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Scientists are currently grappling with a question that has haunted humanity for eons. It is this: Is consciousness annihilated immediately after death, or does it continue to exist? In other words, is there an afterlife?

One of my favorite books, What Dreams May Come, says there most definitely is. If I remember, the author, Richard Matheson, posits a spirit realm in which we exist with infinite capabilities before and after bodily incarnation, and earth is where we come to test our strengths within the confines that limitations (like the human body, and a finite lifespan) impose.

But who really knows what comes after death? Science has for a long time studied near death experiences, or NDEs, but they only give a glimpse as to what happens when the brain is temporarily offline, not when it has gone completely caput. As some experts argue, when the brain is dead, irrevocably so, as in past resuscitation, it flatlines, and since nobody has come back from such a state, no one can accurately describe what if anything lies on the other side.

Enter faith, which many of a religious persuasion assiduously cling to, when they justify belief in a hereafter. The mind generally enjoys existing, and so it likes to fathom a realm after earthly life has ended, but presumably the mind dies with the body, so how can it construct a realistic futuristic scenario in which it does not exist?

Physician and philosopher Raymond Moody, a leader in the field of "life on the other side" has this to say on the matter: "I am convinced that at death, personal consciousness is taken up into a more inclusive state of existence."

What precisely does that mean? Once you give up individual life, what is the nature of this total reality that you hypothetically achieve? A question worth considering.

But if as one sage has said, "Sleep is short death, and death is long sleep," and if while unconscious during deep sleep you can be said not to exist since you are not aware of your existence, then an awareness unaware of itself, or the long sleep that death is purported to be, is akin to not existing at all.

But since your mind is not around to raise the question, it is as good as unasked. Like so many other of life's grand mysteries.


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