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The afterlife

Lucian-Dragoş Bogdan

Publicat Sâmbătă, 12 Mai 2007, ora 16:50

       For many years our Earth has been watching us. Our daily habits, our worries, our battles, our hopes… So many years that it is hard to count them. Years of glory, years of pain, years put together by an enormous number of human beings. Thousands of thousands of men were born, lived and died. Fat or thin, small or tall, black or white, smart or dumb, king or slave were all subdued to that inexorable faith. For some of those people we know for sure how the birth-death line was. For many more we don’t, but the scenarios aren’t very hard to imagine.
      What we do not know is what happens after the moment of death.
      We can say that this is the end of line. After death there is nothing. It is the easiest way to solve the problem. However, this is not a very satisfactory hypothesis for our minds filled with hope.
      Philip José Farmer had an interesting idea in his “River worldµ. Ancients also used to imagine a place were the souls or – sometimes – even souls within bodies follow the course of life in what we can call “the afterlifeµ, some of them in comfortable places, some of them in pain and torture.
      As far as I know, there isn’t even one religion that doesn’t talk about the afterlife. There are many theories, but there are two common elements in all religions: the existence of afterlife and the payment for what people did in their life. If you were a virtuous you’ll be rewarded. If you did bad things, you’ll be punished.
      In some religions the reward or the punishment appears right after the person’s death, sometimes after a fair trial. Others talk about a “purgatoryµ, a place where people stays awhile till the judgment day. Some talk about a continuous chain of life and death, linked by what they call “karmaµ. If you were good in your previous life your reincarnation will be in a superior creature and/or in a favorable context. If you were bad, you’ll probably get back to life in an inferior creature and/or in great pain, suffering and misfortune.
      Besides the resurrection of Jesus or the reincarnation of Buddha (both having roots in older versions of other religions), the mystical revelations of mediums and witches, even medicine tried to give us proofs for the afterlife. There were reports of what people in clinical death felt: leaving the body, being calm, seeing a light and even talking with “an afterlife presenceµ. Warmly embraced as proofs for afterlife, those reports lost some of their glory when proving that the lack of oxygen in the brain can cause all those “visionsµ.
      So is this afterlife a reality – let’s call it this way even though it is improper – or is it only the result of our hope that death will not mean the end? Could it be only the result of our fear of the unknown? Could it be a way of mass control, with heaven for the obedient and hell for the revolutionary? Could it be a reasonable judgment after seeing nature rising and dying only to come back to life again?
      The afterlife is our dream of hope as well as our worst nightmare. What if it isn’t an afterlife? What then? Or what if it is an afterlife and we’ll be punished somehow for what we’ve done in our lives?
      We are afraid of the afterlife – it is hard to deny it.
      Bu what are we afraid of? Of not having it?
      Or of what it can make us go through?

© Copyright Lucian-Dragoş Bogdan
Sursa :   Imagikon
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