Is This All There Is?

Is it possible there is more to life than meets the eye?

I’ve heard it said many times (mostly by theists) that the atheist believes when this life ends, that’s it—it’s over. That life is evolved from the primordial ooze and has no meaning but evolution, or survival—one and done.

An atheist I recently encountered said “life has no purpose beyond this existence which makes every single moment we have here precious“. How would it possibly matter in the slightest what we see, where we go, what we achieve, or what we learn in this life, if in the end it’s lights out with no memory or collection of experience—period?

True there are no gods, but does that mean there is nothing at all? Is consciousness simply an organic process? Not only would that violate the laws of energy, but is even stranger than imagining a life in some heaven at the feet of a god. Atheism may not be the last stop on the tracks, but merely an awakening—a clean slate to see the universe though a different light.

This short span of measured time we call living is not really our normal existence. We have spent vastly more time dead than alive, which is by far our most natural state of being.
While existence here is an odd presentation, bookended by two unknowns, the mere fact that we don’t know is likely the only thing that could possibly entertain an infinite being. So, are we that, or just temporary processes of nature?

Life has a strange, but consistent way of offering us two wrong choices. Maybe in this case it theism vs atheism. Is there no other way?

So where is the consensus of atheist on some type of continuation, and if it’s truly over, what evidence led you to think that?

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

55 thoughts on “Is This All There Is?”

  1. My feeling is that I have had other lives. My first inkling of it was age 17. My past lives and my parallel lives come to me in dream states. The brain processes all information and does some sorting out while we are sleeping. The unconscious mind does not always cross into the conscious mind which blocks it out. The unconscious mind holds the record of all that is us. Is the mind in the brain, or is the brain simply a temporary repository for the unconscious mind which can leave any time it likes. Recent science has shown that the heart has neuron type connections and each of our cells holds information of the whole of us. I think we can safely assume when we die, the mind must find a new home. But remember, it is only the unconscious mind that holds the memory of everything. The conscious mind has too many functions of learning about its new host, being human or animal.
    We are the amalgamation of all that exists. We have physical experiences in the form of individual bodies to experience living on earth (a dense planet) in a four-dimensional form that we can only see in three-dimension. Why? Because in our true form of energy, we cannot feel emotions. It is a bland world of knowing everything and knowing nothing. It is an unconscious existence beyond physical life.

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  2. Im fairly confident that when we die, that’s it, lights out, party is over, good night.

    However I retain the faint hope that death turns out to be at least half as interesting as life was. I do dread the end of the acquisition of knowledge which I would suppose ceases at death. But at the same time I already know there will come a time I am ready to shed what’s left of this body. If there’s nothing after, that’s what I expected. Though I’ll be damn disappointed.

    What the hell, I had a good run. Put that on my tombstone 🙂

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  3. within the consciousness that we are, the process of birth and death appear to happen, just as the universe appears to exist.
    being stabilized in the consciousness that we are, nothing ever happens.

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  4. Finally… a blog post by Jim I can completely relate to! Of course there is a simple, if too obvious, explanation for the illusion of the bookending of this one Earthian life. If we have life and not just existence, why can we not (as a rule) remember past lives and future lives for that matter – but let’s stick to past lives? Some can remember, I certainly do. Why can’t everybody? I’m leaving that as a question even though I can answer it as easily as I can answer someone who asks me to add 2+2. But it would be my answer, only valid for me and such a question can only be answered by the individual considering it.

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    1. I won’t argue with that. It is so incredibly simple, but we prefer sophisticated, complicated answers. I can’t remember any past lives. I do have ideas from time to time I have no clue where they came from.

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  5. Consciousness: That little bit of energy that contains life in every living cell.
    Evolution: The path life has followed to better its abilities from one-celled beings to two-celled beings, and so on to billion or trillion celled beings.
    Consciousness Evolution: The combining of the energy in each living cell to be able to function as a unit of one living being.
    Cosmic Consciousness: The combining of the conscious energies of each and every living being into one single cell called life.

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  6. There is no necessary connection between gods and an afterlife. You could be consistent and believe in a god, but not in an afterlife. Or one could be an atheist, and yet believe in some kind of afterlife. Judaism provides examples of the former, while several philosophies from ancient India(Buddhism, Jainism) provide examples of the latter. Or the followers of Epicurus in ancient Greece, fine with believing in the gods, but denied that there was any afterlife. Some of the Stoics didn’t believe in an afterlife, or expressed agnosticism on the idea, even though they were of a theistic philosophy.

