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  • Is there such a thing as an ideal afterlife?

    I've been giving it some thought and I can't imagine an afterlife that I'd subscribe to.

    Without diversity I think an afterlife wouldn't be worth attending.

    What are your thoughts on this? Can you envision an afterlife you would want to eternally be a part of? And, if you can only feel a static emotion (like happiness), is it even worth it?

    Incidentally, this is my first post.

  • #2
    Originally posted by ASchaffer View Post
    I've been giving it some thought and I can't imagine an afterlife that I'd subscribe to.

    Without diversity I think an afterlife wouldn't be worth attending.

    What are your thoughts on this? Can you envision an afterlife you would want to eternally be a part of? And, if you can only feel a static emotion (like happiness), is it even worth it?

    Incidentally, this is my first post.
    Welcome! I'm not trying to be rude--but does it matter? Whether or not we would enjoy or "subscribe" to a particular formulation of an afterlife shouldn't have any bearing on whether or not that afterlife is true.
    Last edited by RomanJoe; 09-05-2019, 02:15 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ASchaffer View Post
      I've been giving it some thought and I can't imagine an afterlife that I'd subscribe to.

      Without diversity I think an afterlife wouldn't be worth attending.

      What are your thoughts on this? Can you envision an afterlife you would want to eternally be a part of? And, if you can only feel a static emotion (like happiness), is it even worth it?

      Incidentally, this is my first post.
      An afterlife where I can experience eternal divine love

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by RomanJoe View Post

        Welcome! I'm not trying to be rude--but does it matter? Whether or not we would enjoy or "subscribe" to a particular formulation of an afterlife shouldn't have any bearing on whether or not that afterlife is true.
        Thanks! No, that's not rude at all. I'm just curious if anyone could come up with a hypothetical afterlife that would actually be ideal for them, like a heaven. Personally, I'd like to die and just fade out of existence. But that's because I can't think of a better alternative to that. Of course, it won't change anything either way but it's always interesting to hear people's opinions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ASchaffer View Post

          Thanks! No, that's not rude at all. I'm just curious if anyone could come up with a hypothetical afterlife that would actually be ideal for them, like a heaven. Personally, I'd like to die and just fade out of existence. But that's because I can't think of a better alternative to that. Of course, it won't change anything either way but it's always interesting to hear people's opinions.
          So just dying is...ideal? Is that based on some kind of an argument that eternity would be boring?

          Personally I hope that the Judeo-Christian conception is correct, a newly created material reality. I don´t have a negative view on our material bodies like many Platonists have.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ASchaffer View Post

            Thanks! No, that's not rude at all. I'm just curious if anyone could come up with a hypothetical afterlife that would actually be ideal for them, like a heaven. Personally, I'd like to die and just fade out of existence. But that's because I can't think of a better alternative to that. Of course, it won't change anything either way but it's always interesting to hear people's opinions.
            Just curious, why do you find annihilation an attractive fate? I think usually people misconstrue the loss of existence, of the subjective conscious self, as almost some sort of drift into a peaceful sleep. But peace is a conscious experience. There is no consciousness, no first-person perspective, nothing to experience after the annihilation of consciousness. I also think it imbues our living existence with an acidic nihilistic uneasiness. The universe will eventually suffer heat death and all that will remain is a thin mist of expired stars and the carcasses of solar systems. No humans, no rational agent, just the cold and dark perspectiveless cosmos unable to support any life.

            Often the immediate jab at this view is that this dismal fate should motivate us to embrace and fully appreciate our lives. But why? What does it matter in the end? What do the great works of literature, the compendiums of philosophical thought, the scientific and ethical achievements of each age, matter when, in the end, we are all to be forgotten, never remembered by anything or anyone, after humanity flickers out of existence. It's all a sick joke. Human existence is a spark of light that comes and goes, forever lost in the etneral darkness of an empty universe.

            Leo Tolstoy suffered a heart wrenching depression and came to the brink of suicide by contemplating on thoughts like these. I have great respect for him and I do commend those nihilists who see this. Albert Camus has flavors of this self awareness in some of his own work. The following is a chilling excerpt from Tolstoy's A Confession:

            "Today or tomorrow sickness and death will come (they had come already) to those I love or to me; nothing will remain but stench and worms. Sooner or later my affairs, whatever they may be, will be forgotten, and I shall not exist. Then why go on making any effort? . . . How can man fail to see this? And how go on living? That is what is surprising! One can only live while one is intoxicated with life; as soon as one is sober it is impossible not to see that it is all a mere fraud and a stupid fraud! That is precisely what it is: there is nothing either amusing or witty about it, it is simply cruel and stupid.

