Politics Magazine

Do We Just Stop Existing After Death? – Modern Koans

By Andrew Furst @a_furst

Question: I have a hard time comprehending impermanence. I can’t believe that we just stop existing after death?

My response: I think you’re thinking about it too hard. You’re body and your brain are perfectly comfortable with impermanence. Everything changes. You witness dying all the time. Bugs, trees, family, roadkill, etc.

If you’re wondering if something about a person continues on after death, there is no experiment to be done to clarify. Actually, your question offers the answer in the colloquialism you used. If you dig further, the phrase “it doesn’t make sense” is telling. The question goes beyond the boundaries of what your senses can perceive. We are impotent in these circumstances.

I think you’ll have to be content with incomprehension on this front. I’d suggest something even better. Put it out of your mind. The answer to the question will constantly elude you, and so the answer can have no bearing on your life. Pascal offered a solution to this quandary, be good for goodness sake.

What do you think?  Is there something that continues on after death?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Modern Koans is an ongoing series that recognizes that good questions are often more important then their answers.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. ― G.K. Chesterton

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