Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How I Deal With Death

I just want to be blunt and honest about how I, an atheist, deals with death.

You have to take in account that I'm pretty stoic in life, so this isn't everybody, just how I am.

I don't cry. If I do, it's a tear and nothing more.

I believe that it's a revolving process when we die,

As Ali A. Rizvi told a friend,

"I know that we continue to exist through the earth. This is my attempt at being euphemistic about your fertilizer theory. As part of this huge reservoir of terrestrial carbon, we die and become part of the earth, which gives rise to new life, as it once gave rise to us. That is also very powerful to me in a more collective, worldly sense.

I also know that I've only been conscious for some 38 years out of the 13.8 billion years that the universe has been in existence. Everything from plankton to dinosaurs and the formation of the UN to the moon landing happened before I was even self-aware. I don't miss those things, nor do I recall that huge chunk of time as horrible or upsetting. I simply can't recall it at all because I didn't exist.
Not knowing anything else, I work on the assumption that after death, we go back into the pre-birth phase. I don't feel like that would bother me any more than it did during those first 13.8 billion years. This is actually a really comforting, peaceful idea when you give it some thought. Especially because it makes me value this little sliver of time I have as a conscious, living being for a few decades a lot more than if I thought it was just transit time to someplace else. It also helps me not take my life or that of others for granted."
Death is hard, but death can also be looked at as something beautiful. Yes it is the end of this life, but it's a way of starting over from our most simplest form, star matter.
Hope that helps in some way.


  1. Good thoughts, Kyle. For my part, the sting of death is salved by thoughts of the NATURAL afterlife, as discussed by Sheffler (see my link in today's Dawn post), and by Dewey's "continuous human community" in which we all are links.

  2. I agree when you talk about death being for us like it was before we were born. I think this is a very beautiful and comforting way of thinking.

    Also, I found this video about how Atheists should introduce Atheism to others. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfeVg5RPJgM

  3. Is there a real chance, in your view (anyone who wants to answer) that the exact chemical formulation that is me will one day be reformed, so that I will once again exist?

    1. Fascinating thought experiment, Adam! To answer in short, although not particularly likely due to the series of things that happened for your existence as it is at this moment to actualize, it's not altogether impossible for a being (on this planet or another) to have your exact chemical composition, as it were. The question, then, is "will that be 'you?'" Well, it depends on how we define "you." If we define "you" as a particular collection of physical and chemical traits, then yes. But if we mean "you" as in this particular actualization of you, then I'm not sure I could say that you would "once again exist." If it happened, it probably wouldn't happen under precisely the same conditions as it happened on Earth in the particular era in which you were born, so cultural issues (for example) would be very likely different and so I'm not sure you'd be the same person you are.

      So short answer, probably not but not impossible.

      And then, of course, I'll just throw out the term "multiverse theory."

    2. Nietzschean eternal recurrence? "Let me give you a gift..."

      Check the YouTube clip from the film When Nietzsche Wept: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sXGzFuoF8g