. I think it'll be just like when you're given general anesthesia at the doctor and you just conk out, but this time you're not going to wake up. How arrogant and cowardly is it to assume that we're going to continue on in some zany spiritual form after this insignificant life we've been given? Why is it so rough for people to comprehend that we're no better than any other life form on the planet?

Is ceasing to exist depressing? It all depends on how you look at it. I'm not trying to speak Clintonese and dodge the question, but really what is existence? In a first person sense, there was nothing before I was born. Sure, the world was here, people were alive, the universe, blah blah blah, but from my own perception, existence itself didn't start until I was born. Even then, I don't remember too much from the first few years of my life, so really my own existence starts about three years after I was born.

So again, is death depressing? The truth is, it is depressing when I first think about it, but only a little and for very selfish reasons. I would like to live forever because it's all I know. I enjoy life most of the time and I'd like to live as long as possible, but everyone dies. And really, when we die, we don't know we're dead. We don't know that we've lived. When your brain shuts down, that's it, man. That's it. So it's kind of hard to be butt hurt over something (life) you don't have the capacity to remember ever having.

I just don't see a reason to spend my short life fretting over what might happen when I die. To drudge through your entire life preparing for the next is so absurd and counterproductive. What happens when you waste all this time getting ready for your spiritual transformation and nothing happens? Why throw something so precious away on an uneducated gamble that the next one will be better?