Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Customize Your Afterlife

Each Wednesday’s Afternoon Inquisition is presented by the previous winner of the Comment o’ the Week. Today’s question comes courtesy of NoAstronomer, who writes:

I assume that most of the readers of SkepChick are, like me, atheists and have rejected the concept of heaven and hell and indeed any sort of afterlife. Suppose there were an afterlife. If it were up to *you* what would your afterlife be like? (Bonus points awarded for creativity and boobs.)

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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119 Comments

  1. Well it would be a lot like this but better. People wouldn’t get sick, VD wouldn’t exist. Sex would be guilt free and only women would have boobs. Ah boobs, they would all be great. No one would be ashamed of their bodies. No one would be ashamed of sex or their sexuality. People would be able to talk without embarasement. We would have access to intelelctually stimulating persuits. The weather would be pleasant. People would be clothed or nude as they chose. Books would be accessible and no one would suffer from poverty.

  2. In my heaven, there would be no boobs at all, just plenty of sexy naked men. It would also have all the cats I’ve ever had in my life. Ben & Jerry would be there, providing me with an infinite amount of ice cream. I’d also have a really really super fast internet connection with a really really super fast computer, to play games and stuff.

  3. Here’s my answer to my own question:

    I suppose that most people think of heaven they have a mental picture of a place not unlike suburbia, only with nicer neighbours and perfect weather. When I die I would want to be free to roam the universe.

    I’d start by wondering the Earth and going to the usual tourist places like the plains of Africa, the peaks of the Himalayas and the mid-Atlantic ridge. Then I’d move on to check out the moon and the planets.

    In my afterlife I’d be unaffected by heat or pressure or radiation so I could easily travel down to the center of the Sun and see how it works. I’d be able to travel at super-light speed out to the Orion nebula and watch stars being born. I could watch up-close when Betelgeuse goes super-nova.

    There’d be no limit to the smallest things I could see, So I would look inside a cell and watch DNA replicate itself. Or I could look inside a proton and finally find out how quarks interact.

    Finally I’d come back to Earth and just hang out in sorority houses like all the other perverts would. That’s where the boobs come in, or out so to speak.

    Mike.

  4. The mention of boobs reminded me of this variation of an old tale. A guy dies and stands in front of St Peter wanting to get into heaven. St Peter says you were only sort of good so you get one request. The guy says I want to spend eternity cuddled up to two really big boobs. Poof ! He’s next to George Bush and Dan Quayle.

  5. You know, I’ve always been a fan of reincarnation. This is a pretty cool world. I’d like to see what the future holds for this puny species.

    Besides, I’ve always thought it might be interesting to experience life through someone else’s eyes; when I’m done experiencing it through my own, of course. And having lived this life as a dude, it might be interesting to live the next one as a chick. You know; just to get the whole “human” experience.

    And I’ve always thought, if I were a chick, I would be totally bisexual.

    So yeah; Sign me up for reincarnation as a hot bisexual redhead woman with great boobs.

  6. @SKrap: “Continuous reincarnation in wildly varying worlds and circumstances with knowledge of prior iterations phased in over each lifecycle.”

    Frak, frak, frakity, frak! Exactly what I was going to say.

    Here’s my backup: An afterlife, not necessarily eternal, where you could change your size from microscopic to a hundred feet on a whim. Think of the possibilities. Lounging on a six-foot boob, toying with a giant nipple, while booming bass sounds of pleasure rock the foundations. With a slightly larger woman I could experience a literal return womb and see if Freud was right. And this is not all about my pleasure. Think about how comfortable pelvic exams would be. Forget paper gowns. Women wouldn’t even have to take off their jeans. “Try not to swat Dr. Dave, Ma’am.”

    Going the other way, imagine the fun that could be had with a handful of three-inch people of your preferred sex. “Pole dance” would have a whole new meaning.