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    1. I guess that was simple. I’ve been racking my noggin trying to get that point to make sense. There is no necessary connection. The idea of a god even predating consciousness is another conundrical equation.
      I’m not really sold on anything, but finding a solution that aligns experience with science and reason without contradicting myself has me here until proven otherwise

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      1. The idea of a god predating consciousness. The commenter rawgod had written something like that before. It is an issue that I can’t think of any Christian or Muslim theologian writing about before. I don’t think they ever considered it. It is interesting if you think about it. It would be impossible for the god of their theology to predate consciousness, as he is a conscious, aware, and acting agent. Even the god himself could not “explain” the existence of his own subjective viewpoint, or say why it is, or whence it came. Even the god, a conscious agent himself, would not be able to “observe” consciousness itself, nor could he be called its creator.

        If I had to sum up what you are saying. There is an all encompassing consciousness of sorts, that exists alone. It obviously knows everything, because everything that exists is merely a set of “objects” of its consciousness. As its activity, it spawns many smaller subjective viewpoints within its all encompassing consciousness. These smaller perspectives are veiled, so that each of these individual conscious agents are ignorant of their fundamental unity, so that they are not all knowing, and so that they perceive the objects of experience around them as separate from themselves(and from consciousness). Is that right?

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        1. I hate it when my original comment fails to post. Here’s another try.
          I would agree with almost all of this except, “ It obviously knows everything, because everything that exists is merely a set of “objects” of its consciousness”. I don’t think it would have to know anything or be aware of its own tail or skin cells either. If you align what the meditators perceive as a “happening” this thing at the top of the chain is simply the whole. If it is how we want to define god, it would be no different than us identifying what “I” actually represents. You are not who you think you are, or the conscious personality you see in the mirror. You are not a set of organs and nerves, but simply a who and what of consciousness you can identify outside of the body parts, that is not you. If I AM (as they come to realize) then so is it all, which is what the enlightened perceive as a complete singularity.
          Are you familiar with the documented cases of the rainbow body? Those masters that reach such a profound level of oneness they cease to manifest? Curious what your take would be in that.

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          1. I know of the rainbow body. Can’t say I have ever seen one before, though I have read about past cases.
            I know something of meditation. Managed to induce an out of body experience with it.

            If I had to answer the post’s question, I don’t think that “this” is all there is. However, any other state of being, or afterlife, is ultimately just part of “what is”. You are alive and as you are right now, that will not be the case later, things can change. I think that focusing on the here and now is better. This world is where we are at now, this world is where we can act. There is no need to rush toward the land of the dead, that trip is inevitable. In my opinion, we will be back here again one way or another anyway.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Just offering my take on your last sentence … it’s my belief that when we’re gone … we’re gone. However, it’s been said that energy never dies, so I do believe the energy that exists within us will continue on as part of the universe.

              I often think of what one person opined … our “existence” will be the same as before we were conceived.

              Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve no idea about what comes after death–probably nothing. Would be nice if we became some part of a “collective conscious of the universe” or whatever, but I see no evidence of such a thing, so I’ll go on enjoying the time I have alive and doing the best I can with it. There, now that I’ve stated my ideas, I’m gonna form a dogmatic religion out of them and go to war with anyone who thinks differently! Hopefully this will classify me as a “religious not for profit” person and I can stop paying taxes! I’ll call my faith, “The Faith Of I’ve No Friggin’ Idea,” and stop paying taxes on everything immediately! 😀

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    1. What’s interesting about your comment, it’s exactly what happens to the guru or zen master when their discipline reaches the enlightened “at one” state with the universe. “ go on enjoying the time I have alive and doing the best I can with it. Plus they quit worrying about anything because they realize this never ending cycle as part of the whole universe. It’s either that or they go recklessly off the chain and party themselves to death. This is why the masters require a disciple, something they love to do and share, that goes with their training. The secret is there is no secret, no judgement, no punishment, just cycles of being. Now, I only know what I have read, so seeing would be believing.
      I do know a couple of people whom I trust that have taken this path and returned with some very specific information that they didn’t know before. And it takes no faith, just a process. Like the system of basic mindfulness the shaman and other old wisdom taught for millennia. Loved your comment Jeff

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  8. I view purpose, in the short term, is the same for atheists and theists…family, friends, hobbies, community service and the like.

    But after death, I for one, believe that’s it and I look at life more in the way of not purpose, but of privilege.

    I feel privileged to know there is something (life, a universe) and that I have been fortunate enough to have had genealogy work in my favor over time, so I do exist, even for a very short time. It’s a sense of incredible luck mixed with gratitude.

    So what would theists say is purpose? Serving their particular god or going to heaven or hell? And just what purpose does either one serve?

    A hell to torture people for not the quite right belief..to what end?

