Monday, December 15, 2008

Ye buddha, my brain hath swelt mightily in the last half-decade

And here is proof:

A bit of ancient philosophy (from sophomore year)

I was still struggling off an on with the vestiges of my religious faith at this point in life. For a time I was basically an atheist yet still clung to many ideals and paradigms of the Christian faith. I cannot recall if this was an apologetic or just some musings.

Thank Buddha I have become wizened and grizzled in my old age. Since it was written in 2001 I am guessing that it was one of my attempts at playing Devil’s advocate with myself in order to try and expose extant weaknesses in my worldview.

This is the kind of thing that scares me because who knows what I will consider stupid or shallow 7 more years down the road?

Argument for the Afterlife

Man is a creature so unlike any other on the planet earth that many people do not recognize us as animals. What separates us from other life is basically one trait, reason. This difference gives rise to everything human and beautiful, culture, imagination, art and expression would not be possible without some understanding of the universe beyond “get food, get water, reproduce, sleep now.” Mankind’s greatest strength lies in this capacity for reason.

One of the basic conflicts among us though is the question of religion. Atheism vs theism, theism vs deism, and faith vs skepticism are among the most common. Though there are countless evidences and reasons to believe in many faiths, certain details can only be sorted by choice. Regarding life after death however, can be settled by a simple progression of logic.

Intelligence is not limited to human beings; many animals can learn behavior and shape their reactions accordingly. Higher animals even dream, perhaps as vividly as people. It is the existence of dreams that allow an afterlife to be easily and reasonably proved to exist.

Dreams are a function of the mind during a state of unconsciousness, beyond the boundaries of objective observation. Many times dreams are forgotten very quickly and many are not remembered at all. What determines the importance of a dream is whether or not it is remembered. If a dream is forgotten, and there is no physical evidence of it, did the dream actually happen?

The answer is yes, but only if one remembers that at least a dream occurred, regardless of content. Having some perspective outside of the actual experience is what defines that a dream definitely occurred. For dreams, unlike the waking world, are consequence-free.

Knowing that experience is only made real by perspective, having some point to look backwards from, we can easily prove life after physical death. Right now, the smell of the air, the ambient lighting, the heat and humidity of your surroundings are all being dutifully processed by your brain. Naturally this means you will remember how you felt at this current time.

If you dream that find the secret to happiness for the entire world, and forget that it ever happened, you have no knowledge or experience to show for that dream. Without some perspective after you actually die, you could not possibly be existing and remembering now. Without an indefinite and eternal point of perspective, consciousness could not occur.

At least, not according to reason.

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