Thursday, January 24, 2013

Is Afterlife a Dream or a Reality?

Colorscript for "The Afterlife"
Colorscript for "The Afterlife" (Photo credit: Phil Strahl)
         Perhaps someone can help me with this one.  I was watching so many movies during the holidays that they have sort of run together and I'm forgetting what I've seen where, but I think I heard the information that I will impart in this post from a movie that I saw.   My question to you might even be the result of a confused memory of a dream where I might have gotten my information.   Tell me if you've heard this before.

          Recently I saw--or thought I saw--a film in which one of the characters is talking about death, dying, and the nature of the afterlife. This character mentions something to the effect that Timothy Leary had expressed a belief that death involves a process where we become so aware of the existence of time that our final seconds of corporeal life are broken down to such intensity that the seconds and milliseconds become like years, centuries, and eventually eternity.   In other words, heaven or the afterlife is essentially an eternal dream that our mental or spiritual self--or soul if you will--dwells in.

        I personally would not subscribe to this belief since I do believe there is a tangible nature to the afterlife, but it is an interesting concept to consider.  After all, it has been proven that a seemingly long dream can occur in a brief span of minutes and even seconds.  Many of my dreams will seem not only to have lasted for hours, but will also have a dream memory or history that seems to have happened at a point beyond my sense of experience of the dream that I've had.  This could mean there was a previous dream sequence that had occurred but had transferred into memory or the memory could be a false or perceived history that is implanted into my mind as a part of the actual dream experience as I remember it.

        Whatever the case may be, time has been distorted because I positively know that those long dreams only occurred within a specified time span according to my last approximation of what time I had fallen asleep and the time I awoke.  The perceived dream time is in no way near the real time of sleep.

         If the body were shutting down as it would in death, would the mind also slow down to a hyper-speed in a negative direction?   Like a gourmet sampling food or wine, would our mind in a dying state savor each tiny fraction of life seconds until that final moment when soul/spirit/mind is suspended in an eternal dream?

         This is just something that came to mind as I pondered this movie that I saw or dream that I had or wherever it was that I got this idea.   Now if I could only just remember.

          Does anyone know what I'm talking about?   Do you know of any metaphysical theory that expresses a similar or the same concept?    What do you think of the idea?

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  1. Well I have heard people in crisis situations say that their lives 'flash before their eyes'. I would like it if there was an afterlife, but I figure if there was, my dad or exhusband would have tried to contact me by now. And they haven't.

  2. Whoa! Deep thinking...

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  3. I've never heard about Leary's theory before, but it has a beautiful nature about it. To exist in a dreamstate after death has been explored in many a fantasy book. It allows the person to be revived much more easily with the use of magic, of course.

    Interesting, thanks for sharing.

  4. JoJo -- I think the "flash before one's eyes" is a good example of what I'm trying to think of in this post. I do believe there is an afterlife, but for the most part I think there is a barrier between those who have passed and the living. Those people might contact us in ways we don't realize, such as dreams, but then again perhaps our own wishfulness for the event makes it seem like we have been contacted. I don't really know, but some swear that people in the afterlife do communicate with the living at times.

    StMc -- I suppose this could be considered deep thinking, but then again it might just be befuddled thinking.

    DG -- "Beautiful nature" can seem comforting in a sense, but an eternal dream could be frightening. It makes me think of the film Vanilla Sky. Many story possibilities could be derived from the theory.


  5. Most thought provoking Lee.


  6. Lee-

    I do not subscribe to the belief that people who have crossed over can contact us, although I have also said many times that I will concede that perhaps my refusal to believe in it prevents me from seeing the signs of contact.

    There is a movie with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep called "Defending Your Life" that really struck me as my view of how an afterlife would work.

    In the film, your time in this life is judged, and if you "conquer your fears," you move on.

    Otherwise, you come back until you get it right.

    I would include the conquering of fear, but put the majority of the "score" on how you lived your life.

    But I think that once you move on, it is to something we simply cannot comprehend, and I do not believe you are able to make phone calls to your old plane of existence.

    But what do I know?


  7. I believe in ghosts. So does that mean I believe in the afterlife? I believe that the dead can contact us if they wish too.

  8. Considering that Einstein proved Time is relative, then the meaning of "eternity" is subjective to the one experiencing it. As you pointed out, like in the dreams. At what speed the soul travels? When we die, what is supposed to be left is the soul and spirit. It is presumed someone who travels at light speed would not live the same time someone on earth does. Their experiences wouldn't take the same "time" either. So yes, I believe that's possible and "eternity" doesn't last the same in every plane of existance.

  9. Yvonne -- Thanks for dropping by.

    Larry --But I also think it holds true that people who believe that the dead can cross over will be more easily to misread events and be deluded into believing they've been contacted. Your rational belief is probably the correct one. I think I saw that movie years ago. I know it's a film that is highly regarded.

