Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Would you like to live forever?

Last week, Snowbrush put up a post asking whether atheists were more rational.  I suspect that is a how long is a piece of string question and depends on the individual and the question.  As is usual with Snow's posts there was a lot to consider, though this time it was a comment he made which has me still thinking about the post days later.  Snow is bothered by the prospect of what he describes as 'eternal non-existence', and said that if someone was to offer him a pill which would enable him to live forever he would take it.

I am comfortable with the prospect of a finite life.  Very comfortable.  And now I am wondering why, and whether Snow's attitude or mine is more common.

I should add that I am a certainly an agnostic in that I don't know that whether or not there is a god, and that I also have strong leanings towards the atheist end of the spectrum.  I don't believe in an after life (whatever it is called), but accept I could be wrong.  If so, it will be the last mistake I make.  So, like Snowbrush, at the end of my life I expect 'eternal non-existence'.

Along with the magic pill, I assume that we can say that our minds and bodies will not deteriorate.  Just the same, eternity has no appeal for me.  I am not entirely sure why not.  I certainly wouldn't get bored - there is always something new to learn and see.   A feeling of fair play, that I have had my chance?  Or a reflection that I already think there are (more than) enough people in the world?

I don't want to live for ever at all, and given my druthers will fade out with an eco funeral (no coffin or headstone).  I like to think that I will feed a tree, which will shelter birds and insects, and if I am lucky animals.

How about you?  Would you want to live forever?   And do you know why?  If you could live forever, how would you spend your time?
  

154 comments:

  1. "Just the same, eternity has no appeal for me."

    I can believe this only because I believe in you, yet I cannot imagine it.

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    1. Snowbrush: It is a complicated issue - but at one a first scan of the comments I am not seeing an overwhelming vote for eternity.

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  2. I remember finding out what the word 'reincarnation' meant as a child. I was so horrified I didn't sleep for weeks. I loved all the vampire books I read as a teen, but could only see bleakness at the idea of eternal life, though I am thinking of it only as in life as we know it. I do not want Snow's pill. I can't handle the idea that I would have to endure the pain again and again, emotional and physical that as a human I've had to live through, no matter how much happiness came as a balance. I do not wish to cease existing, but I would hate to live forever watching everyone I came to love die again and again. If we're talking about a possible 'heaven' well no-one knows about that until they do die so there's no point in getting het up or happy about it. That's my angle on the dangle.

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    1. All Consuming: No, that pill is not for me either. And watching other people suffer and die while I lived on forever would be intolerable.

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  3. Well, I'm a born-again Christian, and while I wouldn't want to live here forever in this body, I look forward to living forever in Heaven.

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    1. Alex J. Cavanaugh: I am going to take that as a vote against Snow's pill. No, to eternal life here, and a yes to Heaven.

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  4. I am not sure I would want to live forever but then again, it would be wonderful to see the new wonders in this world as they come along.

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    1. DeniseinVA: I detect a bit of fence sitting there - which I can understand.

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  5. Snowbush always has the most thought provoking posts. It really sticks to you.

    No, I do NOT want to live forever. Of that I am very certain. I cannot wait for the ending, the finish line.

    I do agree, the answer to your question does depend on the person and their circumstances. If an eternally alive pill was invented, in which you were restored to perfect health and appearance, could not scar your body ever again, I do not think I want to take it. Time will just wear your soul down, if it hasn't already. That is my thinking.

    I once was an atheist. Firmly and the most ATHEIST you could ever meet. I had snarky comments for every verse of the bible. I had questions for everything in life that I did not agree with.

    I believed there was a higher power, yes. Whether it was GOD or not, I would never have known what to say. I had my own version in my own body and soul of what I believed in.

    One day, though, it all changed for me. I picked up a book and that book just completely floored me. In that book was every secret belief I had. Thoughts I had on God and the afterlife, if there was one. Every doubt was answered to my satisfaction. SOMEBODY ELSE thought the way I did, and I never ever voiced my beliefs to anyone else because well, I lived in a very religious household and if you did not go along with THE rules, you were pagan.

    I felt immediately connected to this higher power. But I had to test it. The book suggested some tests that I was willing to try. I was completely wowed by the results I got. So now, I am a firm believer. It doesn't necessarily mean there is A GOD, but there really is somebody looking after you from the other side. I believe there is a place for us after death now. I used to think... after death there was nothing. You just ceased to be. No more thinking, feeling, doing. You just winked out. That's it. But I think different now. And I want to be THERE now. I want to be where they look over us. I want to be the one looking over people now.

    I am tired of life and its trials. I am sick and tired of this body I have. I am ready to go. But the more I say I am ready to go, the longer my life seems to become so I have to stop saying that. But I feel it in my heart and soul, I am ready. The waiting is torture.

    I am reminded by this post and Snowbush's post... of something my nephew said before he died. He was 21. He had a private conversation with his minister at his church, and his minister shared this with us at the funeral.

    "I felt this absolute sense of peace, and I want to live there forever!!" Well, he does now. He died when he was 21. Smart boy.

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    1. Furry Bottoms: Thank you for this response. I am fascinated - and so very glad that your nephew felt that absolute peace. And I love that you want to be one of those looking over (and out for?) other people.