  7. Back when I was a teen and still wondered if there was an afterlife and what it might be like I envisioned it being sort of like a gigantic interactive library/museum where I could peruse all knowledge, art, literature, music, etc from all ages in all places. Including being able to go back to say the signing of the Magna Carta or the discussions at the Council of Trent and see what really happened and know what everyone was thinking. Knowledge is power.

    Plus boobs.

  8. @marilove: Throw in Harry Potteresque humungus meals, hunting, fishing, sailing around the coast and canoeing the lakes of Canada and Cricket, you’ve got a deal.

    At a push I’d settle for Cricket with the Angels, playing with Sobers, Bradman and WG Grace. With clotted cream and strawberry jam teas and cucumber sandwiches.

    Of course I’d have a batting average of 300 and bowl 11-50 off 10

    And Lisa Snowdon

  9. To me, none of it matters without mortality. So any afterlife in which I was indestructibly immortal and knew it would, by definition, eventually become hell.

    However, if I were effectively immortal, but still could be anihilated by some extreme but improbable method, then any “afterlife” that involved constantly expanding knowledge would be fine with me.

  10. @marilove: “Well, probably not all, but I have been groped by many a gay man.”

    I was gonna say. None of the gay men I know have expressed an interest in boobage and most are actively repelled by vulvas. Dan Savage’s description is hysterically gross.

  11. The ability to roam around, entering other people’s minds and experiencing the world as they do.
    Stephen Hawking then a supermodel;
    A muslim husband, then his wife;
    A Skepchick then Jenny McCarthy;
    A corporate CEO then a starving child;

    On and on through all the richness of human experience, good, bad, indifferent, holy, ugly or whatever.

    Then, when that got tedious, just to hang out somewhere where there was lots of boobies and booze.

  12. I’d like to be the omnipotent/omniscient/etc goddess of my own universe. I could build worlds where there really WAS magic.

    As an alternate though, the planet from The Silence In The Library would be pretty damn cool. Either physically on the planet only without the Vashta Nerada, or in the computer where Dr Moon helps create a world for people to live in so they don’t go insane living in a fictional world in a computer.

    Actually, being an equally immortal companion for The Doctor would be a damn cool afterlife too.

    Still partial to my first choice though. It’s what I’d wish for if I found a genie. (along with the ability to travel back and forth between that universe and this, while keeping the one I’m not in on pause.)

  13. For me, it would be a state of being where I would have the ability…

    – to go anywhere in the universe instantly and effortlessly
    – to observe, understand and appreciate any phenomenon I might encounter
    – to take on any form I choose

    …and all without disturbing or interfering with my surroundings unless I so choose.

  14. “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library” – Jorge Luis Borges. (edited to add “with boobs”)

    Getting all the answers as soon as you’re dead would be a snoozefest. Better if discovery takes an eternity.

  15. @slxpluvs: Does it just sound boring?

    ———–

    I think that’s pretty much it. I guess that I don’t see what the difference would be between being in a state of perpetual pleasure and a state of perpetual pain. I don’t see the value in endless living sex toys or fountains of booze. Sex and drugs and rock and roll have value to me in large part because they are a way to declare my defiance in the face of mortality. If there is nothing to shout against, nothing to fight, what’s the point? Two billion years of sexual pleasure would not be any different than two billion years of agony.

    I guess it would be nice to just understand things. The math geek in me sees the value of pure abstract thought, the beauty of just knowing. I could spend some time fighting my own ignorance. But if I knew my time was infinite, what would be my motive? Just knowing is nice, but really… two billion years of nice?

    Put some risk in there, though… everything gets much more exciting.

  16. Oh, i’d like to add that my afterlife would be free of all diseases and we’d be able to have sex as much as we wanted to without having to use any form Birth Control since diseases and pregnancy won’t exist. We will be implanted with robot parts instead of reproductive organs.

  17. In seriousness, I as an atheist think that there is no soul in the dualistic sense. However, I think that what is essentially us leaves our bodies at all times, every time we interact with others. Like raindrops in a pond, the ripples we make affect all the other drops, and all the ripples that hit us, are changed by our ripples, etc.

