What happens when you die: Non-religious theories

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  1. ArockDaNinja profile image70
    ArockDaNinjaposted 12 years ago

    I've read about many different theories about death and what happens. It is the main question that is in the back of everyone's mind. It's very difficult to picture it or to question the point of existence. The fact that we are here is a miracle in itself, who says that some sort of afterlife isn't possible?

    1. Slarty O'Brian profile image82
      Slarty O'Brianposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      From a non-religious perspective it doesn't seem likely. From what we know of nature things are recycled.

      From a physics perspective energy can not be created or destroyed. So since all we are is energy, we will go on for ever. But, and this is the big one, that energy is recycled not whole into a new system. It is dissipated and merges with many new or existing systems.

      Nothing hangs together, in other words. Energy is always leaving us and we are bringing new energy in. So in a sense our dissipation is happening all the time.

      So for the self or consciousness to survive death, self or consciousness would have to be separate from the body. There is no evidence of that. No evidence of a soul, in other words.

      The concept itself is not well defined. No one knows what it is supposed to be if not energy, when it gets in our body or how. Nothing is known about the soul and yet so many believe they have one.

      We may, I suppose. But I do not hold a belief that says we do. For me to even consider it a possibility I would have to see a mechanism to show that it is even possible.

      So when the lights go out it is likely over, as far as I am concerned. I'm fine with that. I find more value in life personally knowing it is probably finite and unique. If there is no end to the I then life is cheap and death just another stage of life. Who cares?

      So if all this energy that was once us has our experience imprinted on it then it is possible we might in some way influence life for ever in some way. But that too is speculation and wouldn't count as living after death by many people.

      So is it possible that there is life after death? Yes. But many things are possible. Fewer things are plausible. To determine whether it is plausible would mean getting a working theory on what soul actually is supposed to be. So far no one can tell me.

      Fewer things still are probable. For me to say life after death is probable I have to know souls are plausible and that once tested for they seem to have been found.

      So unless some new information comes in, the rational opinion to have is that probably when the lights go out it's over. No one gets out of here alive.

      1. ArockDaNinja profile image70
        ArockDaNinjaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        So you think it just goes back to what it was like for us before we were born, and out bodies just go back to the Earth.

        1. Slarty O'Brian profile image82
          Slarty O'Brianposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Well yes. But we don't go back to anything. We never left it. wink

    2. ArockDaNinja profile image70
      ArockDaNinjaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I guess a better question, which would probably answer ALL questions, is why are we here? What is energy and matter, where did it come from, what contains our universe? When I start asking myself these questions, I start to scare myself. It's a place my brain isn't meant to go. Think... what if you could catch up to the EDGE of ever expanding universe, and take a step outside. What's there? More nothing? A wall? Ahhhhh!!!!

    3. Paul Wingert profile image61
      Paul Wingertposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      All kinds of things happen after you die. It just doesn't concern you!

  2. oldhorse profile image61
    oldhorseposted 12 years ago

    I think the biosphere is a hostile environment for something that is made of mostly hydrocarbons.  Evolution has given our bodies a bunch of defenses against this environment, but when we die, these mechanisms cease to function, and we start to rot; earth to earth, dust to dust.

    1. ArockDaNinja profile image70
      ArockDaNinjaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      With that said, I'm assuming you don't believe in a survival of consciousness. It's difficult to believe that my brain is 100% responsible for all my emotions and actions. Humans are so different from all other life on Earth. Would it be too far fetched to believe that our bodies are some sort of maturing pod? What if we blossom when we die, like a butterfly from a cocoon. Into some sort of extra-dimensional being.

      1. oldhorse profile image61
        oldhorseposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I assume that the simplest explanation is the most likely; no brain function, no consciousness.

        1. Slarty O'Brian profile image82
          Slarty O'Brianposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          exactly. Nothing to keep a consciousness together,

  3. earnestshub profile image82
    earnestshubposted 12 years ago

    The worms have a right to eat too ya know! smile

    1. ArockDaNinja profile image70
      ArockDaNinjaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I guess hooking them to catch fish is some sort of bad karma.

