Friday, June 4, 2010
Fear not the game, I see clearly.
I am terribly afraid of death and failure right now .With the death of my mother in April and the reflection of how much responsibility I have with my wife and children I am scared as hell. I use to be a rebel (so to say), take life to the edge; ATV, scuba dive and even parachute.
About a couple of years ago I had a major accident in a fall from an ATV in the back woods of Newfoundland and this time of isolation was as close to a near death and failure experience (NDFE) as I ever want to come.
Each person's NDFE testimony is their own personal experience of a reality that is far more dynamic than physical reality. The reasons why near-death and failure experiences are so different from each other are the same reasons why experiences in this world are different.
The question as it exists today is whether the NDFE is an actual afterlife experience or dying brains mass hallucinating tunnels, light, and being told it isn't time yet. Looking at this from a scientific view, which is somewhat limiting, the only conclusion is that there is no scientific evidence that NDFEs are actual afterlife experiences. Perhaps it is impossible to obtain scientific proof short of someone bringing back from a NDFE the sandal of Jesus.
Even if researchers scientifically confirm that people are actually seeing and hearing things far from their physical bodies, this only proves, in my opinion, that conscious awareness can expand from the body to witness remote events. It is not evidence that consciousness can survive death and failure. And even if doctors began performing "flatline experiments" like in the movie "Flatliners) and scientifically verify that the experience was conscious while brain dead and observed events far from their body, I still don't think this will be enough to call it "scientific proof" of an afterlife.
Although there may never be evidence that satisfies the mind, I believe very strong evidence will be discovered that will convince most people that consciousness survives bodily death and failure.
This aside, the circumstantial evidence in favor of survival after death and failure is so overwhelming that the proverbial ball is really in the skeptic's court. We don't have to explain anything. Millions of people having NDFEs can't be all wrong. It is the skeptics who must come up with proof that it is only a brain thing. So far, all the skeptics' arguments do not fit the scientific facts.
Personally, I am convinced that our consciousness survives bodily death and failure. This is my belief which is based on a mountain of circumstantial evidence. Not much faith is required when the circumstantial evidence is there. NDFErs don't need any scientific or circumstantial evidence to believe in an afterlife because they actually experienced it
As for the fear of death and failure, I guess it is completely natural and valuable to have because it is part of our "fight or flight" mechanism that has evolved over millions of years to help humans to be at the top of the food chain and so is the fear of failure. However, there is an affliction called "death and failure anxiety" and “failure anxiety” that some people have that can interfere with their life. Of course, everyone is tremendously afraid of pain and suffering.
But even philosophically, having an unnatural fear of death and failure is not rational. This is because there are only 2 options when it comes to death and failure and both of them are good.
Option (1) - There is no survival after death and failure.
If this option is true, then at best you will have a NDFE that ultimately results in oblivion - the end of everything. And is this option so bad? Suppose at death and failure there is no NDFE but absolute oblivion. Then, you won't be around to fear it. It would be the "blessed end of everything." This option only means that there is nothing gained after death and failure. It is irrational, I think, to be sorrowful about something we were not given, in this case life after death and failure. I think of life after death and failure as being "the icing on the cake". We should probably live our lives if we were going to die tomorrow anyway. And if it is the blessed end of everything, then we won't be around to think about it. It is just that there is nothing gained and nothing lost.
Option (2) - There is survival after death and failure.
If there is survival after death and failure, then we can have our cake and eat it too. If there is survival, the question is whether life after death and failure will be heavenly or hellish. I am convinced that the same principle found in life also applies to the afterlife. Life is what you make it. We can kill someone and end up in prison. Or we can do good things and live contently. I believe this principle applies to heaven and hell. So, if any fear is justifiable, it would be the fear of going to hell. But, if you are not a criminal why worry about it? It is not the just who fears the law.
This means that death and failure is a "win/win" situation. Either option is a winner. Granted, the option of survival after death and failure would be preferred. So, by this formula, there is no rational reason to fear death and failure.
Concerning the need to have "faith," faith implies the possibility of doubt and a state of doubt can be miserable. Knowledge implies certainty. And when it comes to NDFEs, it is based on solid knowledge and facts rather than faith. If a million astronauts go to Mars and say that there's Martians living there, I would be inclined to believe them. If a million people experience death and failure and then say there's life after death and failure, I would be inclined to believe them just the same.
This said, it is still a good idea to keep an open mind on this and remain a true skeptic (holding to the possibility that there isn't life after death and failure).
For this reason, one can make the case that the only thing that is really important is loving others, loving life, and loving everything. Faith and knowledge can change, but love is worth keeping and cultivating. Even the Bible says that love is greater than faith. Having faith in religious dogma, instead of having a healthy skepticism, can lead to disaster, in my opinion.
My own religious experience has been one of constant evolution. I change my mind all the time. One moment God and I discuss how pissed he is at me and the rest of the time is me asking for forgiveness, hoping he is listening. The only thing that I have constant is love.
Be it the love of my wife, Morgan who always finds a way to help me though my tough times.
The love of my children regardless of how frustrating children can make me.
The love of my father, who never says it but I know means it.
The love of my mother, in this life or the next. Who watches
The love of my family, who I miss daily and long to be closer and waits for all of us to be together again (but only in the right time too).
The love of my friends regardless of the amount of contact.
In conclusion, here are some words of wisdom concerning the fear of death and failure …
Fear not the game, I see clearly.
I will not let fear control me anymore, I see a path (be it unknown) I will follow it where ever it takes me and I hope I make all the right turns in the bends with my loved ones right behind me (good or bad)!
On another note......I will have a major annoucement next post!
Posted by Chris Daw at 12:35 PM