Monday, December 14, 2009

Hey, What Happens When We Die?

After all these years, Walt finally reveals his agenda: forget all the peripheral stuff, "I want to hear more about the Person [and] the (real) individual." In short, what about Walt?

But you know what they say -- something to the effect that one letter to the editor is equivalent to maybe a thousand or so others who feel the same way. Just yesterday I was telling Mrs. G. that I really object to spiritual teachers who go wobbly at critical points, and evade the issue with gauzy platitudes -- or, at the other extreme, come up with some eccentric BS to paper over the gaps in their spiritual knowledge base. I can't tell you how often this happens. Or maybe you already know.

It was in the context of a discussion of What Happens When You Die?, which, when you think about it, is functionally equivalent to What About Walt?

I remember how it got started. In just the last few days, Tristan has been asking questions about death. He's certainly seen enough of it, since he's so obsessed with superheroes, and those guys leave an awful lot of bodies in their wake. I mentioned to Mrs. G. that the most clear, compelling, and unambiguous account I've ever read is by Father Serpahim Rose, who wrote a controversial book on the subject.

Two things about Father Rose's account: first, he pulls no punches, and is extremely straightforward. However, unlike the occult and paranormal new-age types who appear on Larry King, his is not an eccentric account that cannot be reconciled with tradition and collective experience. To the contrary, he undertook a careful study of the matter, from the earliest desert fathers to more recent luminaries such as Theophan the Recluse, in order to put forth a rather detailed vision that is surprising in its specificity, and yet, does not overreach and spookulate in the manner of new age pneumapaths.

And although his vision is undoubtedly "fantastical," all I can say is that it intuitively reasonated with me on a level beyond sense. It has the ring of Truth and Fire. He writes with a great deal of authority, and yet, like Schuon, I wouldn't call him "authoritarian." In fact, this is a common misconception in dealing with an enlightened or realized person.

Yes, like Paul Anka, their wisdom slices like a hammer, but the point is not to hurt but to help you -- to help break up knots, impasses, and blockages that are interfering with your inward mobility. If and when Cousin Dupree comes at you with his flame thrower, do run away. Even so, he never takes a corrective action merely for purposes of insultainment, but for inneratunement. The wise troll understands this and says thank you sir, may I have another?

Jesus himself came after people with a big ol' sword, and for you etymologists out there, you know that science is related to cut -- as in to cut reality right down the middle, between Truth and error, or Life and Death. Thus, any number of scientists are cut by their own sword, since they have no celestial idea of how to properly wield it. Like Charles Johnson, they grasp the wrong end, using it as a blunt instrument while bloodying their own soft and girlish hand.

I hope that all people, materialist and religious alike, can agree that if one confines oneself to this world, one will have a pretty paltry existence. Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- also lives on "the other side," for you couldn't do otherwise and still be human. In other words, heaven and earth -- the celestial and terrestrial -- clearly intersect, and humans spend most of their time at this intersection.

For example, the most materialistic scientist, if he has a passion for truth, actually has a passion for heaven. He is trying to enter that spherical realm that transcends and circumscribes the earth, and to understand it from a godlike perspective. To the extent that pursuing truth gives him "pleasure" -- which it surely does -- only a true moron would conflate this more subtle type of pleasure with lower types of merely hedonistic pleasure. Otherwise, why not eat pizza and ice cream all day instead of developing string theory, or working on the genome?

So Christianity merely takes this a bit further, into the first principles that also reveal our last ends. As Father Rose put it, it "tells us about what we are going to be doing in eternal life. It is to prepare us for something eternal, not of this world. If we think only about this world, our horizon is very limited, and we don't know what's after death, where we came from, where we're going, what's the purpose of life. When we talk about the beginning of things, or the end of things, we find out what our whole life is about."

As Damascene explains, one purpose of Father Rose's project was to present false teachings as clearly -- and fairly -- as possible, in order to expose their errors. One cannot say of him that he didn't give the devil his due. In fact, he begins with a survey of the contemporary "near death" and "out of body" literature, which surely has something to it, but is twisted and misunderstood by scoundrels who merely wish to sell books, not save souls.

Whatever else you can say of them, I don't think there is any serious question that people have had these experiences (their interpretation is another matter). Indeed, my own father had one after suffering an abdominal aneurysm, and my father-in-law -- who is and remains a devout atheist -- had one at the time he underwent a very risky open heart surgery. In his case, he was very aware of having a choice to "drift away" or "come back" at the conclusion of the procedure. Of course he chose the latter, just for spite.

