There is always that distinct possibility of life after death, the concept that our souls and core ego should persevere in some form after the expiration of our physical shell. Then again, there's always the possibility that we die, and that's all folks.

Realistically, there's only one way to find out. Now, in discussing these virtues of life and death, one must inevitably come to contemplate the ultimate reality of a god unit, whatever you wanna call him (Jehovah, Allah, Brahman, whatever). Now personally, I'll just say right now that I believe in some cosmic force that makes things happen for better or worse, the closest things I've been able to find is the dao (mostly because it can't be explained), so in that respect maybe you could call me agnostic. But, I don't necessarilly believe that because there is a cosmic force in the universe, we as mortals are ensured an afterlife.

Originally, it is thought mankind created deities to explain two major curiosities of life: One, natural phenomena of nature (i.e., the sun, thunder, etc), which our primitive race had yet to grasp. And Two: What happens after death?

So, with these things in mind, I sometimes wonder, Do you think mankind sometimes assures each other of an afterlife out of selfish pride? That somehow, we as a race feel we deserve to ensue after our mortal flame is put out?.

Yes, now I know that saying something like that is a bit accusational, not to mention selfish in itself, so sue me. But I seriously think this thought deserves a bit of entertainment. As blasphemous as it sounds, I think there could seriously be a possibility that after we die, that's it. Because if all matter, and hence energy, in this universe is constant, then that doesn't really ensure our exsistance, from a physics standpoint. It could just mean that when we die, the "energy" that was "us" (i.e., our ego, soul, or whatever), is mearly diverted to the creation of a new soul.

The next possibility I'd like to entertain is reincarnation, which in its nature is a direct contradiction of the previous concept I presented. It makes a bit more sense though, considering I've met a few people I often-times thought of as "old souls". So, we go through life over and over and over, each time getting just a bit closer to the ultimate understanding of the cosmos as it stands, and in the process move further and further away from the material wants and pits of depravity that seems to cover this island earth (pardon the movie reference). So, that in the end, in our "final life", we actually transcend this plane of existence and extinguish our mortal flame willingly (no, not suicide), that is to say that when we finally understand what this cosmos is all about, who needs to live in it, eh? So we croak, yadda yadda yadda, and the next step is theoretically end up in Nirvana, where we exsist in a state of non-being (Zen, Mu, whatever you'd like to call it), where we're beyond all needs or concerns, and by nature, illumed.

The third and most boring possibility, is, of course, Heaven. But the problem I see with Heaven, by nature, is its polarity. It represents good. Only good people goto Heaven. So by its nature alone, Hell is created to house the wicked, perverted masses. Now, in Heaven, no man is supposed to need things like tobacco or women (or big hunky studs if you're a hetero fem/homosexual), because we're there, with God, and everything's cool. Now, for a bit of the flipside, the Islamic Paradise and the Norse Valhalla are much more "pleasure-bound" type afterlives, with all the carnal pleasures of this world times thirty-gabillion.

...

I figure different strokes for different folks

This write-up is a cut and paste of some things I wrote in Warning: You will die someday, that I feel should get their own write-up.

When we say that there is something after death (or not), we usually mean that, after the body disappears, we still feel and think something (or not). So let's determine whether you will feel anything after death, and whether you will think anything.

Feel

Your senses will stop working after you die. It's a fact: your eyes will not transmit images any more because of neuronal activity cessation, your ears will lose their connections with your brains, and so on. So you will have no contact whatsoever with the world. Sorry about that.

Think

The activity of your mind depends on your circulating system supplying your brains with blood and oxygen. Indeed, if the blood or oxygen level in your brains goes down too much, your mind almost stops working, and you collapse. After death, the oxygen and blood levels will go down to zero. Therefore your mind will have no activity at all. You will be completely unsconscious. You will not even dream.

What defines the mind is the ability to think about something, i.e to be conscious in some way (which includes dreaming). Therefore, if you are permanently and completely unsconscious, we can say that your mind is dead. It's an ex-mind. You are an ex-Everythingian.

That is why I would be very surprised if there was anything after death. Please correct me if you happen to be a dead person or an omniscient god.

One of the most bothersome questions about life after death involves the inclusion of animals. I know that most Christian and Catholic beliefs state that humans and only humans are granted passage to Heaven, but many people choose to believe otherwise. I mean, if humans have a holy haven of God's green pastures and fluffy clouds, do dogs and cats and hamsters and fish not also have a refuge to go when they perish?

