Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Spend Spend Spend!

Why is life valuable? Because we have a finite amount of time. To live life is to spend time, and the fact that our lives are time-limited is what makes them so valuable and so priceless.

What about an eternal afterlife? Is there any value to it? In an eternal afterlife, you have an unlimited amount of time. You don’t even have a million years, or a billion years, or a googolplex of years; you have an infinite, non-numeric amount of time. You cannot quantify the time available in an eternal afterlife other than to say you have an "infinite" amount.

Of what value is something when you have an infinite amount of it? To expand on this question, let's use an analogy (I love analogies). Let's use a "Bill Gates" analogy. Bill Gates will represent a soul in an eternal afterlife, and Mr. Gates' money will represent time.

Now in this world, Bill Gates is the richest man in the world. But even then, his money is finite. It can be quantified in a specific number. For example, Bill Gates can have 99999 trillion dollars and could still earn more money. He can still add to that total. But what if Bill Gates had an infinite amount of money, with no numerical quantification possible? He would not be able to add any money to an infinite total. Bill Gates, with an infinite amount of money, could spend and spend and spend all day long and still have an infinite amount of money. There would be no point in him working for cash, as he would not be able to add to the total amount of money he had, since the amount would already be infinite. The money would lose value to Bill Gates because no matter what he did, he would not be able to get rid of it. Eventually, Mr. Gates could literally buy everything. He could purchase every material possession, he could pay for every conceivable service, to the point where he would have everything and there would be no further use of his money. In time, his infinite amount of money would become worthless.

Now let's apply this to the afterlife. In an eternal afterlife, your time is infinite. You would not be able to get rid of any of it. You would have an unlimited amount of time to do anything and everything. In an infinite, eternal afterlife, eventually you would do everything that could be done. You could eventually run out of things to do or accomplish, but you would never run out of time with which to do it in. Your eternity would, like Bill Gates infinite money, become worthless.

Even a technological immortality (of which I champion in previous posts) would not be like having an infinite eternal life (or afterlife). For a technological immortality would still have risk or finiteness associated with it. The technology wouldn't last forever without care or maintenance. Steps would have to be taken to prolong one's life, but having a guaranteed eternity of life would simply not be the case with a technological immortality. A technological immortality, at best, would simply provide the option of continued life provided that one has the resources, time, and energy to maintain this immortality.

But an eternal afterlife would not have any risk associated with it. No attention need be spent in maintaining this eternal property. An eternal afterlife would not grant time provided that one maintains or spends attention on devices that grant this time, as in a technological immortality. But instead, an eternal afterlife would grant unlimited time immediately, consistently, and without any energy or time spent on obtaining this eternal time.

What other things are found in the afterlife in unlimited, infinite amounts? Learning? Accomplishment? Goal reaching? Can there be an infinite amount of things to learn and goals to reach? I don't think that there can be an eternal amount of goals to reach in an eternal afterlife. Some might say that eternal happiness can be found in the afterlife. Happiness for what? Happiness is caused, and what can cause an eternal happiness? Money in itself doesn't make one happy, as any rich person will tell you. So why should simply being in an eternal existence make one happy? Maybe God would be the cause of the eternal happiness, but then that would be an artificial external happiness forced upon you, rather than being a happiness that comes from within. And in an eternal afterlife, even happiness would get boring.

How about the concept of eternal boredom? Boredom comes from being static, from a lack of stimulation, from a lack of new material to process. Even a person's favorite ice cream flavor gets boring if it's all they eat. Because an eternal afterlife would have infinite time, things would ultimately be static, or they would at least feel static. Everything that could be done would be done an infinite number of times in an eternal afterlife. The static feel of an eternal afterlife would cause eternal boredom. It would bring a feeling of eternal non-stimulation and eternal over-exposure to everything one could experience.

This is starting to sound a lot like eternal torment if you ask me! Eternal afterlife? No thanks! Quality is more important that quantity. I'll just stick with my finite, valuable, priceless time.


