Faith and Philosophy Consistent with Reason and Reality
Body, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life and Death
The terms “body,” “mind,” “spirit,” “soul,” “life,” and “death,” are often used (or misused) as the foundation for certain understandings (or misunderstandings) regarding one’s own nature and the nature of the universe or reality in general. It is thus extremely important that these terms be carefully and accurately defined, in a logical and reality-based way, i.e., empiricorationally. It is important that these terms actually refer to real rather than imagined aspects of the world.
Before delving into an empiricorational investigation of these topics, let’s take a moment to provide an example of an erroneous line of reasoning and the false beliefs which result, and then to point out the false assertions and logical errors:
A False Conception of Mind, Spirit, or Soul
- Matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but can merely change from one form to another; this is known in physics as the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy. One’s mind, spirit, or soul is made of energy. Because matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, one’s mind, spirit, or soul is immortal and eternal: it always existed and can never be destroyed. When one’s physical body dies one’s mind or spirit (being made of energy) is not destroyed, but is merely changed into a different form, and one therefore continues to live on (in a mental or spiritual sense) in some different or perhaps “higher” form, forever.
There is a somewhat subtle but definite error in the line of reasoning above, which may not be quite obvious to those with a limited understanding of physics, or who don’t really take the time to examine the assertions being made and their logical connection to one another. Another factor leading to the acceptance of this and many other false lines of reasoning on such topics is simply the essentially emotional prejudice which many individuals bring to their “analysis” (or, more accurately, “non-analysis”) of such issues. They, quite naturally, want to believe that they and their loved ones live on in some way forever, and are strongly biased to accept “explanations” which support this desire. (Wanting a thing does not make it true, however, and we are much more powerful in our actual lives when when we understand and act on truth rather than “wishful thinking.”)
By the end of this article the error of the line of reasoning presented above should become clear and obvious. We will first, however, take the time to precisely investigate and define exactly what the terms “body,” “mind,” “spirit,” “soul,” “life,” and “death,” really refer to.
The term “body” is probably the simplest and most straightforward to understand of the several terms this article will investigate. It is simply the collection and organization of physical “stuff” which comprises one’s own physical being. It is made of matter and energy. Even though matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, and even though one’s body is made of matter and energy, one’s body can be destroyed. This is because one’s body is not an indivisible “fundamental unit,” i.e., it is made of a “collection” of countless smaller parts. It is “composite.”
All composite things are capable of being “taken apart” somehow. When they are taken apart they no longer exist as the composite thing, but merely as a bunch of parts, or “components.” Take a house, for example. Imagine it is made of bricks, wood, cement, and so forth. It may be very well constructed, very strong and durable, but it is “composite.” While its components are properly assembled, they take on an appearance and form which is recognized as a “house” and which provides shelter; beyond mere shelter it even may be very comfortable, warm, inviting and beautiful.
Then image a terrible storm, or earthquake. This “takes apart” the house, i.e., it separates or “decomposes” the house into its individual components: a large number of individual bricks, pieces of wood, bits of cement, and so forth. All the components are still there, but in great, unorganized pile. This is no longer a house. All the components are there, but they do not give shelter; to the contrary, the pile may actually be quite dangerous at this point.
So, a house, despite being composed of matter and energy which can neither be created nor destroyed, can itself be destroyed. In fact, all composite things are impermanent. This is a very important point.
One’s body, like a house, is also composite: despite being composed of matter and energy which can neither be created nor destroyed, one’s body can itself be destroyed. One’s body, therefore, is not eternal or immortal. Actually this is a fairly obvious and uncontroversial point, because everyone can directly see bodies, can watch them grow and change over time, and could even see them die and decompose.
Life and Death
In the discussion above comparing houses to bodies, and mentioning the composite and impermanent nature of both, the distinction between inanimate things (such as houses) and living, animate things (such as living human bodies) was ignored. This will be addressed now.
A house is not normally considered to be “alive,” whereas a walking, talking person is. One might be tempted at first to think that the difference between a living and a nonliving thing is “movement;” this would be partially right, but is actually more specific than that. After all, clouds move, water moves, air moves, the planets move about the sun, and the moon moves about the earth. All sorts of things move which we really would not identify as being “alive.” So, movement alone is not life.