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    2. "Firmly and the most ATHEIST you could ever meet. I had snarky comments for every verse of the bible. I had questions for everything in life that I did not agree with."

      You seem to equate being a "most ATHEIST" with being "snarky." Is that correct? Whether it is or not, it's the common view of atheists, but people overlook the fact that all groups of any persuasion contain snarky people, and, as far as atheists, most atheists aren't even eager to identify themselves as atheists, and are averse to behaving rudely when they are. I know I don't make a point of it, and I doubt the Child does. Since you were that way, however, maybe you were angry with God rather than disbelieving in God.

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    3. Snowbrush: If you are still struggling to believe I don't see how you could not be angry at God.

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    4. "Struggling to believe"--moi? No, I'm not, and I don't even know what I wrote that you have reference to, my only guess being that you might have confused something I wrote about my past with what my life has been like for quite a lot of years now. As for being angry at God, I can't be angry at a being whom I consider imaginary, but I'm very angry at the harm caused by those who do believe.

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    5. Snowbrush: Sorry. I wasn't clear. The you in my comment was a generic rather than a specific you. And I share you anger at the damage done (past and present) in god's name.

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  6. Sorry my comment was so long. I should've sent it as a private message but there it is :)

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    1. Furry Bottoms: Never, ever apologise for a long, and heart-felt comment. I can think of no bigger compliment. I am wondering about that book you found though. Can you send me an email with its title?

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    2. No, no, no! I think we'd ALL like to know the title of that book!

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    3. Susan: A set of four books. Tools for Life: Sylvia Brown.

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  7. Replies
    1. I can't help but feel you have taken my thousand words and put it perfectly. Succinct and spot on. *smiles.

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    2. Lisa: Just what I feel.
      All Consuming: More succinct and spot on than my post too.

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  8. I think the planet and everything on it (including human life) is a form of energy that just keeps getting recirculated over and over into different forms. I wouldn't want to live forever in this form...I haven't been good at it and I don't seem to be getting any better. The idea of eternal-nonexistence doesn't sound too good to me though. I'd like to think there is another level of the game lol.

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    1. Delores: I hope that the energy can be recirculated - and like that thought. I don't need to be aware of it though.

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  9. I couldn't think of anything worse. Unless ... there was some way of eradicating 'most' of the human race. Because let's face it, the planet is a pretty amazing place, which I would love to share with Mother Nature, the creepy crawlies and of course, all the animals.

    But, we have met the enemy - and it is us.

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    1. Wendy: I am not at all surprised that you feel this way. And we are a pretty impressive enemy - of ourselves and everything else.

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  10. I definitely do not wish to live forever. :)

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    1. The Furries of Whisppy: Me either. In fact the prospect fills me with horror.

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  11. It has been my experience that the word "atheist" conjures up a picture of a smug, pseudo- intellectual who wants to argue with believers and ridicule their beliefs. I prefer the term non believer. It is less militant. Mankind's self awareness is a burden for some. His ego won't allow him to comfortably accept his short time here on earth. He thinks he deserves so much more. Hence, religions were invented to provide a comfortable lie to make it easier to deal with. Even stars die! the universe is one continuing cycle of creation and destruction. I am content to live my natural allotment of awareness and then have my basic elements return to the mixing bowl for a recreation! That's enough immortality for me.

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    1. mohave rat: I have difficulties with fundamentalist anything - atheist or otherwise, but agree with you that I have no need (or desire) for immortality. Or at least not in any way my current self will have any awareness.

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    2. Too right, mohave rat, which is why I like the term "agnostic." I'm not a militant believer in anything - since I can't prove my beliefs.

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  12. Keeping even more of us alive would be a nail in the planet's coffin.We are already dangerously overloaded. And I certainly do not want to outlast my allotted span, whatever that will be.
    And I am hoping to be allowed an eco-funeral. But it's quite possible that I may be gone before the laws change!

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    1. dinahmow: Yes, on both counts. Though I believe (and will investigate) that there is somewhere in NSW which allows eco-funerals. And I will glady put away money to make it possible.

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  13. I may fear old age a bit, but I don't fear death, as I won't be here to know. I don't believe and I don't believe there is anything on 'the other side'. There is a lot to look forward to in the future, but at some point you will no longer feel that there is. No, living for ever is not for me.

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    1. Andrew: Snow seems to be outvoted fairly comprehensively.

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  14. A most thought-provoking topic. No, I would not want eternal life; but I also do not want to be dead. Maybe Snowbrush's magic pill could be made renewable, rather than a one-off everlasting dose. After, say, every 20 years, one could choose whether to renew it or... fade out.
    Like you, EC, I hope to have an eco-funeral, and am determined to do so.

    Arohanui.

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    1. Alexia: The more of us agitating for an eco-funeral, the more possible it will become. I hope. I don't even think I want an extension - but am quite grateful that the choice will not be offered.

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  15. I've not given this a lot of thought; actually, I'm looking forward to eternal non-existence, or what's behind door number two. Had my go, contributed my bit, and as I saw carved in two foot high letters on a gravestone in Tennessee, Toodle Loo. Pink granite, by the way. Someone's Uncle Floyd.

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    1. Joanne Noragon: Toodle Loo is a wonderful epitaph. Love it.