Just kidding. But I can say that I don't think I've ever met anyone with such a fierce will to live.

As we all know, people who undergo these near death experiences often report roughly similar experiences of encountering "beings of light." Father Rose analyzes this evidence in light of Orthodox experience and doctrine -- both written and oral.

An important point: much of what Father Rose discusses is empirical, or at least phenomenological, nor could it be otherwise. This is true in studying any human reality, for example, what it feels like to be in love. In so doing, you have to take people at their word. You cannot study love "from the outside." Nor can the scientist who presumes to educate us about Man really have any idea what he's talking about unless he's at least kissed a girl. But enough about Charles Johnson.

As mentioned above, Father Rose does not equivocate. He does not patronize with warm platitudes. He does not go wobbly just when things are getting interesting. Thus, Tradition affirms that "the newly deceased is usually met by two angels.... The mission of these angels is to take the soul of the newly reposed on its journey into the afterlife. There is nothing vague about them, either in appearance or action; having a human appearance, they firmly grasp the 'subtle body' of the soul and conduct it away."

And then....

Damn! I hate to go wobbly on you at a critical juncture, but I'm flat out of time. To be continued.....

57 Comments:

Anonymous Jack said...

This is the truly the million dollar question! I never took much comfort in the "drop returns to the ocean" metaphor for what happens after death. The drop can't return to the ocean and still remain the drop...so in a sense "the drop returns to the ocean" is functionally equivalent to *nothing* happens after the individual dies. The nondual answer is the same as the nihilist's answer.

The nihilist explains away "life after death" as merely a means of controlling people in this life (I think they call this the "genetic fallacy"). I find it essential to the discussion that part of many accounts of NDE's is a "life review" where one not only relives one's own life (ouch!) but gets to experience it from the multiple perspective of everyone involved (gulp). If true that is definitely a game changer...

Great post. Can't wait for more!

12/14/2009 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

Thanks for this thread, I'll be interested to see what Fr. Rose had to say on the subject.

The whole issue of the afterlife is unbelievably confused and confusing in Christianity. This is a big reason why I was more attracted to Eastern doctrines for many years - they at least seemed to have some kind of intelligible doctrine about the afterlife, and weren't afraid to say it. Same goes for Platonism, Gnosticism, etc. But Christian teaching on the subject, unfortunately, is a real mess.

The problem, as C. S. Lewis noted, is reconciling Christian teachings about eternity and the Beatific Vision with the idea of bodily resurrection. These seem, at first glance, to be utterly irreconcilable ideas. Second and third glances don't change the picture much. The result is almost total confusion among Christians as to what the afterlife is all about.

A number of Protestant sects reject all notions of eternity and the Beatific Vision, and don't even believe in an immortal soul or an afterlife. When you're dead, you're just dead, until you're resurrected. Other Protestants, and many Catholics, being really Platonists in disguise, are only interested in their soul going to Heaven, and are embarrassed by the bodily resurrection doctrine - they pay it lip service, and prefer to ignore and forget about it. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church proclaims that both doctrines (Heavan and Resurrection) are true, but how they are to be reconciled is a Mystery (TM). As if all this weren't bad enough, the seeming lack of a clear doctrine allows modernist priests and pastors of all denominations to insert their own basically secular ideas on the subject, which adds still another layer to the chaos.

I've come to have a fairly good (though only partial) understanding of the true Christian teaching, but it took me years of reading and thinking to get even as far as I have. What chance does the average work-a-day Joe Christian have? A disgraceful situation.

12/14/2009 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, reconciling those two is like reconciling quantum and relativity theories. And yet, Rose does so in a pretty straightforward way. I'll just lay it out, and we'll see where it leads....

12/14/2009 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

>> The nondual answer is the same as the nihilist's answer

Jack,

You are 100% right about that. So why go through all that ascetic meditation shtick the Eastern teachings push? (Western parodies of Advaita and Buddhism are at least more consistent in this regard - all ascetic disciplines are regarded as passe. Their nihilism is more out in the open.)

12/14/2009 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Sheesh, I feel so used!

I suppose that, logically speaking, one could also ask Walt is about what? Well, about 5'7", last time I checked. That's right, I've been comin' up short my entire adult life.

But, a Darwinian would note that I'm as tall as my father was.

(Oh, and by 'Person,' I was referencing the Expanded Version. Just sayin'....)

12/14/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

5'-7"?
That's pretty tall for a Raccoon!
Specially if he knows Chin Foo..and a stiff upper lip.