Also, there are things, such a plants, for example, which hardly move at all and which are typically considered to be alive. Plants do grow, of course, and so do other types of organisms including human beings, so it might be logical to speculate that perhaps growth is a special type of movement uniquely characteristic of life. But then one realizes that there are other things, like snowflakes, crystals, mountains, and all sorts of things which also grow but which we really would not identify as being “alive.” So even growth is not equivalent with life.
One might then be tempted to abandon the idea of physical movement and instead begin to imagine that something like “mental movement,” or “thinking” is what is characteristic of life. But again, there are many things which don’t show evidence of “thinking” at all, such as plants, bacteria, and other simple organisms, which one does classify as being “alive.”
Actually, this points to a rather important fact: there really is no sharp dividing line between life and non-life. There is no one particular characteristic or attribute, which makes a thing alive. Even the concept of “soul,” or “spirit,” such that “possessing” or “being” a soul or spirit makes a thing alive turns out to be mistaken, as we shall see in the next section. And yet…one makes the distinction between living things and nonliving things all the time. How can this be?
What we identify or think of as living things may actually be thought of as a set of characteristic types of composite assemblies and flows of matter and energy. There is not one particular assembly, and not one particular flow, but a wide range which we identify or think of as being life. It is important to recognize the difference between identifying or thinking of something as being alive on the one hand, and some distinct quality or attribute which actually constitutes life, on the other. There is no such distinct quality or attribute.
Many concepts are like “life,” in that there is no sharp dividing line between that which is identified as being an example of something to which the concept refers and that to which the concept does not refer. Take something as simple as the concept of “chair.” One may think, initially, that one knows exactly what a chair is. “It is a piece of furniture having four legs, a flat upper surface for sitting on, and an upright back piece which allows one to lean one’s body back for comfort.” This, or some similar definition comes immediately to mind when one thinks of a “chair;” however, this definition is lacking in many ways. Some chairs don’t have backs. Some chairs have only three legs. One can use a chainsaw to cut a section of a tree trunk into a comfortable thing for sitting upon. One can sit upon a rock. At this point one might think that a chair is then “anything which one can sit upon.” But is the ground a chair? Is a mat or pillow a chair? And yet, this lack of a true, clear-cut definition does not prevent one from using the term and being understood by others.
The concept of “life” is like this, but even more so. Whereas a chair is an essentially “static” thing, life involves dynamic processes. “Motion” and “growth” have been mentioned, but just like “four legs and a back” are not really adequate for distinguishing all “chairs” from “non-chairs,” so too “motion and growth” are not really adequate for distinguishing life from non-life. To restate something from earlier: What we identify or think of as living things may actually be thought of as a set of characteristic types of composite assemblies and flows of matter and energy. Something is identified as a living human body if it has a set of characteristic types of composite assemblies and flows of matter and energy. If it only only has a set of characteristic types of composite assemblies, but lacks certain characteristic flows of matter and energy, then it would be still be identified as a human body, but dead rather than alive.
Life, or at least that which we identify or think of, is thus a set of certain characteristic flows of matter and energy. That is why the same body can be alive at one time and dead at another. In a healthy, living human body, all of the flows which are characteristic of human life are “flowing well,” i.e., within parameters which are conducive to the continuation of such flow. There is the flow of food into the body, through the digestive system, and eventually back out again as waste. A flow of breath in and out of the lungs, where oxygen is absorbed by the blood and carbon dioxide is released from the blood. This blood flows throughout the body, bringing oxygen and the digested food where it is needed, providing energy and matter which are used to grow and repair one’s cells. There is a flow of electrochemical energy throughout the nervous system, bringing information about the world into one’s brain where it is processed, and sending signals outward to various parts of the body so that they can properly manipulate and react to the environment.
Death, on the other hand, is the cessation of such flow. When a doctor declares someone dead, he or she does not check to see if the body still “has its soul,” but checks to see if all of the flows necessary for life are still present. In fact, different parts of the body can be alive or dead at different times. One can be “brain dead” in which the flows necessary for or characteristic of mental activity have ceased, while other flows (such as blood flow, breathing, etc.) are still present. One can lose limbs, or have other organs fail (and be kept alive via either a machine or transplant producing the necessary flow) in which case those limbs or organs are dead (i.e., their flows have ceased) while the brain and the rest of the person is alive.