    Humanity has one giant soul-soup in which we all make bigger or smaller ripples. What I say shapes you, what you say shapes me. When I recall something you said or did, or if some action of yours consciously or unconsciously affects me or my actions or ideas, that is your “soul” having its effect.

    Carl Sagan (for example) made a big splash in the soul-soup. Many of us are shaped by his words and actions.

    Religion has it backwards: Your soul doesn’t leave your body at the moment of death, it stops leaving your body, and echos in the lives of others.

    We are the heaven in which our dead reside.

  18. There is an interesting dichotomy here. There is a contingent that revels in the idea of imagination without limits and another band who, deprived of a prison, immediately set out to construct one.

    Imagine if you will, an average day. Not too good, not too bad. Now imagine the next day. Maybe it’s just about the same, but a beer at the end makes it a little more pleasurable. The day after that its a beer with a good friend. They day after that it’s a beer with a friend and rescuing a puppy from a well. Everyday sets a new baseline for pleasure that the next day will exceed. (I’d stick in the really large women on day #200 or so). Imagine an endless succession of days asymptotically approaching ultimate pleasure.

  19. @davew: There is a contingent that revels in the idea of imagination without limits and another band who, deprived of a prison, immediately set out to construct one.

    —————

    Let me really clear here: this is the ultimate matter of opinion. There is no “correct” afterlife vision, and neither of us has a better perspective on that question than the other.

    If I see immortality as imprisoning or limiting, that doesn’t mean I’m constructing a prison. It means that there are things which to me, personally, give existence meaning. I don’t see death as imprisoning, but as liberating.

    When I was a theist, I thought about the afterlife a lot. A whole lot. For years. And no matter how I twisted and turned it, it always sounded awful, like a terrible trap. The very idea robbed life itself of all meaning and purpose.

    Without risk and the possibility of failure, my existence simply has no spice. The things that are meaningful to me are meaningful because they are transitory. I love my friends the more because our times change and we lose each moment.

    There’s a great Bob Dylan song, I think it’s “Bob Dylan’s Dream” where he talks about that moment in time between your childhood and the rest of your life.

    I wish, I wish, I wish in vain,
    That we could sit simply in that room again.
    Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat,
    I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that.

    And I would, in a heartbeat, go back to that moment in time. But the shelter only means something–to me–because of the storm. What a cruel joke fate would play to trap us in that moment in time forever, our growth robbed of purpose, our lives forever on hold, until we hated our useless and pointless knowledge.

  20. @sethmanapio: Perhaps if it was mixed up some? Say you don’t know WHAT the next day will bring, even if you know it will always be good.

    See, that’s enough for me. The not-knowing. This is one reason why I could never commit suicide (among others): I always want to know what tomorrow will bring.

  21. @Zapski: Very beautiful. I’ll 2nd that COTW.

    @sethmanapio:
    I had a conversation with a friend once that was similar. He kept telling me that he was SURE that there was a way to experience ultimate happiness all the time. And my reaction was similar to yours: how would you know?
    “But the shelter only means something–to me–because of the storm.” Wish I had said that at the time.

  22. @marilove: Say you don’t know WHAT the next day will bring, even if you know it will always be good.

    ———

    I wrote a post on why I don’t commit suicide here. Covers the salient points. But the problem with that scenario is that you can’t commit suicide. That choice is gone. You are trapped.

    To me, and this is a very personal thing, I value reward because of risk. When one goes, the other goes with it.

  23. My afterlife would be one big love fest. Everyone would genuinely unconditionally love and respect one another regardless of differing ideas.

    There would be no hell. So, anyone that has ever existed would be there. I’d spend my eternity going from one person to the next, listening to anything they have to say and really getting to know billions of people as individuals. Oh, and in my heaven, my brain would work so that I could remember all of it.

    Also, anyone would be free to show physical affection to anyone without people freaking about about it or getting jealous. And, I’m not necessarily talking about sexuality. I think two straight men should be able to care for one another enough to hug or kiss without any implication that there’s something sexual involved.

