Ove Kåven

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Thanks for replying.

Have you heard about Bernando Kastrup? Many videos on you tube. He's an idealist. Mind is all that exists. That would imply that we are all one mind., also we would never die.
No, I don’t think I’ve seen anything by him, and I don’t generally have much time for watching such videos without a good reason. What you’re mentioning isn’t such a reason, because that’s a very old idea. It’s even a fundamental belief of some versions of the Hindu religions, where Brahman is that one mind. Then the purpose of life is to live a good enough life that you will no longer be reincarnated, but through nirvana, you may finally let go of your ego and be absorbed into the greater whole.

And I suspect your inference is incorrect. For the sake of argument, let’s first assume there’s no afterlife. In that case, what would death be, on a fundamental level? I think it’d be the destruction of the “you”, right? Meaning the thing that thinks, has an identity, autonomously controls your body, looks out of your eyes, and has its own free will. When you die, that free will, that mind, would be gone. This thing has been given various names through the ages, usually some version of “soul”, “essence”, or “ego”.

This “soul” thing is important, clearly it can exist even if mind is all that exists. But if there’s only one mind, then it follows that your own mind isn’t a mind, meaning your soul is not autonomous and you have no free will, and this “karma” thing is pointless because you don’t control your own actions anyway. That seems absurd, so I think there can’t just be one mind.

Of course, you could instead argue that we are minds that are, or were, somehow part of a greater mind, we just happen to be a little detached from it for whatever reason. This is the more common way to look at it, as it makes a lot more sense. But in this case there’s a lot of minds, not just one, even though there’s this greater mind that’s made up of all us smaller minds, and we’re all part of that greater mind in some sense. More importantly, in this case each of these smaller minds can cease to exist. Even if its component parts (e.g. knowledge, experience) don’t cease to exist, but are just reintegrated into the greater mind, its autonomy and free will would still be gone when reintegrated. In that sense, it would be dead.

Now, as far as I can tell, there actually seems to be reincarnation (which is what you’d expect from a world where mind is all that exists), so your physical death does not necessarily imply the immediate death of your soul. But in principle, it’s still possible for your soul to be destroyed after death, and perhaps it might happen to particularly insufferable souls.

Also, in hinduism and buddhism, the death of the soul is even considered desirable, because life is suffering. In their view, you’re supposed to live a certain way so that your soul is finally allowed to die, and be reintegrated with the universe. You can agree or disagree with such views (we might know more about enjoying life nowadays), but it’s clear that in many ways, death isn’t necessarily as bad as we typically make it out to be here in the West. Perhaps we shouldn’t be as afraid of it as we are. But the idea that we could never die… well, it depends on how you define “die”, but by the definition I think most would use, I would probably not consider it true.