As for the OP title, I'd answer "It depends on how near it actually IS."
Well, I had a childish fear of it and did the "this sucks we're all just gonna die anyway" thing with black and morbidity, etc.etc. See Harold in
"Harold and Maude" for reference... I even looked a little like Budd Cort.
Now I have an adult fear of the lead-up... aging really sucks, especially if one lived a tad fast in their young years.
Either way, when one looks at the reports and scant scientific literature, even keeping in mind these people are terrified and looking for a nice
ending, too, it does seem that we continue in some manner.
It's no stranger than winking out, when looked at in the big sense.
My father, a life long atheist, was brought back before he finally succumbed and said, "Wow, it's like waking up from a dream ... it's so much more
real and this place recedes in importance. There seemed to be a torus shaped font of creation and totality with a personality that might be called
'God,' but it's like no God I heard of here..."
After his final death I had a very vivid dream where I saw him as a young man wearing a coat I later learned was an old favorite of his I had never
seen, and he told me we were in a mental landscape of his and that he was fine and not to worry about anything.
I'd like to think it might be some shade of real, but if all the after-death experiences are wrong, and if we don't get scooped up as fodder for the
moon as some suggest, heh, and the end is just a ceasing of the endless now... then I'm cool with it, too, but it seems such a grand waste.
Edit x3: And I wanted to add, for the scardy cats, that I've had more than a couple personal experiences with "ghosts"... beyond my experience with my
father... and am personally convinced that things without visible bodies that act like the people they formerly were, exist... but that still leaves
some unknowable stuff, however it makes living without a physical body much more likely.
I know I'm not the final word, but thought I'd add that so someone might take a smidge of comfort. I watched my whole extended family die (17 in
2008... bad year!) and have had many younger friends go during my "fast living" days. Some were peaceful, but most were humiliating and awful.
Malfunctioning bodies and minds are ... quite unpleasant.
The subject of death is frantically avoided by Western society and many of us have never even seen a dead body. We are in a collective, selfish
panic. I would suggest visiting a hospice and visiting a dying person who is alone. But if that's not going to happen, then I'd say that when the
time comes for a loved one to go, don't avoid it and just talk about it to them.
It's true we all die alone, but it doesn't have to be the shunned, lonely experience we make it.
Elizabeth Kubler Ross invented "Thanotology" or the science of death. She went from being a hard nosed scientist to what many think of as a looney new
ager. She had visits from recently deceased patients that seemed perfectly physical (even being hugged and having one dead woman write her name on
Once she reported this, she was shunned and considered a kook, despite her solid former reputation. I'd suggest that she might still have been a
fine, stable researcher who was simply convinced of the reality of life-after-death. But her first books on the seven stages of grief, etc, are worth
reading... even for the hardened materialists.
We'll all find out... unless we learn to download consciousness, or one finds the Philosopher's Stone or is bitten by a vampire, that is.
See everyone there... or not.
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