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Rational Hope for Life After Death

JOANNA

Hello, Maria.

MARIA

Hello, Joanne.  It is pleasant to go for a walk on a sunny day in Studio City, California.  How much more pleasant is it to share a walk with someone such as yourself, namely, a friend who combines a sound character with a lovely face.

JOANNA

I can only agree with your sentiment, Maria, and return the kind words.  What topic shall we choose to discuss on our walk?

MARIA

It is fitting for two free women to discuss topics that pertain to the lives of the free, do you not agree?

JOANNE

I do.  Let us then eschew base concerns — the obtaining of money and boyfriends and jobs, and like matters.

MARIA

Let us.  I propose a topic which is of concern to all free mortals, being perhaps only not of concern to immortal beings, should there be any such.  I propose we discuss a thought that has occured to me and has in fact provided me comfort through many an anxious night.  Namely, I believe it is possible there may be life after death.

JOANNE

Maria, you surprise me.

MARIA

How so, Joanne?

JOANNE

You have always struck me as a woman of sound intellect and of a courageous disposition and this is one of the reasons that I value your friendship.  I can make no sense of the idea that life can continue after death, since life is the action of a material being which upon death dissolves.  What meaning can there be in the notion of life continuing after death?

MARIA

It occurs to me that I do not understand how it is that I exist now.  Each moment seems to me a precious gift vouchsafed upon me by I do not know what.  If it is nonetheless true that I do exist now, how can it be any harder to understand that at some future time I will exist as well.

JOANNE

Allow me to re-state your point so I am be assured of understanding it.  Are you saying that just as at some time you did not exist and now you do, so you believe in some future state you will exist in a different fashion than you currently do, although not one that you can currently make sense of.

MARIA

You restate my point better than I am able to state it myself, as an experienced musician is able to take up a tune hummed by one less skilled at the musical art and work it up into a pleasing theme.

JOANNE

But although I have restated it more clearly to my limited comprehension, nevertheless I find I am unable to understand it.    I can understand an analogy between two things that exist.  I can understand an analogy between a tennis ball and the Earth for example as both resemble each other in some respects, namely sphericality, while at the same time they are dissimilar in other respects such as size and composition.  But how can I understand an analogy between our current state of life, including as it does everything we have ever experienced, and some supposed other state?  The other state seems to be dissimilar in all ways that can be conceived.

MARIA

Your point hits a mark, but perhaps not the mark you intend.

JOANNE

How so?  If I have failed to think clearly as a friend I believe your responsibility to correct me, and if you, out of a misplaced kindness, failed to apply a fittingly astringent punishment to as it were the bare back of my mind, I would count you as no better than an enemy.

MARIA

Then I will apply these scourges quickly in the manner of a physician rather than slowly in the manner of a masseuse, achieving my result emphasizing effectiveness rather than pleasure.  Although you cannot conceive of the analogy that I present it is in no way correct that those analogies that cannot be conceived cannot nevertheless be apropos.  For example if I discuss to a child how he will feel when he achieves romantic feelings — i speak of a child who has not reached puberty —

JOANNE

I understand–

MARIA

I can state that his love for his mate in the future will be like his love for his mother.   This analogy will be entirely beyond him.  It is nevertheless true.  Just as dinosaurs when subjected to the weight of the Earth over millions of years become the petroleum that fuels our cars…

-END OF FRAGMENT

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8 thoughts on “Rational Hope for Life After Death

  1. An interesting exercise. Joanne channels Ayn Rand (a definitional argument about life) and Maria channels Confucius (we don’t know what life is). Then they channel Socrates and Alcibiades making fun of “The View.” I’d buy a ticket to see it. 🙂

    • Yes, it’s exactly like that, except with Whoopi Goldberg instead of Martin Heidegger. It’s a daytime talk show. I’ve never seen it, but apparently it has a lot of good comic material. People often make jokes about it.

  2. It’s weird. You can write a serious philosophical dialogue but if you put women in it it seems like a joke. Why? I basically didn’t put any joke in it other than that the two women seem to be flirting with each other, but that’s true of the Athenian men in the original too.

  3. Susan says:

    this is off subject. – – – – I knew “The View” when Barbara Walters was running it, many years ago. One episode was the last straw, and was in poor taste. I wrote to the show and explained why I would never again watch her program do such a disservice and disrespect toward women viewers. They didn’t respond. Then not long afterward, there was controversy and disharmony about Barbara within the cast of the show. She left being on camera, and controled content from behind the scenes. I didn’t hear of it by watching the show but someone in media thought bitch fights were Nationally newsworthy. In My Opnion.- – – – I have a whole other rational theory about life after death of the human body. In theory, so don’t really have a single fact about it.

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