So, to state it simply, life is when the flows in question are taking place, and death is when the flows have ceased. Sometimes it is even possible to restart a flow which has ceased, as when someone’s heart is restarted by means of CPR or by electric shock. It is only possible to restart the flows of matter and energy which are identified as life if the underlying composite assemblies required to carry out the flow are still present, i.e., they have not decomposed. Such decomposition takes place in the absence of the flows required to maintain the condition of “life,” but different parts of the body decompose at different rates. Bones, for example, decompose relatively slowly, while the brain decomposes very quickly.
If there were means by which to replace, repair or reassemble decomposed parts then it would be possible to restore the characteristic flows of life, even after some degree of decomposition. For bones and essentially all of the organs of the body other than the brain, such replacement, repair or reassembly can have varying levels of difficulty, but are possible in principle, and the technologies for such things are emerging already. The brain, however, presents rather unique problems, due to its enormous complexity, although in principle these problems are also solvable, and several possible solutions have already been proposed.
Mind, Spirit, and Soul
The terms “mind,” “spirit,” and “soul” can be a bit more difficult to think about and understand than the term “body,” because these refer to something having an intangible quality. A mind cannot be touched, for example. One cannot directly perceive the mind of another person, but can only infer its existence based upon the other person’s behavior. Such intangible things are more difficult for many people to think about and understand than something tangible like a body; thus their thinking regarding such things easily becomes confused or muddled. There is also the further problem that many individuals bring their own emotional prejudices into the analysis (or misanalysis) of these terms: they essentially “want” to find justification for the idea that they and their loved ones will somehow “live on” after the death of their physical bodies, and this prevents them from critically examining these concepts in logical, reality-based ways which might contradict this “wishful thinking.”
We are here, however, not to engage in self-deception, but to very carefully and accurately uncover some basic truths regarding the nature of our existence and reality in general. Knowing and acting upon truths, even if they are truths we “don’t like,” makes us far more effective and powerful in our lives than acting on “wishful thinking.”
Let us first note that the distinction between the terms “mind,” “spirit,” and “soul” is a false distinction. When the usage of these terms is closely examined, it is revealed that they actually refer to exactly the same thing. This will be demonstrated now.
Many people believe in some sort of “life after death.” They believe that, even though the body is dead and the flows which are characteristically identified as “life” have ceased, there is “something” which lives on afterwards. This “something” is typically conceived of as retaining or preserving the person’s memories and thoughts. Memories and thoughts are the province of the mind, therefore it is very specifically the mind which is the aspect of the person which is conjectured to continue after death. The “soul” or “spirit” are essentially just other words for referring to the “mind.”
One has very direct evidence of one’s mind, but no evidence at all of some “extra” thing which could be identified as “soul” or “spirit” which could continue afterwards. References to “souls” or “spirits” are therefore either equivalent to references to “mind” or are references to nonexistent entities. For all these reasons we will tend to use only the term “mind,” to refer to “mind,” “spirit,” and “soul.” (Again, “mind,” “spirit,” and “soul” all refer to the same thing.)
It has been shown above that the body is composite and impermanent, even though it is made of matter and energy which can neither be created nor destroyed; this is fairly obvious. No one would speak of the ashes of a cremated loved one as though those ashes were in any way equivalent to the living person. The composition of the loved one’s body was a temporary, impermanent thing. The matter and energy from which it was composed may continue to exist forever, but the unique composition or form which they took while the person was alive is now gone. No one thinks that the body is immortal, eternal, and indestructible.
What is not necessarily so obvious is that, just like the body, the mind is also composite and impermanent. Yet, what is the mind? Whatever it is, it is exactly correlated with certain flows of matter and energy in the brain. To be even more specific, it is exactly correlated with electrochemical currents which are conducted through the brain along circuits of neurons and synapses, much like common electrical current is conducted along copper wiring. Is it mysterious and marvelous that these electrochemical currents are exactly correlated with our consciousness? Of course it is!
One of the unanswered questions in the study of consciousness is how a flow of “physical stuff,” i.e., matter and energy (specifically electrochemical signals in the brain) can be directly correlated with a flow of “mental stuff,” i.e., thoughts. Another question is whether this correlation between the physical (brain) and the mental (mind) reflects a one-way influence of the physical upon the mental, or if is the other way around, with the mental affecting the physical, or if there is actually a two-way influence between the physical and mental.