RR :-)

PS Bob, How could you leave us hangin like this?!

12/14/2009 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

BTW, I thought UF did a good job on this subject..

wv: areal

12/14/2009 09:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

Warren-

Yes, why stare at a wall for 10 hours (or more) a day to attempt to achieve a (mere) neurological change --rather than a substantial, transformative "metanoia" in relation to Transcendent Truth, Beauty and Goodness--no matter how positive that neurological change may be viewed?

Certainly if it is merely a brain state one is aiming for, wouldn't it be far simpler to use a chemical means to that same goal?

In fact despite the many precepts against intoxicants in nondual traditions, I have known many a postmodern hot-tub nondualist who has in fact taking this chemical route (both legal and "extra-legal"). Not that I condemn that entirely, but it is telling as to their actual beliefs and intentions.

In this view the brain becomes a sort of spiritual vending machine with which to wring out certain thrilling brain states. Sometimes it is difficult to discern any positive effect from them doing so. These experiences in the long run may only increase narcissism and self-centeredness. Though apparently the advertising of which doesn't seem to hurt in procuring one a date or two (or more).

Either we are connected to a Transcendent Reality which includes us in a direct personal connection/embrace (even if it also far transcends it) or we are meat machines, programmed to die. Maybe that's too extreme...still, I find it hard to fathom any viable middle ground.

To be honest I've been waiting for this topic to come around at OC. Okay, I am off to try and actually be productive!!

12/14/2009 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

So I'm checking out the Rose book...$29!
Then I see, 1160 pages...what a country!

12/14/2009 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I thought it was a wonderful book. Father Rose was en fuego with a sincere and selfless aspiration, which resulted in a kind of white hot purity for the grace to pour down into. But he is rather uncompromising, so caveat emptor.

12/14/2009 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Hey..can't go wobbly now. Signed the contract...

12/14/2009 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Jack and others:

Christians fail to discern the afterlife clearly because they fail to meditate.

Understanding the afterlife cannot be done with the brain; you have to go deeper. You must meditate properly, down to where the core is.

You are not looking for "thrilling brain states" as Jack alluded to. Some people look these minor side-trips. Really you want to get completely out of the brain.

As Jack alludes to, chemicals may sometimes get you to the core. Basically, anything that gets you out of your brain will take you someplace useful.

But really, while remaining perfectly awake and in your usual state of consciousness, just ask yourself, "will I still be around after my heart stops beating?"

Before your brain rushes in to state that it does not know and is afraid, just feel the warmth in your belly. You'll know that of course you will still be around.

Just try it. Try to convince yourself you will be annhilated. You can't do it. Because something in there knows it is permanant.

Even though I write these words, my own brain is now trying to tell me I'm wrong; there is no evidence that anything makes it beyond cardiac standstill.

But who will I listen to? Who will you listen to? That is the question.

Don't underestimate the power of the subliminal self. It knows what is what.

And you all know exactly what I'm talking about.

12/14/2009 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

I know I just paid $0.98 including shipping for the Rose book (new).
(My son gave me a gift card :-)

12/14/2009 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Since OC is the bloggish equivalent of an OOB experience, exploring the territory deserves a dozen Roses. The kind that still grow when removed from the vase.

12/14/2009 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that all people, materialist and religious alike, can agree that if one confines oneself to this world, one will have a pretty paltry existence.

No. Materialists believe that there is just this one world and it is perfectly fine, thank you. Of course there is suffering and evil but it is more than rich enough in content to escape being "paltry". Feel free to disagree, of course, but don't misrepresent the views of your opponents.

12/14/2009 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Exocentrick said...

There are some questions answered in the text of the Ars Moriendi (art of dying) from way back in 1415 AD.

http://exocentrick.blogspot.com/2009/11/ars-moriendi-art-of-dying-how-to-die-in.html

12/14/2009 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Anon:

Your world is not enough, or you would feel no need to visit ours. Besides, if there is only one world, you don't even exist.

12/14/2009 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

A materialist claiming that evil exists is like a fish bloviating about air while insisting that all is water.

12/14/2009 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gerard said...

Okay, okay, I'm now at "For example, the most materialistic scientist, if he has a passion for truth, actually has a passion for heaven." .... and I just gotta say, "Will you PLEASE get the the furshluggener POINT already?"

Retuning to script now...

12/14/2009 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gerard said...

"I hate to go wobbly on you at a critical juncture, "

"Wobby" my foot.

