Sunday, May 09, 2021

"How Does It Feel to Die?": Arvin Ash explores, and it matters if you are lucky enough to die naturally and peacefully (and the physics of space-time then helps out)


Tornado destruction, northern Neck, VA

How Does It Feel to Die?” (May 8, 2021) is an interesting speculation by Arvin Ash. “Neuroscience may have an answer”.

Ash describes the various regions of the human brain and what happens as each of them dies (as organs shut down, with touch and hearing the last senses to go). The very last portion of the brain to remain some activity, even after the heart stops, seems to be a deep-seated area that can play back memories of the key points of one’s life, probably for a few minutes.

But those few minutes may seem like an eternity as time slows down. As long as awareness remains, the person’s sense of their own identity still feels infinite and permanent, in a manner similar to the idea that the surface of the Earth has no center. Once it is gone, there is no awareness that you are not aware, so this logical riddle itself implies a certain apparent immortality of your slice of space-time. The information content of your life exists, very much like a book exists while no one happens to be reading it. Perhaps the information content gets stored on the surface of a black hole in the galaxy.  So perhaps it is available for other superior or evolved entities to re-experience.

But of course this is not possible if your life ends with the violent destruction of your brain, like by direct gunshot or explosion. So how you die can really matter. And that can be in the hands of others and it isn’t always just at all.  JFK's was violent and may not have offered this permanence. It also may help to have loved ones around even when "unconscious", although I was not around constantly when my own mother passed in a hospice at the end of 2010. 

No comments: