Existence: Consciousness arises from a complex set of physical causes and effects. It is amazing to think that consciousness exists at all, it seems a very out-of-place phenomena within our universe. There are many unique arrangements of matter in the universe, the majority of these are unconscious/not self-aware. Yet some unique arrangements of matter bring about this thing we call "consciousness/self-awareness". Consciousness is intriguing in that it satisfies a consistency loop: Physical Laws > Matter > Life > Consciousness/Self Awareness > Physical Laws In other words, our minds have discovered the very things that created them. Then this begs the question: Is there some sort of purpose to consciousness? The answer to this question (taking a purely naturalistic view) is no. The universe (a collection of a majority of unconscious things) does not require purpose, WE are the ones who require purpose as it has been a self-created concept in our minds (and most likely in the minds of other forms of intelligent life which most probably exist out there ). Death: Death is a mystery. According to science a person is dead when irreversible brain-death occurs. All memories, self, ego etc. is permanently lost. Now, people who do not believe in an afterlife (which I'm sure will be most of you reading this as you are highly intelligent people ) will know (or at least assume according to science) that you cannot experience "nothingness". After death the subject does not experience "nothingness" as it is impossible to experience something unable to be experienced. This would be like expecting your nose to hear things or your eyes to smell things. You would be dead and unable to experience. So that is death. But who are "you". What exactly is "your" mind. Why aren't you me, or some bird, or some alien or any other conscious being? I don't mean you as in a collection of your memories, experiences, ego, physical/mental traits etc. I am not talking of a soul, I do not believe in such paranormal things. I mean the "experiencer" experiencing things in the body which is "you". Have a think about this for a moment: You are existing now. You feel like you've always been present because you don't experience otherwise. Before your birth and the formation of your brain, you are mostly unconscious. You cannot remember being born simply because your brain hasn't fully formed. You then slowly come into self-awareness. Now, since seemingly out of nowhere you have just come into consciousness, what would be limiting this from happening again after "your" death? If after death is non-experience and before birth is also non-experience then it makes quite logical sense that "you" do not experience this "non-existence" but instead your "subjective awareness" is relocated. You are reborn as another conscious being, if you will, but no supernatural/non-physical soul is literally moved, simply, a shift of perceived existential ‘moment’ occurs. Here are 2 possible and purely naturalistic views on possible scenarios after death: 1. Say you die. Sometime, somewhere the same genes form an exact replica of the brain that you had. What is stopping this from being you? If you conclude that this is you, why is it just limited to genes and the replica of your brain which creates you? There are three specific criteria which are necessary (and are likely sufficient) for the maintenance of a personal identity: continuity, subjectivity and memory. All conscious beings with a sufficiently enhanced central nervous system share these criteria. 2. You die. In a couple of nanoseconds transmigration occurs, whereby "you" (the experiencer of consciousness) is reborn as another conscious being. No soul or supernatural entity moves from one body to another simply "subjective awareness" is relocated. Wayne Stewart coined the term "existential passage" which is the transmigration I have described. I highly recommend you read chapter 9 of Mr. Stewart's monograph in order to understand this concept fully and how it is based purely on naturalistic views (He gives a thought experiment and some nice little diagrams to help understand): Chapter 9 "Existential Passage": http://www.mbdefault.org/9_passage/default.asp - page 1 http://mbdefault.org/9_passage/2.asp - page 2 http://mbdefault.org/9_passage/3.asp - page 3 Chapter 11 "Passage Types": http://mbdefault.org/11_types/default.asp Please post any criticism, suggestions, discussion, questions etc. Thanks for your time. P.S. Thomas W. Clark has also written a paper on this subject which can be read here: http://www.naturalism.org/death.htm [Broken] (Mr. Clark is the founder of the center for naturalism).