Limp. Simply.

12/14/2009 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

"I hope that all people, materialist and religious alike, can agree that if one confines oneself to this world, one will have a pretty paltry existence."

Anon, if we're still talking about paltry, then maybe Bob's was just a fowl's hope.

RR

12/14/2009 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

>> Maybe that's too extreme...still, I find it hard to fathom any viable middle ground.

Jack,

Not too extreme at all, just refreshingly clear. There is no middle ground.

12/14/2009 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

>> Christians fail to discern the afterlife clearly because they fail to meditate.

This will be big news to the Trappists, the Benedictines, the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Hesychasts, etc etc etc, all of whom have spent the last thousand years or more doing little else.

Sheesh.

12/14/2009 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

If only that pompous twit were a shut-your-trappist monk....

12/14/2009 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous ):( said...

Warren, don't forget the Carthusians! The jedi knight of monks...

12/14/2009 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Pompous Twit returns to rebut the Odious Dupree and the rather less odious Warren.

Yes, of course Trappist monks meditate. They understand the afterlife. Rank and file Christians aren't taught to meditate and that is the deficit I was talking about.

The monks don't write a description of the afterlife because there is none to write.

The best you can hope for is just a strong impression of permanance. If you have that, then you're there. You got it.

But, if you're still frightened you might be anhilated when you die, don't feel bad. Everyone feels it.

The best way to recieve an impression of permanance is to shift your awareness to the gap between your thoughts.

It doesn't take 10 hours. It may only take .1 seconds. Each time you shift your awareness away from your thinking and into this gap, you will get a mini-dose of permanance.

During deep sleep everyone recieves a bigger slug of the same.

By all means be frightened of anhilation. That is the human condition. But be also aware of your permanance. That too is the human condition. They co-exist.

However, #1 is probably wrong because it comes from a shallower place. #2, being deeper, is going to be the one.

Afraid to lose your current personality at death, even if something else goes on?

Sure, everyone is. But, think of it this way--do you remember what you had for breakfast last Monday? Is it that important? Could it be entire personality formations are no more important than Monday's breakfast on a different scale?

That's what I am implying.

OK Dupree your go. Hit me with your Shilaghly.

12/14/2009 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

I think you mean shillelagh.

THWACK.

12/14/2009 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

I would have to believe there has to be some recognizable sense of continuity for "life after death" to make any sense--whether or not I don't exactly remember what I had for breakfast a week ago. It seems like pure sophistry to say that I continue after death, with the one caveat that I won't know that I do.

This, btw, was essentially the case made by Uma Thurman's Dad in his "Infinite Life". To me that is about as useful as knowing that my pancreas will be kept alive by continually transferring it to new donors, or preserved eternally in a jar. Whoopdeedoo for my pancreas!

I'm just not sure how any thing other than personal survival of death would have anything (by definition) to do with me or my "personality formations". Certainly one could posit a deeper identity than the personality. But unless it is recognizably contiguous with my life as I know it, it seems irrelevant.

12/14/2009 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Wouldn't it be a lot easier to find out what happens by turning the tables and interviewing Larry King? (Oh boy! as Brak would say ;)

I found what Bob read me yesterday (and posted about today) similar to what Sri Aurobindo and The Mother wrote about in at least a few ways. That the soul has to travel through perilous territory, for example.

Re. what FL has talked about recently: He has been a little worried that we all will get old and die. But I think it has more to do with my explaining to him once that Grandpa Dick is old and that he may die soon. I forgot what FL asked, but it seemed a good idea to tell the truth. I hope I did the right thing. I was thinking that it could happen any time and so I'll have to explain it in any case. But I don't know.

He's asked me a few times out of the blue lately about death (months after our conversation about his grandfather.) And yesterday he said that we can come back over and over again. I asked if Daddy told him that (thinking Bob might have mentioned reincarnation as one theory some people have.) He said no, no one told him. (Bob backed that up.)

I told Tristan that for those people who believe that, they believe you come back in a different body. So Tristan said that, "So I wouldn't recognize myself." I was so amazed he thought of all this.

But the bottom line I explained to him is that our Soul, which is the part of us that God put inside of us, lives forever. He wasn't too thrilled that our bodies don't live forever, but then added, "So God can fix us up?" So in a weak moment, I said yes. And He can, in many ways.

Glad to see you covering this, Bob. Especially helpful this time of year, for many reasons.
Mrs. G

12/14/2009 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The monks don't write a description of the afterlife because there is none to write.

