Beforelife, life, afterlife. Beginning, middle, end. The three essential parts of a properly formed story. Even a really short story. A guy walks into a bar, something happens, punchline. Set up, middle, end. Beforelife, life, afterlife.
But wait. A well told story also has brevity. It cuts to the chase. And it ends before it gets boring. If it ends with “happily ever after”, a good story teller won’t bore an audience by expanding on that. When the story’s over, it’s over. Finito. Unless it’s one of those of those overlong fantasy movies about rings and volcanoes with about five or eight consecutive never-ending endings… yawn. Given the merit of brevity, a more realistic life story is birth and infancy, adulthood, decrepitude and death, rather than, beforelife, life, afterlife. That could go on forever. Boooooring.
People talk about life a lot. They also talk about the afterlife a lot. The idea being that we’re much too special to just die and that’s the end of it. Our spirit must go somewhere. And because it’s a unique and special spirit that will live forever it must go somewhere special.
If you’re going to go with that concept, then it stands to reason that there must also be a beforelife. If a spirit that lives forever has to go somewhere when a human life ends, then surely it has to come from somewhere before a human life begins. On the other hand, if life, including the spirit, can begin at conception, why can’t it end at death? If it goes on after death, there’s no reason to think that it began in the womb. (Exactly where to draw the line for the beginning of a physical human life isn’t important here as this has nothing to do with abortion.)
A life and an afterlife without a beforelife is like a story with a middle and an ending, but no beginning. Or a joke with no set up. Why the long face? Huh? What? It doesn’t work at all if you didn’t set up that a horse walked into the bar. It’s also not funny, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a joke. A lot of jokes aren’t funny. See Christmas crackers.
The term beforelife does not refer to the time before a star was born, or the time before men played hide and seek with dinosaurs. Like the afterlife, the beforelife refers to a time that is unique for every single human being. The beforelife that pertains to you is all the time before you were born, while your afterlife is all the time after your death.
One major difference between the beforelife and the afterlife is that beforelife isn’t a real word. You won’t find it in the dictionary. You won’t find much in the way of people talking about it either.
You can’t tell big lies about the beforelife, because we’ve all been there. You can’t make promises based on the beforelife, because it’s already over. You can’t take people’s money in exchange for guarantees of a great beforelife. It’s too late for that. And you can’t start a cult based on fantastical notions regarding the beforelife for the same reasons.
Even though we’ve all supposedly experienced the beforelife, there’s nothing to talk about, because we all know exactly what it’s like. It’s nothing. Absolutely nothing. If you want to get someone to try to accurately picture the concept of nothing in their head, tell them to try to remember (not to try to imagine, to try to remember) what it was like three years before they were born. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not dark, not light, not cold, not warm, not anything. Nothing. It’s so nothing that it could serve as the definition of nothing. It’s not even a word. It’s so nothing that it’s not even a thing that’s like nothing. It’s just nothing.
And that’s it, the totality of mankind’s knowledge of the beforelife.
Some people have beliefs about things such as reincarnation, but there’s no actual evidence that reincarnation is anything other than fantasy or delusion. When there’s no evidence that a thing actually exists, the principle of probability, and more importantly, that very uncommon commodity known as common sense, should indicate to us, beyond reasonable doubt, that that thing does not in fact exist. There’s not even a tiny little piece of evidence that supports the existence of the beforelife.
There’s also no evidence that supports the existence of the afterlife, but, unlike the beforelife, absolutely nobody has ever experienced that. All discussion that supports the afterlife involves philosophical supposition. Which is a polite way of saying it’s a whole lot of people making shit up. But one thing we do know about the afterlife, were such a thing to exist, is that to go there requires death. The end of a human life as we know it.
Death is defined in the dictionary as the permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism. Permanent is a really important word in that sentence. It’s why the paramedics keep slamming on the electrodes and shouting “clear”, or “no fire in the hole”, for a good period of time after things seem hopeless. Or lifeless. It’s to make sure the lifelessness of the situation is actually permanent, beyond reasonable doubt.
