posted on Dec, 20 2010 @ 04:10 PM
Many have tried to answer it, in various ways. C.S. Lewis painted a rather poetic picture of a celestial "mountain" that would be forever climbed
in his Great Divorce.
Atheists have given it thought too, like the fictional Murray Templeton in Isaac Assimov's The Last Answer.
The real point to a meditation like this, from my perspective as an agnostic, is to mentally explore the nature of existence itself, along with what
exactly our "essence" consists of.
Would it even make sense for something like a human to exist forever? Why so?
Obviously, the Christian notions of "heaven" beat the heck out of various types of "hell", but they are fairly short on descriptions, ever since
St. Paul just left it at, "Eye has not seen, nor ear has heard..." As one poster pointed out, the "streets of gold" thing isn't terribly
Mormons try to imagine their eternity, as just so much more of what we already have really: wives, sex for ever, children, reigning over worlds,
without end. Endless sex? Sounds great, sign me up!
But the reality is that the more we look at "what" we are, the notion of an eternal existence gets very hard to picture. And that's even after
leaving aside any corporeal necessity (again, for sake of argument).
The area where we may still find potential is in "who" we are, which, while bound up with the outward "what", seems intuitively to go beyond mere
flesh and blood.
So, if some part of our consciousness "survives" physical death, the next question is WHY?
In answer, some possibilities:
If "death" is in some way an illusion, then even the terminology is off, because the word "survives" suggests a different default.
If our "essence" / "soul", etc. is of it's nature "eternal" already, then that could be an answer. But if this is so, then we would want to
answer the "why" all the more, since it implies that "we" really will be around a million years from now!
Which brings us to that which is perhaps slightly beyond the philosophical, entering into the "theological", since it is in that branch of thought
that people have had to grapple with the issue, from perhaps a "religious" perspective, but still forced logically into the issue of what an eternal
being might "do".
The introduction of monotheism made the issue especially difficult, since before that time people could still imagine a universe where "gods" could
at least have each other for equal company. But once they were put aside, the logical question was, "What would a solitary god do, if he/she had
Enter the "Trinity", an interesting "solution", which gave God some "company" if you will. Why this was important was because as humans, we
regard relationship as essential, and yet realize that having a pet, is nothing like having a fellow human as a friend, or spouse even.
Certainly a god would want an equal, and we are not it.
Hopefully, no one got lost in that digression, but the point is that this is more about who we as humans are. We can anthropomorphize "god" by
assigning "him" more than just arms and legs. It's about how we see ourselves.
This being the case, it seems that our inherited human thought to this point suggests that what we would be doing a million years from now must at
least retain something of this essential, otherwise we would not be "we" anymore.
Which finally takes us to "Love", a thing most of us experience at least in some small way in our lives. Usually, when we reflect upon that love
which has felt the most genuine, our every instinct craves/demands that it never end. Intimately (you might say) related to this is the
physical thing that accompanies physical love, which is the orgasm. These "partners" of flesh and "spirit" do indeed seem to cry out always for
But still yet a little further. Rather than stop at a mormonesque version of sex/love in perpetuity, I would tend to still want "more", because
love is so much more than mere eros. It is here that our imaginations begin to falter, and yet the poet in me says that it could at least be a
"clue" as to what we might be doing a million years from now.