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Dreaming the afterlife


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#1    aimlesswalk

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:22 PM

After thinking much about the possibility of life after death I attempted to postulate an interpretation of the afterlife without any religious inference (although I do not discount those manifold interpretations) and came to a conclusion that if the psyche or mind survives it may exist in a state comparable to dreaming where just as in dreams varying degrees of self awareness are possible.

Looking for something analogous to this in philosophy I ventured upon a philosopher by the name H.H. Price who speculated on the nature of the afterlife and developed his own intriguing hypothesis which I reproduce below:

According to Price after death the self will find itself in a dream world of memories and mental images from their life. Price wrote that the hypothetical "next world would be realms of real mental images." Price however believed that the self may be able to draw upon its memories of previous physical existence to create an environment of totally new images. According to Price, the dream world will not follow the laws of physics just as ordinary dreams do not. In addition, he wrote that each person will experience a world of their own, though he also wrote that the dream world doesn't necessarily have to be solipsistic as different selves may be able to communicate with each other by dream telepathy.

What I find interesting about this hypothesis is that no religious or spiritual explanation is required.

He goes on:

Price had invented the concept of "place memories". He proposed that hauntings could be explained by memories becoming lost from an individual's mind and then somehow attaching itself to the environment which could be picked up by others as hallucinations. He also believed that "place memories" could explain psychometry.

Linking his afterlife hypothesis with the concept of place memories Price proposed another hypothesis called the "psychic ether" hypothesis. He wrote that this hypothesis would explain where the memories would be stored for hauntings as well as for clairvoyance, ghosts and other paranormal phenomena. Price proposed that a universal psychic ether coexisting dimension exists as an intermediary between the mental and ordinary matter. According to Price the psychic ether consists of images and ideas. Price wrote that apparitions are actually memories from people and that under the right conditions they can be seen as hallucinations. Price believed that the dreamlike world of the afterlife exists in the psychic ether.

This is the most convincing explanation I have come across for ghosts and hauntings and the fleeting and passing quality of sightings of ghosts.

I wonder if the dreamlike world of the afterlife also has beings or intelligences unique to it which could also offer an interpretation of a wide array of supernatural pheonmeoma existing on the edge of our perceptions?

Edited by aimlesswalk, 22 October 2013 - 02:07 PM.


#2    all16universes

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:07 PM

Interesting post. This is all very much related to OBEs and lucid dreaming. Also, what this hypothesis leaves out is the possibility of having multiple existences/past lives/etc. If your consciousness survives physical death then this is a possibility.

I suggest reading the three books written by Robert Monroe if you haven't already. He discusses a lot of these things based on his personal experiences and strictly avoids religious interpretations. Good stuff.


#3    aimlesswalk

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:19 PM

View Postall16universes, on 22 October 2013 - 03:07 PM, said:

Interesting post. This is all very much related to OBEs and lucid dreaming. Also, what this hypothesis leaves out is the possibility of having multiple existences/past lives/etc. If your consciousness survives physical death then this is a possibility.

I suggest reading the three books written by Robert Monroe if you haven't already. He discusses a lot of these things based on his personal experiences and strictly avoids religious interpretations. Good stuff.

Yes you're right this hypothesis does concern itself primarily with lucid dreaming and OBE's (which may be another form of lucid dreaming?) and as far as I know doesn't cover areas such as reincarnation or any notion of spiritual learning in the Buddhist sense (which is surely where most of the thinking about reincarnation stems from?) so for me the atheist point of view that the extinction of consciousness occurs with death and then oblivion may have more appeal then perpetually existing in some kind of permanent dream state.

Thank you for the recommendation it's always interesting to see an approach to this subject from a non religious viewpoint.

Edited by aimlesswalk, 22 October 2013 - 03:25 PM.