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  16. "I never ever voiced my beliefs to anyone else because well, I lived in a very religious household and if you did not go along with THE rules, you were pagan."

    How interesting. I can see how you would might want to rebel. Maybe I've known longterm atheists who became converted, but I can't think of any. My father sometimes called himself an atheist, and he later became a dedicated Christian (he was around 80), but I think he was mostly just mad during his atheist periods. It takes more than emotion if one is to mean it.

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    1. I should also say that... while I may feel a stronger connection to a higher power now than I used to, I in no way believe in church. People yell at me in dismay when I say that, but sorry its true. God can exist anywhere, not just in a church. And the church just puts more fear in you than necessary. And I disagreed with everything about the church anyway. To me, a church is a house of one man (the pastor, minister, leader) and his opinion and interpretation of the bible. They will have you think it is a universal belief, but each say different things. So no church in my book.

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    2. Snowbrush: I don't think I have ever known an atheist who converted either. I will have to think about it.

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    3. Furry Bottoms: I agree wholeheartedly with you about Church. Any church.

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  17. Christ's teachings were a new way of thinking ... he taught us to love one another, to be kind and respect, to help those in need. All of these new ideas changed the thinking of mankind but didn't change man himself. Did those teachings come from God ... no one knows. What we read about God is all written by man ... invented explainations to things we didn't understand. Religion became a means of controlling and minipulating people and has, over time, brought out the worst in the human race ... look at the Middle East and how many wars we have faught over religion.

    I believe in nature and the universer and as Mohave Rat put it, the mixing bowl that we are all a part of. I find peace in the natural patterns of things, the orderliness of our natural world and universe. I find no peace in mankind. I am sorely disappointed in what man has shown himself to be ... to live forever, in my mind, would be to witness the horrors that man is bringing upon himself and our fellow mortals.

    I don't want to live forever, but if someone asked me if I was ready to go today, I would say no ... and I would probably say that until my life reaches a point where there is no joy. What saddens me is knowing that I still miss the presence of my parents in my life ... when something good happens I so want to share it with them. I know my children will experience the same emptiness when I am gone and that makes me sad about leaving them. But I believe in the natural process of things and coming and going is a part of that. So to be honest with myself, I don't want to live forever or take a pill that would make me immortal, but leaving will not be easy and I really don't know if I will be at peace with it when the time comes.

    Andrea @ From the Sol.

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    1. Andrea Priebe: Thank you. And yes. I do love the concept of being part of the mixing bowl. I will certainly have some regrets at the end of my life (assuming I know death is imminent) but don't want to live forever. At all.

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  18. I think of someone I once knew and loved, who, in her 90s, used to shake a finger, urging "Don't live this long!" And she meant it. I figure once I'm dead, I won't know I don't exist any more than I didn't know I didn't exist before I was born. One thing about chronic illness and middle age is that I do ponder my mortality more these days. I'm not in a hurry to shuffle off, but I don'y want to extend my time here if it turns out it will be spent dependent and without my marbles. A close friend spent his last decade+ like that... truly, there are situations that are worse than death.

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    1. Paper Chipmunk (aka Ellen): And even if my body and marbles are miraculously restored to full working order I still don't want to live forever. As someone has already said - my soul is tired.

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  19. I personally wouldn't want to live forever. This life is hard enough and to have lived my life well and faced the challenges it has thrown me is enough at the end of my day. If there is an eternal life, then that will be a complete surprise for me. I certainly haven't lived my life to give me access to that life ever after. Having been brought up in an oppressive household where God was to be feared, I have never understood or bought the promise of life ever after. I don't know why? Maybe because it is just not important to me. What is important is now. Now is all we have. Now is the only certainty. Having said that, I totally respect other people's beliefs or non-beliefs. I don't feel comfortable with labels ~ Atheist, Christian etc. and I find myself annoyed that there is an arrogance to the atheist movement that espouses that they are obviously right. Likewise, any other religion that believes they are right and everyone else is wrong. I suppose that us how any religion tries to survive at the exclusion of every other belief system. But I think our belief system is rather more personal based on our life experiences. I do believe in a God, and I personally believe that that God has acted in my life at various times to steer my life in different directions. What happens at the end of my life does not factor into the way I live my life. I did not start living this life with any awareness or certainty, it unfolded, and I would like to think that after I die it will be much the same. Whatever happens or doesn't happen will just be ~ then.

    A really interesting post EC. Thank you for posing the questions and fielding some really interesting comments.

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    1. Carol in Cairns: There are some fascinating comments aren't there? I am so grateful to everyone who took the time and energy to respond. I agree with you about labels - they are often too restrictive and encourage an us/them mentality. As I have said, I am not a believer, but am happy to let people make up their own minds - particularly because there is no way of telling (in this life) who is right and who is wrong.
      And like you, I am content to let what happens at the end of my life be - which is just as well because I can't change it.

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  20. If I get the choice I will make it then.
    Merle................

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    1. Merlesworld: A snap decision? I wonder...

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  21. I learn towards Pantheism. Pantheist believe that we do not really die: we return to nature. Our elements dissolve and are re-absorbed in new life forms, and we become part of the natural cycle.
    And no, I would not to live forever in human form.

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    1. Karen: It seems there are a lot of people commenting here today who lean towards Pantheism. And I do like the prospect of returning to nature - and have no urge for an awareness of that change.

