Why Brain Can't Handle the Inevitability of Death
A dying neuroscientist identifies three lessons from neuroscience. All are important, but the last one is really profound.
It is possible, even easy, to occupy two seemingly contradictory mental states at the same time.
You can know that some food is unhealthy for you and still eat it.
You can be a scientist and still believe in numerology.
The deep truth of being human is that there is no objective experience.
One thing may completely change its meaning to us in a different settings, different time, different context.
One more year is something completely different for a young person and for a terminally ill patient.
The brain spends much of its time and energy actively making predictions about the future—mostly the next few moments.
The last paragraph of the article is worth quoting in full:
Nearly every religion has the concept of an afterlife (or its cognitive cousin, reincarnation). Why are afterlife/reincarnation stories found all over the world? For the same reason we can’t truly imagine our own deaths: because our brains are built on the faulty premise that there will always be that next moment to predict. We cannot help but imagine that our own consciousness endures.
I can smell an opportunity here to discover a better way of coping with death of our beloved ones and ultimately with death of our own.
last modified: 2023-01-21