According to a book released by Mary Buddemeyer-Porter, a devout Christian and author of "Will I See Fido In Heaven?", the Christian religion (and God himself) have an intricate design for the afterlife of the animal empire:

"Many Christians do not believe that animals go to Heaven. I have to admit that for more than 40 years, I was one of them. But one day as I was reading the book of Romans, I was amazed at what I read. I called some friends and before long, through various contacts, there was a team of Christians studying the word of God and delving into old Hebrew and Greek word study guides to seek the truth. The results were joyous and shocking. One person, Roger Fritz, delved into every word, phrase, and sentence making sure we stayed focused on the mortality and immortality of both man and animals. In comparing the differences, we discovered God's wondrous design for the earthly and eternal survival of the lives of every living creature and the eternal choice man must make concerning his own destination. It has been a most fascinating journey. We all hope you will have much fun, joy, laughter, and grow in your knowledge, and Godly wisdom..."

So, it seems as though there are some references in the holy scripture that seem to allude to the existence of an afterlife for animals. Of course, this could all be some crackpot hoax to sell a book and the matching audio tape, but tell that to a family who just lost their beloved Fluffy.

Sources used: http://www.creatures.com/Mary.html

In its simplest form, life after death is a contradiction in terms. Death is by definition the end of a life, so life after death is like dehydrated water. Yet many people insist that this physical incarnation is just part of a larger existence, that death is not the end for them as an individual.

hope clouds observation
Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim

The human ego is a psychological construct designed to promote the survival and interests of its host organism. It has a hard time imagining a stage without itself on it as an actor. We find it difficult to imagine ourselves not existing. By design, the ego never gives up, never sees its situation as hopeless.

The concept of "Life after Death" is widespread, perhaps even universal to human cultures. Some claim that your soul joins the ancestral spirits. Some claim that after an intermission or bardo, the soul is recycled into a new life. Some like the ancient Egyptians, believe that the persons acts are judged or weighed, and then rewarded or punished in an afterlife, or become one with some form of God or universal spirit.

A man's ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."
Albert Einstein, "Religion and Science", New York Times Magazine, 9 November 1930

All of these theologies serve political ends in the life before death. They keep people in line.

Belief in ancestral spirits promotes a conservative society, with countless generations of ancestors looking over your shoulder. Reincarnation gets the complication of karma: your status in the next life is determined by your actions in this one. Born poor? You must have deserved it, so just be humble and don't rock the boat, and maybe you'll be born rich next time. Heaven and Hell serve much the same social purpose.

So to add it up: there are good reasons why people refuse to believe that they will just die, and there are good reasons why human societies encourage and channel these beliefs, and neither of the two sets of reasons involve any actual life after death.

If you want to get to the truth, you can't base your ideas on wishful thinking. Life after death is something for which there is no evidence, no suggested mechanism, and nothing is explained by positing it. Occam's Razor does the rest.

Life After Death, the Notorious B.I.G.'s second album, was released on March 25, 1997 -- sixteen days after his murder in Los Angeles. A double album, Life After Death showcased Biggie's flexibility and adaptation skills by pairing him up with some of the biggest producers in hip-hop. The RZA, DJ Premier, Easy Mo Bee, and Kay Gee joined Sean "Puffy" Combs in the creation of Biggie's magnum opus.

The lead single was "Hypnotize," which was notable for being the final music video to feature original footage of Biggie. In fact, his final interview took place on the set of the "Hypnotize" video, where while toying with the cane he was required to use in his recovery from the car accident that fractured his leg, Biggie mused on Tupac Shakur's death and his own role in heightening the coastal tensions that most assumed led to that fateful night on the Las Vegas strip.

Notable tracks on the album include "Ten Crack Commandments," wherein Biggie lays out the rules one needs to follow in order to become a successful home-pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor, "What's Beef," a violin-laden description of true animosity and vendetta, "Notorious Thugs," a track featuring BONE Thugs-N-Harmony which displays how well Biggie could adapt his rhymes and flow to best fit the style of his collaborators and producers, and "You're Nobody (Till Somebody Kills You)," the final track on the album and more than a little prophetic:

You can be the shit, flash the fattest five,
Have the biggest dick, but when your shell get hit
You ain't worth spit, just a memory...

