in waiting for a reply as wheels continue to turn (churn, do gears do that?)
in losing the thread as often as it finds me, until it is lost without being found again
(or without it finding me again)
the self cannot die because the self never existed except in story
and stories can live forever, unless they die by being forgotten
in which case the self-character merely ceases to be ... not so much a death as a disappearance with none the wiser
characters who die in stories only die in the temporal sense local to the story
real enough to the character, but reversible and even changeable for the audience
so death appears to be real but only to the ones living the story, i.e. their own lives
afterlife implies a change in state with a recognizable continuity
consciousness, untethered from its physical form, continues.
if consciousness does not die, then death is merely for the body.
but if consciousness is more transient than life, then living death is a possibility.
death experienced by the dead - the ones irrevocably changed.
the only surviving relic is the body.
on the other hand, if consciousness is something that only exists in the present moment, stringing together its identity from memory and future projection, then death is irrelevant except to the idea of the self held by that consciousness.
that which only exists in the present can only have a past in the sense that it perpetually recreates that past through continuously reconstituted memories, and it can only imagine its future. if this is the self, the self has no longevity, and therefore death cannot exist except in that the self dies and is reborn with every instant. the final death is merely the last in a countless chain.
perhaps there is a window of time in which the self can experience some semblance of temporal persistence beyond the infinitesimal sliver of the present moment. but if so, i believe it is very small, on the order of minutes or less. perhaps smaller for some than others?
as always, i don't know what i am talking about. i type and words come out.
well, most of the time.
no apologies, just acknowledgment. i stand by the words because there is no one else who can.