PHILOSOPHY: The Atheist and Death

Whether you die from a long, painful illness or quietly in your sleep or from violence or misadventure, the final moment for every single person is the same: UNconsciousness. That transition will either be quick and sharp, or slow, like falling asleep. Regardless, ONE second afterwards, you’re not there to experience anything. As Wittgenstein put it “Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.” There is nothing to fear in the experience of death for, to the last second, we are alive and not dead; and then once dead, we experience nothing at all.

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7 thoughts on “PHILOSOPHY: The Atheist and Death

  1. Pingback: How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter – Dr. Sherwin B Nuland « For Whatever It's Worth…

  2. Pingback: Death. | Long versions.

  3. Well this is a ‘spot-on’ comment,
    I have Primary Progressive MS. and all I feel is the immense frustration at not being able to continue help others, I certainly don’t fear death ‘nor do I need anybodies prayers.
    I do feel that for as long as the brain takes to ‘shut-down’ one may ‘dream’ however but that’s only possibly only neurological of course.
    However let’s hope it involves me and plenty of women all having lots of kinky perverted sex.
    Oh bugger, I’ll be dead though!
    Still I’ll leave you with a song by our old friends Monty Python :-
    ‘Always look on the bright side of Life’ – you lucky bastards.

    • Supernova…your comment has touched me as you see I have survived pancreatic adeno carcinoma through very early detection and some VERY good scientists/doctors being at the right place at the right time.
      It is your last three words that got to me the most….you see…you are one of the “Lucky Bastards”….I reference this by the following amazing quotation from Richard Dawkins…..I think from Unveaving the Rainbow.
      “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.”
      ― Richard Dawkins
      You won the lottery….the BIG one. You are here able to express a cogent thought and that is a very good thing.
      Best Wishes…..

  4. Last line of an otherwise good article loosely plagiarised……
    “There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”
    ― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

  5. This reminds me a lot of a quote I read that says there is no reason to fear death. If you are alive, then you haven’t died yet and there’s nothing to worry about, and if you’re dead, well then you’re dead already and so there is nothing to fear. Good post.

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