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Month: March, 2012

Heaven and reason, or Thoughts of a Dying Atheist

Sometimes I wish heaven was real.

For all its flaws, The Invention of Lying did give us an incredibly moving scene. With his mother about to die and lamenting the eternity of nothingness that awaited her, Mark Bellison begins to realise that his (heretofore unheard of) ability to lie can be used for good. Instead of letting her die in such a sad state, he tells her that everything is going to be fine; she will go to a place where she will see all of her old friends, where everybody gets a mansion and there is no such thing as pain. Her dying thoughts are of absolute joy. What a gift.

For those who’ve seen it, you’ll probably agree that the film kind of goes off the rails a little bit here with too many contrivances and shoe-horned messages (which I endorse but not in such a forced way). Nonetheless it shows us a portal into the inherent problem of facing non-existence. Read the rest of this entry »


Is this a cliche I see before me? Your classic existential crisis

I’m going to die.

I’m scared of death.

I feel like I’m getting as close to understanding that as I ever will. But of course that’s nonsense. I’m 22, in good health, and in no immediate danger. Most likely estimates would say that I have another 50 years to go at least. But then, in fifty years will I really feel this scared of death? Will it by its very proximity make it scarier, or easier to contemplate? I have young person’s solipsism: I have my entire life ahead of me, and an ocean of potential, so anything less than fulfilment isn’t good enough. Maybe that’s why I fear death. The loss of opportunity, the death of chance and possibility and experience. Read the rest of this entry »

A coherent self?

In our lives, everything we ever read is something which has been thought over, which has been crafted, which has by and large gone through several versions before it meets our eye. When we speak to others, even the most mumbly confused of people, we get some semblance of thought, of some whole, some self. Even when we in turn write something down or speak to another person, somehow something happens where, as if from a galaxy of disparate sources, an actual idea forms. We don’t run these things through meticulously before we speak. At least I don’t. Tell me you don’t either. As the man said, how can I tell you what I think until I’ve heard what I have to say?

The effect that this has on our sense of self is quite profound. It makes us think that the self is real, that it is something within and amongst us and which is the essential whole, such as that speaking to you now. This is of course nonsense. A person is only a sum of their actions, and the self a crude collage of thoughts, responses and learned behaviours. It’s not something we like to hear, but it might just be the truest theory we have for now. Read the rest of this entry »

The blog

This blog will be very occasional thoughts on the nature of consciousness, life, death, god, the self, the mind, all that sort of stuff. They’ll most certainly be as incoherent as my sporadic ideas and be filled with all kinds of vulgar naiveties.

Please feel free to dip in and out as you like, you might find something that interests you.