Everybody dies, J;?q\~()t everybody agrees about
.what death i~. Some believe they will survive
.rafter the qeath of their bodies, goi~g to Heaven
or Hell or somewhere else, becoming a ghost, or
returning to Earth in a different b~ody, perhaps
not even as a human being. Other:s believe they
will cease to exist-that the self is snuffedo,ut
when the body dies. And among those who believe
they will cease to exis t, some think this is a
terrible fact, and others don't. .\
I t is sometimes said that no ahe can conceive
. of his O'Yn nonexistenc#" and that therefore we
can't really believe drat our existence will come '
to an end with our.deaths, But this doesn't seem
true. Of course you can't conceive of your own
nonexistencefrom the inside. You can't conceive
[87 J
What Does It All Mean?
of what it would be like to be totally annihilated,
because there's nothing it would be like, from
the inside. But in that sense, you can't conceive
of what it would be like to be completely unconscious,
even temporarily. The fact th"at you can't
conceive of that from the inside doesn't mean
you can't conceive of it at all: you just have to
think of yourself from the outside, having been
knocked out, or in a deep sleep. And even
though you have to be consci~us to think that, it
doesn.'t mean that you're thinking of yourself as conSCIOUS.
It's the same with death. To imagine your own
annihilation you have to think of it from the outside-
think about the body of the person you
are, with all the life and experience gone from
it. To imagine something it is not necessary' to
imagine how it would feel for you to experience
it. When you imagine your own funeral, you are
not imagining the impossible situation of being
. present at your own funeral: you're imagining
how it would look through someone else's eyes.
Of course you are alive while you think of your
own death, but that is no more of a problem
than being conscious while, imagining...