Delta said...

Nice article, I enjoyed it.

BlueBoy said...

wow, interesting perspective, got my brain juices flowing! Thanks!

Aaron Kinney said...

Thanx for the positive remarks delta and blueboy.

Getting brain juices flowing is exactly what Im trying to do. Glad to see it worked!

Jim Jordan said...

Aaron - Excellent points on the after-life. Christian dogmatists think it's a great marketing tool, but it's not. Christ clearly stated that it was this life that matters most, therefore we should enjoy it and try to make it more bearable for others by serving them.
My only question is what if our souls refuse to die? If the afterlife is no more avoidable than this life was? Kind of like being stuck in the movie "Groundhog Day". We might not have any choice.
Take care.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hi Jim!

Thanx for stopping by. Intersting insights regarding Jesus and which life is more important.

If souls refuse to die, then I think we are in some trouble personally, although theists may not agree with me.

If souls refuse to die (ie: eternal), then wouldnt they also have to have existed before the human is conceived? Maybe not if God is creating them and then keeping them eternal after their creation. But I tend to rely on logic more than theistic writings, so I would contend that if a soul cannot be destroyed, then it also cannot be created. For if a soul has a creation point, then it is not truly eternal.

But if a soul CAN be created (as the Bible claims God did) then there is no reason to think a soul cannot be destroyed, although if God exists, it may require some special pleading to him to get him to let the soul in question expire.

Anonymous said...

Hi AK and everybody. I think the idea of eternal life sounds good to your average person until they try to fathom exactly what that means. Like many christian ideas, they sound better than what they really are. But to your average christian who doesn't read much of his/her bible or critically think about anything, vagueness is a way of life (and death).

Anonymous said...

Oops! That was me in the last post. See you guys later!

Anonymous said...

You will have to stop worrying about money and worth before you can fathom something that goes beyond your SELF.

Anonymous said...

Just think of how you felt during the happiest moment in your life and if you had the choice of experiencing that for

A ) 90 yrs
B) forever and ever

Are you sure you would pick A ????
check out www.victorzammit.com ( Great site!!)

Anonymous said...

Victor Zammit is a kook.
Do a google for "Andrew
Skolnick+Victor Zammit"
to see what I'm talking

Anonymous said...

Im not saying Victor is genuine but i think you should consider many thing`s such as the fact that the universe is made up of 90% dark matter of which we can not see, but we know it`s there. Ask yourself this, what is more unbelievable, the fact that a solid atom can split into two and then when not been observed but when you try to observe it, it behaves as one single atom. The truth is that i think we can not afford to make assertions about specific things, that we dont know anything about as yet. So to the die hard skeptics i say do not judge a book by it`s cover until you have at least attempted to read it first.

Anonymous said...

Nice article. However, I would just like to point out that in the afterlife we would't necessarily run out of things to do or things to learn. (just by counting from 1 to infinity is already something infinite or udefined). One might argue that the trend will remain the same but if you consider the fact that numbers are infinite in nature then there would be infinite ways to manipulate them. We only think that we'll run out of things to do if we have infinite time because we only have a "finite" grasp of things around us. We are bound by the limitations of our mind since we are part "material". I don't think everything that could be done can be accomplished if we have an infinite amount of time. Probably because we are forgetting to consider what is outside that everything. That "everything" beyond our own understanding of everything. We can only see the trend because of our limitations as finite beings. I think that infinity doesn't only apply to time alone but to other things as well. Maybe when we become infinite beings, we might be able to see eternal afterlife in a different light. For now, it is something that none of us really know. maybe someday?

Anonymous said...

I know this post is a little old, and this may be off topic, but speaking of Victor Zammit, what do you think of the evidence for reincarnation as presented by him (google "reincarnation zammit"), and for that matter, the work of Ian Stevenson whom he cites?

I personally don't believe in reincarnation myself (I find the idea detestable), and I'm not trying to "troll," by the way.