#4    all16universes

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 05:19 PM

Reincarnation is not necessarily the same as having multiple existences. Reincarnation is bound to rules of its religion, whereas allowing for multiple existences does not require any such religious rules. Here's some food for thought:

Suppose we allow consciousness to survive physical death. The physical world must follow physical rules -- in this case, conservation of energy. The physical world cannot create something that can defy its own rules (very much related to group theory). As a very basic example: given the set of all positive even integers, and only allowing for addition, you cannot create an odd number. From this reasoning, we can argue that your consciousness was surely not a result of your physical existence; it must be a result of some non-physical existence. This allows for the possibility of consciousness existing before physical existence, and it establishes that consciousness is not bound to physical rules. We would consider the physical existence a subset of the non-physical existence.

If your consciousness existed before this physical existence, then it must be possible that it has had other existences which may or may not have been physical in nature. If we start with a superset existence (non-physical, restriction-free existence) that allows for subset existences (physical and other types of existence), then these subsets must have the same restrictions or more restrictions than the superset. It is not possible for the superset to be restricted by a subset. We can even consider that your consciousness in this physical world is a subset of your total consciousness (the consciousness you are aware of is a smaller part of the "total you"). There are all sorts of possibilities, including those we can't even comprehend. If this existence is a subset, then we cannot necessarily define our superset existence based on the knowledge and experience from this physical existence alone. Also, this existence may be a subset of a subset ad infinitum. A little crazy to think about.

Let's consider the concept of time. It's a man-made concept that helps describe the physical world. If we allow for an afterlife (or prelife) that is free from physical rules and restrictions, then time is included.  There's no reason to believe that a "past life" occured in the physical past, or that one existence follows another on a timeline. It's not necessary either that your exisitences are confined to our physical world. The afterlife (or prelife) is not bound to physical time, and it may very well have no meaning to a non-physical existence. With this in mind, it's possible to have multiple simultaneous existences. In fact, there may be multiple parts of my (or your) consciousness roaming this physical (or other physical/non-physical) existence(s) as we speak, or I may have lived (or be living) an existence in the past or future right at this moment and be completely oblivious to it. My next existence might be one that occurred in the past. Future and past do not have to apply to existenced beyond this one.

So many possible scenarios to consider!

Very interesting stuff :)


#5    aimlesswalk

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 05:30 PM

View Postall16universes, on 22 October 2013 - 05:19 PM, said:

So many possible scenarios to consider!

Very interesting stuff :)

Yes it is all very interesting and what you explain about multiple parts of our own consciousness existing outside of our own conscious awareness could be likened to spiritual notions such as having a 'higher self' and that consciousness encompasses the entire breadth of creation while we are only aware of one facet of this limited to our perception of the physical world of matter we inhabit. What I sometimes find frustrating about this notion is that if indeed consciousness might be infinite surely there would be more clues to this in our own (or my) ordinary lives or is it that we have become so detached from these streams of knowledge that our perception being restricted to the five senses does not permit us to see the true of extent of existence and of ourselves?

Also I see the distinction you make between reincarnation and having multiple existences simultaneously outside of linear time which is highly interesting although I prefer the quasi religious view of reincarnation with each reincarnation we are here to learn something instead of the postulation that we have multiple other lives as an end in itself.

Edited by aimlesswalk, 22 October 2013 - 05:42 PM.


#6    all16universes

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 05:53 PM

Ah, but it's also possible that you ARE here to learn something in this existence as well as others.

Here's a question: if you knew absolutely that you will continue to exist beyond this physical existence, would you have taken it seriously? Maybe it's designed this way so you DO learn something. Afterall, the fundamental driving force in this physical reality is survival. Survival is your incentive to learn. If survival is taken out of the equation, then it doesn't matter what you learn.

Definitely go read Robert Monroe's books if this stuff fascinates you. He offers some interesting insight.


