A Case for Not-Oblivion on the Other Side of Life






You can make a case for oblivion as an afterlife option. Easy. Oblivion is nothing. Waking up from sleep, you know what that is. Coming out of anesthesia from surgery, you know even more what that is. Oblivion is nothing: no life, no death, no suffering, no joy, no world, no longing for something you don’t understand and have little chance in discovering. Why not? Maybe that’s what awaits us anyway. 

The Buddhists talk about nirvana, and what is that but another kind of oblivion, a good Buddhist oblivion to be sure, a good escape from samsara, the world of moving things, mostly heavy matter things that bring pain if not managed properly, or even the heavy mental things like anger and hate. 

And how much do we believe in the various heavens spread out in the world’s religious self-justifications, and will it make pain and suffering and poverty and disease and murder and mayhem all worth it? Considering what most people around the world have experienced in the past and continue to experience and how much of that experience could count as suffering, yes, you can make a good case for oblivion as the reward for living on planet earth.  

But that’s not the case I want to make. Right now I am ecstatically happy about my life, despite frustrating days or even angry days that show up now and then, and despite the dark experiences in my past that still reverberate in the deep folds of my hidden psyche, and the near brush with insanity that has left some tattered spots in my will to be; yes, despite all of that, which was much worse than these words can make it sound, I make the case for life to continue beyond the falling away of mortal forms, and mental forms, and whatever other layers of human existence that might remain after the decay of physical matter sets in because in the total experience of my life, I have made the deep plunge into the core of my being, past the cries of human pain, deep into the unknown where things are not easily defined, past the chains of time and space and all other limitations, past the hole of night, deep into the void, and found and embraced the original thing in its original condition crying out the primordial cry: “I exist!” I embrace that cry in the deep of the deep right now and I respond with the penultimate cry from a mortal being who has surged alive on this planet: “I want to live!” And after billions of years of infinite becoming, that primordial cry showing up on this planet, in this person, destined soon to sleep the big sleep, this is what has broken through from the deep cry, three minutes and nine seconds that are my case against oblivion:

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