    Also, brains would work differently in heaven. You’d never get bored of anything and never talk anyone or anything for granted. Everything would seem just as wonderful as it did the first time you saw it.

  24. @marilove: This is one reason why I could never commit suicide (among others): I always want to know what tomorrow will bring.

    Never? I’ve seen people die of cancer and I’m watching my father die of MSA right now. It would take something powerful to make me contemplate suicide, but I stop far short of never… especially if there are giant boobies waiting for me the afterlife.

  25. @QuestionAuthority: “Forgive my ignorance. MSA = ?”

    Multiple System Atrophy. It’s a fairly uncommon diagnosis. It used to be called Shy-Drager Syndrome. Basically a part of your brain starts going away. It’s similar to Parkinson’s and a few other diseases. The name changes based on the area of the brain involved. The symptoms start with motor problems and end very badly.

  26. @VoxMachina:
    FSM ftw.

    On another note,
    To be honest, when I was little I always believed in reincarnation. I love being alive and human and stuff so I’d like to do it again with a different experience. And with future tech!
    I don’t believe in reincarnation anymore, but I can still think it’s a nice idea! In my next life I would like to be good at math so I could go into a physics field. I’m mediocre at math in this one :(

  27. @marilove: happiness and love and freedom forever

    ———

    You don’t see a contradiction there? If I literally cannot be made unhappy, and I’m always happy anyway, what value would love have? If I can’t screw up and get hurt, where is the freedom?

  28. Sex: everyone would be a multisexual hermaphrodite, and permanently horny as a toad.

    There’d also be a lot of Test Cricket and Real Ale in there somewhere, although whether this would occur before, during, or after the hot-monkey-toad-sex I couldn’t say.

    Also rock music would be as subtle and complex as classical music without becoming arty and pretentious, while classical music would be as stimulating as rock music without becoming lowbrow pap. In our world this is evidently impossible.

  29. Hi there!

    Long ago, I thought about what heaven would be for me, and what it would be is: a calendar.

    Every year for Christmas, God would give me a calendar. Between Christmas and New Year’s, I’d get to fill it out with the names of every girl that I knew. Then, on that day, that would be the girl that I’d spend the day with. Not necessarily a 24/7 sex fest, but just a pleasant date between two people. Heaven would look exactly like Earth, so we’d be able to do whatsoever we wished. By the end of the night, we’d probably wind up in bed together, unless the girl in question would be genuinely uninterested in sleeping with me. I don’t want to require some kind of zombielike hypnotic attraction to me, that would just be cheating. But the person in question would get to enjoy a very pleasurable date knowing that we could have a completely guilt-free time doing whatever we want, with no consequences.

    I could arrange more that one day with the same person, I might want to just spend all of Christmas week with my wifey, for example. But I’ve given myself the requirement that I must at least know the person’s name. No scribbling: “That chick I saw in Barnes & Noble last tuesday” on a date.

    Thinking about this Heaven, I realized that I didn’t think I even KNEW 365 women, so I started a list. I only got up to 180. :(

    This also made me realize that Heaven probably didn’t exist. I mean, would God really just grab all these women up from the Earth just so I could have an active postmortem dating life? And would Salma Hayek really want to sleep with me just because she had a really nice date with me? How would my wifey be suddenly okay with me sleeping with other women? Just too many questions.

  30. I think i am incapable of thinking big. My idea of a bitchin’ afterlife is kinda like unlocking secret levels in a video game. I would like the opportunity to replay my life and change stuff. My first few run-throughs would focus on optimisation – fixing my mistakes, minimising regret, etc. Then eventually I could try really wild stuff just to see what different outcomes there might be. That could occupy me for several hundred thousand years at least. Ultimately, though,. I am with George Hrab on this one – infinity would destroy anything human.