#7    all16universes

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:25 PM

I should clarify that survival makes learning serious. Certainly there are other incentives for learning, but survival takes priorety. Perhaps there are certain things we can ONLY learn and take seriously if we think our lifespan ends with physical death. Every scenario of life offers different things to learn. Suppose you were born with some disability. If you knew that you could push a reset buffon and start over without the disability, wouldn't you want to do so? This deprives you of the learning experience offered from unappealing life scenarios.



#8    aimlesswalk

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:51 PM

View Postall16universes, on 22 October 2013 - 07:25 PM, said:

Here's a question: if you knew absolutely that you will continue to exist beyond this physical existence, would you have taken it seriously? Maybe it's designed this way so you DO learn something. Afterall, the fundamental driving force in this physical reality is survival. Survival is your incentive to learn. If survival is taken out of the equation, then it doesn't matter what you learn.

I don't completely agree that survival is the deciding factor in cultivating learning and certainly if this impulse becomes to strong to the detriment of all else it may become counterproductive to learning. I would rather say that reverence for life and all things is the most important.  

View Postall16universes, on 22 October 2013 - 07:25 PM, said:

I should clarify that survival makes learning serious. Certainly there are other incentives for learning, but survival takes priorety. Perhaps there are certain things we can ONLY learn and take seriously if we think our lifespan ends with physical death. Every scenario of life offers different things to learn. Suppose you were born with some disability. If you knew that you could push a reset buffon and start over without the disability, wouldn't you want to do so? This deprives you of the learning experience offered from unappealing life scenarios.

Yes I certainly agree with this that full awareness of our full consciousness which may possibly extend to other lives and states of being beyond our comprehension would be detrimental to the life we perceive as our only one in the here and now especially if this illusion of being insularly confined in one existence may offer some insight which will ultimately heighten our appreciation of the multi-faceted nature of existence from different perspectives and teach us something fundamental in the long run. I see that you see no contradiction in the possibility of multiple other lives and spiritual growth and it may be that there is none.

Edited by aimlesswalk, 22 October 2013 - 08:32 PM.


#9    The_Sensual_One

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:12 PM

Hey, this is very interesting. I am so happy that someone posted this. As this has been giving very bad anxiety. Check out my thread I posted and see if you can help me ease my mind. Thank you.

The truth is we are spiritual beings living a human experience.


#10    Professor T

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 08:52 PM

View Postall16universes, on 22 October 2013 - 07:25 PM, said:

I should clarify that survival makes learning serious. Certainly there are other incentives for learning, but survival takes priorety. Perhaps there are certain things we can ONLY learn and take seriously if we think our lifespan ends with physical death. Every scenario of life offers different things to learn. Suppose you were born with some disability. If you knew that you could push a reset buffon and start over without the disability, wouldn't you want to do so? This deprives you of the learning experience offered from unappealing life scenarios.
Very true, but it also deprives you the opportunity to teach through your very existence, which makes life and survival in all it's forms so important..

I remember once, in town, seeing an old woman of 70/80 or so years.. She was terribly deformed, and most certainly had lived a very long life of disability, ridicule and hardship.. Her mere presence was a sock to me, not because she was scary, but because her presence and existence evoked empathy and compassion within me.

Empathy is something I seldom experience.. It was through her presence that I learned how deep and meaningful it truly is..


#11    aimlesswalk

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 01:45 PM

View PostProfessor T, on 27 October 2013 - 08:52 PM, said:

Very true, but it also deprives you the opportunity to teach through your very existence, which makes life and survival in all it's forms so important..

I remember once, in town, seeing an old woman of 70/80 or so years.. She was terribly deformed, and most certainly had lived a very long life of disability, ridicule and hardship.. Her mere presence was a sock to me, not because she was scary, but because her presence and existence evoked empathy and compassion within me.

Empathy is something I seldom experience.. It was through her presence that I learned how deep and meaningful it truly is..

That must have been a humbling experience I've often felt similarly when I've seen others (not least myself) ridiculed and mocked by a faceless majority. I've reached the point now where I can only feel empathy with those who literally have nothing and no one.





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