Thursday, March 24, 2005

Another answer to: What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

This is Ian McEwan's answer.
What I believe but cannot prove is that no part of my consciousness will survive my death. I exclude the fact that I will linger, fadingly, in the thoughts of others, or that aspects of my consciousness will survive in writing, or in the positioning of a planted tree or a dent in my old car. I suspect that many contributors to Edge will take this premise as a given—true but not significant. However, it divides the world crucially, and much damage has been done to thought as well as to persons, by those who are certain that there is a life, a better, more important life, elsewhere. That this span is brief, that consciousness is an accidental gift of blind processes, makes our existence all the more precious and our responsibilities for it all the more profound.
I'm surprised that no one else commented on this—either affirmatively or negatively. When my kids were little and asked about death—and the possibility of life afterwards—I would tell them that death is like the end of a movie: when one's life is over, it's over. Just as the lives of movie characters don't continue after we leave the theater, ours don't continue after we die. They didn't like that answer.

No comments: