We heathens have nothing to lose. We don't have to worry about such will'o't'wisps as heaven, nor bother with speculations on what an afterlife might be like: we have certainty, not belief. We had no consciousness of this life prior to birth and will have no consciousness of it once we are gone. Besides, let's say all freethinkers wind up in hell. Upstairs, there's nothing but pious people; the real action goes on La-bas, shall we say. There, the Devil's revels include Voltaire and John Huston, Darwin and Freud, Einstein and Haldane. Even if there is a hell, it might be superior to that other place. I am reminded of Melville's scene in Moby Dick, set in the Harpooner Inn. Long after Ishmael has fallen off to sleep, Queequeg comes back with his unsold shrunken head, smokes a bit on a hatchet-smoking pipe and throws out his arm to go to sleep, taking hold of Ishmael in their shared bed. Once the mutual astonishment subsides and Ishmael is falling off to sleep again, he thinks: "Oh, well. Better a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian." Give me hell or give me death!

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Two quotes, attributed to Mark Twain, come to mind.

"I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me a bit."

"Go to heaven for the climate, Hell for the company."


P.S. Are the images celebrating Dia de los Muertos?

They are of an artists' taller, or studio-showroom in Jalatlaco, Oaxaca, Mexico.  My hotel room was around the corner.  Last October.
Exactly what I was thinking.  You beat me to that one.

I like those images you posted.  Awesome.

I think it's great that we don't have to bother worrying about a heaven or hell, just no consciousness.  

I do find it difficult to grasp to concept of lack of awareness/consciousness after death, particularly in regards to family that will survive my death (my children primarily). I think it is the loss of control, the loss of ability to continue to share, grow, and cherish my children after I cease to exist as an individual on this Earth. I know control itself over anything in the universe is an illusion, but what I refer to is more the chance to influence events and people for the better. Thinking about that makes me a little melancholy at times, regardless of the platitude that I will have no knowledge or consciousness after my death.
I understand that it is hard to grasp the concept of non-existence considering existence is the only thing you know. The way I see it, death is like when your in deep sleep. When your body is in deep sleep you are unconscious of the world around you, so if every night I become unconscious when I sleep, then death is just a deep sleep I never wake up from. Sure it is hard to imagine how your loved ones will handle your own death, but you will never be there to experience it. I consider nothingness my true home, as before I was born I was nothing, and after my 70-80 years on the earth, I will return to nothing. There is no need to be sad; enjoy the time you have left on this earth.



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