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He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples.

Posted on 2006.11.28 at 05:03


greypaw at 2006-11-28 20:51 (UTC) (Link)
I think it's normal to think about death a bit.

Lately I had an idea about it. I guess it was spurred by the whole idea of "humans being methods of conveyence for genes which want to reproduce" as being our main motivation for acting. Then I was thinking, if that's true, I wonder if cells really just want to stay alive as long as they can. I began thinking about, on what level could a human cell from any part of the body keep on living after the rest of the body dies? Could a skin cell reproduce itself to stay alive? How long after the body dies to the last cells of the body take to decay, still futilely acting and re-acting with their environment, trying to keep themselves in one piece... They might not be conscious, each one little more than computer programs, but still. What if.

Generally, I don't have that much of an opinion about death as a phenomenon that happens to me. I think I might find some relief in it, but worrying about it too much doesn't fit with me. Everyone dies sometime, likely a by-product of our universes' natural state of entropy. Once you're dead, the world as we know it is left behind, so there's no sense in worrying about it now when the two don't correlate all that much. As for what comes after:
-If there is nothing, no loss, no gain, no regrets... no anything really...
-If Catholocism is right, at least I can die knowing I made people happy and tried to leave the world in a slightly better condition.
-Same goes for reincarnation via Hinduism and Buddhism.
-As for the other pan-theistic religions... I dunno. I guess I'd have to roll with the punches there.

I'm torn about the idea of an afterlife. I don't really have any FAITH in it. Honstly, if it's there, it's there. If not, I won't really have the capacity to reflect on it NOT being there.

If I had to pick a way to go, I'd say in my sleep would be my top choice.
Jared Bowers
boykooties at 2006-11-29 01:10 (UTC) (Link)
Bone cells live for 3-5 years after we "die" and are the last pieces of our stock to shuffle off the mortal coil.

I think if we are viewed as vehicles for informational units that replicate, we are way more on the meme side of things than the genes side of things, which I think goes a lot further in explaining some of our weirder behaviors as humans.

As someone who has made a whole big deal out of studying consciousness scientifically, while I'm in no position the assert whether there is an afterlife or not, scientifically, I would say that reincarnation strikes me as a very natural idea, while the classical western islamo-christian heaven/hell dichotomy strikes me as rather contrived. From my own scientific perspective, there would need to be some mechanism by which it could possibly work, "faith" notwithstanding, and I can see that possibly for some schemes, but not for others.
greypaw at 2006-11-29 03:58 (UTC) (Link)
I guess I always felt it was kind of pretentious/presumptious to assume an afterlife just because of our status at the top of the food chain. I suppose you could argue intelligence, though really all we have is language. Plenty of other critters are more or less self-aware, at least insofar as we are.
Jared Bowers
boykooties at 2006-11-29 14:43 (UTC) (Link)
*All* we have is language?

I think I just felt Shakespeare roll over in his grave.

Language is practically a quantum leap forward, even if only because it enables the development of culture, even though it actually enables a lot more.

Having said that, of course, you're talking to a vegan animal rights nut, and I'm one of the last of us to be anthropocentric: there are several reasons to believe we might not have the monopoly on language that we once imagined we did, from a range of animal studies that have been conducted in the last half-century, although the really impressive stuff hadn't shown up until the last few years.
greypaw at 2006-11-29 16:34 (UTC) (Link)
Coco the gorilla posessed rudimentary sign-language to express herself. Language in the animal kindgom isn't all THAT far-fetched. Albeit she was taught.

Jared Bowers
boykooties at 2006-11-30 00:00 (UTC) (Link)
I'm actually way more impressed by the recent work with african gray parrots at the MIT Media lab than I am with any of the primate studies, which isn't to suggest the primate studies are unimpressive, either.
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