For various reasons this week I have been thinking about death.
I don't have a terribly good relationship with death; and by that, I mean I have a hard time thinking about it. It's one of those that if I let it run around my head for long enough I'll have difficulty sleeping (in a cruel twist of fate, if I'm having difficulty sleeping in the first place, then I'll start thinking about death at which point I might as well give up and go watch Letterman).
While the actual process of dying (let me count the ways - drowning, falling from a great height, being stabbed, heart attack, etc, etc) is pretty scary all by itself - I'm by no means a man of great courage or fortitude - the prospect of ceasing to exist in a meaningful way absolutely terrifies me. I find it hard to conceive of. Of course, on one level I can imagine my non-existence; on quite another level I can't. It's like the difference between knowing that people experience love, and actually falling in love yourself.
I had a discussion with a friend of mine while waiting for our Burger Fuel order to arrive. The good Lord only knows how it came about, but basically we had opposing view points. I am afraid of death so I expressed a desire for immortality, or an afterlife - whilst I am an atheist of some description or another that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a pleasant surprise if there was a life after this one. As long as it was run by one of those blind watchmaker Gods who isn't too judgemental (christ only knows I'm a dirty sinner) I think I'd quite like it. My friend however, would not have a bar of it. Turns out he's not too fussed by the whole death thing and suspects that immortality would be more trouble than it's worth.
Of course it helps if you define what you mean by an afterlife. Your bog standard conception of heaven seems to be boil down to be just like here only nicer - you know, whole bunch of nice people (nice like you presumably - everyone else is downstairs being tortured for their sins - you know, like sleeping with women who are menstrating and eating pork and cutting your hair) ... nice people with halos, sitting on clouds in worthy contemplation of life, the universe and everything, occasionally tut-tutting at the antics of the living.
But this seems unlikely. I mean, what do you do all day? Contemplation only takes up so much of the your time, especially if you're like me and get distracted by pretty lights and those hot female angels (white gowns and wings. Oh yes). Other afterlifes have similar problems - I mean an infinity of Valhalla, fighting all day and then going up to the hall to eat roasts off the bone, quaff obscenely and wench with abandon would have to grate after a while surely?
Furthermore, if the afterlife turns out to be just like life only nicer then you suddenly have to ask the embarrassing question well then why the fuck did we have to go through all those years of hell on earth to get here - why couldn't we have just started with heaven in the first place? What kind of fucking sadist are you? Those of you who are familiar with the Argument from Evil will know one of the Free Will defense - i.e. that God would tolerate Evil as a natural collorary of accepting the Good of Free Will. But what about in heaven? Either the "better-than-life heaven" disproves the "to have free will you must have evil too" theorem, or in heaven you lose free will, which then begs the question about just how good heaven really is then, now that you are will-less drone.
But that's a simplistic view of the Judeo-Christian afterlife. Another conception is that we become one with God - merging with him in some happy-clappy hippy oneness with the Universe thing, presumably becoming one big orgasm of joy. And that's still not terribly satisfying. It seems that in becoming this big luminous being we would lose part of what is essentially us - our individuality. I'm not sure it's the afterlife/immortality that I desire.
There's more to this but I'm feeling pretty drained from the stuff that's happened today, so I'll try to finish this discussion off tomorrow night after South Park.
A Snopes a Day; or, Shit You Should Stop Believing:
Has anyone vanished in the Bermuda Triangle lately? Actually, it's not a Snopes but a Straight Dope article. I have the book they reference, rescued from a school fair I suspect. Kusche isn't the most exciting of writers, but he did approach the subject of the Bermuda Triangle with a unique methodology - he actually went looking for source material, instead of what most Trianglists did, which was read the books of other half-baked, crackpot Trianglists and then go and make up some new shit. Result? All the "disappearances" in the "Triangle" are either entirely explicable, non-existant, or, rather amusingly, didn't actually occur anywhere near the supposed area in question ...
Thanks to the Coriolis effect, toilets flush clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern. Bugger, another thing I believed implictly based on a Simpsons episode
You always wanted to know, but were afraid to ask:
What exactly was the sin of Onan?
Twisted minds distort the picture books of our childhoods
Ho boy. Don't say I didn't warn you ... personally this one is my favorite.
If you're anything like me you'll have to go and change your pants:
Miami Vice - release (US) summer 2006?