Eternal Consciousness and Eternal Unconsiousness

Throughout my few years of existence, I've pondered about which is worse: eternal unconsciousness or eternal consciousness. A Christian (or any other person that believes in an eternal afterlife) would say that eternal unconsciousness (what most atheists have accepted) is far, far worse.

But is it really?

Consider this- imagine existing for an eternity. Eventually, you would have experienced and/or thought about everything possible, and impossible. Eventually, it would become very monotonous, perhaps even torturous. You might even want to kill yourself. But you can't! In this strange universe you are trapped in, death does not exist. You exist eternally tormented by the impossibility of death.

In the "eternal unconsiousness" boat, it's ZAP, you're born, then ZAP, it's over.

The thought of either of them, to me, at least, are bone chilling. Both of them are just as bad, so I chose to board the more logical "eternal unconsciousness" boat, AKA atheism, rather than the goofier "eternal consciousness" boat, AKA theism.

Sorry for opening the valve on my mind all the way on the first post, I had to let it out.

Views: 53

Tags: atheism, consciosness, death, eternity, fear, heaven, hell, of, philosophy, theism

Comment by Reggie on July 30, 2009 at 1:28pm
Sure is easy to procrastinate if you have eternity.

I procrastinate now without the belief of an afterlife!
Comment by Leo on July 30, 2009 at 6:22pm
Annihilationism is probably the closest thing to thing to eternal unconsciousness for Christians and it is not held as a traditional belief.

Eternal unconsciousness seems like a misnomer to me though. Wouldn't unconsciousness require the possibility of consciousness? If your consciousness is merely biochemical and electrical reactions, then when those cease and the components for those reactions breakdown then "you" cease to exist essentially. So you aren't unconsciousness, you just "aren't".

For me, as a Christian; eternal consciousness with God, eternal unconsciousness(if I believed in it), and eternal consciousness separated from God would be the "good to bad" order.
Comment by Reggie on July 30, 2009 at 6:40pm
Eternal unconsciousness seems like a misnomer to me though.

I believe it is. Oblivion might be better? It is hard to speak about concepts that we are unable to truly grasp. Even from a young age we think of dead relatives (or animals for that matter) as still containing agency in some way. It is a tough habit to break when speaking of death where no afterlife is presumed.
Comment by Jeremy Roney on July 31, 2009 at 2:38am
Eternal Consciousness:


Eternal Unconsciousness:


It seems obvious to me which one I would prefer...
Comment by CJoe on July 31, 2009 at 3:14am
Oh, c'mon guys. I know we're all Atheists here, but... there is something attractive about eternal life. You're that afraid of boredom? Jeez! lol Ya know, you're thinking a bit too inside the box. When you're dead, there are no rules. For starters, you did NOT experience everything you could've while you were alive; you didn't go everywhere you could go. Now that you're dead, you can go ANYwhere... you might be able to haunt people (I think that'd be fun for at least a few years), you could spend your time at the bottom of the ocean observing those weird creatures you've never come into contact with in this life... you could float in space and watch a star form, or a galaxy... maybe catch a few novas. In fact, you might even be able to observe the entire evolution of a new planet!

I think you'd find plenty to do that it wouldn't be repetitive for at least a million years or so, and then once you've seen everything, you can watch again. I mean, I bet you guys watch foot ball every Sunday and never get bored with THAT. You could watch all the YouTube videos, catch up on all movies made throughout time...

I could go on. But I won't. I don't believe we'll have the chance to live forever, but... I certainly wouldn't turn it down.
Comment by Dave G on July 31, 2009 at 12:06pm
Eternal life I'm not particularly interested in, as it takes away a choice. If I have no option but to live forever, then if I ever do get bored, I can't quit.

Now, if we're talking eternal youth and health, where I can live for as long as I wish to, then I'm all for it.
Comment by Reggie on July 31, 2009 at 1:11pm
@ CaraColeen - Quit pooping on our party pooping!

While eternal life does not appeal to me, a much longer life would. If I could live for 300 years or maybe a thousand years, that is more like it! Of course, the quality of life would need to be there. I'd want to be youthful and healthy and happy. I guess while I am at it, I'd also want to be handsome, charming, a witty conversationalist, and insanely attractive to the ladies. Hey, it's my day dream.
Comment by Dave G on July 31, 2009 at 2:35pm
Don't forget rich, Reggie! No sense in being young and healthy if you have to work in the Kessel spice mines all day, every day.
Comment by CJoe on July 31, 2009 at 6:09pm
Well... when Christians think of eternal life, don't they mean after they DIE? So, according to their ideas of Heaven and so forth, you WOULD have a static age, probably somewhere in your prime. Personally, I'd like to dispose of a "body" altogether and just float around in an orb. Or, maybe I'd like to be reincarnated as some animal.

And, Riggie... what if, after a long life of 300 or so years, you got bored and decided it was time to cease to exist finally. Well, really, why not just take nap or something for a long time? Who knows what interesting thing may be going on when you wake up. I'd at least like the OPTION of existing again.
Comment by Jeremy Roney on July 31, 2009 at 6:18pm
Immortality wouldn't be so bad if we were given the option of ending that immortality (ceasing to exist) when we choose to do so. Taking a really long nap wouldn't be likely to change anything, when you woke up its quite likely that you would find things essentially exactly as you left them, or so similar to what you once knew that the difference would be negligible.

I think what you're missing Cara is that a long life isn't 300 years (which wouldn't be bad at all). We're talking about eternity here.. any measurement of time you can possibly imagine is still infinitely smaller than eternity.

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