More Philosophical Worries

Right now those worries just keep popping up. I don’t get so scared I want to commit suicide, but it’s, well, scary. There are a lot of questions, most of them the same.

Firstly, what comes after death?

After around a month of off-on thinking, my best answer so far is “I have no damned idea.” And it’s true. Chances are good it’s simply annihilation, but I simply have no a priori way of guessing what the chances are. After all, it is or it isn’t. Sometimes the idea of a heaven or God or place simply hovering out there seems ridiculous, but sometimes it seems natural. Here’s another problem: my reasoning and emotions are so fragile and fallible I have no idea which part is logical, which part is emotional, and which part is clinical depression messing with me.

So yes, I have no idea what comes after death, and thinking about it drives me nuts. Thinking about all of these issues, actually. But it’s like an itch that won’t go away; I can’t stop thinking, fantasizing, and going in circles about them.

Secondly, does God exist?

To this, my answer is also “I have no damned idea”, though I still faintly think it’s more likely that a deity exists. My religion as I see it right now is something of a hard agnostic theist. Thought experiment: if you had godly powers and senses but retained all your human and fallible emotions, and the rest of the universe was destroyed by some unknown force, leaving you hanging there, what would you want most?

Love? Acceptance? Riding a 720-degree roller coaster? No, seriously, your body is gone and there’s no such thing as adrenaline anymore. Unless you were to create it. But you can’t shut down your senses.

Anyway, I would have a lot of fun, but in the end I’d still want some people to respect and love me, and–important–willingly. Not like a magically induced spell.

Heck, maybe that’s all God ever wanted. And presto, we’ve solved the problem of evil. I never even mentioned it. Why are people evil? Why do evil people exist?

Next, what is the meaning of life? Indeed, after the universe implodes, everybody’s the same: dead, failing to exist. So nihilism, the doctrine that nothing really matters, isn’t wrong.

After thinking a lot, I’ve decided you can’t really be wrong about meaning. Meaningfulness is so fragile and subjective and dependent that anything you say about it would probably be not only true, but obviously tautological. And besides, if nothing matters, why not pretend that something does matter? It’s not like it matters. Heh. Still, I don’t feel much less afraid. I don’t really know what to do.

Finally, why does something exist rather than nothing? Again, I have no damned idea. It’s like if you were shown a photo of a cubical die on a table, with a circle on top. Why was it a circle? It could have been a triangle or rectangle or octagon or 7,3 star. You don’t even know what’s on the other faces of the die. Well, too bad. You’ll have to live with it. Still, it’s an awe-inspiring idea. It’s extremely difficult to imagine a world with nothing.

I have my own private theory: suppose that there is nothing most of the time, except on average once in twenty nonillion seconds, a particle and an anti-particle appear out of nowhere, but quickly annihilate each other. Once in every twenty nonillion to the nonillionth power seconds, one nonillion particles and one nonillion anti-particles appear very close to each other, and boom! The world exists.

But of course that was random. And I’m still worried.

Finally, finally, I have a fear of eternity. How could one live forever like that? Soon you would run out of things to learn, math problems, emails, whatever! Imagine your day going on and on and on, until after the universe had imploded, and even further. It’s scary. Wouldn’t that get boring?

My only answer to that is, things that seem scary aren’t always that way. Besides, there’ll be a God if eternity really happens. Actually you don’t even know if time exists in heaven. We’d be used to it, but maybe there’s an absolutely mind-boggling set of physical-ish rules that allow change and conscious decision without time. I have no idea. I have no damned idea. Same old, same old.

Yes, I think this post has made me feel better, but right now my life is a bit of a wreck nonetheless. I have something like 10 hours of homework. Procrastinate, procrastinate.

Add-on: fear of eternity, or more generally fear of infinity, is called apeirophobia, and evidently I’m not alone in this predicament. In fact others have it worse than I do. But I feel a lot better. If there is a heaven, all of my fears will be gone, I expect, in some way that if explained to me now I would think completely preposterously crankish.


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