    Or a heaven lasting gobbletrillions of years, to drift into a meaningless repetition without any challenges or struggles, which is where one, can often find, meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The meaning of heaven seems to be hell. Certainly a key difference between atheism and theism is the expectation that someone else will provide your happiness (if it be his will). That’s a stunting way to enjoy the short time here, whether it means anything or not.

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  9. But if we have no way of investigating the supernatural (or extra natural) by natural means, we are all in the same boat. Live the best now, don’t worry about preparing for something you don’t even know might or might not be there, and enjoy the Now that we have

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    1. Certainly that is a theme I can live with. There is a healthy way to go about this though, through unbelief. A practical approach well known by indigenous cultures and others for quite some time. There are some who would disagree with you—that it can be explored. But most who have the time to become enlightened don’t really feel compelled to talk about it. There are some, but really the mystery is there is no mystery. This happening has been going on a long, long while. It is it’s own purpose predating any modern religion.

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    2. My own personal philosophy demands that I live like it matters. If one life is all I have, who cares. But I believe in reincarnation, I have had experiences that more than suggest life is more than just one go around. I do not expect to know anyone or anything that existed in my lifetime, including myself, all material things are ephemeral. But the energy that is in me will live on, not as a conglomeration of atoms, but as something impossib.le to know or see from this plane of existence. So, for me, I live to learn, and the thing I want to know most is how best to live with all other living beings in peace.
      This is my philosophy, for whatever it is worth. I do not expect anyone else to follow it, but I do expect me to follow it as best I can. I can do no less…

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    1. I have some ideas, and have posted many of them here. I won’t conflate it with belief, because it’s merely ideas. I’d like to hear yours, even contradictory views.

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      1. I’d like to believe that we “graduate” into the next existence to see our family and friends, but since leaving Christianity several yrs ago I have no set understanding or solid ideas of what, who or where.

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  10. I can’t say whether consciousness goes on after death (no one can, of course), but the atoms in our bodies are always being cycled out there into the universe and the seem to retain some sort of “memory”, the sort that makes entanglement possible. I’m not sure science has concluded how that works yet. What I am now, I certainly won’t be after death. So I will live as if this is all there is.

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  11. Uh … “True there are no gods, but does that mean there is nothing at all? Is consciousness simply an organic process? Not only would that violate the laws of energy, but is even stranger than imagining a life in some heaven at the feet of a god. Atheism may not be the last stop on the tracks, but merely an awakening—a clean slate to see the universe though a different light. This short span of measured time we call living is not really our normal existence. We have spent vastly more time dead than alive, which is by far our most natural state of being.” … really?

    We spend no time being dead. Otherwise no collecting stamps is a hobby, etc. Before we existed, other people saw and felt and acted, but we did not. We didn’t think, piss, laugh, cogitate, … , we didn’t anything. “We” were not “here” to be counted.

    After we die, we are not here to be counted. Our atoms get used for other purposes (even though we try like heck to seal our atoms away from being mixed back into planet’s supply of atoms, we fail. Our atoms are mostly immortal. Our conscious and our unconscious minds disappear and we are no more. We live on only in the memories of those who we have had an impact on. If anyone wants to live forever, they need to “up their game” and have an impact on many other people. This impact can be negative or positive: Hitler and Genghis Khan are as immortal as Gandhi and Joan of Arc. You can even do a bank shot and write something that spreads like wildfire. We don’t know who wrote the fist Robin Hood story or who wrote the books of the New testament, but their works are immortal.

    And … I just do not understand the reference “Not only would that violate the laws of energy … ” Are you saying that consciousness violates the laws of energy or having it go “poof” upon our deaths violate such. I would love to see the specifics because I spent a great deal of time studying physics and I am unaware of any such violation. Please note that there are all kinds of animals walking around which we claim do not possess the power of consciousness. So, just walking around, living and dying, have nothing to do with consciousness. It seems to be a “added feature” on top of all of the other attributes animals have. So animals, per se, do not violate any of the laws of physics and consciousness cannot weigh more than thoughts do, so ??

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    1. I spent a great deal of time studying physics and I am unaware of any such violation”
      You are also unaware of what powers the light, what it is that closes the circuit. Are we to discount billions of perceptions from billions of people as just rudimentary neural short-circuits, the shaman, the “spiritual”, the prophet, the guru types and all their meditations and conclusions that life and consciousness are different?
      I have a feeling (haha) that the source of this is so fundamentally intertwined with what we are, we could never identify it as a separate thing.
      Many may claim the animals have no consciousness, but there are many (and much older traditions) that claim every bit of every thing possess a part of this consciousness. So?

