I know, a very cheerful topic.
But today it finally dawned on me that aging will depend much less on how I look at it than I’d expected. It won’t all be in my mind though it is there too. But it’s undeniably in my hands and my back, my hearing and vision too. Considered hypothetically mortality doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. But when the terms cannot be negotiated you begin to realize that decrepitude is just going to go right on moving into more parts of your body and it doesn’t really care what of your projects that might interfere with. The last act has begun and the last act of the play will not allow for any final edits or rewrites.
When I was a wee tyke with an aborted Christian induction, I had a childish idea of what an afterlife would entail. But it sounded pretty cool, as though you’d get to go back stage after the last act and talk over your role with the powers that be, perhaps get some feedback on how you did and find out what’s next.
But given my secular prospects I tend to react by slowing down to savor the last few pages of the book, the final three truffles, a few walks with the dog as well as meals and card games with my wife.
Secularly speaking is anything next? Well I have been impressed with excerpts I’ve heard online from McGilchrist’s new book “The Matter With Things” which seems to settle on panpsychism as a big picture WV, the idea that consciousness is basic, at least as basic as matter. I’ve heard him suggest that cosmos’ main business may be individuation. Pirsig’s Lila already had me thinking about the seemingly unlikely arc of the cosmos which somehow is generating more complexity and greater freedom rather than winding down. But I am so used to arguing that consciousness can’t be a property of the cosmos or matter since it seems to be a bodily function of creatures with brains and among the inert bits of the cosmos, brains are rare to the point of nonexistence. Okay so what impact does any of that have on my impending mortality? If consciousness at low levels permeates everything then does that mean my consciousness slows back down to boulder speeds? Somehow I don’t think a lifetime of consciousness in the fast lane of human existence is going to go on in a disembodied state. Intuitively much of the quirks of my idiosyncratic individuality is of much use to future generations. They’d be better served with a blank slate fresh start.
Anyhow, I’m pretty sure my childhood Christian fantasy version of an afterlife is not what mature Christians, those filling up with decrepitude like me, must think about as they near the end of this life. I’d appreciate getting other views of how mature Christians think about the what’s next question as they reach the end of the line. Any takers?