Birth and Death: Paradoxical Bookends of the Absolute Self (Part Two)

Death is an action without a consequence; birth is a consequence without an action. What I mean by this is that in both cases, birth and death, the relationship between cause and effect is irrationally severed. It is said that you are born, but if we define the birth of you as your “coming into being”, then the question is how can one be born if one does not exist in the first place? How can you experience birth if birth is the fundamental beginning? There is no YOU to be born prior to your birth, and so the consequence is birth but there is no action which involves you at all. The action which is entirely mutually exclusive of you somehow concludes with you. Frankly, this makes no sense at all. I don’t care how you twist it or what mathematical, evolutionary, determinist magic you try to invoke to square the infinite circle.

And death is like birth except that in this case, the action is of you but the conclusion is entirely absent you. You die, but since death represents the oblivion of you—the complete absence of you—then the consequence of dying has absolutely nothing to do with you at all. You could not have experienced your death, since to experience something you must exist—existence is a prerequisite to experience. This is axiomatic. Further, how do we make any claims about you once you have died? If we define death as the categorical absence of you, or the non-existence of you, then who exactly are we talking about when we speak the life one lived prior to death? If death represents the utter non-existence of one who once lived, then there is no longer any ONE upon which to hang the life which is said to have been lived. We cannot speak of so and so doing this, or so and so doing that if, so and so is entirely nonexistent. But if we insist that so and so did actually do this or that even though so and so doesn’t exist, then we concede implicitly that existence itself is transitory. Existence is not fundamental, but is itself, merely a mist which fades. Existence then cannot be trusted to be objective, and thus any arguments to the objective and empirical nature of reality and truth collapse.

There are a few ways that reconciliation of these contradictions is attempted, and all of them fail the test of rational consistency. One is to deny the existence of YOU qua YOU entirely…to insist that the Conscious Self is purely illusory; a hiccup of the otherwise perfect and perfectly determined mathematical, perpetual cosmic evolution. This rank nonsense was debunked in part one of this article series.

Another explanation is that death is in fact an illusion; that you transition to an after life, as the Christians or Jews or Muslims claim. The problem here is that Christianity makes no such claim about birth, and as far as I know neither does Judaism or Islam. Yet we cannot claim that death is merely a transition but birth is absolute, for both are the exact same relationship between being and non-being. You see, if death is merely a transition into an alternate state of existence, then so must be birth. For going from nothing to something is no more rational than going from something to nothing. In other words, if man does not go from absolute being (life) to absolute non-being (death) then he likewise does not go from absolute non-being to absolute being. If there is a life after death then there must concordantly be a life before birth.

The reality is that only when we accept that the Conscious Self is a constant—that the position of the Observer is to be the reference for an otherwise infinitely relative reality—does one’s existence as a conscious being begin to make sense. It is a hard truth to swallow, for it runs contrary to all popular religion and philosophy, which accept either death, or both death and life, as infinite and absolute bookends to a purely transitory existence as One who is utterly aware of himself, his environment, and possesses the capacity to conceptualize both, as well as the relationship between them, and from that prescribe definitions, and from these meaning, and from meaning, truth, and from truth, morality. But One who is so absolute as this cannot also be rendered subjective and finite via birth and death as they are commonly understood.


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