Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Live Forever

Inspired by Ray Bradbury and a friend of mine writing their first book I am back! Watching a documentary about the late author he described a scene where a wizard tapped him on the head and said "live forever" and on that day he decided to become a writer, living forever through his books.
Whilst quite certain that I will not reach the heights of Ray, I will nevertheless leave some sort of legacy of my identity and ideas. If only for my daughter.
This is where the atheist bit comes in I guess.
Again inspired by great men, I realise that a key selling point of religion is the chance of survival of the self after the death of the body. Christopher Hitchens in his epic "God is not great" frequently quotes Freud and his essay on religion, the beautifully named "The future of an illusion". In this, Freud puts forward the case for religion meeting the wish fulfillment needs of the psyche in so much as it offers eternal life.
I don't think anyone can honestly say that the idea of their being nothing of them left one day is a comfortable one. I certainly struggle with the concept. I suppose that, as subjective beings enclosed in our own little worlds each with our own unique filter on the outside world, it is only natural that we can not grasp any other perspective on things. If a tree falls in a forest and there's nobody around, does it make any sound? We must answer yes as the sound wave is still present even without a listener. In this same vein, life goes on for the remainder after we die.
I think to comfort me, having written about some of my filter on the world at least, I hope to influence the filters of others, and in so doing perpetuate my own. This is a similar take on eternity to that espoused by those who see their children as their legacy. Of course, I agree with this view but I have hopes that in teaching my daughter the skill of critical thinking she may come to her own conclusions. What I do by writing is to reach a wider audience (or at least that's the hope) much as the dandelion clock blown into the wind to spread its seeds. I see this as a more positive and productive contribution to the world without me than my existing in some imaginary plain and certainly preferable to the eons of torment promised to us unbelievers! In my vision, the infrastructure of the internet is our eternity, with our various arts and science contributions as memorials. So instead of sitting on a cloud playing the harp, upload your harp mp3s to the cloud, and live forever.

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