We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called “life”
Electric word, life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else,
A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night
So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything’ll-Be-Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby
Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life,
You’re on your own
-“Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince
Stephen Hawking’s quote about the existence of an afterlife has been making the rounds of most of the atheist blogs that I read. Haven’t read it yet? Here, I’ll help you out. It’s from his interview with The Guardian:
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
This is a concept that I actually do struggle with. I don’t believe in God anymore, and that was a slow, tough process. What has been even tougher is accepting that this means there is nothing after my body dies.
My life has not been all that hard. I’ve never faced starvation nor homelessness. I’ve never been physically assaulted. I know that in so many ways I am a very lucky person. But, on the flip side, my life hasn’t been an ongoing party, either. No one’s is.
But during those particularly rough times when I felt helpless and hopeless I could comfort myself by believing that even if I were to die from the anguish, there was always something else – the ‘afterworld.’
While I don’t think I’d like to see the sun day and night (I like the stars, thank you very much, Princey) I hoped that after death would come the ultimate freedom – that my ‘spirit’ would be able to go and do whatever it wanted. I wanted to float around the universe and see all the stars, galaxies, planets, life – everything – that is out there. I hoped to meet people that I had admired during life that had also passed on. I wanted to create my own mansion with lush grounds full of flowers and fruit trees. And my libraries would contain every book ever written, every film ever shot, every piece of music ever heard.
But now, that seems less likely to happen. Once I die, that’s probably it. Done, finito, bye-bye.
I have heard the theory that since energy can’t be destroyed, then the energy that makes up our consciousness will simply transform into something else – that perhaps I will get to float around the universe and take in the sites. But, it’s just a theory and one I won’t be able to prove or disprove until I’m dead.
Either way, it really doesn’t matter. If that theory is correct, yay! Rings of Saturn, here I come! But if it’s not correct and I just go ‘bloob’ and I’m gone, I won’t be here to care anymore. It will be over and the world will go on.
So, in the end, I’m undecided about what I think happens after death. I will just have to not dwell on it and make sure I make the most of the time I have in this life. Fortunately, Prince is wrong on this one. In this life, I’m not alone.