While we certainly do have sciences which deal with various aspects of the brain and mind, such as neuroscience and psychology, we do not yet have a “science of the mind” which explains the actual mechanism by which the physical and mental are correlated. (It should be noted, however, that there are many bogus pseudosciences which falsely claim to make just such explanations, typically employing reasoning such as in “A False Conception of Mind, Spirit, or Soul,” earlier in this article.) That said, however, it is possible to make general statements about this mechanism, using the best knowledge of the brain and mind now available, and without relying upon mysticism, pseudoscience, or even just plain “wishful thinking.”
The mechanism behind the correlation between the physical and mental currently can be “explained by analogy.” As an “explanation by analogy,” it is not a description of the exact mechanism by which the physical and mental are correlated, but a comparison of the physical/mental correlation (which is not yet scientifically understood) with another type of correlation (which is scientifically understood quite well). Such explanations by analogy are actually quite common, in fact: for example, it is very common to begin the teaching of electrical theory by comparing electricity to water, the flow of electricity in wires to the flow of water in pipes, the concept of “electrical pressure” (or “voltage”) to the concept of “water pressure,” and so on. This analogy works very well, up to a point, because of certain similarities between the behavior or water and electricity, particularly with regard to determining relationships between electrical voltage, current, and resistance, and the analogous water pressure, current, and “restriction.” Of course, since electricity and water are not the same thing, this analogy can only be accurately carried on so far; it is always important to recognize where any analogy breaks down, i.e., the limits of the analogy.
That said, one can create an “explanation by analogy” for the correlation between the brain (the physical) and mind (the mental) by comparison with the correlation between electricity and magnetism. The analogy is as follows:
It is obvious that the physical affects the mental. In the event of physical damage or of stimulation to some area of the brain, there will be immediately be corresponding damage or activity in the mind. It certainly also seems that the mental can affect the physical. One can simply think about or reflect upon whether one is conscious, and then report the result of this reflection to another, or simply write it down. So, it is fairly obvious that there is a two-way correlation between body and mind.
In much the same way, there is a two-way relationship between electricity, i.e., the flow of electrons in a wire, and magnetism. When there is an electrical current in a wire, a magnetic field is generated around that wire; conversely, when a loop of wire is placed within a moving magnetic field, an electric current is generated in the wire. Thus, electricity generates and affects magnetic fields, and vice versa. Analogously, neural impulses, i.e., electrochemical currents conducted through the brain through neurons and synapses (physical phenomena) seem to generate thoughts (mental phenomena), and vice versa. Thus electricity is analogous to neural impulses, and magnetism is analogous to thought.
This analogy provides a rudimentary model for the visualization of the two-way correlation between the physical and mental, by comparing it with a much more well-know and far less “mysterious” two-way correlation, i.e., between electricity and magnetism. It is important, however, to clearly understand the limits of this (or any other) analogy in order that one does not derive false conclusions from it. One of the obvious limits of this analogy is that, whereas magnetism is a force which extends from its source according to the “Inverse Square Law” of physics, the mind does not appear to extend beyond the brain at all; in other words, a mind’s contents and effects are only directly correlated with the brain from which it arises. One’s thoughts are only directly perceivable to oneself, and one can only “will” oneself to move one’s own body, but cannot will someone else’s body or even some inanimate object to move. (This is why it can be so entertaining when legitimate stage magicians as well as just plain charlatans do “tricks” which make it seem as though they are “reading” the mind of another, or making an object move or float “by magic.” It should be obvious that these are just “tricks:” after all, no one ever really believes that a magician has actually “sawed a lady in half,” for example.)
The analogy presented also doesn’t really explain why there is any correlation between the physical and mental, or even why anything mental exists at all. In the case of electricity and magnetism, on the other hand, this is well understood by physicists; in fact, electricity and magnetism are so intertwined that they are often referred to jointly by the single term “electromagnetism.” What initially seem to be two completely separate types of effects or phenomena, i.e., electrical and magnetic, are now well understood as simply two manifestations of a single “electromagnetic field,” or simply “electromagnetism.”
This has happened a number of times in physics: two phenomena once seen as completely distinct and essentially unrelated are eventually recognized as merely two different aspects of a single, underlying phenomena. Thus one may now speak of space-time, rather than of space and time, or of mass-energy rather than of mass and energy, or as we have seen, of electromagnetism rather than of electricity and magnetism. It is actually quite possible (and even probable) that the time will come when there is a very firm scientific basis for speaking of “physico-mental,” or perhaps of “psycho-physical” processes, in recognition of the undeniable correlation between (at least some) physical phenomena and mental phenomena. (Since “psycho-physical” seems to “roll off the tongue” a bit easier, we’ll stick with that term for the remainder of this article.)
