A month ago I decided to add a new feature to the blog, a periodic post that asks you to share your personal view about something, your honest opinion based on serious expertise or complete non-expertise.
These posts are (and will be) called “What Do You Think?” I will NOT be responding to your replies/comments. I’ll simply be posting them so you can express yourself and have others can see your views. (As always, I will not be allowing comments that are rude to others or irrelevant to the question – for example, castigations of particular politicians that many but not all of us may despise, on one side of the political chasm facing us or the other. Or that try to proselytize others to your religious beliefs).
Others of course can comment on your comment as they choose — and I hope they do. I’ll be listening in, for my own fun, education, and edification!
The topics are meant to involve the BIG QUESTIONS. This one is related to the previous one but is purely situational: What do *you* think happens immediately at death?
Explication: I’ve written two books now on heaven and hell: the trade book on where the ideas came from (Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife; Simon & Schuster) that came out last year and a scholarly book on Journeys to Heaven and Hell due out from Yale University Press this coming April.
These books are principally about ancient ideas and texts, though in the trade book I do get a bit into my personal views.
For my research on that book I read a bunch of books and articles about Near Death Experiences – not because they were overly relevant to what I wanted to discuss in the book (where our ideas of the afterlife actually came from) but because often when I choose to do a trade book, I pick something that will give me a bona fide excuse to read things I’m eager to read and learn about but have had no occasion to explore (since just about the only non-fiction I read is related to what I’m writing at the time). So I have definite views about that aspect of the topic.
And I’ve long thought about what I myself think. Short story: I’ve had general anesthesia (only) a couple of times. My experience is similar to many others. I’m there counting backwards and boom! I’m waking up with no recollection of the hour or so in between.
My view is that death will be like that only, well, more so. Your cerebrum bites the dust, and you simply have zero cognition on any level. During that state I’ve never been anxious, depressed, in pain, eager to get out, wishing I were somewhere else – nothing at *all*. That’s how I think death will be the moment it comes.
In 200 years from now I will be experiencing exactly what I was experiencing 200 years ago: nothing at all. I won’t be ecstatic and full of vigor and I won’t be upset and weepy. That wasn’t disturbing to me before, it won’t be disturbing to me then.
That’s what I myself think. But I’d LOVE to know what you think. You have 200 words. What do you think?