Doesn’t it feel like everyone is trying to sell you something on this one? As if they “need it”, that they gain if they convert you. There are so many evangelists. The worst in my view are the atheist humanist materialists – because they pretend that their beliefs are backed by science. Non. Sense. There is no unarguable rational line.
So where can you get to, using common sense?
First. What do we mean by the terms in the question. Leaving “life” and “death” till tomorrow – let’s start with “after”.
You can’t have an after unless you have time; and what we know from Einstein is that space and time are one thing. (So is matter and energy). So really the question should be phrased “is there life outside space time”. Suddenly there’s a new complexion – and a whole explosions of thoughts. My only point is this. It would be brilliant surely for each of us to set aside our entrenched positions, reach out and explore all of this together.
.. and in that exploration – David Bohm’s “Dialoguing” – we might just find love and joy in the connecting.
(I don’t know if anyone reads this stuff, but I’ll ramble on tomorrow about why (I think) we don’t die anyway.)
Our existence is like a wave. Simile or metaphor? Our existence is a wave. Statement or illustrative analogy?
Whatever… associative thinking is useful in building understanding. It can lead to a radical shift in perspective. Take the statement “our existence is like a wave”. We typically ground our sense of self in the material. And yet.. the cells in our bodies are constantly changing. There are very few molecules in you now which were in your body at birth. You, we, are not material. What then? Certainly existence seems to me to be validated in relation to other. Without – other – there is no existence. Indeed existence as relativity (see AN Whitehead) seems logical to me. In that case – is there not a wave of influence that we have on other and it has on us? And does that wave of influence (on our children, our friends etc) not continue after our material body seizes up and degrades? In fact, isn’t the influence and therefore real existence of Michelangelo more apparent now than when he was “alive”?
Existence is like a wave. Metaphor has utility. But, limitations too.
There are many ways that existence is not wavelike, but granular. Influence stems from individual tiny acts, which stem from individual thoughts.
Anyway, there you have it. Metaphor appears, to me anyway, to have immense utility. However we need to be ready to abandon a particular metaphor or association by recognising when its limits have been reached. Perhaps this is immediately when it has achieved the objective of fracturing and shift our set thought patterns?
Reality is bound up with the present. This, according to Zen and as re-expressed by Eckhart Tolle – the Power of Now..
The present, now, is the door to reality and focus on the past and future distracts from the intensity of experience.
How does that square with Alfred North Whitehead’s theory of relativity – where reality is a process and certainly not an instant?
It seems to me that the integration of these two concepts through the interpretation of the present – Now – as momentary rather than instantaneous. By this I mean to include the immediate past and the immediate future into a lengthened and extended instant. I think (though I’m never certain when trying to understand Process and Reality) that this is what Whitehead refers to as prehension.
It seems then that consciousness requires some element of time, that which immediately surrounds the instant in which we exist. It is observation that crystallises out the particular reality which we choose. (Bohr, Born, Schrodinger – the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics). The experience of reality requires the flow of time – to allow the immediate past and future to give context to the instant that is now.
Consciousness can then be described as observation surfing on time, and the fragment of time that surrounds the instant creates the moment in which we exist. Hence – reality as momentum.