07 September 2007

Dust to dust, or was your pappy's twinkle anything?

I've been thinking, again, about death. This is a pretty regular thing in my lifecycle, as I suppose it is for most people. My thoughts about death this week got me thinking about birth, but more importantly, existence prior to birth. Most of us are not really bothered by the fact that before we were born, we were nothing. We perceived nothing, we thought of nothing, we were thought of by nothing, we were simply not. Not anything. In the course of our being, our existence (or at least what we perceive of existence consciously) has been something we acquired.

Now that we have acquired consciousness, we can't imagine going back to unconsciousness. It is, if we think about it, the worst possible thing. Worse than hell even, because at least in hell one would be something. But if we return to nothing, this is a sort of unimaginable darkness.

I willing accept unconsciousness every night when I go to sleep. It does not bother me that eight hours of my day simply vanish. The time between when I go to bed and when I wake up passes without a thought. It's like I cease to be.

Why do we insist on life after death and why don't we insist on an explanation about what we were before we were born? When we die, we lose consciousness and the energy we have acquired in life, the mass of our bodies is all redistributed. If we were unconscious before we were born, why do we assume we will continue to be conscious after our bodies have died?