Sorry if this news ruins your day, but… you are going to die.
One of the differences between human beings and other animals is that from a young age we know that we’re going to die, which, as Community’s Professor Duncan tells us, results in “something.”
What is that something, though? Throughout history there have been many different theories from a wide array of people, including scientists, religious leaders and everyone in between. Many of these theories involve some type of afterlife. Stories of heaven or some existence after this one is meant to comfort people because death is terrifying to most of us. Such fears mainly stem from the fear of the unknown. People want to know what’s in the great abyss that will consume them and everyone they love.
Can you blame them?
With advancements in computers and physics, there have been some new mind blowing theories about what reality and consciousness really are, however. Taking that new information, philosophers have been coming up with new ideas as to what will happen when we take to the big sleep… if life really exists and you were really alive in the first place, that is.
Here are 10 theories that may settle or exacerbate those fears about the unknown…
10. You’ll Be Excreted
One theory that has been around for decades is that the universe is actually just a giant brain. It could be just one brain in one being, or the universe could be a brain in a vat, surrounded by other brains. That would make our solar system similar to a brain cell, making us an insignificant speck to the brain. Everything in human history is nothing more than a microscopic blip in the grand scheme of things.
What does it matter what death means on that scale? Well, since it’s an integral part of our life, it is important to humans to understand.
What happens if we are just part of a brain? Well, the same thing that happens with dead cells, humans excrete them through the waste we create. So, once you die, your consciousness would be used up and then pushed out of the universe, into wherever the Universe puts its waste. Where or what is that? Well, that’s just too mind boggling (and possibly too depressing) to contemplate.
9. You Re-Enter The Cosmic Consciousness
One question that is important to look at is what is life, really? We know we are alive and we process everything through our mind using about 20 watts of power, which isn’t even enough wattage to power most light bulbs. Yet, everything we experience through every sense is computed there. It’s quite a remarkable feat in biology. But where does the consciousness come from and where does it go after death?
With Sir Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff’s theory called Orchestrated Objective Reduction, they believe that consciousness comes from finer scale quantum activities from inside brain cells. This means that some activity deep inside cells in our brain created our consciousness and those activities stem from, what they call “The Universe’s Consciousness.”
As a result, everything in the whole universe is connected through that consciousness. So when you die, your consciousness just returns to the cosmic fiber. It’s like the consciousness of the Universe is the ocean, and your life is a wave. It’s on land for a short time, but eventually it rolls back into the water. So when you die, your mind just enters back into the Universe’s consciousness where it could stay indefinitely or it could be rolled out again.
8. Being Human Was Just One Level
Reincarnation is a concept that once you die, the soul moves on to another body. It’s one of the main beliefs in Indian and Eastern religions, making it a well-known theory of what happens after death.
Where it gets a little bit weirder is that, when these theories were first put forth, humans had no idea how complex and mysterious the universe really is. What if your consciousness does leave your body and moves somewhere else in the Universe? What if it moved along and you became something much more cosmic?
If you take into consideration orchestrated objective reduction from entry #9, your consciousness could be out there somewhere and be used again, for anything. Your next life you could be literally anything in the entire universe. You could be reincarnated as another human, a tentacled alien, or a conscious ocean that covers an entire planet or even something that the human mind can’t grasp or understand. What you could become after death is limitless.
7. The Universe Ends
Can you prove the world and the Universe exists? The simple argument is you can just point around to things that exist, thus proving their existence. However, in the philosophy of Solaqlism, nothing outside your mind exists. Everything you see, hear and experience is all real to you, but you can’t prove that other people exist.
One argument against this theory is that the world is too big and complex just to exist in our own head. However, it may not be as complex as you think. Let’s use the Grand Theft Auto series as an example of how this would be feasible. When you are in a specific location in the game, everything is there and visible. However, when you’re not in a location, that part of the world disappears. It only comes up when it’s necessary, making your own universe less complex.
Regardless of how the Universe was created, the question arises as to what happens when you, the only person in the Universe dies? Well, sadly the Universe comes to an end. Everyone you know and love will cease to exist. Everything you worked for and achieved will disappear the instant you die. On the bright side, you will be master of the Universe while you’re alive.
6. Life Starts Over Again
Ever get the feeling of déjà vu? Well, what if your whole life was déjà vu? Life could just be a certain amount of time repeating over and over again. Now, there are two different ways this could play out, the first is that your life is a movie that is set on repeat. Once it comes to the end, it simply starts over again. However, one danger is something like a repeating “timequake,” where life is like a DVD with a scratch on it. It just keeps repeating and never gets off that short loop. That short loop in our life could be anywhere from a few seconds, to dozens of years, but we never reach death. We get to a certain point and we restart living our life from there, but we would never get any further, so we would never die.
Another, more hopeful theory is that life could repeat but we’d have more control over it. So it’s more like the movie Groundhog Day, except that it’s your life and it starts over when you die and you’re not aware you are repeating time. This time you have different opportunities and maybe you won’t make the same mistakes you made last time and try to live a different life.
5. The Dreamer Wakes Up
While it may sound like something out of an 80s sitcom, it’s quite possible that life was really just a dream.
One possible way that your life could be a dream is that your “real” body is in a state of suspended animation. This could be for a variety of different reasons – you’re on an intergalactic space journey or you chose to be suspended to wake up in the future. The dream sequence is just something to keep your mind active and avoid deterioration. Then the question arises, why would anyone want to choose your boring, mundane existence to live in? Perhaps your dream/life is boring and mundane so it won’t shock you into waking up, but it’s interesting enough to keep your mind active while you are asleep. Therefore, when you “die” or when this reality comes to an end, the real consciousness takes over. What happens when that consciousness dies? Well, that is impossible to guess because your body may not even be human, which leads to another way that life is only a dream.
