People who believe that one’s consciousness and personality transcend corporeal death are known as ‘survival theorists’. One of the prevalent arguments made by this group, is that consciousness and perhaps personality are forms of energy, and as science reminds us, energy cannot die, it only changes form. Eintsein’s famous equation, E=MC2, addresses this in part by saying that energy=matter and therefore, matter = energy.
Then again , we’re not really saying consciousness is a form of matter, but manifested by matter (the brain). At least that’s what debunkers and skeptics (most scientists ) would suggest. Even though no one REALLY knows what consciousness is, it is thought by most neurobiologists, that consciousness is a epiphenomenon of the brain…a result of something called ’emergent properties’.
This simply means that consciousness is an illusion brought about by the incredibly complex structure of the brain…the whole is greater than the sum of its parts essentially. Along these lines, the law of conservation of energy is also flung about by survival theorists. Energy can travel to and fro, but it is retained (conserved) in some way and form.
But if consciousness is nothing more than an illusion, a dream, as fleeting as a cloud, then the argument made by the energy-doesn’t-die crowd falls apart. Clouds, a skeptic might say, have personalities (shape and size), and are literally matter and energy changing form before our eyes, yet when they cease to retain their familiar form, they don’t go to cloud heaven!
I mean the fact that a cloud looks like a flying elephant, doesn’t mean it is one. No, we would need to make a case that consciousness is a form of energy, and does not die with the physical brain! First, let’s change the word ‘consiousness’ to the word ‘awareness’. Is a cloud aware?
I would venture to say…no. But what exactly is ‘awareness’?
Put your finger in boiling water to answer that.
But is the visceral nature of pain and pleasure, what we’re calling a subset of consciousness, more compelling than our ability to reason or have a dream?
Here’s the thing, when we experience pain or pleasure, when we reason, and especially when we have a lucid dream, we are aware THAT WE ARE AWARE! We are witness to sensation, to someone (us) thinking, or having ourselves having a dream.
That witness, it’s been suggested, is the real You. And that witnessing took energy. It wasn’t merely a chemical reaction, survival theorists say, but the essence, the ENERGY that is you, the real You.
Don’t know, but even without meanderings like this to form a model of life after death, the anecdotal evidence is so strong, (xenoglossy, the ability to speak another language never learnt, is especially interesting), you pretty much…CAN LIVE WITH OR WITHOUT IT! (meaning your body too, for those who didn’t get the pun.)
Finally this: Rene Descartes famously suggested, “I think therefore I am.” This is the much quoted ‘cogito ergo sum.’ But what’s being proposed here is more, ‘consius cogito ergo supersum’…I’M AWARE THAT I THINK, THEREFORE… I WILL REMAIN!