The hypothesis of the psycho-physical nature of the universe is actually quite well founded, but the scientific and mathematical details need to be worked out. (There has been quite a bit of speculation, for example, that quantum mechanics may be an essential component of the psycho-physical nature of reality. We will examine one such hypothesis a bit later in this article.) One major reason for the lack of a firm scientific psycho-physical theory is the absolutely enormous complexity of the brain. Other phenomena are very well understood precisely because they are comparatively simple in relation to the sheer complexity of brains. Even such phenomena as general relativity and quantum mechanics which can seem so complex, confusing, or even downright mysterious are actually much simpler and much more easy to mathematically model than a brain. (Even something as seemingly mundane as meteorological phenomena, i.e., the weather, is far more complex and harder to mathematically model than many relativistic and quantum mechanical phenomena. The brain, in turn, is very many orders of magnitude more complex than that.)
We live in an age, however, where we finally have a tool which allows for the analysis of extremely complex data at truly superhuman speeds: of course, this refers to the computer. Thus it is that a final understanding of the “computers” carried within each human head may very well come from the computers they create!
The psycho-physical hypothesis does leave certain questions unanswered. One of the most prominent is whether, strictly speaking, mind or consciousness is only present in certain physical systems (such as brains) or whether there is a sort of universal “proto-consciousness” which is present within many or perhaps even all physical systems. Such proto-consciousness would be an extremely limited form of consciousness or a form of nascent consciousness, simply reflecting the immediate present state of the physical system to which it is correlated. There would be nothing at all like introspection, planning, or any type of “thought” at all in the way we understand it.
The reason that this nascent or proto-consciousness would remain at such an extremely low level in most physical systems, but would develop into recognizable minds within living organisms, may well be due, at least in part, to the fantastic complexity and unifying organization of living organisms in general, and of brains in particular. (On earth, such complex unifying organization has reached its highest form in human brains, as evidenced by the unmatched conceptual abilities of humans.) Non-living physical systems do not possess the requisite complex unifying organization necessary for the proto-consciousness of the various parts to combine in any meaningful way which would provide for the emergence of “mind.” In non-living systems the various parts tend to be “connected,” or to affect or “relate” to one another, in very simple ways. The individual atoms, molecules and larger parts simply act as separate mechanical parts, simply “pushing” or “pulling” on one another in an essentially mechanically fashion, and don’t really contribute to any higher level of complex unifying organization.
In the physical structure of a biological organism, the vast majority of the parts are also connected, or affect or relate to one another, in essentially the same simple “mechanical” fashion as in non-living systems. The big difference, however, is that there are certain aspects of biological systems in which the various component parts do begin to “work together” such that they begin to participate in or form a more unified complex organization. In other words, while the component parts are still individually involved simply mechanically “pushing” and “pulling” their neighbors, there is a unifying complex organization to these parts such that the system as a whole is able to combine information about the various parts of the system into a greater, integrated whole. The most obvious example of this type of unified complex organization in biological organisms would be nervous systems and brains.
(The following two paragraphs deal with quantum mechanics, a rather complex area of physics which many people are unfamiliar with. Quantum mechanics is beyond the scope of this article. Interested persons are invited to investigate quantum mechanics in general, and specifically the “Penrose-Hameroff Orch-OR” described herein, on their own.)
There may well also be other factors which contribute to the consciousness of biological organisms, even beyond, or more precisely, in conjunction with, their unifying complex organization. The great physicist Roger Penrose, for example, has proposed that consciousness arises whenever any physical system undergoes “objective reduction” of quantum superposition. These moments of objective reduction would be associated with (and would be essentially equivalent to) an instant of consciousness or of “choice.” For non-living physical systems such moments would be very simple in terms of informational content because of the relative simplicity of non-living physical systems in comparison with the complexity of living organisms. Such conscious moments within non-living systems would thus be more properly classified as proto-conscious moments, due to this limited informational content. Conscious moments within living organisms would tend to be far more informationally rich than the proto-conscious moments experienced by non-living systems, due to the vastly greater complexity of living organisms.