            […]

            Had I simply understood that life had no meaning I could have borne it quietly, knowing that that was my lot. But I could not satisfy myself with that. Had I been like a man living in a wood from which he knows there is no exit, I could have lived; but I was like one lost in a wood who, horrified at having lost his way, rushes about wishing to find the road. He knows that each step he takes confuses him more and more, but still he cannot help rushing about. It was indeed terrible. And to rid myself of the terror I wished to kill myself."
            Last edited by RomanJoe; 09-06-2019, 12:46 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think the Christian tradition has at least 2 important things to keep in mind when thinking of whole awesome/worthwhile an after life would be;

              1 - that we will be physical but different. We will still enjoy at least some of the perks we have now of physical but this physicality will be different. It will not be exactly the same. This is important because of how emotion is tied to our bodies. How will joy and excitement and contentment and peace full with a resurrected body? Considering the problems people raise with an everlasting eternal earthly life, I suspect the how we experience emotions in the next will befit eternity..What would joy look like that isn't fleeting and susceptible to tiredness for example. Notice I haven't said happiness. I think Jordan peterson is on to something when he says people mistake you for happiness. Happiness, in my opinion, seems to be somewhere between joy and contentment. A coming together of reason and emotion.

              2 - the eastern orthodox view of theosis but only, specifically, the part which conceives of an ever moving forward. Philosophically, it's like constantly becoming more and more fulfilled in what it is to be human. It's the opposite to a static afterlife. Biblically, there's the flip side which gives the idea that part of our nature as humans is to be image beating "angled mirror". We reflect the glory of God onto creation. We create art and play and music to reflect the glory of God from creation. We have all kinds of projects simply because it is a good in itself. Through stewardship and care of the physical world, we reflect God onto creation. Being at home in creation, but firing on all cylinders to reflect it's goodness to God and God's goodness into the world just is what being an image bearer is.

              it also seems community is central..We are rational. Rationality is intimately tied up with language. Language points to a community. Friendships seems to be necessary.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Aristotle's jedi View Post
                it also seems community is central..We are rational. Rationality is intimately tied up with language. Language points to a community. Friendships seems to be necessary.
                Supported by the neuroscience of interconnectedness

                Comment


                • #9
                  No offence to the OP, especially because this thought has occasionally occurred to me, but I think it is a matter of a failure of imagination. The afterlife need not be exactly like our life. There need be no satiation there. Indeed, St. Gregory of Nyssa notes that the mystical path is endless, precisely because God is infinite. His being and his goodness are without end, so that our journey towards him and, in a sense, in him, are without end.

                  St. Gregory says, in God we will find a "completeness that will never be limited by satiation."

                  I advise reading his Life of Moses.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RomanJoe View Post

                    Just curious, why do you find annihilation an attractive fate? I think usually people misconstrue the loss of existence, of the subjective conscious self, as almost some sort of drift into a peaceful sleep. But peace is a conscious experience. There is no consciousness, no first-person perspective, nothing to experience after the annihilation of consciousness. I also think it imbues our living existence with an acidic nihilistic uneasiness. The universe will eventually suffer heat death and all that will remain is a thin mist of expired stars and the carcasses of solar systems. No humans, no rational agent, just the cold and dark perspectiveless cosmos unable to support any life.

                    Often the immediate jab at this view is that this dismal fate should motivate us to embrace and fully appreciate our lives. But why? What does it matter in the end? What do the great works of literature, the compendiums of philosophical thought, the scientific and ethical achievements of each age, matter when, in the end, we are all to be forgotten, never remembered by anything or anyone, after humanity flickers out of existence. It's all a sick joke. Human existence is a spark of light that comes and goes, forever lost in the etneral darkness of an empty universe.

                    Leo Tolstoy suffered a heart wrenching depression and came to the brink of suicide by contemplating on thoughts like these. I have great respect for him and I do commend those nihilists who see this. Albert Camus has flavors of this self awareness in some of his own work. The following is a chilling excerpt from Tolstoy's A Confession:

                    "Today or tomorrow sickness and death will come (they had come already) to those I love or to me; nothing will remain but stench and worms. Sooner or later my affairs, whatever they may be, will be forgotten, and I shall not exist. Then why go on making any effort? . . . How can man fail to see this? And how go on living? That is what is surprising! One can only live while one is intoxicated with life; as soon as one is sober it is impossible not to see that it is all a mere fraud and a stupid fraud! That is precisely what it is: there is nothing either amusing or witty about it, it is simply cruel and stupid.

                    […]

                    Had I simply understood that life had no meaning I could have borne it quietly, knowing that that was my lot. But I could not satisfy myself with that. Had I been like a man living in a wood from which he knows there is no exit, I could have lived; but I was like one lost in a wood who, horrified at having lost his way, rushes about wishing to find the road. He knows that each step he takes confuses him more and more, but still he cannot help rushing about. It was indeed terrible. And to rid myself of the terror I wished to kill myself."
                    You can't be upset about not being alive if you no longer have consciousness. At the end of the day, it comes down to how we feel about death. I'm happy with things not existing forever and think life would get stale after living a lifetime, so I'm glad that everything is temporary.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kwlsk View Post

                      So just dying is...ideal? Is that based on some kind of an argument that eternity would be boring?

