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The Feeling of Nothing

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Synsensa, Oct 23, 2011.

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Do you fear nothingness after death?

  1. Yes

    25.2%
  2. No

    60.2%
  3. Downtown

    14.6%
  1. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    Looking back at the thread in my signature, I realized truly how much the concept of nothingness after death scares me. A lion could roar at me from a meter away and I would be nervous, but not scared. I could get shot and begin to die, and I would feel frantic, but not scared. However, the concept of nothing, is just... terrifying.

    Religious people obviously don't feel this way because they are expecting to ascend to Heaven or descend to Hell, which both imply eternal consciousness, though not in a physical form (depending on what you believe in).

    Atheist and agnostic people are faced with a more dire idea. Some atheists are 100% cool with the idea of losing every shred of consciousness upon death simply because they actually won't know about it (which would imply losing every shred of consciousness, so yes they would). The rest are dealt the "I really don't like it, but what can I do about it?" card.

    Agnostics on the other hand are dealt the fundamentals of logic. They understand that there are some things in this universe which cannot be explained, but they also understand there is no proof that there is a deity, or at least, a higher being (even if it's some odd form of spiritual energy located in the centre of the universe). They face the hope that there is eternal consciousness, but when thinking about it, are yet again forced to use logic to determine that there is no viable proof that it exists.

    Personally, I am terrified of 'nothing'. Thinking about it is the only way I can experience fear in this life, and it is a fear I do not want.

    How does everyone in OT specifically feel about nothingness after death, and if you're fine with it, how did you cope to the point of acceptance ("It's going to happen so I just dealt with it." posts don't count)?
     
  2. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

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    Who said we aren't being in nothingness right now?
     
  3. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    Consciousness is a pretty good indicator.
     
  4. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

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    Is it, though?
     
  5. Maniacal

    Maniacal the green Napoleon

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    Of course it is terrifying, the mind isn't usually trained to deal with nothingness. I don't let it bother me though, I rarely think about it and it doesn't really affect my approach to life.
     
  6. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    Is there a particular reason you are responding with simple philosophical thoughts? For all intents and purposes consciousness is what we are experiencing right now. Nothingness is what you feel while you are asleep, before and after REM.
     
  7. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

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    Excuse me, I'll keep my probing to myself from this point.

    But, how do you explain consciousness as anything more than a byproduct of mental processes? You didn't have a consciousness before your brainframe came online, so why should a system shutdown be a problem?

    And what if you have a dream? Do you have less consciousness than when you're awake?
     
  8. Yui108

    Yui108 Deity

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    donate some $$$ to research on cell aging ;)
     
  9. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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    Nothingness would suck if you were capable of experiencing it. Of course, for you to be capable of experiencing it, nothingness can't exist. I really don't find it terrifying, no more than the nothingness that preceded my conception anyway.
     
  10. bathsheba666

    bathsheba666 Fast 'n Bulbous

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    I was fine with nothingness before I was born, so why should after be any different ?

    And I am not pining for the unheard converation currently happening in Kamchatka...ditto.
     
  11. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    I don't really fear nothingness per se, my mortal qualms stem more from the regret that I will not be able to do the things that I would like to do.
     
  12. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    Although I do believe in an afterlife, I do find this idea rather comforting should I be wrong on that account.
     
  13. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    Sorry, it's just that philosophy doesn't have much of a place here because it would open up many other conversation topics that deserve an entirely separate thread for discussion.

    I suppose the most common definition of a consciousness is the ability to make rational decisions that aren't based on the genetic instincts you were originally born with. We hold a level of mental capability above anything on this planet, allowing us to collaborate, produce societies, make technological breakthroughs, and commit to a certain goal. If you think about the inner-mechanics of it all, it is sometimes hard to believe that free will and rational thought are all simply programmed cells inside the brain and nervous system. For example, how is free will decided by a programmed cell? Does it run a RNG like Civ3? Does it act as a computer and compare results with certain decisions? But then how do people make bad decisions? Is it a fault of their brain and its ability to calculate results? How do AI attain free will if they are simply programmed to do certain things and, as I said above, act as a computer? What are the computing mechanics of free will and thought?