      1. earnestshub profile image82
        earnestshubposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I admit to drowning a whole mess of em!
        I figure they are going to have the last laugh though! lol

  4. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 12 years ago

    I think the physical death is little more than the end of the illusion of reality. I believe our spiritual self will be reabsorbed, just as our physical bodies will eventually return to the earth.

    They say energy is eternal. It can't be created or destroyed.

    1. Darrell Roberts profile image70
      Darrell Robertsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I find the fact that we exist fascinating, konwing that we are "alive" is indeed a miracle.  Physical death is inevitable, an to be honest, it it pointless to think about Death unless you believe in an after life.  This is the reason why, If when I die that was the end then I would do what I want here and not and fear no penalty, nor seek no reward.

      I do believe in the after planet Earth. I am moving on to a different world. What I do here and now will influence where I go and the new set up or illusion as some people call the material world. 

      My question is who is going to tell me when I am dead.  I would have to be conscious to engage any other being in any realm.  Consciousness is the key. I do not think anyone person could tell another person what wll happen when they die, because everyone has their own journey and destiny to fulfill. 
      For me, my friend I plan on leaving this planet never to return once I die.  I wish you the best.

  5. relache profile image69
    relacheposted 12 years ago

    How come you wanted this thread to be about non-religious theories, and then you keep posting statements about afterlives or bursting into extra-dimensional beings, which are religious theories?

    1. catsimmons profile image80
      catsimmonsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      you don't have to be religious to be spiritual...time to read the Celestene

    2. profile image0
      Emile Rposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I suppose it all depends on how you define religious.  I think, the OP was referring to ideas outside of the monotheistic faiths.  Because, seriously, how many different ways can you say nothing?

      1. Slarty O'Brian profile image82
        Slarty O'Brianposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Good point. lol...

  6. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 12 years ago


  7. Alastar Packer profile image70
    Alastar Packerposted 12 years ago

    Hi Slarty. You know your stuff my friend. Let me pose this question to you. Is there anything in Quantum Science including any new theories that would allow the energy to enter, say, a fine matter field after the host vehicle has expired; and then be re-introduced at some point back into a new bio-machine changed, but with the core energy intact?

    1. Slarty O'Brian profile image82
      Slarty O'Brianposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      There may be. I don't know. Have you heard of such a theory? If so I would be grateful if you point me to it.

      Some have proposed a standing wave, but they are hard to produce and never last long. Such a process would have to be common and natural to the point of following, if you get what I mean. Like when you cut down a tree it falls to the ground.

      That kind of mechanism has yet to be shown for a soul naturally resulting from death. One would think all things would then have that mechanism built in, not just humans.

      Look, we are being reincarnated all the time every day. We lose energy which is merged with other systems. Death is just a continuation of this trend without the ability for the system to replenish it's energy supply. Thus all the rest of the energy moves off in all directions splitting up and becoming part of other systems through the food chain or even through breathing and osmosis.

      The question I have is whether or not we write our history on the atoms that are part of us. If we do then thing like feelings of having been somewhere before could be our brains reading the energy we take in and making it part of it's own experience.

      So really we would never have been there before but part of us might have been.

      This is just a question, I am not putting it forward as being the way things work. But it is possible.

      It is also possible to write emotions on material like walls or rock etc. This is an actual theory of at least some hauntings.  The brain can play back the recoded emotional data because another brain encoded it. Some people would be better at it than others.

      I've had some experience with this one and include the story in one of my books. To me the most logical explanation for my experience is that kind of emotion recording.

      The problem with consciousness and self awareness is that it requires a physical memory. No memory, no I, because no continuity.

      There may be a basic awareness or potential in all energy/matter. That is debatable but there is some evidence for it. However without a physical memory I see no way to turn it into consciousness. 

      Anyway, I see no point to the I staying in tact for eternity. I don't think we are the pinnacle of natural evolution or any where near.