A different example of how this could work, is that your consciousness could just be the dreams of a higher being. For example, in our dreams they are kind of life-like, but there is a lot of really random stuff thrown into it. This theory is that the dreams are that of a higher being with minds that are so well constructed and defined that they are able to create our reality, just through their dreams. The end of our life is them waking up and then the next time they dream up a whole new consciousness and live a different life. How death would work here, is that let’s say you die suddenly or unexpectedly, like a brain aneurysm or some violent death, that is just a dream being cut short. The dreamer would be shocked out of their dream, much like you are when something like that happens in your own dreams.
You may be thinking this is a load of BS because your consciousness and the world are too complex to just be a dream. However, famed physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson made an excellent (but also terrifying) revelation in a recorded conversation. He pointed out that Our DNA is 2% different than chimpanzees and look how vastly different we are from them. What if a being was 10% or 20% different from us in the same way we’re different from chimps. Then, maybe with that type of brain power, they can create our reality just through their dreams.
4. You Get Reprogrammed
Simulation theory is pretty much what it sounds like; life is just a computer simulation. Now, this can work in two different ways, one way is that your consciousness is programmed and life is like a first-person shooter. The other way it could be a simulation is a historical simulator, creating everything in the world, including our individual consciousnesses. Think of it as Sid Meier’s Civilization or The Sims, but incredibly realistic and we are just characters in the game.
If the simulation is just of your consciousness, when you die, the simulation comes to an end and whoever is running it continues on with whatever they’re doing. Or you could have a new simulation start again, either you re-living your life or you could be put into a completely different time and place. It all depends on what the person running the simulator wants.
If it is a historical simulator, a few things could happen. First is that the data that makes up who you are can be written back into the matrix and you could be reincarnated as a way to save and use data and memory effectively. Or for whatever reason, your life could be re-started again at another point in the history simulator.
An interesting aspect about death in a simulation is that anything could happen. The simulation already has the code that created you, so it can do anything it wants with you. You can be re-programmed to go anywhere and to do anything after you die. All they have to do is input your data into the environment.
The second aspect, which is a bit more terrifying is that the simulation could start and stop at any time. The simulation could have been started the last time you closed your eyes. All your memories were just written in and you think they were real. It could also stop the next time you blink your eyes, meaning you’ll never die. You’ll just hang in cyberspace limbo until they restart the simulation; if they choose to restart the simulation at all.
3. Death Is An Illusion
Humans have a unique perspective when it comes to dealing with time. Unlike other beings on Earth (and perhaps other beings, not on Earth), we are aware of time and how it passes, second by second, day by day. It’s a linear process that only moves forward.
However, that is just how we perceive time. Time is a human creation and the rest of the Universe may not work that way. Instead, everything that has already happened and will happen exists somewhere, we just can’t see it. Think of reality as a film strip and consciousness as the light that makes the picture appear on the screen. When a frame isn’t in front of the light, it doesn’t mean that the frame doesn’t exist anymore, we just can’t see it. Time and reality work the same way, just because we can’t see the past or the future does not mean they don’t exist.
What does that mean for death? Well, it is an illusion because you never really die. You always exist in those frames, it’s just you and other humans are unaware of it because of the way we perceive time.
One scientific theory that supports death is an illusion is Biocentrism. Biocentrism is the theory that the world is created more in our head than it really exists. Our brain uses 20 watts of energy, but yet it takes in so much information and creates what we think is reality. Time is just a tool we use to process all that information, but it does not really exist. Going back to the filmstrip analogy, reality is a stack of individual micro-second frames and in order to comprehend them our minds string them together and view them individually.
Therefore, we never really die because we always exist on some frame… just outside of our consciousness.
2. You Are Already Dead
According to this theory, your life is already over. Terribly sad, isn’t it?
One way this works is being the opposite of the prior entry about death being an illusion, because you are both alive and dead, just on different frames.
Another possible theory about you already being dead, is that for some reason your life needs to be reviewed. This could be done for a few different reasons, for example, your life may have been reconstructed in a simulator because the people of the future are looking to solve a problem and need historical information. Or you are part of a bigger simulation of the past, in order to solve a mystery or just for fun observation. Life could just be a recreation of the past and you could have been dead for centuries or even millenniums.
A different way to look at this is it could go back to the idea of Biocentrism and how we interpret the world. It’s possible that we don’t fully compute life until the time of death. Death starts the process that makes us experience our life. It’s like writing instructions on a computer and hitting the “enter” key, then the command processes; death is just like hitting the enter key. We may have already collected information on life, but we don’t fully experience everything until the death process happens. This process could seem like a lifetime for us, but it could only happen in a millisecond.
1. Anything Is Possible
One thing about death is that we don’t really know for sure what happens, meaning anything is possible. In the multiverse theory, there is the idea that there is an infinite amount of realities and in those infinite realities, anything could happen. Therefore, there is a universe where we are reincarnated, another one where we go to heaven, another one where we rise up as zombies and so on. We really don’t know what universe we’re in until we cross that great divide.
While it may not be the most satisfying answer, it is the most likely one. The crazy thing is, there doesn’t have to be just one specific death process and afterlife for everyone. It could be completely different for every individual. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say an individual believes that Heaven exists, when the body dies, the consciousness enters what they believe is heaven. Or their mind thinks it is, either by being their final moments of consciousness or their soul literally going through the pearly gates. Due to the infinite amount of possibilities in the multiverse theory, anything could happen.
And we probably won’t know until we can’t come back.
Like this article? What do you think happens when we bite the dust? Let us know in the comments section below.