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Borrowed Time -- Writer's Poke #395

A belief in the afterlife may or may not be natural. Like most parents, I’m sure, I’ve heard my young daughter talk about death, and she indicates no thrill at the prospect of dying. And the sign of a healthy mental state, after all, almost requires us to privilege life over death. Anyone who even talks about her own death is viewed as exhibiting a warning sign. 

Should it likewise be considered a “warning sign” when people refuse to believe in an afterlife? If we our programmed to believe in one, then not believing may suggest that something is wrong with our programing. Or, if the belief in an afterlife is based on one’s cultural values, then perhaps not believing in the afterlife is a reject of those values. Perhaps, then, such an individual or, perhaps even the culture needs some fixing, not the belief or disbelief in the afterlife itself.

Whether or not an afterlife exists, one thing seems certain. Our lives on earth – at least in our current bodies and with our current states of experience – are incredibly short. As short as they are, they still seem long enough for many to look forward to a new world or a new plane of existence. At times, it almost seems like people are willing to put whatever time they have now on hold, as they wait for the real experience to begin at some later date. Some, it seems, treat this experience like waiting at the airport – not their real experience, but one they will put up with to get to where they are really going. Or so they imagine.

If you have an extra fifteen minutes, how do you generally use it? How many extra fifteen minute opportunities do you think the average person has over the course of a lifetime?

“There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” – Stephen Hawking


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