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  22. Live forever? I only live a second at a time. I can't ponder forever.

    I sure would not want to live in heaven. Streets of gold? Ick. Wearing crowns with a jewel for each soul saved? That's nuts. I don't like harp music now. People don't get along now and if there were a heaven, wouldn't get along in it either and would begin the destruction process there, and the wars. I am a nonbeliever in religions of our world. Live forever? Ok, if my cats can too. I wonder if animals think they're as special as we are and going to heaven, but think humans most certainly will be excluded.

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    1. Strayer: Heaven, from what I have heard about it, has no appeal for me either. But neither does continuing this existence. And I would love to know what, if anything, animals think about the question.

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  23. Like you, I'm agnostic with leanings toward atheism. (Why am I not surprised we think alike?) On the other hand, Jezebel will be sorely disappointed that you don't believe in her little corner of hell...she already had your garden spot picked out, right next to her punch table.
    I think we live forever as one form of energy or another. The real question is: are we conscious of who we are/were?
    As to wanting to live forever here - in present form? My answer would change depending on when you asked me. :)

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    1. River Fairchild: If I am wrong, I will be more than happy to head for the corner of Jezebel's hell which she has put aside for me. Punch and a garden sound pretty good to me.
      And I hope NOT to be aware of what my energy is doing, or in what form.

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  24. "Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon." - Susan Ertz

    I have experienced intimations of something much bigger and familiar than who we believe ourselves to be here. . . .

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    ComfortSpiral
    =^..^= <3

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    1. Cloudia: Love that quote. And certainly don't believe that humans are nearly as important as we seem to think.

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  25. I find it hard to believe that I just... end.
    I'm agnostic, too.
    I've found some very 'fundamentalist' atheists who were no more rational than any other fundamentalists.
    Also, I am currently reading 'A brief history of the dead', which touches on a lot of these ideas, and is a beautiful novel besides.

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    1. Kristin: Welcome and thank you. I distrust fundamentalist of any persuasion. And they often frighten me too. Who wrote 'A brief history of the dead'? I am always, but always ready to read more and learn more.

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    2. But Kristin you just began, didn't you, so what could be more natural and expected than going back and just ending, like a splash rises then falls, but is interesting to look at as it splashes?

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  26. I’ve always liked the quote by Will Rogers, “If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”
    For me, that goes for all animals.
    Although, I don’t believe at all in heaven with diamond studded, pearl encrusted gates, manned by a burly bouncer with giant wings holding a clipboard and names of the pious to be scratched off as they enter ;)

    I don’t subscribe to a man made religion. Not caring much for what humans have done (and continue to do) “in the name of god”.
    I believe in the inevitable power of nature and the cycle of birth, life and death.
    Although, I have seen some strange things in my life that makes me think there could be something, “on the other side”. I guess I’ll find out one day, soon enough.

    Every so often, I catch a news article crowing about “medical advances” to make us live longer. Personally, I’m not interested. At all.
    It’s the natural order of things to age, breakdown, die and decay.
    Even if it were possible, I’m not interested in prolonging my life for an overly, and unnaturally, long time.

    Because, I really, really don’t like where this world is headed.
    So much seems to be at the cost of the environment, and the balance has been tipping unfavourably.

    Humans can be incredibly good and clever, but also so very, very ugly.
    It pains me to see what is being done, not only to others in the name of god/money/power, but to the creatures of this earth.
    I have wept floods of tears, and am spent.
    Unnatural destruction seems relentless at the hands of cruel and greedy intentions.
    I don’t want to live in a (possible) future world where animatronic replicas are all that remains of some animals of the land, sea and air. Too many, have and continue to, face extinction.

    I look forward to (hopefully) an eternal peace, not only from my own pain, but from witnessing the pain and suffering of others, knowing there is so little I can do.

    I just hope my “natural” lifespan isn’t prolonged with loads of little pills poured down my throat everyday, as I sit wasting away in a nursing home. That’s not natural to me.

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    1. "Too many, have and continue to' face extinction"
      If they are dying out naturally, perhaps that is the way their life cycle is meant to be. A short time on this earth, then no more giant green rabbits, for example. Everything has its time and I don't think we should be trying to prolong that time unnaturally.
      Of course I think differently about species that are wiped out because of over hunting, over fishing and destruction of habitat. The blame for that lays squarely on human shoulders.

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    2. Vickie: There are a lot of us who feel just as you do. And are horrified. And no, I don't want little pills of any persuasion at the end of my days. I have seen too many lives become existences. Snow's magic pill wouldn't do that - but I am still not tempted.

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    3. River: We are responsible for far too many extinctions. Mostly because of our greed. Sometimes our thoughtlessness, but mostly greed.

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    4. Giant green rabbits? I’d like to see that.
      Of course, animals face threats and depletion of species due to natural predators, climate changes and environmental disasters. But, little has proven more destructive to their survival than man.
      Animals killed due to human intervention are those I speak of, and mourn greatly.
      Among those that have been wiped out at the hands of humans, are the Tasmanian Tiger, Bubal Hartebeest (antelope), Javan Tiger, Zanzibar Leopard, the Pyrenean Ibex, the Western Black Rhino… just name a few.

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    5. I'm with you there Vicki, a well composed comment I highly agree with.