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    2. Do you really believe animals have no consciousness? What vacuum do you live in, please? Interact with an animal, any animal. No two, even if the same species, are exactly alike. Yes, they may do a lot of things by what we call instinct, but that cannot explain why a cat will love one person, and go berserk on another. It does not explain why one bird will eat at your bird feeder while another will not even come into your yard. Even plants will respond better to someone with a green thumb than someone without. Their consciousnesses may be more rudimentary than the average human’s, but that does not mean it is not there.
      And where do thoughts come from? Not from thin air, that is for sure. If thoughts come from biology, why do we not all have the same thoughts? The number of factors that inform the formation of a thought are astronomical, even a thought such as I am hungry, I should eat; forget about E=MC squared. And the fact I can ask you questions, and make statements, where does that ability come from? And how you feel as you read my words, how do you control that? Emotional responses are different for everyone. We are all unique, ever single living being in whatever universe or cosmos you might be living in. Yet we all have one thing we share–each and EVERY one of us is alive. Not just humans, EVERY LIVING BEING!

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  12. It’s certainly possible this is a SIM (we’re always .5 seconds *behind* reality, after all), but why a SIM (shaped in the manner in which it is shaped) would exist is really hard to answer.

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    1. What other shape could it possibly be under the circumstances? Could it be, given all the properties involved, that it ought to be, or could be any different?
      Like a rainbow refracting a visible spectrum only at 42°, and only in perception of the viewer, why not, or what’s at 44°? You can only imagine it, but it is that way because circumstances demand it. There is more light at every possible position, but only visible if the viewer moves it. Hell, I don’t know. Maybe we’re just nerve endings perceiving ourselves as part of a much larger organism?

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      1. The evolutionary paradigm is ghastly (contracted to kill just to survive, slave to genes, limited resources, etc.), so if this is a SIM then we’d have to make sense of why evolution.

        Maybe it’s a product of our thoughts, and our thoughts are just bad?

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  13. It is plausible that this is all there is, it is also plausible that there is an after life or i may have reincarnated a couple of times but have no memory of my previous lives.

    As of now I don’t just know. And so I try to make the most out of the life i have now because that’s all the life i know i have.

    I’m all for finding the answer to this question but I don’t think we will be able to until we figure out what consciousness is

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    1. When we “figure out what consciousness is ” Let me know when you do. Heh. How would you ever recognize it when you are the cause?
      That is a concept of shamanism throughout the world, that it is by our being that the earth is manifest.

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  14. Is it possible? I suppose so. Some people are dying to find out.
    I don’t know, and for now my focus is on where I live today, not where I die tomorrow. I have as much evidence of consciousness after death as I do of a parallel universe or a deity. What evidence led me to think of that? The lack of any evidence, which is the same evidence for any form of spiritual existence: none. I don’t know exactly what consciousness is nor how to define it.
    But I could be wrong. It’s possible and has certainly happened more than once.

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    1. Wouldn’t be a bad thing to be wrong. This is an important attribute of living, this “not knowing”. If we actually knew the outcome or the continuation, it would likely just ruin the entire show. Wouldn’t it?

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      1. It is the beginning of a Wednesday and I don’t know how this day will end. But it will end, as will I (maybe kinda, sorta). I’m going back to bed to further contemplate eternal consciousness.

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    1. I used to be filled with apathy. Now I just down care anymore…
      Isn’t indifference a form of dilemma? I don’t think I implied theism vs atheism is the only choice. The differences in both programs often cross boundaries, but they are the main two. What you believe, or unbelief.

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        1. May be that “not giving a hoot” is the best option. Honesty about that indifference or unbelief? I have people in my community that won’t even look at me I’m so uncomforting. I’m sure most that know my atheism just talk behind my back.
          I had some missionaries at my door a couple of months ago. They asked me what led me to not believe in god. I said “you really want to know”? They did! Haha. 45 minutes on the porch, below freezing, in the snow, I’m sure they regret asking me now.

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  15. “Is consciousness simply an organic process? Not only would that violate the laws of energy…”. Jim this doesn’t follow at all. And I can’t see why making the most you can of the only life you get, while you are conscious, and accepting that you return to star stuff after death, is a bad way to live.

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    1. I agree it’s not a bad way to live, but suggesting it’s important to live life to the fullest now because it’s all there is? If your memories and thoughts and all of your attributes die right along with you, if we really felt that way, those words are pretty hollow. “I want to see the world before I die, because when I die I won’t have ever known or recollect anything I’ve ever seen, done, or even ever even formed a thought”.
      A lot of discussions about regret turns this way with bucket lists and so forth, not missing out on life til it’s too late. “Oh, Jim lived a great life. Too bad now all that he ever thought or experienced is now dead too”. If this is, and we think it through, so what if you’ve ever done anything when death erases all memory of your existence? If not now, in a generation or two.

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