The Oblivion Question, Winning Essays

The Immortality Institute has been running an essay contest on the Question of Oblivion:

How does one come to terms with the seemingly inescapable problem of oblivion after ones own death?

Or perhaps a more interesting question would be:

In the 70 years since Lomont first published his work, why has so little been written about the problem of oblivion after death?

Or perhaps the most ambitious question is:

Can science prove or disprove oblivion after death?

The two winning essays can be read at the Immortality Institute website:

Survival or Extinction?:

Can we survive our own deaths? Is there truly a life beyond there? Are we spiritually immortal? Or does it all end with our earthly demise?

These questions have ceaselessly preoccupied the able homo-sapiens since its very dawn. And why wouldn't they? Is there a more significant and urgent matter in light of the realization of one's own warranted mortality?

Questions of Oblivion:

A fundamental question that concerns human beings is "what happens to a person after death?" Over thousands of years, people in different cultures have lived as if they knew the answer - that some new form of existence begins after death. Beautiful artwork, intricate doctrines and elaborate funeral rituals attest to the importance of a profound and believable answer to the question. But in the present day we must ask, more than ever, whether our present-day scientific understanding of reality support the claims of many religions and philosophies that there is an afterlife, or does science instead offer convincing evidence that life ends in Oblivion?

Few people like to think about personal extinction and the absence of the self, which is unfortunate, because it slows the process of doing something about it. If you agree that gambling on the existance of an afterlife by dying is a bad or outright foolish idea - not to mention the suffering and age-related degeneration along the way - then shouldn't you be assisting groups working towards ways to dramatically postpone this fate?

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