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    6. Vicki and All Consuming: Not to mention all the insects - without considering their role in the environment. And far too many birds...

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  27. I hate labels, but I became an athiest after believing in a heavenly and loving father, then equating that with the pain and suffering of others, and animals that even I - a mere mortal - would have gone to great lengths to stop. All powerful? To do what? Demand to be loved AND feared? Love and fear are not synonymous, interchangeable, or able to co-exist. If it doesn't make sense, it isn't true.

    To live forever, either here or in an eternal hub of commonality, sounds as ghastly and improbable as loving and fearing.

    With the luck I've had so far, if I opted for eternal life on earth, I'd end up buried beneath a pile of rubble while possessing eternal comprehension of my eternal situation.

    Humans have such an overvalued sense of self-worth, that we believe we are too wonderful, necessary, and important to just evaporate. We're not.

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  28. No, life is exhausting. I'm living with all I've got now, especially because I know it will be over whenever it's over.

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    1. Rawkynrobyn: Life is tiring isn't it. I do find myself on dark days think that death might be a peaceful relief.

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  29. I'm really torn on this one. On the one hand, I think that the finiteness of our lives helps concentrate our sense of the preciousness of being alive. On another hand, in a completely non-metaphysical sense, I think we do keep existing after death: trillions of bacteria and fungi thrive in/on our bodies while we're alive and that ecology can keep going, perhaps in changed ways, after we're dead, dispersing our energy into a soil network and feeding plants and other animals (I really really like this idea, but can understand why someone less enthusiastic about microbiota might not). On the third hand, when my beloved dad was dying, the only thing that made it bearable was the thought of him going to some sort of heaven, which in my hopes consisted of all the dogs he'd loved and lost over 70 years bounding up to him with their ears flying out behind them and smothering him with love. On the fourth hand, my beautiful 42-year-old sister has a shit sandwich of a neurodegenerative disease (MND), plus an eight-year-old daughter, and I would give pretty much anything - well, a lot, anyway - to keep her alive to a sensible age, 80 or so.

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    1. 45-year-old sister. How did I just forget those three years?

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    2. Alexis, Baron von Harlot: I am so sorry. And can well understand you wanting your sister to have that pill. MND is a total bitch.
      When my father was dying each time he woke he said 'oh god, am I still here', and I could only hope for him not to wake again. Which came too soon for us, and not quickly enough for him.
      And am perfectly happy about the bacteria and fungi continuing to get benefits from my body when *I* have left it.

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    3. Your poor dad. Thanks for your kindness, EC.

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    4. Alexis, Baron von Harlot: Hugs.

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  30. If I was between 35 and 40 yes, at my age no. Ha.

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    1. Linda Starr: I don't think I have shifted my position since I first realised that death was inevitable. But my thirties were good years...

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  31. I wouldn't mind being reborn a time or two (hopefully with stronger teeth), but live forever? No thanks. Imagine everyone living forever, having babies who will then live forever, having yet more babies who will also live forever.We'd get a little crowded don't you think?

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    1. River: I think (but might be wrong) that Snow was talking about a pill which wouldn't be available for everyone. Which adds complications of its own. And if everyone could live forever? Eeeeuw.

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  32. What a question. If I believed in an afterlife, then I would wonder what I would do with all that time. But since high school I began doubting the Mormon faith and in college I read Bertrand Russell's book, "Why I Am Not a Christian" and decided to become agnostic too.

    I hope to live a long life but know 20 or 30 more years and I'll be done. If I could live as long as my younger wife, I would consider that wonderful.

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    1. Utahbooklover: Welcome. So you are voting for a longer - but not indefinite life. Makes sense to me.

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  33. I grew up around people who expected to live forever (don't ask) and the idea has always struck me with horror. No, no, and no again!

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    1. Jaquelineand...: Horror is a (big) part of my feeling about it too. Certainly no temptation.

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  34. I figure, given enough time and changes, I'd become some other guy anyway. Why not let somebody else take a crack at it?

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    1. Geo.: I cannot conceive of anyone else being able to be you as well as you do it - but understand.

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  35. I would like to live forever or just a really long, long time. Maybe forever would be too long, but a couple of hundred years might work.

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    1. Practical Parsimony: How nice that Snow has a least one person who agrees with him. Even a hundred years sounds too long to me. What would you do with your time?

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    2. EC,
      I would do as I do now--read, read, learn, take care of my hens, cook, just live and enjoy my yard, nature, be alive. Hopefully, my surgery would be completed. Plus, I could attend school once again.

      I might take up new pursuits--contract bridge? Maybe people would need to be tutored.

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    1. Andiri rahmah: Welcome - and thank you.

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  37. There is no easy answer here - something to thing about, for sure. I've always been fascinated with the afterlife and whether or not we come back in the form of other people reborn. (My mother was horrified at my teenage fascination.)

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    1. Lynn: No easy answers at all - but I love that people are prepared to think about it.

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  38. Your very well-thought post touched upon the key element of this never-ending argument: will our bodies deteriorate? If the answer is no, then, I want the pill, because I will continue to enjoy life and to learn about new things. If taking the pill means that I will have to put up with a deteriorating body, then, no, count me out.