    A lot of reincarnation believers would respond that before your birth you were in another life. However I don't see much comfort in the thought of reincarnation because technically you still die. If you are renewed as an entirely different being with no recollection of your past life, can it really be considered eternal consciousness?

    A system shutdown is a good way of putting it. Turn off your computer, and it ceases every function. However, press that start button the next morning and it will turn back on. The true problem comes when you press that button and nothing happens. Eternally ceased functions. You aren't aware before birth that you are being birthed, because you did not exist (for all intents and purposes of this discussion). But when your life draws to a close, you are fully aware of the end. You are aware that once you lose consciousness, that will be the last of life you will ever experience, and you won't even know it. That is a very daunting and frightening feeling.

    I'd say so. Unless you can lucid dream fully, you are restricted by what your mind allows. The vast majority of people don't particularly feel much in their dreams and are unaware it isn't real, because it is simply memories replaying or random bits of information jumbling together (evidence of this is when you wake up from a dream where you invaded a koala empire on the back of a unicorn with a chainsaw). Some say that dreaming is another realm or a glimpse into the spiritual aspect of the universe, and personally I am not sure. I have never experienced an unrealistic dream. I have always had full control in my dreams, I have always been able to think in my dreams, and I have always felt every emotion and physical touch in dreams. In comparison it is much like reality, yet not, because I am aware it is a dream. What would I consider it? I don't know.

    Scientifically it is just your brain doing some funny stuff during REM.

    Spiritually? No idea.
     
  14. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    But that is what is so frightening! Before you were born, you didn't even know it. Now that you have consciousness, every day you are a step closer to returning to that... nothingness. And even though you won't even know it because, well... it's nothingness, you still know beforehand that it's coming. Right now we have the luxury of thought, consciousness, and being alive. Even if life is incredibly crappy, you still have those luxuries. Being dead, you lose all of them. You lose thought. You lose consciousness. You lose life. And the worst part? Once it comes, your knowing of it is gone.
     
  15. FriendlyFire

    FriendlyFire Codex WMDicanious

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    I found that while I rejected all the myths which surround the bible. I've come to accept a higher being or conscience at work and that there is great value in religious spirituality. Just keep searching you'll eventually find it.
     
  16. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Why is it supposed to be scary? Why should I even worry about it?
     
  17. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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    And once I die, I'll no longer know it. Once it comes, I'm completely incapable of giving a crap.

    I'm honestly not sure what a fear of nothingness means, since I can't imagine a reason to be afraid of true nothingness. I'll agree with Perfection, I experience some regret that I'll not be able to continue learning cool things, but that's about it.
     
  18. Kennigit

    Kennigit proud 2 boxer

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    Not as much as I used to be, no.

    I think I'd be afraid more of the way I die than the death. In both cases (painful vs nonpainful) the nothingness after death is generally pretty cool with me, since as you write in the OP I won't experience any of it. But if my final moment of any existence, ever, is to be spent in pain and suffering that would suck hardcore.

    so it's not really afraid that after I die stuff won't happen, it's that as others said it's regret of not being able to do anything more in the future. Fearful of "wasting potential" of my life.
     
  19. Takhisis

    Takhisis Jinping, wer fragt uns?

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    up yours.
    At most it's an indicator that you yourself exist.
     
  20. Synsensa

    Synsensa Deity Retired Moderator

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    I would not have such a problem with religion if it wasn't so utterly illogical. I could understand the concept of a higher being of the universe, that makes some sense, in a manner of speaking. But really? A God that shaped us after him? A God that sets rules? A God that only made us? A God that made a universe as a pretty sky for us, even though we can't see it all? A God that expects worship? It seems very vain to have something like this just for Earth and it's residents. Any religion that puts Earth in the spotlight, in my mind, is a collaboration of misguided thoughts.

    I guess it isn't supposed to be scary. It just is. And a very good argument against the fear is, as you just questioned, why you should worry about something you hold no control of and know you won't experience it yourself (because after death it is nothing). It is the same concept as all those innocent Japanese citizens watching that nuke come down on them. There is nothing they can do. They are going to die. But, why should that worry them? It is going to happen and they can't change it! They are worried though. They're also terrified because they value life and consciousness, and they know they are going to lose that.

    If I had to, I would place the importance of consciousness higher than anything else on this world. Nothing can beat having the ability to think and make decisions, not even happiness and love.
     

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