Welcome to October. For a lot of people, this is a time that instigates a looking towards Halloween/Samhain/Day of the Dead, etc. The leaves are turning their gorgeous shades of burnt orange, lemon yellow, and crimson red. Everything is turning, and I thought it an appropriate time to continue our discussion about death.
This past summer I put up my ideas about the cycle of reincarnation in the post Would you like a little Death?. Today, I'd like to put out there my idea about what doesn't happen after we die. More specifically, I'd like to talk about the idea of a soul.
The dictionary defines "soul" as "the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal." This definition is just about as vague an idea as any, right? I've heard a lot of theories about what happens to this soul after we die, and a lot of them go back to physics. More specifically the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states that energy/matter cannot be created or destroyed. This ends up being a "provable" method of stating how our souls are immortal. With this basis, I've heard ideas such as:
- The energy that is unique to us eventually merges with the vast energy that is the universe. We cease to be individual and, instead, become one with everything.
- The energy that is unique to us gets instantaneously sucked back into a place in which we mere with the unique energies of everyone else, get mixed up, and pop back out. This is also a theory of reincarnation.
- Sometimes, once you get popped back out, it's not 100% you. It's bits and pieces of all the other uniqueness of all the other energies out there.
I'm sure there are other theories, but you get where things go with this line of thought, right? Well, while I'm not ready to concretely state what I think happens after we die, I know that I do not believe we are merely energy, unique or otherwise. I don't know that anybody could believe in a loving, Creator/Creatrix deity and then believe they would set up a system whereby their unique creations would lose their identity by getting all mixed up with the everythingness of everything. I firmly believe that whatever we are, it remains intact, despite reincarnation.
And, should reincarnation - most specifically, the kind of reincarnation meant to teach us all the lessons of life as I laid out in the previous post - prove true, then how are we to learn these lessons if we are not individuals? What would be the purpose of continuing to live lives throughout the ages if we're all just merging back into a great mass of conscious universal energy? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose, as, surely, at least someone else in the mass had already learned the lesson in question.
So, I don't know what exactly happens, and I hope to be able to formulate some better ideas on that subject in my time to come, but I have a good idea as to what is not true. When we die, whatever happens after that, happens to our unique, individual essence. Sure, we don't know what the soul is made of, because it's not made of anything our mind can conceive of - like the afterlife. If we could conceive of it, it would exist in this plane, which is why it's defeatist to believe we can explain the supernatural with natural laws like Physics. It's ideas like this that truly require leaps of faith. Only when we break away from our hold on what we can prove can we begin to see the truth of the universe.
That sounds like it should be on a poster. Cafepress.com anyone?
Love and Lyte,