      All things are connected because there is nothing but one substance in variegated form.

      Hegel had an idea that I kind of like because I thought of it independently and was surprised he had thought of it before me. That is that nature seems to be tending toward forming a perfection or perfect balance.

      Were it to succeed, which is something I don't think is possible,  then we would be making god or the god state rather than that we were created by one.

      That would mean that we are all just doing what nature intends and making actual all possible variables. We are the problems that need to be solved before there can be a god.

      To give up oneself willingly to that process then is probably a higher calling then just wanting to make an existing go happy. lol..

      Again, this is all speculation and taking a tendency to it's absolute limit. I'm not suggesting it is fact.

      So my answer is always, I don't know. But all I can rely on are facts,. So if I wake up dead I will deal with that. However I do not expect any such thing will happen. There is as yet no evidence for it. So to believe it would in my opinion be folly and quite useless. wink

    2. profile image51
      walterstkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Closing the last Bell-test loophole for photons just accomplished.

  8. Cagsil profile image68
    Cagsilposted 12 years ago

    What happens when you die: Non-religious theories.

    I have a better question for you....Are we suppose to die in the first place?

    If energy cannot be destroyed or created, then there would be absolutely no reason to think that brain function would ever cease to begin with.

    Just a thought.

    On your topic? what happens when you die? Well, clinically your heart stops pumping oxygenated blood to your brain, then your brain ceases to function, then you will lose consciousness. Once you have lost all brain functions, your consciousness(awareness of life and sub-consciousness will go bye-bye) will no long exist and your life will be over.

  9. pisean282311 profile image61
    pisean282311posted 12 years ago


  10. cheaptrick profile image75
    cheaptrickposted 12 years ago

    The really important question is does self awareness,the ego,the I Am continue?Without that,it doesn't matter what else happens cause we won't know.
    Physics also states that Information isn't lost either[Ala Steven Hawking]so what happens to the information gathered during ones life?Does it disperse as well,or is there some continuity of that information that somehow forms a being in other dimensions.
    Some ancient religions valued the mind above all else,could be bullsh..as are others...or?

  11. recommend1 profile image60
    recommend1posted 12 years ago

    The supposition that we are superior to other animals is naive, we are just the most successful killers on the planet but we seem to have the wrost moral values, even though we make our own morals, we have the worst behavioural problems and with all that reasoning ability we make ourselves stupid with nonsense like creationism etc.  Maybe animals that just sit back and watch us without going through all those painful hoops to get back to doing nothing are superior, the Panda maybe big_smile

    1. kirstenblog profile image77
      kirstenblogposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Panda's do sit round eating all day, sounds like a fine life to me wink

  12. Jerami profile image59
    Jeramiposted 12 years ago

    From a non-religious perspective it doesn't seem likely. From what we know of nature things are recycled.

    From a physics perspective energy can not be created or destroyed. So since all we are is energy, we will go on for ever. But, and this is the big one, that energy is recycled not whole into a new system. It is dissipated and merges with many new or existing systems.


       If slime in a pond can evolve into  US  and every other form of life?

       Why is it imposible for energy to evolve into concsiousness but not continue to evolve enough to maintain its integrity after death of its physical body?

       Does evolution have this kind of limits as to how far it may evolve?

      Maybe; only down that path that you or I suppose to be posible?

  13. Tumbletree profile image61
    Tumbletreeposted 12 years ago

    The well of life is so deep and mysterious and we've but begun to peer into its depths. We confuse our simple models of nature and the manner we presently go about creating and testing those models with the totality of everything that does and can exist, yet that is really absurd. We can't even yet accurately determine what our universe is, yet alone what is possible or impossible in other universes, or in even more exotic realities that do not work or exist by the laws we know, or any laws at all. Always, man has defined the whole of reality by what he thinks he knows now, only to have almost everything he believes turned upside down by some new insight, and so it is likely to go on for generations to come.

    As to death, and non religious view points, here are a few possibilities. 


