What happens to consciousness when we die?

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What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by Ikku » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:30 am

So I lay pondering this question before bed and had so many interesting ideas go through my mind I had to write them down somewhere.

The most intuitive answer of course is that everything shuts down, the light goes off, the show is over, the curtain goes up, kaput. But what would that experience be like? If you can no longer even have thoughts or imagination or know that your life ever existed, it's as if the universe might as well not exist for you. But how can there be nonexistence? I think the very nature of reality is existence and being. What would it be like for there to be nothing, to the extent that there is not even the cognitive capacity to comprehend that there is nothing?

Another interesting thing I was thinking about was Charles Bonnet syndrome and musical ear syndrome. When people lose their sight or hearing they often have visual or aural hallucinations. It doesn't matter if the loss of sight is due to eye injury/loss or damage to the visual parts of the brain. Now of course it's entirely possible, maybe even likely that this is some kind of cross chatter in the cortex "filling in" blanks in experience although this hasn't been proven and I can't think of why this would happen. Seems to me like if you lose the visual parts of the brain, you should simply no longer have vision. Same goes for hearing. If you think that despite its lack of explanation it simply -must- be some kind of neural mistake, take a look at how reactionary and dogmatic you are being about science. Science is a tool for examining the world, not a creed.

One last thing I was thinking about is the experience of the passage of time. The way that time flies when you're having fun and really drags when you're bored is the simplest example of time dilation/shrinkage. More drastically, if you've ever done psychedelics or really any variety of drugs, you can see time speed up to warp speed or slow down to an absolute halt until the drugs have worn off. You can actively experience eternity, at least until the drugs wear off. Now with a combination of these ideas I've kind of randomly mix mashed together in a rather tired state, isn't it possible that at death, "you" slip into an eternal experience completely separate from this universe's events, since time no longer exists? Similar to such a drug experience, except death never wears off.

Just want to hear some thoughts on this. It is largely wishful thinking but I wonder if anyone can really disprove this idea?
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by Weedguru_Fire_Inside » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:04 pm

I would like to think the answer to your question is 'Yes', but i can offer no proof either way.

I believe it's DMT that is released in to your bloodstream when you die, is it not? If so, then regardless of how long the effects actually last, there is certainly a trip of some sort.

That's as far as i can go, for fear of getting lost in my head.
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by AbbyRoad » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:37 pm

found your topic while sober and suffering a hideous sinus headache. i shall read the whole deal when im feel better and respond when im super baked
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by JokersAce » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:25 am

I don't believe anything happens after death, just like how nothing happened before I was born. With regards to psychedelics, they just fuck around with the brain, and everything that exists as we know it is only based on the way our brain is programmed to let us see it. Therefore our perception of reality is distorted through the use of mind altering drugs. Yeah, science isn't a creed, but it has been very good at disregarding them.

Regarding the metaphysical state of death, I have no opinion.
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by Ikku » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:14 pm

I don't have a problem with that perspective, but how do you know nothing happened before you were born? I don't remember the first couple of years of my life, doesn't mean they didn't happen or I wasn't conscious then.
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by JokersAce » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:13 am

Yeah but as a baby my brain wasn't developed to the point of truly being self aware... just like in death and pre-birth... the brains ability to function isn't there... so there is no self-awareness. So to me, it is a true case of the whole "does a fallen tree in the woods make a sound" philsophy. I didn't hear the tree fall, so it might as well have not made a sound, or even existed. Just like with people who have alzhiemers, their brain being destroyed so they cannot recall loved ones or memories, like they never even existed.
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by Ikku » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:02 am

Right...so my question is what does that feel like? WIthout the capacity to recognize "nothing" what is "nothing"? I guess this is where you said you have no opinion.
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by SToNeR ChRiS » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:26 pm

Just another one of those times where my post gets deleted before I submit it... I'll try to give it another go though.

First off, I'd like to discuss the Charles Bonnet Syndrome and musical ear syndrome. Starting with the Charles Bonnet Syndrome, from what I understand many or most of the people who develop this disorder previously had vision in their lives. So while they can't see now, they have been able to in the past. Couldn't the brain just be reproducing images that have already been seen in their lifetime? Sure they can't see now, but they used to be able to. Try closing your eyes. Quite often we see lights or flashing images when we close our eyes. I imagine that seeing visual hallucinations when blind would just be the same thing... or very similar. They aren't actually seeing anything, they are just having visual hallucinations. The musical ear syndrome is a little more intriguing, but I would also attribute it with the brain paying tricks on the mind again in a similar way. Correct me if I'm wrong on any of this, this would just be my explanation.

