Ralph Waldo Emerson’s education began at age two, his dwarf Aunt Mary the teacher. She dressed in a hand-made shroud, as if preparing for death. She wore it all day at home, used it as pajamas at night, even publicly as a dress on the streets of Concord. Great Diaries, 219.
We don’t need to obsess with death to prove our mortality. It’s all around and within us. We do need to KNOW if, after death, life continues. And, if it does, will it be worthwhile?
Biographer David Boswell once told philosopher David Hume that life did indeed survive death, offering the most delightful prospects. Which Hume vehemently denied as a baseless fantasy. Historian/philosopher Will Durant agreed with Hume.
Which we understand since both adopted Greek philosophy as their model of the next world. Greek religion postulated at best a SOUL—a soul, not a body—wandering aimlessly through a darkened underworld. Who could get excited by that?
To be desirable and inviting, a future life must be something else, somewhere else. In a dimension we cannot presently calculate. Where we avoid the limitations our flesh imposes and acquire the pleasures our forgiven spirits anticipate.
Is there such a life? The question burns with Bessemer heat in every language. It’s posed in a thousand ways in 10,000 cultures world-wide, history-long. End Part I