The Other Side & The End

Many people are fine to live their whole lives treating death as a catalyst to a potential next step for their existence, some people decide early on that when you die that’s it. All done. No encore. Others believe in the existence of an afterlife in one form or another. One thing I have learnt over time is that whatever you believe when you start to research ghosts you will at some point question it. What the conclusion of that questioning is depends on you individually, but it happens because of the people you deal with in your research.You will deal with the thoughts, fear and consequences of death nearly every single day and it will become something that is no longer taboo for you. The negative thing about this is that the people you interact with who aren’t involved in paranormal research are less likely to be that relaxed about death and will seek comfort and answers from you.

I’m not able to offer these people the answers they are looking for as I don’t know what happens at the moment of death as I’ve never died. I can only offer my personal opinions based on the best understanding that we have on what happens to the body when the brain dies. Being put in the earth to decompose seems a fine end to life – being comitted to the very Earth that sustained you in your life. However it’s very rare that anybody takes comfort from my thoughts on death.

It seems mystery makes the inevitable easier to stomach. I also think it has a lot to with why ghost hunters are so keen to look for the ghost rather than the logical cause for activity, until one accepts how insignificant life really is then one cannot appreciate how delicate it is – how superb and wonderful life is. For as long as people continue to believe in their hearts and minds that there is more than just this they will search for the proof of that.

I know this from personal experience because I used to take great comfort from the idea that those I loved who had died were still nearby on ‘the other side’ of whatever it is that is supposed to divide the living from the dead – the astral plane, the spirtual portal, or the whole host of other names people have given to such an idea over time. I believed that I too would one day pass over into that existence and would meet them again.

However, in my early twenties (yes, I know I’m only twenty-four) I started exploring my views on religion and humanity and I realised I was Atheist and also identified as a humanist, it became apparent to me that the spiritual beliefs I used to hold were actually quite manky.

I no longer take comfort from the idea that my dead gran is on ‘the other side’ where she is ‘always near’. In fact I find that idea horrifying, my gran stuck in a place where she can see and hear all of her relatives that survived her going about their business as usual without being able to interact with them. What sort of continued existence is that?

My belief in the other side was purely selfish and I think it’s quite sad that people live every day of their lives believing that they will survive as spirits or astral beings because it gives them a false sense of time. In my spiritual days I would often quote Peter Pan; “To die would be an awfully big adventure”, but I came to realise years ago that it’s not death that is the adventure, it’s life – death is simply The End.

About Hayley Stevens 442 Articles
Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

6 Comments on The Other Side & The End

  1. I do love when people tell me that being an atheist means you have a really “horrible” idea of life after death.

    As far as I know, when I die that’s it. Light switch off, gone. No realisation that it’s happened, just gone.

    I can honestly see why some people find comfort in the afterlife. Having lost my brother-in-law, who I was really close to, in 2008 hurt like crazy. And I can see why that pain, the idea that you never got to say goodbye, can lead people to almost wish for a life after death where you can do all that. And as a father, there is an element of “shit” at the thought that one day you’ll leave your family alone to find their own way through life without you.

    But none of that has stirred me from the belief that there’s nothing at the end of it. And I don’t think it’s a horrible idea, or miserable, or lacking in majesty.

    Others have described the idea of us being made from star stuff much more majestically than I ever could, but it’s the view to which I subscribe. There is a real sense of wonder that I was, in part, formed by the Big Bang and the reactions within suns. And that when I die I will become something else on this planet, eventually getting destroyed by the sun in some way (I can never keep up whether we’re just meant to fizzle to death as the sun turns into a red giant or actually eaten by it), returning back to the cosmos.

    That isn’t so much a life after death, but a continuation of “things as normal” in the universe. And it induces a sense of wonder that I don’t think the afterlife does.

    In the grand scheme of things, I’m here for a fraction of time. Unlike those waiting to move on to the next life, I’ve only got one to experience and that’s my plan.

  2. So people believing in an afterlife makes the author sad? Just remember that once upon a time, you were in the same place they are.

    Most people just drift from day to day, regardless of belief or lack of it. They drift from one fix to another, whether that fix is a mistaken belief or a chemical one.

    With some it is the belief that we are all spiritually connected, from ants to Humans, that gives SOME of these people a sense of awe and wonder of the world. Suddenly, watching any ‘mundane’ life-form go about its business has greater significance. Seeing trees as a living thing gets them really excited, to the point of hugging them.

    For me, believers in an after-life are no more wasting their life, or losing wonder of it, than a football fan obsessed with men kicking a ball or people that waste their lives investigating ‘ghosts’ or spending every night down the pub. How much ‘love of life’ is lost by lazy recreation such as drugs and alcohol?

    As for me, I just think we die and get eaten by worms.

    • Actually, I said (and I quote):

      I think it’s quite sad that people live every day of their lifes believing that they will survive as spirits or astral beings because it gives them a false sense of time.

      It doesn’t make me sad that people believe in an afterlife – everyone is free to believe whatever they choose. I find the fact that such beliefs lead to people having a false sense of time sad.

      This blog post was about my personal beliefs, it’s my personal blog afterall. I wasn’t looking down on other peoples belief systems or telling people what is or isn’t right so there’s no need to lecture me on how other people see life.

  3. Nice blog about “the end” Hayley.

    Lawrence Krauss conducted a magnificent lecture which informed me that the minerals, metals and other chemicals in my body were formed in the furnaces of dying stars and that in my right hand the mineral content is from one star and the content in my left was formed from another (not strictly speaking of course but you get the idea).

    In other words, stars had to die so that we can live.

    How incredibly poetic and awe inspiring?

    So I agree that our return to the “earth” where we were originally formed is a glorious and interesting end to have.

    All the best


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