"The best you can hope for is just a strong impression of permanance. If you have that, then you're there. You got it."

Then they haven't broken through to other worlds yet, and their meditation is thus far in vain.

Or they're simply fakes like Sri Aurobindo and The Mother who were apparently waiting for wings to sprout.

12/14/2009 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dupree said: A materialist claiming that evil exists is like a fish bloviating about air while insisting that all is water.

Just because you lack the imagination to come up with materialist theories of evil doesn't mean the rest of us need to be limited by your disabilities.

12/14/2009 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

There is no one who cannot imagine a materialist theory of evil. That's why we call it materialist.

12/14/2009 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just because you lack the imagination to come up with materialist theories of evil doesn't mean the rest of us need to be limited by your disabilities."

A materialist doesn't believe in free will. If people aren't responsible for their actions due to determinism, then there are no evil actions. If evil is something other than just action (as some people believe) then it must be something spiritual...you know, like emotions.

12/14/2009 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

For example, when bad matter deliberately hurts good matter, that's evil.

12/14/2009 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jack,

I would say to you in regards to the survival of a recognizable and contiguous individual, that it should be there.

You can experiment with this. Go back in memory lane to your earliest memories. Really get deep into the feel of the memory.

You can kind of feel an "essence" of your young self.

Now move forward to a mid-life point memory. Get into this memory and feel the "essence" behind it.

Most people report the essence doesn't seem to undergo much of a change.

Now move to the now and try to feel the "watcher behind the thoughts." Chances are you may catch a vibe that is similar to the one behind the earlier memories.

This element, if you can "Grok" it, is the essential "you" and seems quite durable, while the rest of life pounds around you like ocean surf and spray.

Perhaps at death you go to the light, the essence still there feeling much like it did when you were three, thirty, and eight-three. It is you. You would know yourself anywhere.

But wait..can you remember what your favorite foods were, the phone number for your home, the way your mate looks at you? Yes, but slowly, they fade. But its OK they don't seem too pertinent anymore. You've got other things to do.

The personality sheds itself slowly like a tree dropping leaves in autumn, leaving behind the trunk and branches, dormant.

So, not so bad, eh? And regrowth is always exciting and new. But no need to get too attached to the play of life, the changing of the seasons, the procession of souls that come into and out of your awareness.

12/14/2009 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Being one of those "fundies," I just take it on the authority of one "caught up into paradise" ("whether in the body or out, I do not know") that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Why else would he tell us not to grieve as those who have no hope? "Those who remain" are more to be pitied.

12/14/2009 05:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you continue to exist after you die, does that mean you also exist before you were born? If not, why not?

12/14/2009 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Get into this memory and feel the "essence" behind it.

"Most people report the essence doesn't seem to undergo much of a change."

I see what you're saying, and I've always said something similar. There are a few differences however. When we first come into the world we're like an empty container waiting to be filled. The "essence" of us is nearly a blank slate. As we move through life's experiences we form likes and dislikes, and these in turn form the basis of personality. But when we're very young, we still don't have much of that yet, and our surroundings seem to have a kind of personality of their own. There are various places we visit that each has a distinctive feel to it, and we sort of live in that feeling which is not our own. The more we develop our personality the more we begin to lose that sensation of locals having their own persona. Then at some point we take our own personality with us wherever we go and live in that alone.

I don't know that the afterlife will be one where our likes and dislikes remain intact though. Who was it that said that the one advantage man has over God is our ability to forget? I don't think I would want to live forever, or even past a hundred years, always being the same with the same memories etc. Forgetting may well be the bliss of Heaven.

Total annihilation of being may be the best form of bliss possible, though I doubt that it's achievable for us or God. Anyone recall Lewis' friend Charles Williams used to say this? He had a character in fact who asked Prester John for this in "War in Heaven".

12/14/2009 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

Woo-hoo! I actually won the coveted "Less Odious than Dupree" award! Thanks, Aninny!

12/14/2009 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anonymous - 'Tis the season to stop being such a fool and "grok" this.

BTW, you'll never want to be in the position of wishing for total annihilation. Seriously.

12/14/2009 09:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every atheist who has ever committed suicide has been in exactly that position. Seriously.

I don't, however, see why my Christianity should trump any desire to not exist. There are times I've wished it. I often wonder if God himself hasn't wished it now and then. It reminds me of Hawking's question, "Why does the universe bother to exist?" What's the point? Why should God exist? Why is there something instead of nothing? The answer is, because none of it can be stopped. There is no point to existence. It just is. God just is. He can't help existing. He creates worlds to have something to do. He's just passing time like the rest of us. It may very well be that he views it as making the best of a bad situation. There's no logical reason existence should be viewed as either a positive or negative thing. Existence is neutral at best.

