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Thread: Death and Identity

  1. #1
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    Death and Identity

    This question is mainly directed towards those who believe in an afterlife of sorts. My personal beliefs regarding the "afterlife" are somewhat complicated, but I am mostly agnostic towards the subject.

    If our consciousness continues after the death of our physical body, what is it that lives on? Surely I think we would be liberated from many "worldly" concerns. But if our identity is dependent on the functioning of our brain, is there any "personal" consciousness that lives on or are we liberated from our identity?

    For example, take people with severe Alzheimer's, or anybody who has suffered from a traumatic brain injury. Their identity as they know it is gone. So when our brain stops functioning what is "left" really that lives on in our personal experience? Is it anything meaninful?

    If we have no identity beyond death, whether it's the death of our consciousness in this life or our body, is it fair to say there's an afterlife? What lives on?

    I am looking for specific opinions, not just our "spirit" or "soul" or "our actions live on in the world", etc.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I died when I was a little over a year in age. While I do not recall actively much of it I have encountered the spectre's of my deceased sister, a deceased uncle and grandparents who I have seen many times. I can recall going into a large opening, perhaps a room perhaps more like a chamber and in it were my ancestors. Some spoke to me of the past, some of things yet to come but all told me it was not my time and to return and they would appear to teach when it was the right time. Since that time I have avoided death by the narrowest of margins many times.

    I am the genealogist in the family and found a number of photos or storied and diaries that have matched up to things I seem to recall from that time. Many times like a slide show where it lies burried in the depths of my mind only to flash forward when I see the picture or read the journal entry.

    Each of those I encountered that day or in the years afterwards were all very much aware of themselves, aware of thier past connections to the material world and retained a sense of ancesterial lineage and future lineage yet unborn. The best way I can describe it is the body is the physcial, the brain is the spiritual and emotional and the mind is eternal and retains all its knowledge and the sense of emotions but no longer bound to them because of the physcial restrictions of the mind and body. Yet the mind is also larger than the singular entity for it knew of the past and future in many instances, almost what some might call the Akashic Records. Yet all very reluctant to speak on anything outside of its time period to the living who looked at them trapped in those time lines.

    My best opinion is that mankind as a living creature is trapped in the hardline sequence of time and space. Yet the mind is in all time and space at once but when manifest in the living biological material has to restrict or narrow its influence to not overload and destroy the biological brain beneath its weight.

  3. #3
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    We are not the identity of these bodies. I am labeled as i am, my name/idenity because others need a way to reference me. So my identity is that of a body that will die and its identity with it.
    In my experience we are not an I but more. we are all. I cant explain it as its more than the blob in our head called a brain can comprehend. I experienced it in a not NDE as in almost died but a death of body, brain was all that was still there, that I was revived from.

    Emotion, is also physical. Opinions and thought and ideas are all products of a physical organ. All physical dies.
    Its a entirely different thing when the spirit is no longer trapped. Its an awareness, not thought. You can not think without a physical brain. You can not feel without the chemical makeup of the body.
    All you truly have is an awareness. Even time is an illusion based of the measure of decay of the physical.

    Its impossible to put to words something the physical state of everything can not fathom. This is the best I can do.
    Its not an afterlife, its a true existence of awareness. The physical is only manifest when awareness manifests to observe it and thats takes physical form to accomplish.

  4. #4
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    "we are all." I agree with that, and your concept of awareness instead of thoughts is interesting. but what happens to the awareness of those who are say, in a vegetative state, or other times one might not be at all aware/conscious/thinking/feeling/etc?

  5. #5
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    I personally believe in reincarnation. So I believe that when we die, we go back to our collective conscious. But I mean our own individual collective, not a whole of everything. It all gets a bit of a scramble, we have an opportunity to reunite with loved ones from various lives before we are reborn with another chance to get it right.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyneve View Post
    "we are all." I agree with that, and your concept of awareness instead of thoughts is interesting. but what happens to the awareness of those who are say, in a vegetative state, or other times one might not be at all aware/conscious/thinking/feeling/etc?
    Um what about it? Thats the physical brain and has nothing to do with what we really are. We are not our bodies and that includes the blob in our head. We are what some cant perceive with the mind, an energy, an awareness, dark matter in away!

    We are everything. We are the all thats everything. Our present manifestation is just a source to experience a piece of the everything in a different way, physically, so we can experience. We cant experience the physical till we manifest so we can observe it as we observe the illusion of blue in the sky.

    The physical is like the sky. We experience it by using eyes to see blue but in true reality...it has no color.
    We are the sky. We have bodies but in true reality that is not us.
    Also when we observe the sky we are seeing only one part. The sky doesn't have ends or beginnings. We to are the same. We observe from one part, the I, but are really a whole of all.

    This is just my perspective here. I am Taoist.
    Last edited by Shanti; May 13th, 2011 at 05:40 PM.

  7. #7
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    ^Shanti, I agree with a lot of that!

    I am just wondering, since you mentioned awareness after death (even if we do not have an "identity"), why can't those who are in a vegetative state also experience awareness if awareness is not dependent on the brain?

  8. #8
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    The body is like a machine and the spirit is like electricity. The brain is part of the body. If your computer broke down and ceased working, then it's hardware has basically died. If a working computer isn't switched on or plugged in, that is because it's asleep, not because of failure. It hasn't been activated and when it is, power eneables it to work. The power that works a computer is always present, and hasn't gone away. It depends on the health of the computer.
    The only thing that sucks around here is a straw.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Runa~ View Post
    The body is like a machine and the spirit is like electricity. The brain is part of the body. If your computer broke down and ceased working, then it's hardware has basically died. If a working computer isn't switched on or plugged in, that is because it's asleep, not because of failure. It hasn't been activated and when it is, power eneables it to work. The power that works a computer is always present, and hasn't gone away. It depends on the health of the computer.
    ...Yes, or like a TV or radio transmitter. The transmitted or received data could come out as scrambled if the interface is broken, even though the original signal is still strong.

    I can relate to this question though - for many years I was an Atheist, in part due to my Mum's death from Alzheimer's.
    [SIGPIC]http://www.mysticwicks.com/signaturepics/sigpic5303_1.gif[/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
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    Thank you all. I have been struggling to understand what my mother, who is in Stage 6 of Alzheimer's, is going through. My sisters and I have wondered about what is "left" of our mom. Reading your posts has given me a different perspective on the issue. I know that the mind and brain, while connected, are not the same thing, but I wasn't able to explain what that meant in relation to her soul. While I am not going to pretend to understand it all, I do feel a little better.

    When I see her tomorrow, I am not going to see her as "this woman who used to be my mom;" I will be able to look into her eyes and really see her again. That means a lot.

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