Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chet Raymo, “In The Sweet By And By”

“In The Sweet By And By”
by Chet Raymo

“In the Bahamas there's a saying: Everbody wanna go to hebben, but nobody wanna die. I suppose you could find the same expression anywhere in the world. It's one of those universal axioms, a cognitive dissonance the human species has learned to live with. We want to live forever, but there's always that nagging fear that death is final. When someone comes along promising eternal life, we are quick to jump on board, to buy into the program, to make our Pascal's Wager with a generous tithe. The Keys of the Kingdom have always been the ultimate commodity in the marketplace of ideas.

And in our more scientific age, what is on offer from the white-coated boffins? Not much, I'm afraid. Everything that can be counted part of a human self - soma, immune system, self-awareness, memory - has been shown to be inextricably entwined with the uncorrupted flesh. No hint of a ghost in the machine. Not a whiff of immortal soul. Of course science can't disprove the self's immortality, but it offers precious little - zero - affirmative evidence.

So it was with some curiosity that I looked at an essay on the Huffington Post called "What Happens When You Die?," by Robert Lanza, M.D., scientist, theoretician. His answer: "Experiments suggest the answer is simpler than anyone thought. Without the glue of consciousness, time essentially reboots." Experiments suggest? What experiments, I wondered. I read further. A nice little essay about Mr. O'Donnell the blacksmith, and a few references to quantum theory. Then in the last paragraph: "Without consciousness, space and time are nothing; in reality you can take any time - whether past or future - as your new frame of reference. Death is a reboot that leads to all potentialities. That's the reality that the experiments mandate." Nobody gonna die. Everbody gonna reboot.”

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