                      Personally I hope that the Judeo-Christian conception is correct, a newly created material reality. I don´t have a negative view on our material bodies like many Platonists have.
                      My personal feeling is that if I can still experience a full spectrum of emotions then eternity would be boring and if I can't experience a full range of emotions then eternity would be pointless.

                      Could you describe what your conception of a newly created material reality would be like? I think that sounds neat.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jeremy Taylor View Post
                        No offence to the OP, especially because this thought has occasionally occurred to me, but I think it is a matter of a failure of imagination. The afterlife need not be exactly like our life. There need be no satiation there. Indeed, St. Gregory of Nyssa notes that the mystical path is endless, precisely because God is infinite. His being and his goodness are without end, so that our journey towards him and, in a sense, in him, are without end.

                        St. Gregory says, in God we will find a "completeness that will never be limited by satiation."

                        I advise reading his Life of Moses.
                        No offense taken! Is St. Gregory saying that nobody ever actually reaches heaven or that, in heaven, we're still journeying towards God?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ASchaffer View Post

                          You can't be upset about not being alive if you no longer have consciousness.
                          Yes, but you can bemoan a meaningless existence. Again, I understand the skeptic's aversion to this mindset--"But there still is meaning! Look at the good we can still do in life! charity, scientific advancement, love! Shouldn't we still strive to make things better?" But again, what is the point in a world where our lives are not imbued with eschatological meaning, where everyone is to be annihilated, where the cosmos will eventually be void of life and in perpetual darkness? The saint and the mass murderer meet the same end, are subject to the same sentence: annihilation.

                          Regardless of how we feel, there would still be the ontological truth that your grave marks the end. But, one might reply "Can't we still live on in thoughts of others? In the effects we have made in the world?" What does it matter? You are not there to witness the virtuous footprint you left on the world, and in a generation or two your effect will be diminished and forgotten by everyone else. Eventually no one will exist to care about your memory--no one will exist to care about anything. All progress in ethics, science, mathematics, philosophy, will cease. Mankind was spat into the world and in time he will fade out of it forever. The macroscopic fortuity of the universe is inescapable; we all shall vanish into non-existence, our eternal end. We built civilizations, religions, thought-systems, and they will all vanish too with no one to long for them, to remember them, to mourn their passing. The best we can do is remain apathetic about the whole game, to cohere to some social delusion that our lives are purposeful, or to end it and quicken the process of annihilation. We either slowly trudge our way towards non-existence or we face it immediately.
                          Last edited by RomanJoe; 09-11-2019, 06:43 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RomanJoe View Post

                            Yes, but you can bemoan a meaningless existence. Again, I understand the skeptic's aversion to this mindset--"But there still is meaning! Look at the good we can still do in life! charity, scientific advancement, love! Shouldn't we still strive to make things better?" But again, what is the point in a world where our lives are not imbued with eschatological meaning, where everyone is to be annihilated, where the cosmos will eventually be void of life and in perpetual darkness? The saint and the mass murderer meet the same end, are subject to the same sentence: annihilation.

                            Regardless of how we feel, there would still be the ontological truth that your grave marks the end. But, one might reply "Can't we still live on in thoughts of others? In the effects we have made in the world?" What does it matter? You are not there to witness the virtuous footprint you left on the world, and in a generation or two your effect will be diminished and forgotten by everyone else. Eventually no one will exist to care about your memory--no one will exist to care about anything. All progress in ethics, science, mathematics, philosophy, will cease. Mankind was spat into the world and in time he will fade out of it forever. The macroscopic fortuity of the universe is inescapable; we all shall vanish into non-existence, our eternal end. We built civilizations, religions, thought-systems, and they will all vanish too with no one to long for them, to remember them, to mourn their passing. The best we can do is remain apathetic about the whole game, to cohere to some social delusion that our lives are purposeful, or to end it and quicken the process of annihilation. We either slowly trudge our way towards non-existence or we face it immediately.
                            What keeps you going if you think everything is meaningless in the end?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ASchaffer View Post

                              No offense taken! Is St. Gregory saying that nobody ever actually reaches heaven or that, in heaven, we're still journeying towards God?
                              I haven't read St. Gregory of Nyssa's Life of Moses, but the general idea with Theosis or deification is that we come to share and participate in God and in the life of the Holy Trinty, and this life is infinitely and inexhaustibly perfect; there is never an 'end point' to it.


                              In the Orthodox tradition is also considered possible to experience Theosis in a temporary way while still in this life, if you are granted this kind of grace it would provide the best kind of understanding of what the afterlife could be like. I think in Catholicism the equivalent is being given direct experience of the Beatific Vision of God.

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