Sure, whether or not there is an actual afterlife is something people have been pondering over and researching for many years on end and with seemingly no answers coming forth but why is that? Will we ever be able to prove or disprove that we cease to exist once our lives end here on Earth?
When it comes to life after death things seem to always relate back to the mind-body problem which for those who do not know is the question of what the relationship between the mind and body is. What connects the mental realm and the physical realm. This question in itself is a very philosophical one that has no clear answer. You can read more on it by clicking here.
From there you have to think about what perhaps could remain present moving forward once our physical bodies have long gone, our consciousness moving forth or perhaps disappearing altogether. Are we our ‘minds’ or are we our ‘bodies?’ Now, when you look into things from a scientific basis, the answers you will find are quite conflicting and in some ways very closed off. In some ways, you might even be pushed to ask yourself if we at the moment are technologically capable of figuring out such a world-changing thing as is.
What Role Does Consciousness Play In Our Existence?
I recently came across an article posted in Scientific American and it got me thinking about this topic for days on end. This was a hard article to grasp in general but the more you break it down the more sense it makes which for some could be a good thing and for others a bad thing. This article covered whether or not consciousness is created by the brain or that it in many ways creates the brain.
That article goes as follows:
The hypothesis that the brain creates consciousness, however, has vastly more evidence for it than the hypothesis that consciousness creates the brain. Damage to the fusiform gyrus of the temporal lobe, for example, causes face blindness, and stimulation of this same area causes people to see faces spontaneously. Stroke-caused damage to the visual cortex region called V1 leads to loss of conscious visual perception. Changes in conscious experience can be directly measured by functional MRI, electroencephalography and single-neuron recordings. Neuroscientists can predict human choices from brain-scanning activity before the subject is even consciously aware of the decisions made. Using brain scans alone, neuroscientists have even been able to reconstruct, on a computer screen, what someone is seeing.
Thousands of experiments confirm the hypothesis that neurochemical processes produce subjective experiences. The fact that neuroscientists are not in agreement over which physicalist theory best accounts for mind does not mean that the hypothesis that consciousness creates matter holds equal standing. In defense, Chopra sent me a 2008 paper published in Mind and Matter by University of California, Irvine, cognitive scientist Donald D. Hoffman: Conscious Realism and the Mind-Body Problem. Conscious realism asserts that the objective world, i.e., the world whose existence does not depend on the perceptions of a particular observer, consists entirely of conscious agents. Consciousness is fundamental to the cosmos and gives rise to particles and fields. It is not a latecomer in the evolutionary history of the universe, arising from complex interactions of unconscious matter and fields, Hoffman writes. Consciousness is first; matter and fields depend on it for their very existence.
Where is the evidence for consciousness being fundamental to the cosmos? Here Hoffman turns to how human observers construct the visual shapes, colors, textures and motions of objects. Our senses do not construct an approximation of physical reality in our brain, he argues, but instead operate more like a graphical user interface system that bears little to no resemblance to what actually goes on inside the computer. In Hoffman’s view, our senses operate to construct reality, not to reconstruct it. Further, it does not require the hypothesis of independently existing physical objects.
How does consciousness cause matter to materialize? We are not told. Where (and how) did consciousness exist before there was matter? We are left wondering. As far as I can tell, all the evidence points in the direction of brains causing mind, but no evidence indicates reverse causality. This whole line of reasoning, in fact, seems to be based on something akin to a God of the gaps argument, where physicalist gaps are filled with nonphysicalist agents, be they omniscient deities or conscious agents.
Something else that seems to come up a lot when it comes to life after death are NDEs which seem to happen a lot more often than you might think. At least three percent of the US population alone believe they have had a near-death experience on some level. These near-death experiences are not closed off to any specific cultures or anything else of the sort.
I guess the takeaway from all of this is things of this sort are not necessarily figured out just yet and perhaps won’t even be in our lifetimes. What do you think about the potential for life after death? I for one think the mystery of it all is half of the journey.