Hello everyone. Thank you for welcoming me to the group.
On Jan. 19 I started a discussion in the "Water Cooler" section of the forum here on atheistnexus.org. There haven't been any responses yet, and although it hasn't been a terribly long time, I thought I would inquire with the members of this group, since I was invited, with some questions.
What's the etiquette around these parts for "bumping" a message if it falls by the wayside? Is this acceptable at all? If so, is 11 days a sufficient enough wait time before one could feel okay commenting on his/her own message in order to bring it back in front of the community's eyes?
Maybe the questions I asked were too personal, uninteresting, or offensive. Maybe you could comment on this.
Here was the body of text:
Title: Emotional magnitude...
Among those of you who have at some point in your lives held religious beliefs to any extent, have you ever found the full acceptance of mortality since to bring with it a stronger emotional response? For instance, do you find the feeling of terror and sadness that accompanies watching a documentary about the holocaust, say, to be exceedingly more harsh since you've become disillusioned? Or do you feel a much greater need to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you? This is something that I'm experiencing, and at times it can be overwhelming. I'm not saying I remember these feelings being weak or short-lived when I was "a believer", but they feel orders of magnitude greater now. I'm curious if I'm not alone. Any comments are welcome.
As my own critic, I shouldn't have worded it in such a way that assumed the reader would have "fully accepted mortality". I'll state here now, though, that when my mind ventures down that extension of logic, I sometimes feel a heavier emotional weight, and that that was all I was trying to convey.
One final thing. Please tell me if this group is not the place for this type of discussion! =)
Anyone's comments on any of this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Thought I'd add one more thing. For me, death itself has never been as worrisome as the people I leave behind. I'm coming from the perspective of a father here, so more so when my two boys were little. They're now older and one has just left the nest and the other will be soon, but still the bigger concern if anything were to happen.
Deep concern for others seems to me to be one of the best temperers of mental strength. As a father, it is your duty to do everything you can for your children. I do not have children, but I think I've felt something similar with my feelings toward my family and friends. I would imagine it could be many-fold with caring for children, though, because they cannot fend for themselves yet.
Rudy, I feel as you, as a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Watching my children parent their children and my granddaughter parenting her sons gives me great hope for a future we dream about. We leave them with terrible debts and constant warring. It feels so funny when I hear one of them, from any generation, say the words that I said to my children when they were growing up. I guess my immortality will be in their memories of me.
Death, for me, holds valuable images of being changed in energy form to the "stuff of stars", as Sagan sayed. I find that concept profoundly comforting. Whatever I have said or done, is what is. I can't change it. All I can do about my regrets is express my sorrow for being so unkind and do my best to live with compassion.
I find my sons and daughter do the same. It feels good.
I guess my immortality will be in their memories of me.
This is a concept I've heard before, and I find it beautiful.
Oddly, I often feel a brief moment of kinship when I read well-articulated writing written by someone deceased. If their ideas seem plausible, my mind gives them consideration from the point of digestion on. Their ideas become part of my reasoning and I carry them with me, passing on to others at pertinent times how I've crunched them.
I honestly can't say that I feel this only when the writer is deceased, but when they are I think it might shake me more into realizing the reality that I'm feeling a connection with something inanimate, that is, text.
Death, for me, holds valuable images of being changed in energy form to the "stuff of stars"
But Joan, you already are the stuff of stars. So don't wait to celebrate ;)
Yes I hear what you're saying. As I said before, personally I really have no problems with the "there's nothing afterward" idea. As do most atheists I believe, shown by (sorry obfuscate, but you did elude to that possibility in your opening statement) the lack of interest on this particular topic. So comforting wouldn't be the right term for me. More, "comfortable with it", as I have neither positive or negative feelings of death itself.
Now that being said, what I find more interesting, is peoples thoughts and feelings on the issue and how the brain works. I don't mean that to sound cold, very much the opposite. I just love to learn about others and the way they feel. The physical aspect of how the brain actually operates, to me, just logically goes with it. I very much enjoyed the book "How we decide" by Jonah Lehrer. It delves into the way we think, and how the brain works. Very fascinating stuff.
PS. Yes, my wife does say I'm way too logical sometimes (^_-)
No need to apologize, Rudy; and I don't find it cold whatsoever that you take interest in analyzing the human mind in its emotional and thought processes. I think I can say I'm right there with you on that one. It leaves me awestruck thinking that such experience could come about by way of masses of assemblies of molecules.
I think you hit the nail on the head with the idea of being "comfortable" with death. For me, the great majority of my life included thoughts about an afterlife, so I think it's simply the case that I haven't had a great deal of time to come to terms properly. I don't think there's any way to speed this up really, besides taking a bit of extra time to explore the ramifications and mull them over.
It seems likely to me that obtaining solace during certain trying times through thoughts of an afterlife has become reflexive for me because of years of patterning. So to consciously unearth something that's deep-seated may bring with it a bit of difficulty. This is just a guess --a bit of psychoanalysis on myself =).
But this doesn't address the increase of emotion I feel with certain thoughts. For instance, to use the example of the holocaust again, there was a time in my life where I felt anger, grief and empathy when thinking about it, but I still had the notion that the heinously tortured victims' souls were going to make their way to paradise in the end. Taking that last bit away changed a lot. The degree of anger, grief and empathy shot up, what felt like 50-fold. I mean, it felt completely unbearable.
It hasn't been just events as severe as the holocaust, though. Subtler forms of corruption, malicious intentions, injustice, etc., spark a stronger reaction in me now because I've realized the preciousness of time.
I find a shot of Canadian whiskey or vodka helps too (^_-). Which brings up another point. Humor, I find helps. Of course it does depend who you're talking to, but...
For example, my wife's grandmother just passed away a couple weeks ago. She had just had a stroke and was in the hospital paralyzed to the point where she couldn't talk or even blink! It was pretty bad. My wife went in to see her despite the fact she didn't know what to do or say, so she just went to visit/talk hoping her grandmother could understand her. At some point during when my wife was talking to her, she past away. When she came home, she told me and our 18 year-old boy what happened. Our son's response was, "boy, that's the first time I've ever heard of anyone actually boring someone to death." Despite being such a sad time, my wife cracked up laughing. It really was quite funny and helped (^_^).