    Brilliant post. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. A Cuban in London: My deteriorating mind worries me more than the body. Just the same, I don't want eternity even with a guarantee that my body and my mind would be ok. And love that we all have different perspectives.

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  39. I started out reading the responses and realized I would be here all day if I didn't just stop and put my own here. When I was a young woman, I was terrified of dying and the thought that I would no longer exist. It drove me to religion, which helped me feel better about the whole idea, but I couldn't wrap my mind around eternal life. It sounded more like a chore that would never end.

    As I have gotten older, I've reached a place of contentment about whatever does or doesn't come after I die. I certainly don't think that, if there is any such thing, it will be anything like we can imagine in our finite brains. The whole idea of our current bodies living on is rather ghoulish, if you ask me (since you did, I'm saying so). :-)

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    1. DJan: I did ask, and I did want to know. Thank you for responding.

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  40. I don't worry too much about an afterlife. This life is plenty. I imagine death to be like sleep - not a bad thing. Still I think there's an essence that may go on, be recycled somehow - perhaps by giving life to a tree. An everlasting life in this body, and mind - no I def don't want that pill. If there is an eternity, we're already part of it, now. But from what I can see of this world, it's all about change - beginnings and endings. I wonder though about consciousness. Will mine be united with a larger, master being's awareness? I think we can go on with all sorts of considerations, imaginations. What IS for sure is mystery.

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    1. Myrna R.: A final sleep doesn't sound bad at all does it? And you are so right about the mystery. Sometimes I would like answers, but mostly I am happy to know that I don't know. Which is just as well since I can't change it.

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  41. A part of us does live on in our kids, our genes. I don't want to live on in this miserable body. I just hope those genes that I passed on doesn't pass on MS. It SUCKS!
    As parents, we hope our children have a better life than we did. It is really sad when our children have to endure things that we never expected them to go through.
    To answer the question-NO, I wouldn't want to live forever.

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    1. Mom at home: No children here, so I am not passing on my genes. MS is indeed sucky - but even if someone found a cure I still don't want to live forever. And I hope a cure is found - but suspect it won't happen in my lifetime.

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  42. I am an atheist, and do I believe in life after death, no. But, I have a lot to do, so please let me go on a bit further, ha ha .

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    1. Bob Bushell: Ok, not yet. And I hope you do get time to do all that you want/need.

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  43. Living forever would be totally meaningless. It's our finite time here on earth that makes it all worthwhile.

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    1. ladyfi: I agree with you - but am surprised, fascinated and grateful to hear the very different responses to this question.

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  44. What an intriguing question. Hm.
    I'm not sure I would love to live forever - to be with nature and animals, yes, but to be with all the people, and politics, and wars, hunger and human trafficking - certainly no.
    I don't believe in an afterlife like sitting on a cloud playing a harp, but I do believe that our spirit lives on - perhaps in another person, or animal. Or in a tree.

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    1. Carola Bartz: Living on in a tree has a LOT of charm doesn't it? And its time is finite too. Longer (barring accidents) than ours, but still finite.

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  45. I love the fact that you accept the stages of life, including the finite part of it, even with having little faith or no faith at all in the afterlife. That says a lot - and I admire you for it. Not many people can do that, especially for those who do not subscribe to the "GOD" and heaven and hell deal.

    I would not want to live forever, only due to what's waiting in "my" afterlife. I want to be with my Father (and my earthly one who has just passed away 2 years ago). I want to explore the spiritual world and leave this earth knowing I did something to help someone somewhere. I do fear growing old though. I fear sickness and loneliness. I fear aging and noticing it - as I do already. I fear declining and relying on others to help me be mobilized. I fear a lot. And fear is not of God in the Christian view. It's a constant struggle to be a Christian because of our human nature. But at the same time, it must be a struggle for some atheists who have maybe 2% of questioning whether or not there is a heaven and hell. What should they choose? Should they "believe" or fake believing or maybe just holding onto their own convictions that they need concrete evidence instead of blind faith.

    So hard, right? So hard for everyone who is living.

    Wonderful post! I really enjoyed reading this.

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    1. Deb: There are no easy answers, but that doesn't mean that the questions shouldn't be asked - or considered. Sickness, loneliness, age, infirmity are scary thoughts - but not thinking about them doesn't make them go away. And not thinking about the end - whatever it might be - doesn't postpone it by a second.
      And I am glad that you enjoyed the post.

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    2. Very true… I think everyone has that natural element of fear when it comes to the final countdown and well, maybe (MAYBE) this is why it's possible that some people back in the day, "made up" religion, in order to stifle the fear of dying. That's one theory.

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    3. Deb: That is a very generous response - because I know that you don't think that religion (or Christianity at least) is made up.

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  46. Thank you for stopping by. I have followed Jody for many many years. I am glad I was able to do something for her. She does so much for so many.

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    1. ANGEL ABBYGRACE: She does indeed to a lot - for very little return.

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  47. If I could stay around the age of 40-45, and in perfect health; fit and happy. But then, when the world seems to be getting worse instead of better, I sometimes doubt that I would like to live forever.

    I don't believe in an after life...what we have is what we get is my belief. I may be proven wrong, and then again, I may not be. One thing I am sure of is that there won't be 20 virgins waiting for me; and I wouldn't want there to be, either! ;)

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    1. Lee: it sounds a bit unfair to the poor virgins doesn't it? And I suspect that they are in short supply anyway. What we have is what we get sounds about right to me too. And a good reason to make the most of it.