As for the feeling after death I largely agree with JokersAce's perspective. When I was a toddler, my father was holding my hand while we were walking down some stairs. For whatever reason, when we got to the 3rd or 4th to last step I decided to try and jump down the rest. Because he was holding my hand so tight and I was so fragile, my bone went straight through my flesh once I jumped. Since I was so young I don't remember the incident or even the pain but it still happened. While I can understand the parallel being made between the lack of "feeling" before we were born and not remembering events from our youth, they are different things. I would try to explain the feeling I think we experience after death as being similar to a night of sleep where we can't remember a dream. But once again, even this is different. As far as I am concerned our brain is the only thing that makes us be able to be able to feel anything at all. The brain was also my explanation for why I think the two syndromes mentioned above happen. Once we die, the brain dies and therefore everything we can possibly experience and feel comes to an end. There is still existence in the sense that the universe will still exist and people will still be alive, but it will no longer exist for the individual who passes. That's as simply as I can put it.

So to answer your question, I don't think we experience anything whatsoever after death... That's just the way I am wired to think. I can completely understand your thought process though. There are some very interesting things which are completely plausible that you brought up. I just don't think that's actually what happens.
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by AbbyRoad » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:59 am

consciousness is like an illusion created by our physical bodies
when we die that illusion dies with us
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by weedguru_animal » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:37 am

Humans are different to non human creatures, mainly because of our tendency to time travel. It doesn't make us more advanced, it simply means that we are cursed with a further reaching thought capability married to, for the most of us, a situation of comfort and insanely easy survival when compared to our non-human comrades on this planet.

I spend a lot of time in my garden. Watching my seeds grow, blossom, die...they prove, more often than not, more interesting than the vast majority of humans I know and meet here.

Our apparent over-thinking tendencies, almost always awfully expressed in time traveling, pondering the past and future more than the Now, seems to me, our greatest bane, as humans.

As for death...i will move onto such a thing in the near future.

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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by CH1CAGOR1LLA » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:30 am

I feel were eternal spirits just like a never ending power of enertia or those things in the doctors office that when you start them they never stop. It's just that when you stop the thing physically that's your body dying but we all know that damn thing will go on forever if the body didn't stop it!

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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by (BUD'- -'MONK) » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:31 pm

Consciousness Is a state Interpreted by all the body systems running together as 1. Separate and apart From all other things as all the other things are a like in only 1 way This realm or universe .../ big kid slash sandbox city the atom/grain a sand in all things building blocks of life independently these Systems would not work life has proven the answer to that in everything everyone is codependent at some point I believe when you die your body does 1 last check... error returns and your message is left at the temple doorstep to move on to the gray area and wait for court as I will well it's what I believe ..... :hessam:
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by pkkupo » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:15 am

Seeing as the only known method for conscious and unconscious thought lies in synapses in your brain, and when you die 100% of those synapses cease altogether because your neurons die, there is not a possibility (as far as science can tell) of any awareness whatsoever. It seems odd, naturally, as it is impossible to imagine eternal nothingness. And it makes sense to contemplate the latter given that, rooted in natural human propensities is curiosity and the desire to obtain answers to the most difficult and seemingly significant questions... But the fact remains- As far as we can postulate based on science, you simply become an inanimate object subject to decay at the moment of your death. In other words, death is the ultimate nothing. Nothing is not something to be experienced. It is simply the total and utter absence of everything in your brain that has been, is, or might have been. Everything we know points to everything I've said, but of course it proves nothing, seeing as we cannot communicate with the dead or live again after death. With the information and observations humans have made concerning life, death and ultimately our brains, it simply seems incredibly likely that what I say is true...
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by sugarstalker » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:51 am

everyone knows what happened. you're taken to the underworld, where your evil deeds are weighed against the feather of truth, i.e. the good deeds, and if your good deeds outweighs the bad, you are allowed to enter some sort of paradise, if not, your soul are devoured by the great swallower, which would be a great name for a porno
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Re: What happens to consciousness when we die?

Post by pkkupo » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:19 pm

Oops, that's what I meant.
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