12/14/2009 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"... If we think only about this world, our horizon is very limited, and we don't know what's after death, where we came from, where we're going, what's the purpose of life. When we talk about the beginning of things, or the end of things, we find out what our whole life is about."

A Rose by any other name... such as Aristotle perhaps (a few more thorns perhaps, but still a sweet aroma),
Metaphysics, Part 3, talking about early materialists,

"From these facts one might think that the only cause is the so-called material cause; but as men thus advanced, the very facts opened the way for them and joined in forcing them to investigate the subject. However true it may be that all generation and destruction proceed from some one or (for that matter) from more elements, why does this happen and what is the cause? For at least the substratum itself does not make itself change; e.g. neither the wood nor the bronze causes the change of either of them, nor does the wood manufacture a bed and the bronze a statue, but something else is the cause of the change. And to seek this is to seek the second cause, as we should say,-that from which comes the beginning of the movement..."

Even in Aristotle's time materialists were found to be of the densest matter... though, being the first, at least they had an honest claim to their ignorance.

Personally... about what comes next... I can answer honestly and unabashedly... I don't know. But knowing something of what is here now and it's causes (and in the beginnings, their ends), I suspect that if something awaits, it's waiting to see what I do here and now, and that I can attend to - and I don't intend to be caught having to explain how I thought wood caused the bed to be manufactured without cause.

After all, if you make that bed, you may just have to sleep in it.

12/14/2009 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Jack said "brain becomes a sort of spiritual vending machine " and
" many a postmodern hot-tub nondualist "

;-)

12/14/2009 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Leslie "And yesterday he said that we can come back over and over again... I told Tristan that for those people who believe that, they believe you come back in a different body. So Tristan said that, "So I wouldn't recognize myself." I was so amazed he thought of all this."

Amazing is what they do, isn't it? You think they're just stacking blocks and shooting bad guys, and then big issues and jaw dropping truths come rolling off their tongue to whack you between the eyes!

Might want to ask him (substituting relevant actors & roles that FL's familiar with) if he thinks that, if played by the same actor in different plays, would Hamlet would be likely to recognize Henry V if they were somehow introduced? And then whether or not he thinks the Actor becomes a better actor for having played both roles, even though he is far more than the roles he played?

I certainly don't know anything one way or the other, but no reason why the speculating shouldn't be interesting as opposed to disconcerting....

;- )

wv:bable
Subtly telling me it's getting late.

12/14/2009 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Even so, he never takes a corrective action merely for purposes of insultainment, but for inneratunement."

In high definition, I might add.

12/14/2009 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Hey Ben!

Good to see ya, I'll turn the night watch over to you then, getting a bit groggy (not that there's anything of the sort in that tankard behind the books on the third shelf).

G'night....

12/14/2009 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Hi Van ol' buddy!

The third shelf ya say?!

12/14/2009 11:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Cap'n Ben said...
Even so, he never takes a corrective action merely for purposes of insultainment, but for inneratunement.

"In high definition, I might add."

And wit' Master Petey, we're talkin' high see's definition.

12/14/2009 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

It was in the context of a discussion of What Happens When You Die?, which, when you think about it, is functionally equivalent to What About Walt?"

WAW? I've often found myself askin' that very questyon. :^)

12/15/2009 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Yes Ben, all Raccoons have serious "Issues of Deep Concern":

1- Theological Questions
2- Questions About Death
3- WAW
4- Grog Futures

12/15/2009 04:03:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Walt,
All 4 sound like theological questions to this Raccoon.

Bob, this doesn't mean I'm a nondualist, does it?

RR

12/15/2009 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Walt, some of us also wonder about Froth futures...

12/15/2009 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Julie, Froth has fallen, and it can't get up ....

12/15/2009 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

You know, like a souffle ....

12/15/2009 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I figured it was something like that. Never hurts to ask, though :)

The ephemeral nature of Froth was part of the beauty. Then again, having partaken I can honestly say it stays with one a good long time, so thanks for ladling it up while it was at its peaky best.

12/15/2009 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

The best comedian in the world can't tell whether his/her jokes are funny or not ... without an audience.

So, thank you.

12/15/2009 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Van,
What interesting questions!
Leslie

12/15/2009 04:53:00 PM  

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