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  48. i don't want to live forever here - the world seems to get worse all the time... i'm doing the best with what i have and hoping to influence others positively. when my time comes i plan to go to heaven - why not dream of a sweet, perfect afterlife? it's better than nothing =) and if it is nothing, i won't know the difference!

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    1. Tara Tyler R: Welcome - and thank you. No, I don't want to live forever either, and that includes an afterlife. Enough is enough. What would your perfect afterlife look like?

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  49. Not me, either. Funny, we just saw a movie that featured vampires, and most of their friends had died. It sucks enough seeing so much loss in just one lifetime.

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    1. Riot Kitty: The ongoing emotional pain in an eternity would be very, very hard to take. Learn to love someone, or something knowing that you were going to lose them. Again and again and again. Eternal non existence can only be peaceful.

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  50. No, no, no. Definitely not. But, I would like a peep-hole to enable me to see what the world is like every hundred years or so.

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    1. Me too - I've often thought that!

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    2. J Cosmo Newbery and Jackie K: Surprisingly, given my insatiable curiosity, I am content to let what happens after me happen. And don't want/need to know.

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  51. No, I would not want to live forever. Anything 'forever' is a scary thought. I would love to be like my 93 year old grandfather, having lived a full and good life, and feeling ready to 'pass on'. I think that is a most enviable (though perhaps rare) point to reach. That's what I'd hope for.

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    1. Jacke K: My paternal grandfather apparently fell off a ladder while painting his house (aged 99) and broke a leg. It healed. Aged 99, eleven months and two weeks he had a full day in the garden, came inside, said he was tired and would go to bed. And never woke up. Which strikes me as a pretty close to perfect end.

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  52. I definitely would not. I would not want to be here when all the people I love are long gone.
    I share your agnostic beliefs but I think there is some kind of spiritual plane beyond this one, not something I can explain but after working for hospice and being present at several deaths I couldn't help but feel that way.

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    1. Julie Flanders: I really don't know about the plane beyond this one - but will find out in the fullness of time. And no, the thought of staying here and continually losing the people and things I care about does my head in.

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  53. What an intriguing question! Lots of great responses, too.

    I'm a pathological optimist who's very grateful to have been given this gift of life, but I most definitely would not take that pill. I accept that I have a built-in expiration date, and view it as a natural part of the cycle. And since I think of death as more of a transition than an "end", why would I want to mess with it? The best is yet to come!

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    1. Susan: Aren't the responses great? I am so grateful that people have responded to a post far removed from my usual trivialities. So very grateful. And isn't it interesting that, for a variety of reasons, most of us don't want immortality.

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  54. Have not read the over 100 responses yet (no time - life is short :) so forgive duplications but... we've all already had an eternity of non-existence and I, for one, seem to have handled it okay. People who claim to hope for eternal life have not really thought about it deeply enough, I suspect. Eternity is not just a long long long long time, after all. However long your shift in it you've only just begun. What a nightmare. Heck, I wouldn't even take a pill that made me a child again, if I really thought about it. Once is enough, thankyou.

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    1. Andrew Maclaren-Scott: Go back to being a child? No, no, no. Never. And I am unsurprised to hear that you wouldn't take Snow's magic pill.

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  55. I;ve been fascinated with the idea of an after life. It's not necessarily with religious implications. I really think that the universe is much more complex than we think and I believe in multiple dimensions ...I am sure we shall all meet again someday in another dimension.

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    1. petro: It seems that an after life is one of the few things that I am not fascinated in, and not greedy for. Which I hadn't realised.

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  56. I started reading responses but can't read them all, so I'll just add my answer. I would choose that pill. I love life, and at the age of 57 I feel my remaining time is much too short, even if I reach my statistical old age. There is so much to enjoy about life. Having been through some losses of loved ones, I would still choose to keep going, because what I have found is that there are many others that can become loved ones throughout our lives. I would prefer my current loved ones to be able to take that pill, too, but it would not be the deciding factor. And I am using your assumption that a person would be in good health for that eternity. There is nothing like illness, injury, loss of abilities or senses to reduce enjoyment of life :)

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    1. jenny_o: I too love life, but am happy for it to come to an end as well. Which is probably a reflection that I am tired. And I loved hearing that you would take that pill.

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  57. hard to say what i'd do if presented with a genuine opportunity to live forever... but like you, my inclination would be no. i'm feeling my body become less strong and able, and know that my days to enjoy life are limited... which somehow makes it all the more precious to me.

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    1. daisyfae: Yup. And I have made some very fine (and memorable) hay while the sun shone.

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  58. Hi Sue,

    I most certainly wouldn't want to live forever. Although I think that there maybe a possibility that our souls go on forever and that we might keep returning to a different life experience. Just a thought.

    I would add that I'm spiritual but not religious. I wont go into a rant about my despair over organised religions.

    A most thought provoking post, my dear friend.

    Gary

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    1. klahanie: I really don't know what happens - but agree with you. I don't want to live forever. At all.
      And I often share your despair at organised religions.