Breathing is one of the vital functions. We can all stop breathing for a bit. But that doesn’t mean we’re dead. Or having a near death experience. Because there are other functions that haven’t ceased. But the main reason we’re not dead is because the cessation of breathing is not permanent.
An absence of permanent cessation of vital functions means an absence of death. By definition. So if anyone rises from the dead, they weren’t dead. By definition. It wasn’t permanent. So nobody died to cleanse anybody’s sins or for any other reason and then rose again three days later. Absence of the conditions of death, your honor. Without permanent cessation, death did not occur. By definition. Many people have risen after three days of rest, but none has risen from the dead. Unless there’s a type of death that isn’t permanent. But there’s not. Because permanence is an absolute requirement for the condition of death.
We know a great deal about human life. Human life involves a living, breathing organism. The afterlife does not involve a living, breathing organism. Nor does the beforelife. In that way they are identical. Also in another way.
We know exactly the same amount about both of them. Exactly nothing.
There is no reason to even surmise, apart from wishful thinking, that the afterlife would be any different from the beforelife. There’s no evidence of any difference between them.
All of us have experienced the beforelife, but none of us has ever copped even a tiny glimpse of the afterlife, despite what some may claim, or even believe. A glimpse of the afterlife is impossible because, as previously discussed, death is a prerequisite. Dreams involving the dearly departed are sometimes cited as a peek beyond the curtain. Meh. Dreams are just a reminder that we’re all crazy.
Some people claim they’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Big fuckin’ deal. Drop a decent tab of acid and you’ll see much madder shit than that. A so-called near-death experience provides as much insight into the afterlife as seeing George Clooney at Trader Joe’s provides insight into what it’s like to live the life of a movie star.
We all know exactly the same amount about the afterlife. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. So there should be nothing to talk about regarding the afterlife.
No such luck.
Afterlife is a real word. It is in the dictionary. People talk about it a lot.
There’s another difference between the beforelife and the afterlife, apart from the not-an-actual-word thing and the everybody’s-already-been-there thing, and it’s a huge difference. The beforelife is impossible to turn into a money making scam and the afterlife is the biggest money making scam of all time. By many orders of magnitude.
Because nobody knows anything about the afterlife, there’s nothing to stop people making shit up about it. Even going to the ludicrous extreme of telling people that they have a direct line of communication with the spiritual forces that control the afterlife. Not only that, they say that anyone can benefit from that line of communication, simply by giving money to the people making the shit up.
Like other scams it comes in many variations, one of the best being the purchasing of indulgences from your local Catholic Priesdophile. By giving money to a man who wears dresses and big fancy hats, a man who controls the biggest building in town, a building filled with things made of gold, you can avoid some terrible punishments that were otherwise coming your way in the afterlife, courtesy of a very angry and otherwise unforgiving God. The same God who’s famous for having no problem slaughtering millions of people at a time, utilizing all manner of hideous disasters, diseases and illnesses, but who will have mercy on you, individually, so long as you give enough money to the world’s largest organisation of professional pedophiles.
Lots of people actually believe that kind of shit. Billions of them. And hand over lots and lots of money because of it. Un-fucking-believable, but true.
Whether we accept it or not, every one of us has always known as much about the beginning and end of the Beforelife, Life, Afterlife thing, as anybody else has ever known. Meaning nothing. If you think you know more than nothing, see if you can find any actual evidence that supports what you think you know. (For more information on a method of how to do this see the “From the Author segment” here. ) And then let me know. I won’t be holding my breath.
Variations of the above rant can be found in the introduction and conclusion sections of The Human Life Series of Handy Notebooks available now at Amazon.com.
The Human Life Series of Handy Notebooks
Beforelife : The Human Life Series of Handy Notebooks, Book One
Contains every known fact about the beforelife plus lots of blank pages for notes.
With an introduction and conclusion by Neel Ingman.
Life : The Human Life Series of Handy Notebooks, Book Two
Contains every fact known by Neel Ingman about your life plus lots of blank pages for notes.
With an introduction and conclusion by Neel Ingman.
Afterlife : The Human Life Series of Handy Notebooks, Book Three
Contains every known fact about the afterlife plus lots of blank pages for notes.
With an introduction and conclusion by Neel Ingman.