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  1. #1
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Eternal Life or Eternal Afterlife? A Curse or Blessing?

    Now, many people express that they have a fear of death. But what is the alternative? An eternal life?

    But how would such a life affect our psyche? We may be able to imagine living for a few hundred years, but an eternity is unimaginably long. Would you find contentment, or would you feel you are trapped in a Sisyphus universe? Is not an eternal life also something that could be feared?

    So how does the state of an eternal afterlife differ from this?

    The existence of religion in many ways is a result of seeking of contentment with our place within this universe. Infidels at the end of their lives are compelled to accept religion, so that they will fully accept the lives that they have led and be content with their place within this universe and ultimately secure a place in the afterlife.

    But if you are at peace within this universe, then why would you need to have an eternal afterlife?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Thisica's Avatar
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    "Eternity" is so overrated. I don't think people actually understand this idea. It's so abstract, it becomes somewhat irrelevant to our daily lives.
    “To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.”—Statement from unpublished notes for the Preface to the Opticks (1704) by Newton.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    Now many people express that they have a fear of death. But what is the alternative? An eternal life?

    But how would such a life affect our psyche? We may be able to imagine living for a few hundred years, but an eternity is unimaginably long. Would you find contentment, or would you feel you are trapped in a Sisyphus universe? Is not an eternal life also something that could be feared?

    So how does the state of an eternal afterlife differ from this?

    The existence of religion in many ways is a result of seeking of contentment with our place within this universe. Infidels at the end of their lives are compelled to accept religion, so that they will fully accept the lives that they have led and be content with their place within this universe and ultimately secure a place in the afterlife.

    But if you are at peace within this universe, then why would you need to have an eternal afterlife?
    I dont believe (as some philosophers do) that the afterlife is a projection or outcome of a projection of the unique consciousness of (some) human minds, if there is indeed an afterlife it exists, it isnt earned, its there irrespective of what you think about it or accept about religion or any other earthly ideas and conventions.

    The myth of Sisypus is perhaps a bad one to mention because I believe as Camus did that ultimately we have to imagine Sisypus as happy at his work.

    You make a great and good point about the afterlife being a terrible fate for those unprepared and therefore maladjusted to the possibility, its something I've considered for a long time and ultimately my answers are to do with God and developing in a way which is not dominated by strivings, doings, even relatings and instead investing in being in this life or any other existence.

    Meister Eckhart wrote, in something which apparently may have influenced some of Clive Barkers writing (though not Hellraiser/Hellbound Heart interestingly) that at the end of life if cosmic beings came to strip away all attachments to this life that depending upon your preparedness or apprehension/reluctance you would see them as either angels or demons/devils. Similarly I believe that depending upon your adjustment to the idea of eternal life you could find it a cruel fate or just reward.

  4. #4
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thisica View Post
    "Eternity" is so overrated. I don't think people actually understand this idea. It's so abstract, it becomes somewhat irrelevant to our daily lives.
    Agreed. Most people only get as far as "eternal bliss," and that's supposed to be a good thing (versus "eternal pain" or "eternal ennui"), so... people go for it.

    When I was five, I was having horrific fears not of death but of "eternity"... because it kept going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going ....

    ... well, you get the idea.

    I remember my mom sitting with me at night while I was sobbing, and I had no way to articulate what I was afraid of, and she had no idea what was wrong with me. Death was just a transition, and defined this life in a comprehensible way, but eternity was indefinite and endless... immensely huge.

    Afterlife without end still kind of scares me more than there just being an ending.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Senior Member Stigmata's Avatar
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    The reality of an afterlife would probably sway me even further towards a nihilistic world view. Nothing would diminish any ability to perceive our existence as sacred living quicker than know it's just a never-ending cycle; Whatever enthusiasm and sense of determination and urgency I gather is from know everything as I understand it is temporal.

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    Senior Member Thisica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Agreed. Most people only get as far as "eternal bliss," and that's supposed to be a good thing (versus "eternal pain" or "eternal ennui"), so... people go for it.

    When I was five, I was having horrific fears not of death but of "eternity"... because it kept going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going ....

    ... well, you get the idea.

    I remember my mom sitting with me at night while I was sobbing, and I had no way to articulate what I was afraid of, and she had no idea what was wrong with me. Death was just a transition, and defined this life in a comprehensible way, but eternity was indefinite and endless... immensely huge.

    Afterlife without end still kind of scares me more than there just being an ending.
    In fact, it's this idea that wants me to throw stuff at the wall! At least death is familiar...though beyond the human imagination. But eternity? Not so much. Not only is it beyond the human imagination, it also comes into direct conflict with reality.
    “To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.”—Statement from unpublished notes for the Preface to the Opticks (1704) by Newton.

    What do you think about me? And for the darker side, here.

  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thisica View Post
    In fact, it's this idea that wants me to throw stuff at the wall! At least death is familiar...though beyond the human imagination. But eternity? Not so much. Not only is it beyond the human imagination, it also comes into direct conflict with reality.
    Well, I'm not sure that is true.

    We know that space/time exists, and time goes forward without ending, and that galaxies are still blasting away from each other at high rates of speed into .... eternal distance. Or at least distances so vast and unmeasurable that they might as well be eternal in terms of our ability to contemplate them.

    So I think endlessness is grounded in physical reality.

    But I guess you might be talking not about eternity in itself, but eternal heaven/bliss? (And I agree, that is kind of in conflict. People die. Life eventually has bitterness. Growth demands change, and change is painful. We cannot imagine a world without pain, because it's part and parcel of life. So the idea of heaven without all of those dynamics is impossible to imagine, realistically at least.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #8
    Senior Member Thisica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Well, I'm not sure that is true.

    We know that space/time exists, and time goes forward without ending, and that galaxies are still blasting away from each other at high rates of speed into .... eternal distance. Or at least distances so vast and unmeasurable that they might as well be eternal in terms of our ability to contemplate them.

    So I think endlessness is grounded in physical reality.

    But I guess you might be talking not about eternity in itself, but eternal heaven/bliss? (And I agree, that is kind of in conflict. People die. Life eventually has bitterness. Growth demands change, and change is painful. We cannot imagine a world without pain, because it's part and parcel of life. So the idea of heaven without all of those dynamics is impossible to imagine, realistically at least.)
    Yeah, I did meant the idea of eternity as applied to some afterlife. But to be honest, we don't actually know how the future of the universe will unfold
    “To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.”—Statement from unpublished notes for the Preface to the Opticks (1704) by Newton.

    What do you think about me? And for the darker side, here.

  9. #9
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    It's probably a totally different kind of existence, and who says it would even be in space and time as we know it. That's why I liked string theory, which posits (or at least used to posit) a "primeval realm" strings (as themselves, "shards of spacetime) are embedded in that is not space, and has a totally different kind of geometry to it.

    Even many Christians, when they speak of "eternity", use it as synonymous with a timeless existence.
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    I am unsettled by the thought of my mortality but I'm even more unsettled by eternal life. I'd worry that I'd get to a point where I've seen it all/done it all/know it all and there's nothing left to work towards, nothing more to find out. I'd be extremely bored and restles and there would be no way out.

    What I would like is not living forever but a greatly increased lifespan. The life expectancy as it stands now, doesn't seem to be nearly enough time for me to learn and experience everything that I want to.
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