  31. @sethmanapio:
    I don’t know if this is exactly what you are suggesting. I used to wonder about the idea that an all good god tolerated suffering because to experience joy you must know suffering. But then I looked around and saw little kids that never experienced extreme suffering having extreme joy doing simple stuff. It was not just that they were doing something new. They could run around , dance or sing, things they’ve done a hundred times before and have a ball. Yes they could get bored from doing the same thing over a long period but I don’t think they need to break a leg to know what fun it is to run around and play tag.
    Also I don’t think you need possible bad consequences to have freedom. The other day I ate lunch out and there were 3 choices of cream pie: banana,chocolate and strawberry. Yum! I have eaten there before and love all three. I had freedom to choose and would be happy with any outcome. If one slice was secretly poisoned(possible bad outcome) I don’t think that would increase my pleasure from eating a nonpoisoned one. On second thought I got a slice of banana pie and the woman I was with got a slice of the chocolate and her slice was much bigger than mine. I was mad that I didn’t get the chocolate and her the banana! She enjoyed hers more than I did mine. I complained the whole time she was eating and mine was gone. It didn’t help that she was making “yummy” noises. Maybe you are right. Next time if I get a huge slice I will appreciate it more.

  32. @davew

    Imagine an endless succession of days asymptotically approaching ultimate pleasure.

    If the time is infinite, surely you’d reach a point beyond which delta pleasure is undetectable? A kind of Planck pleasure?

  33. I want the powers of “Q” and the wisdom of Solomon.

    @DaveW: omfsm. Just…omfsm.
    Alzheimer’s-like diseases are my worst nightmare. Knowing you’re losing everything that makes you “yourself” and being aware enough to know it’s happening. {{you and your family}}

    If I had the power of Q, some of these horrifying diseases would be extinct. Everyone may have to die, but there doesn’t have to be that much pointless suffering.

  34. @w_nightshade: I always imagin living my afterlife like that. Repeating loops of my own life until I was satisfied with the results. But then I move on to someone else, and someone after that, living life after life until I am/have been everyone ever.

    I bet you all didn’t know that you are me. All life, one soul. But I guess that’s just reincarnation, isen’t it.

  35. @JOHNEA13: Yes they could get bored from doing the same thing over a long period but I don’t think they need to break a leg to know what fun it is to run around and play tag.

    ———–

    Tag is fun because it engages the fight or flight reflex. It’s fun to chase things, and it is fun to be chased. Inherent in that fun is an element of danger, fear, and risk, and the kids experience fear and take risks playing tag… but in a fun way. No mortality, no risk, no fun. Because you would be aware that being caught wouldn’t matter much. After the first several billion years, your fight or flight reflex would probably disappear.

    I mean, I can imagine scenarios where there are</em consequences. Pain, imprisonment, loss of face. But even then, after the first 60 trillion years, I think the boredom would start to get to you.

    After the next 60 trillion, you'd be in hell, no matter what. Unless, of course, you had been permanently altered to be incapable of growth and change, so that everything was always just as wonderful as it used to be. But then it wouldn't be "your" afterlife at all, but some depraved pleasure zombie's.

    I believe that freedom without the freedom to make mistakes is meaningless. In your example, if you knew that all three pieces of pie were going to make you happy, and that they would all make you equally happy, then the freedom to choose is meaningless. There would be no effective distinction between choices.

    It isn't that people have to suffer first in order to experience joy. You don't have to actually cut off your hand to realize that there is some effective difference between eating a piece of banana cream pie and chopping your hand off. But in any sort of "everything makes you happy" or "indestructably immortal" heaven, that distinction is just gone.

  36. @JOHNEA13: Yes they could get bored from doing the same thing over a long period but I don’t think they need to break a leg to know what fun it is to run around and play tag.

    ———–

    Tag is fun because it engages the fight or flight reflex. It’s fun to chase things, and it is fun to be chased. Inherent in that fun is an element of danger, fear, and risk, and the kids experience fear and take risks playing tag… but in a fun way. No mortality, no risk, no fun. Because you would be aware that being caught wouldn’t matter much. After the first several billion years, your fight or flight reflex would probably disappear.

