Questions to ponder on annihilation

  1. Who are you and approximately how long do you think you will be remembered?
  2. How do you know when others are “gone”? How will they know when you are?
  3. Is our current medical determination of death – “brain death” – both a necessary and sufficient description of human death? 
  4. Let us consider a few possible routes we may take after death:
    1. We are reborn into the exact same body and live the exact same life;
    2. We slumber in the grave awaiting the return of a messiah, possibly with violence against good evil;
    3. We live, we die, we live again;
    4. We join the gods in Valhalla;
    5. We disappear into nothingness.
      How would each affect us in life if true?
  5. If oblivion awaits, why mind the fleeting present moment? Why recall the days that disappear as a vapor into the fog of “history”?
  6. One day, the final human being will live and (presumably) perish. Will there be anyone there to watch? What do you think follows? 
  7. Testoni et al. (2015) report they  analyzed the correlation between Testoni Death Representation Scale and Beck Hopelessness Scale, Suicide Resilience Inventory-25, and Reasons for Living Inventory. The results confirm the hypothesis, showing that the representation of death as total annihilation is positively correlated to hopelessness and negatively correlated to resilience.” Given the professional responsibilities of healthcare workers, do they have a corresponding moral obligation to present (at least to possibly dying patients) “positive” views of death?
  8. We will mostly be nonexistent. Whether it is before we’ve arrived or after we’ve left, what surrounds the “being” of every human is a lot of “nonbeing”. Why do you think that scares (some of) us?
  9. The mystery no one knows / where does love go when it goes?
  10. Some hold “selflessness” as a virtue. Transcending the self is intrinsic to many religions. Staring out into the darkness of space can bring about a sense of the numinous. What is it about brushes with self-annihilation that bring about meaningful senses of being?
  11. One day, when we’re long gone, our social media profiles may carry on on servers we’ll never see or agree to. Is this a memorial of us? Can/Should it keep on living without us? (Consider Herman Cain’s Twitter still tweeting long after he took his final breath.)
  12. Of all the times people have predicted the end of the world, who do you think has come the closest? Care to wager when you think the world will end?
  13. Who do you think will be the last person to think of you? (Now’s perhaps your only chance to think of them!)