Penrose hypothesized that living organisms (and specifically brains) somehow control or “orchestrate” the objective reduction occurring within them; Penrose called this hypothetical process within living organisms “orchestrated objective reduction,” or “Orch-OR.” When Penrose initially developed and proposed this hypothesis he had not identified (and was not yet aware of) specific structures within the brain which would allow for quantum objective reduction (or Orch-OR) to take place. Stuart Hameroff, an anesthesiologist, upon learning of Penrose’s hypothesis, suggested that tubulin microtubules, located within neurons (and in fact throughout all eukaryotic cells) would provide a suitable candidate as a physical structure within which quantum objective reduction could indeed take place. The Penrose-Hameroff hypothesis has not yet been fully experimentally confirmed and remains controversial, and many of the details still need to be worked out, but as more evidence has become available Orch-OR is gaining support as a viable hypothesis as the specific mechanism for consciousness, and for the psycho-physical nature of reality.
It is well-understood and easily observed and confirmed that the human body is composite and impermanent, despite the fact that it is composed of matter and energy, and that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but can merely be transformed from one form to another. It is precisely because all things are composite, and because that from which they are composed can be transformed from one form to another that they are impermanent. An egg, once broken, cannot be restored to its original state: although no matter or energy has been destroyed, the original form of the egg as a whole, unbroken unit has been transformed into an essentially irreparable, broken mess. Going further, once an egg has been cooked, it cannot be uncooked: although no matter or energy has been destroyed, irreversible changes within the proteins of the egg have taken place. Going even further, once eaten and digested, it cannot be uneaten or undigested. In other words, the matter and energy from which an egg is composed may not be destroyed, but an egg can certainly be transformed into something which is definitely not an egg.
Many individuals have a hard time understanding or accepting that mind is also composite and impermanent in nature. Due to the psycho-physical nature of reality (and whether or not Penrose-Hameroff Orch-OR turns out to be the exact mechanism of consciousness) mind is inextricably linked with matter. Mind is not some form of “energy” which exists independently of matter, but is completely dependent upon matter for its very existence. When the matter (or more specifically the brain) upon which a mind’s existence depends ceases to exist or to function, the mind ceases to exist.
Beyond the Conclusion: Beyond Death
That said, however, there may well be technological means for preserving one’s mind beyond the death of one’s body. Because the mind depends upon matter, it would only be necessary to preserve pertinent information about the structure of the matter upon which the mind depends; in this case, pertinent information about the structure of one’s brain. This “preserving” could take the form of a careful freezing of one’s head upon death, or it could take the form of a very sophisticated “brain scan” performed at some point while the person where alive.
To restore a mind from its preserved state would require either “unfreezing” one’s brain and repairing any damage it might have undergone, as well as providing an environment (such as a cloned body, or even a very technologically advanced non-biological body, with all the senses and capabilities of a human body, and none of the frailties) in which it could again live, or it would require constructing a new brain (even perhaps a non-biological brain which preserved or featured those structures – such as tubulin microtubules, for example – upon which consciousness is dependent) from the “brain scan” taken while one was alive. Strictly speaking, it would not even be necessary to put a non-biologically reconstructed brain into a body, although that would still be possible if desired: it would be entirely possible for such a brain to be connected to, or to be part of, an ultra-realistic computer-simulated virtual reality, where even one’s body was simulated. Furthermore, if one’s brain were housed in an appropriately designed non-biological body it would also be possible to switch at will between experiencing the external world through the interface of the body, and between any number of various simulated realities.
These simulated realities could offer experiences impossible in “normal” reality. One could experience every fantasy one ever had – and would have eternity to dream up new ones! One could “own” certain realities, where one could essentially have god-like abilities and control, and one could visit realities “owned” by loved-ones one has known during biological life who have also been preserved. One could also choose to “share” realities with others of one’s choosing, essentially “jointly-owning” them, and molding them together. The possibilities are as limitless as human imagination itself.
Many religions offer the hope of some form of afterlife. These are all based upon non-scientific, mystical, “wishful thinking,” rather than reality. There is no “spirit” or “soul” apart from the mind, and there is no mind apart from the body – or at least some type of physical “substrate” for the mind. Religions offer non-existent, false “heavens” to non-existent, false “souls.” Yet it is science and human ingenuity which will ultimately provide true immortality and the possibility of a true paradise to human beings.
Traditional religions, when they are examined in the clear light of reason, offer only death. Science and human ingenuity will ultimately defeat death, and replace it with an ever-expanding, glorious, eternal life.
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