    Jolie -- Many believe as you do. I'm a doubter, but some of the evidence presented has been very interesting.

    Al -- It's one of those ponderable things that we may never know until we too have passed on.


  10. Is this the 'Tune in, turn on, drop out', Timothy Leary we're talking about here? He had some pretty fantastic ideas and he really liked mushrooms on his pizza. Ha!

    It's an interesting concept and one to ponder, especially if you're smokin' the good stuff. I guess. Personally, I like my 'afterlife' a little more on the ideal side than an eternal dream of my own making. At least, I hope that's the Afterlife, I qualify for.

  11. Damn, Arlee. Deep. Or is it really shallow and it just seems deep? Are we really living in these bodies, or are we merely waves of emitted energy that have constituted a corporeal existence for other waves of energy to interact with?

    Let's go deep into the rabbit hole. :o)

  12. I think Timothy Leary probably got bad drugs and mushrooms from time to time.

  13. Hey Lee! I've given you an award over on my blog.
    Very interesting as usual. I've had dreams that seem to last for hours and hours...have you ever had a dream where you're running from something, or seems to last all night long, and when you wake up you're actually tired because you've been 'running' all night?
    I don't believe in any afterlife, but I do think that a dying brain can produce all kinds of things as it goes 'offline'.
    I saw a show once where brain researchers reproduced, in a lab, with volunteers, the feeling of dread you get when you think someone's following you, the sounds of chains rattling, babies short, all the stuff of nightmares and ghosty whosties...I wish I could remember what the show was called or how it was that they did this. It was really interesting and for me made it clear that any thoughts or sounds of spirits or whatever, originates in our brains, not in the 'spirit world'.
    Hope things are good with you and you're feeling well.

  14. I've always been fascinated by dreams and their meaning and why did I dream THAT. One of the problems I have is that I do a lot of "real life" dreaming, in other words,I'll have a dream which is just like a normal day,and when I wake up I don't remember that I dreamed it. Then something will come up, and I'll talk about it, and my family will look at me like I'm CRAZY and I realize I dreamed the whole thing. I can't think of an example right now due to the new drugs they gave me (yes, I'm sick AGAIN...).

    The other weird dream thing that happens to me is that I "Inception" dream. I'll wake up, think I'm awake, go about my business, then wake up again, realize I was still dreaming, repeat cycle up to five levels and THEN I wake up for real. it's actually kinda creepy.

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

  15. The idea of an eternal dream state created at death bothers me because so many people die in pain or in fear - wouldn't that taint the dream and turn it into an ongoing nightmare?

  16. Faraway --Yes, the one and the same Timothy Leary who asked to have his death video taped. He did a lot of drugs, but still lived a fairly decent length life. I'm with you on the eternity question.

    ML -- I suppose some of this came from some of the drug inspired thoughts of Leary, but I imagine other philosophers before him have suggested similar ideas.

    Carol -- I'm sure he good some bad stuff now and then, but according to him he also got some very good stuff. He was the LSD guru so I guess he had some good drug connections.

    Eve -- I sure have had dreams that wore me out. Often they are about work though and searching for someone. I'll be over to your blog soon I hope.

    Tina -- Layered dream within a dream scenario. Cool! Since dreams are often merely rehashing or interpretations of everyday events it makes sense that your dreams would be as you describe.

    LD -- Sounds like a good horror story idea. Then again maybe in that near death state the fear and pain goes away and the eternal sensation would be more blissful and beautiful.


  17. Ignoring Timothy Leary.

    I firmly believe in the afterlife. I know that there is heaven and God is everywhere. He operates outside time, has no limits.
    There is an active spirit world, and every now and then I get a glimpse of it. If ghosts exist, then it makes sense to me that there is more than we can understand with human boundaries.

  18. Susan -- I too believe in the afterlife in the traditional Christian sense as I read it in the Bible. I thought Leary's concept was kind of interesting and could have a certain element of substance in the conception of how we might experience time at death, but not for eternity. I'm more curious as to what movie I heard this in.


  19. If it weren't for schedules time clocks, and night and day there wouldn't be a sense of time on this realm. We would of course wake and sleep which provides a sense of time; one moment sleeping and another awaking. I think about people that have memory lost; for example: not remembering what they did yesterday or five minutes ago for that matter; which leads me to think that memory has a lot to do with time. I can only speak for myself on the issue of dying - since I've felt the essence of my being leaving my body many times; thinking about family in those moments or what ever a persons thoughts are has to do more with memory than time; being the observer of my own being that I am; I witness what's taking place regarding my being within those moments which has nothing to do with time; just being.Whether here on this plane or in the sleeping world I think it's a memory thing not a time thing.


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The Dreamer