    I mean, I can imagine scenarios where there are consequences. Pain, imprisonment, loss of face. But even then, after the first 60 trillion years, I think the boredom would start to get to you.

    After the next 60 trillion, you’d be in hell, no matter what. Unless, of course, you had been permanently altered to be incapable of growth and change, so that everything was always just as wonderful as it used to be. But then it wouldn’t be “your” afterlife at all, but some depraved pleasure zombie’s.

    I believe that freedom without the freedom to make mistakes is meaningless. In your example, if you knew that all three pieces of pie were going to make you happy, and that they would all make you equally happy, then the freedom to choose is meaningless. There would be no effective distinction between choices.

    It isn’t that people have to suffer first in order to experience joy. You don’t have to actually cut off your hand to realize that there is some effective difference between eating a piece of banana cream pie and chopping your hand off. But in any sort of “everything makes you happy” or “indestructably immortal” heaven, that distinction is just gone.

  37. @sethmanapio: IDK, being that this is OUR afterlife and we can make it however we wish, how about you just don’t know you’re immortal?

    Or, alternatively, you could be immortal, but love doesn’t have to be forever. How many times have you fallen in love? I have a bad habit of it. There ARE other risks in life aside from death — heartache, risk of losing friendships, risk of losing jobs… Death isn’t the only “risk”.

    Like I said, I’d not want every day to be the same. Otherwise, the whole immortal thing doesn’t freak me out so much.

  38. My heaven would bear an uncanny resemblance to a college campus. Quaint and scenic, beautifully landscaped, walkable, with all kinds of fun ways to amuse oneself, and all private rooms. Wifi extending beyond the campus boundaries by a block or three in each direction, said blocks containing cunning little shops and restaurants and bars. The library would have every book available, the classes would be master classes with the greatest minds of all time. There would be seasons. There would be no compulsion to do anything, but everything pleasant would be available. And my room would always be tidy, and my fridge always stocked with Diet Vanilla Coke. Just read, and chat with other people, and follow whims of interest …and the coffee would be fair trade.

  39. As Seth correctly points out, the unavoidable problem with heaven is that it is eternal. There is nothing, not even a widely varying life that can survive the ultimate crushing weight of eternity. Eternal existence reduces to hell in the long run, and when it comes to eternity, the long run is all that counts.

    If heaven were to truly exist, we could not inhabit it as our current selves. We would have to change into something else that is able to both exist for all eternity and be eternally fulfilled.

    The contradiction is that we would no longer be ourselves and thus it would not be any true afterlife for us. It would be like Dante’s Paradiso where we become nothing but points of light that gaze forever at the light of God, individual beings no more.

  40. Eternity to me means I get to read every book, watch every movie, appreciate every work of art in every form not yet created, and really improve my dancing and darts. As far as I’m concerned there’s no “crushing weight” to eternity. I’m already feeling sorry for myself that I’ve missed out on all the previous millenia. Oh, well, at least I don’t feel the need to learn French cooking, too.

  41. @sethmanapio: I’m pretty sure my enjoyment of playing tag is not dependent on knowledge of my own mortality.

    But seriously, you’re so freaking fixated on I MUST BE ABLE TO DIEEEEEEE, just stipulate that your afterlife contains an improbable and difficult but possible method of suicide and be done with it. Let other people say what they’d like their afterlives to be WITHOUT insisting that they’d all be hell. I think we’ve all gotten the picture.

  42. @Shiyiya: I’m pretty sure my enjoyment of playing tag is not dependent on knowledge of my own mortality.

    ——–

    Really? So your flight of fight reflex doesn’t kick in when you play tag? You don’t get any adrenal reaction at all? Then why is it fun?

    I’m going to pretend you didn’t even write that extremely rude second paragraph. If you read through the thread a little more carefully, I think you’ll find that you are way off the mark there.

  43. @marilove: That is my point, sethmanapio. I really do enjoy life because it’s, well, life.

    ———–

    Well so do I. That’s my point. To me–and again, this is a very personal thing–what some people are describing is not life in any meaningful sense of the word.

    Look… if I can avoid death, I will. Eternity itself holds no fear for me from here. And if I live to be a billion, maybe I’ll figure out how to cope with being a billion years old. And I’m not a fan of the heat death of the universe. I’d like it to be avoided. I think that if I live to be a billion, I’ll probably try to work on that problem, along with whoever else wants to.

    And if we win, great.

    But that sort of immortality, the kind that you have to work for, maintain, and fight for… the kid that doesn’t mean you can’t lose, just that you haven’t yet, is very different to me.

    And yes, there are lots of ways to introduce risk short of death. Lots of ways to introduce consequences. I just wonder how much they would matter after the 50 trillionth time a girl left me.

  44. @sethmanapio: I’m not generally frightened of my cousin’s six year old daughter. In my experience, games are played for the sake of playing games. Or do hide-and-seek and four square and catch also somehow involve fightorflight?

    Also, apologies for being rude and snappish, I’ve been sick and massively stressed lately and taking it out on everyone, which I shouldn’t, but I’m really bad at NOT taking it out on everyone.

  45. @Shiyiya: In my experience, games are played for the sake of playing games.

    —————-

    Is there something I said that implies I think otherwise? I’m just pointing out why games are fun. You don’t have to be afraid of a six year old to engage your adrenal glands in a game of tag with one. You are pretending to be afraid.

    My opinion is that this pretense is entertaining to us because the real thing is possible. It engages our endocrine system. But after a certain point, after the 500,000th time you dived into a black hole or whatever… would you still have any reaction to the experience?

  46. @sethmanapio:
    You are of course assuming that in someone else’s (not your own) fantasy afterlife, in which the laws of physics no longer have any effect (because one is able to dive into a blackhole and such) that one would even have an endocrine system.
    The point being, it’s perfectly fine for me you or anyone else to decide in our own imaginary, illogical, incorporeal afterlives, to decide to do something trillions of times and be able to enjoy it EACH time.
    Damn, this thread used to be funny and fun…

  47. @Skept-artist: Damn, this thread used to be funny and fun…

    ————

    I don’t mean to harsh anybodies mellow. I feel like I’ve been playing defense here, though, not determining what is fine for other people to do.

    And I’m certainly not discounting an incorpeal afterlife and the lack of an endocrine system! I’m not even discounting the idea that you could enjoy something every time you did it.

    I’m not doing anything except saying that–to me–my mortal life is not a prison that I long to escape from. I’d love to live a really bitchin’ long time. I’d love to be able to experience very weird things that I can’t even imagine right now because I’m only an egg. I think it would be very, very cool to have the time to really, really learn how to compose music or paint.

    But the themes, dude… the great themes of art are the ones that reach into your mortality and yank it out by the genitals, and I would miss them if they were gone. They would have to be replaced by something better and richer or the price for immortality would just be too damn high.

    For me. But that’s just me.

  48. I’m rather hoping that after I die I find that I am an immortal, like in Highlander. I can spend a few hundred years traveling the world, watching things unfold, and have a sword fight every now and then.

  49. COTW @Zapski: We are the heaven in which our dead reside.

    Completely cool. I guess the opposite could also be true, if we really had it in for someone and all we did was think hateful stuff about them after they died.

  50. Shit. Forgot my version of heaven.

    Can’t remember who typed it, but Skepchick Island sounds great, but no sand fleas or anything that bites, stings, etc. Travel to anywhere in the universe in a second, learn as you see fit, drink as you want (no hangovers), sex with my fav boy toy (OK, OK, I’m boring and he’s my hubby…sue me), no sunburns, but lovely tans.

  51. I would get to hang out with the people I like and have all my old animal companions frolicking around, all memories of the Star Wars prequels would be erased, and I would never hear another U2 song for the rest of eternity.

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