Thoughts on the “Undiscovered Country”

Thoughts on the “Undiscovered Country”

The body’s decomposition is an evident truth, accepted by scientists and theologians alike, “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” But if man is not merely composed of a physical body, but also a soul, then what is the fate of this spiritual essence after death? Some of humanity’ greatest thinkers have pondered over this question, and formed remarkably diverse answers. Religious zealotry, atheism, and utter indifference are just a few responses.

As science advances and sheds light on previously mysterious natural phenomena, religion plays a diminishing role in our search for answers about the universe and our relation to it. Nevertheless, I believe that we will never reach a definitive conclusion about the soul and its fate after death. Humanity will likely be struggling with this question for thousands of years to come, and the most plausible answer will still be the one given by Socrates 2400 years ago, “The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows.”

What do you believe? Do you agree with Hamlet? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Or does Macbeth accurately describe the human condition? “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

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12 thoughts on “Thoughts on the “Undiscovered Country”

  1. Indeed. However, IMHO, it is precisely that when “religion plays a diminishing role in our search for answers about the universe and our relation to it” that science do not advance and instead eclipses those answers that could lead us forward to understanding the Universe.
    For one, how come physical sciences (the “science” that deals with anything that can be measured via our senses) can ever measure and therefore understand the soul? The soul is the non-physical portion of our reality (in the natural level, it is referred to as the “living principle”). Thus, it cannot be “measured” by its very definition.

    Take for example, love. Love is something. Yet it cannot be measured via the senses only the human Intellect recognize and “see” it. Beauty is another. Only an intellect (such as human intellect) can appreciate it.

    God has taken steps to reveal to us, and lead us to the same, that our soul cannot “die” but only becomes eternally separated from its (our soul’s) true End — God Himself. This eternal separation by our own willful choice is the state which Christians call “Hell” which I would like to call “Place of the Self-Damned” and concur with the Christian point of view.

  2. I do not see a contradiction between these two quotes, though I dislike the second and strongly agree with the first. There is much that we cannot know and, though wisdom is to be found in many myths, I do not trust someone to spell out “truth” for the rest of us.

  3. ” Nevertheless, I believe that we will never reach a definitive conclusion about the soul and its fate after death. Humanity will likely be struggling with this question for thousands of years to come…”

    Perhaps not. The mind will reach a definitive enough conclusion as science unfolds to show more of “heaven and earth.” But beyond the mind, there is something more and better by far than intellectual conclusions–the consciousness of immortality.

    • Hi mystic1muse. Thanks for your response.

      Could you please explain how one might experience the consciousness of immortality?

      You also say “beyond the mind.” Do you mean that a person could be aware of something without the faculty of his mind? Perhaps I am quibbling over semantics, but doesn’t the definition of consciousness imply a mind?

      I’m looking forward to reading your reply.

  4. I know that I can go outside my body, and I have for myself seen time stop and roll around. I know for myself that when I close this book, I’ll have plentyof timeto pick the next book.

  5. I already know the answer to this mystery because I died and the doctors kept working on me until I was once again alive. It happens very often in every emergency room in every hospital the world over. What happens to your soul after you die? The same thing that happens to the software on a computer after it has been destroyed–it vanishes. All humans are beings of with self-made souls. Make yours a good one. You only have the one chance.

  6. We can speculate and come up with all kinds of poetic and metaphysical speculations, but I think all these have more to do with providing some kind of meaningful orientation for one’s life here and now. As for death itself, I tend to agree with Heraclitus’ most honest answer: ‘What awaits people in death they neither anticipate nor even imagine.’ (Dennis Sweet’s translation)

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