  14. lone77star profile image72
    lone77starposted 12 years ago

    ArockDaNinja, interesting that you should constrain this question to a non-religious answer on a Religion and Philosophy forum.

    Certainly, we can discuss an afterlife without religion. But one would be discussing something which is entirely spiritual. Worms feeding on a corpse don't count.

    Try looking at it from a different perspective. Say you have some immortals who fell into a deep sleep and needed help getting out of their "immortal death."

    How much can you get done in your sleep? Can you balance your checkbook, or study integral calculus? Fat chance that! Sleeping immortals would need some figurative "chalk board" on which to keep their consciousness thought stream. Enter Homo sapiens.

    Like driving a car, you are not permanently welded to the driver's seat. You can get out of the car. Likewise, you (the real, true self, immortal) can get out of your flesh and blood, temporary vehicle. And if you are successful in waking up the true self immortal, then these Homo sapiens bodies will no longer be necessary, though you could continue to inhabit one, if you chose to do so.

    In Buddhism, they call the "between time," the "bardo." This applies to any between time -- between physical lives (between death and rebirth), and also during a physical life (between rebirth and death).

    So, it is quite likely that your current consciousness is an "afterlife." Worms may have already finished snacking on your previous Homo sapiens body (yucky thought, that), but your current, temporary vehicle is alive and well and capable of asking important questions which may help in eventually awakening the immortal within.

    1. ArockDaNinja profile image70
      ArockDaNinjaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I honestly didn't know where else to put it.

    2. ArockDaNinja profile image70
      ArockDaNinjaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I just didn't want an answer of, 'we go to heaven.' It just doesn't answer the question for me.

  15. Ron Montgomery profile image60
    Ron Montgomeryposted 12 years ago

    To me personally?  I will be flash frozen and will someday awaken to a world ruled by Amazons who will make me their God when they discover that 21st century men had huge members compared to the wimps of their time.

    I gotta go now.

    1. ArockDaNinja profile image70
      ArockDaNinjaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      lol, really?

  16. recommend1 profile image60
    recommend1posted 12 years ago

    Wanting there to be an afterlife is simply the ego refusing to believe that it is not important outside of itself.  All the twittering and babbling about in between and higher conciousness is just the worm of an ego wriggling to escape the inevitable end of itself.

  17. luvpassion profile image62
    luvpassionposted 12 years ago

    slugs and dungbeatles for the majority of non-believers...or politicians and bankers. lol lol

    1. Kiss andTales profile image61
      Kiss andTalesposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I will give it a shot I think I can give an example of a candle that functions when it is lit( our life force causes us to breath) if the light is blown out from the candle the light is gone the candle is not functioning.some one would have to relight that candle in order for it to funtion again so it is with our life force.

    2. earnestshub profile image82
      earnestshubposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Worm food, that's what I want to be. Gotta give back all that yummy goodness to the planet I swiped it from for a while.

  18. Kiss andTales profile image61
    Kiss andTalesposted 8 years ago

    As said at a funeral dust you are dust you return,
    Example is a candle with a flame , when it goes out it dies no function as a candle. But in order for it to function again some one has to re light the candle to function again,
    Once our power source has left the body we cease to function as living souls, animals as well.
    But if that charge is returned we can live again.
    The point is this charge is not by human ability.
    It is a spiritual power attached to our creator.
    If humans did the research they would find that we are made up of the natural elements of earth.
    I was reading some interesting infomation how our bodies contain carbon enough to make a diamond
    A lady created this from her husband's remains she shows the diamond on line.

    1. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Pretty good sized diamond, too - the human body is some 18% carbon.

  19. profile image52
    Sarakjposted 8 years ago

    Hi. I've lost a few people in my life now and am trying to come to an answer, for my own piece  of mind re the life energy after death.

    If our life energy dissipates and gets absorbed, is it fair to say that it can be absorbed into people around the newly deceased?

    As we ommit energy when we are alive, is it fair to conclude that we pass some of our life energy on to those around us?



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