Spiritually, Life After Death is Biggie's last album. Unlike Tupac, who would enter the studio with notebooks full of verses already written and ready to record absent any kind of backing tracks or production, Biggie preferred to work closely with his producers, writing and tweaking lyrics around a beat. This style of recording left very little unpublished material in the vault after his death. While Born Again was released two and a half years later, it was constructed piecemeal from scraps of abandoned recordings and rehashed remix verses, utilizing a myriad number of producers and resulting in a discordant, jumbled sound.

In my entirely subjective opinion, Life After Death is one of the five greatest hip-hop albums ever. Listening to it, one can hear a definite narrative thread, a darkness that pervades throughout. It lurks in the background on the upbeat "Sky's The Limit" and playful "#!*@ You Tonight" and takes center stage on "Kick In The Door" and the haunting "My Downfall."

Biggie's death birthed a vacuum in hip-hop, one that so far has proven impossible to fill due in no small part to this album. With the bar set so high, with no significant later work to detract from its greatness, even legends like Jay-Z and Nas struggle to live up to the legacy Life After Death bestows upon them. In death, Biggie has ensured himself eternal life.

Note: Originally, the album's full title was Life After Death (Till Death Do Us Part). The subtitle was removed for unknown reasons in later pressings.

Track Listing

Disc One

  1. Life After Death Intro
  2. Somebody's Gotta Die
  3. Hypnotize
  4. Kick in the Door
  5. #!*@ You Tonight
  6. Last Day
  7. I Love the Dough
  8. What's Beef?
  9. B.I.G. Interlude
  10. Mo Money Mo Problems
  11. Niggas Bleed
  12. I Got a Story to Tell

Disc Two

  1. Notorious Thugs
  2. Miss U
  3. Another
  4. Going Back to Cali
  5. Ten Crack Commandments
  6. Playa Hater
  7. Nasty Boy
  8. Sky's the Limit
  9. The World Is Filled...
  10. My Downfall
  11. Long Kiss Goodnight
  12. You're Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)

There is life after death.

A bright, generous, funny and downright loveable man shuffled off his mortal coil at 8:42 p.m. on the twenty-second of September of this year. The privilege of his company for at least three or four hours a day, every day (but for about four) was mine for the last four months and some-odd days of his life. Would that I'd spent that many days with him in the fifteen years preceding onset of the sinister slippery slope of sickness that would eventually cause his passing.

Moments the quality of which are near peak-experiences (or at the very least life-milestones): the first taste of good Scotch, first sip of very old Bordeaux, first marijuana high, first seemingly magnificent sense of awareness on LSD , and the like; are for me still vivid and delightful. But those moments were all firsts at things that one must acquire a taste for. That those moments were "firsts" admits that the seconds, thirds, fiftieths could eventually become boring (and were indeed harmful).

The most recent moments spent alone with him were immediately rewarding and left a lovely lingering lightheadedness that no supple, smooth spirit nor exotic mind-altering substance could match. To think that listening to the story of biscuits baked in a steamy tropical military outpost in 1946 could be a peak-experience. Of course, the mechanics of biscuit-baking when told are not the stuff of magnificent memories. The telling of the sheer glee experienced by he who ate the biscuits, and shared the biscuits generously and selflessly with his comrades; now that's the stuff I remember now and hope and pray I'll remember as long as I live.

Whether it was he, or God, or the stars who decided, I don't care. He was to breathe his last breath as I held his hand that evening in September. He'd spoken many times of the peak-experience of holding me as a child for the first time. Now, I held him in my arms for what I knew would be the last time. The circle had come around. Was it inappropriate that mixed with immediate feelings of grief were feelings of joy; joy that I'd had the privilege to be there; joy that his struggle had ended? How awesome the responsibility that came to rest upon my shoulders at that moment; to remember him, not as I'd remember him but as he had intimated that he'd like to be remembered.

No morbid dwelling on childhood's growing pains, no tear-blurred gazes at old photographs, no selfish weeping over the agony of absence permanent. What my life after his death is like is a celebration of the part of him that is in me. Moving forward through this strange adventure, more conscious of him than I ever was when he was alive, is serene and colorful. No, no, no; no dark, gloomy nor hopeless place for me. Speak his wisdom, a voice inside me says. Live his dreams. Reiterate his advice and the wisdom of his sage, old soul to all who'll listen. Embrace his humility. Emulate, at every chance, his generosity. To do those things will be a much more significant way to honor his memory than to speak flowery, praise-filled eulogies; engrave plaques; or even carve his name in a slab of granite and raise it up in some important place.

Yes, indeed, there is life after death.

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