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  59. A wonderful post, EC, and absolutely brilliant answers. So many different opinions and beliefs... I just believe that what is here on this earth is all there is, and we need to make it the best place possible. I believe that death is the long forever sleep and I'd be most concerned to find that I woke up in heaven or anywhere else. I certainly don't want to live forever but another 10 years would be okay, as long as I don't lose the plot.

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    1. Carol: I think that because I also believe this is all I am going to get it focuses me. It is up to me, to make the best of it. A work in progress (always) but I try.
      And losing my marbles is a very real (and possible) fear. MS savages my body, but could also eat (more of) my brain.
      And yes, to the brilliant responses to this post. I am so very grateful that when I move away from my usual trivia people join me. And inspire me.

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  60. Well, I've read a lot of these, and you're right about most people not wanting to live forever, although none of them want to die right away either. I sometimes have a fantasy about a man sitting under a tree with the gun with which he plans to kill himself, only to jump up and run if a snake so poisonous that it would kill him instantly comes crawling by. Such is the inbred desire to live. No doubt many people reach a point at which death can't come soon enough due to age or frailty, but I would guess that few of them are able to blog much, and this makes thoughts of death for most of us as theoretical as are thoughts of eternal life. Perhaps, if you wrote another post in which you described what eternal life might look like. For instance, if it were said to be like the best day one ever had times 100, maybe more would choose it, because it seems to me that so many of those who responded think of it as something tiresome, or else as being an endless continuation of earthly problems.

    Like you, with the exception of my mentally ill father, I've never known an atheist to change his mind because once he or she has considered the matter thoroughly, there will be no new evidence upon which to base such a change, which means that if a change came, it would be built up emotional need rather than evidence. I suppose some people become so desperate that they make such a leap, but how they can sustain it is beyond me, and I'm one of those who has been desperate enough to try with the hope that if I faked it, I would eventually come to possess it, but this wasn't the case. If one really and truly doesn't believe, then one really and truly doesn't believe. Period.

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    1. P.S. I would choose it even if it were a continuation of what one might call ordinary earthly problems (as opposed to profound disability or constant and severe pain), but, of course, I wouldn't really know what it was that I was choosing because I can't imagine eternity. If eighty or ninety years seems like enough of this life for most people, then what would 3 or 9 trillion look like. I guess my hope would be that I would so grow in wisdom that earthly problems wouldn't bother me, and that I would be enabled to guide life on this planet in a good direction.

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    2. Snowbrush: Eternal life as a teacher/guide? No. Not for me. We are a complicated lot aren't we? Growing in wisdom and earthly problems not bothering me isn't a comfortable juxtaposition in my head. I think that wisdom needs compassion and empathy.

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  61. "Growing in wisdom and earthly problems not bothering me isn't a comfortable juxtaposition in my head. I think that wisdom needs compassion and empathy."

    I had reference to the Buddhist and Stoic concept of non-attachment, which involves working for good without being attached to the results. No attachment means no burn-out, no disillusionment, no bitterness, and no clouded emotions. It doesn't mean no compassion and empathy. It was what Peggy, as a nurse, was forced to strive for because when you work in some unit like intensive care, and you see tragedy for eight hours a day everyday, you either have to learn to let go of it, or you have to get out of nursing.

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    1. Snowbrush: I suppose I think that non attachment is an impossibility but, since we are talking about a pill which doesn't exist (yet, if ever) I think I have to accept its possibility. And I expect that Peggy, and everyone in a caring role, would like that possibility. I know that on the phone lines some emotional distance would sometimes be more than welcome. Except that a part of me wonders whether I would connect with our callers as well without it. A conundrum.

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    2. God, but you got your usual 44-million on this one. It took me half a day just to scroll down this far. Anywayhow...

      "I suppose I think that non attachment is an impossibility"

      I would mostly agree. I think it's possible to be completely non-attached to some things simply through a lack of caring (for example, I don't care who wins the World Cup at soccer/football), but I see non-attachment in the virtuous sense as a matter of degree. For example, I care some--but not much--whether people disagree with my posts. I think it fair to say that I used to care more, but that I got used to disagreement and even anger, so in relative terms, I've become non-attached. I still try to be respectful and so forth, but I don't try to win approval for the sake of winning approval.

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    3. Snowbrush: More comments here than on any of my posts I think - and you were the genesis.
      And yes, if I don't care non attachment is piss ant easy. I rarely post about the 'big issues' so rarely get major disagreement about my posts. And am comfortable with the disagreement I do get.

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    4. "I rarely post about the 'big issues' so rarely get major disagreement about my posts."

      Do you avoid the "big issues" in order to avoid disagreement? I've found that how much disagreement one gets seems to relate more to whom reads one's blog than to the subjects of the posts. I am ever amazed how little vituperation I receive given that I attack religion and country. Yet, I've known bloggers who were attacked viciously for what I would consider innocuous posts.

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    5. Snowbrush: No, I don't avoid them for fear of disagreement. I am not entirely sure why I do. Trivial mind? I suspect that you are right about the readers. I have been very lucky. Very, very lucky.

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  62. I tried to respond to this post last week but intermittent connection problems were rife. Your comments and the many other comments are very interesting. I used to say I was agnostic until I heard the word hilariously, and aptly, defined as 'a god-fearing atheist'.

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    1. Kim: Love that description. And I am sure there are a lot about.

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