Theory Design Lab/Life after death

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This resource is intended for

use in the subject philosophy.

This resource is intended for

use in the subject practical philosophy.

This resource is intended for

use in the subject religion.

Definition of terms[edit]

  • Hilbert Hotel is meant as a secular view of heaven. It does not actually refer to any conception of heaven at all and as such is unbiased and devoid of prejudice.
  • Celestial being is meant as an equally unbiased reference to beings one might meet in this place, including angels and other possible beings. Angels being referred to as "created by god" one could also use the term "artificial intelligence" in the widest sense of a created intelligence that does not rely on biological reproduction for self-reproduction, but without implying any specific interpretation as to what else that may constitute. For instance one could expect an artificial brain to be made of diamond, but there may not be actual diamonds as found on Earth in heaven, so we cannot know that. The word is not meant to distinguish beings by their interest in playing the harp (or not).
  • Hyperspace is meant as a secular view of any conception of a higher dimension, but without assuming much: The number of dimension actually available could even be restricted to three space dimension as on Earth, also that is an unorthodox view — more likely more space dimensions are available.


Let's assume there is a kind of Hilbert Hotel in hyperspace, as a secular view of an afterlife following a mind transfer, or possibly a less interruptive procedure (e.g. as implied by a soul, as a quasi immortal part of the brain), to hyperspace. (The Hilbert Hotel is proven but does not exist, the afterlife is unproven but it should exist.) Hyperspace has more dimensions so creating extra space is probably not as difficult and inhabitable space in the universe is not really a scarce resource anyway, at least if you have a sufficient level of technology. Similar conditions may exist in hyperspace.

And, of course, the next "Hilbert Hotel" may be millions of light years away, meaning not even Seneca the Younger (a mentor of Nero) would have had the opportunity to check in yet (people who arrive there would probably have to make the remark "that was really very long ago" and would probably be extremely desinterested to go all the way back). More likely, however, it is right besides planet Earth, only in a higher dimension.

An interesting exercise is to imagine who should be admitted, if you had to make the decision or were asked to help the competent committee.

The naiv approach[edit]

The pupils should discuss the questions without reference to persons, merely discuss the questions and decide the questions.

  • Consider your friends and acquaintances. Should your social circles be admitted?
  • Consider other people you respect. Should they be admitted?
  • Consider people you do not respect or you do not like. Should they not be admitted?
  • Could it be that there are people you do not respect but who might be acceptable, if other people vouched for them?
  • Are your criteria really good criteria?

The philosophical view[edit]

The philosophical view is likely to reveal that the criteria weren't really good.

  • If what determines your respect is applied by other people. Do you have a chance they will respect you?
  • Imagine the perspective of other people you do not even know. If they applied your criteria, do you have a chance to be admitted?
  • Imagine the perspective of far more educated, far more intelligent and far more civilized people (who are likely to be in charge, no religion suggests the god or gods to be of average intelligence). If they applied your criteria, do you have a chance to be admitted or are you seen as a primitive, not worth the effort to educate you?
  • If you define arbitrary criteria without a philosophical foundation then (by applying the categorical imperative) another person might not apply your criteria but culturally-rooted criteria distorted by cognitive biases and personal bias. How can you address this problem?
  • How is that related to intercultural competence?
  • How can the categorical imperative be applied to the problem? Should you attempt to minimize the people you would like to exclude?
  • Have you considered to define a basic right to life in relation to the life after death? Does that mean anything?
  • How could the philosophical view affect your culture and attitude in everyday life?
  • How is that related to lifelong learning and mentoring?
  • Does it appear sensible not to attempt to adapt to a society one might want to join (e.g. what would you yourself recommend to an environmental migrant, for instance)?

Possibilities of mind transfer[edit]

A sign of quality for any mind transfer process (for celestial beings or for humans) appears to be to lead to the best possible (e.g. most similar) result. The human mind could be seen to be slightly dissimilar with itself from day to day. A mind transfer could possibly include a continuous sampling, which would even allow to revert back to the mind structure of a younger self, thus being a much more complete result than any single state of the human brain.

  • If reverting back to youth was a minor problem an unknown amount of people might want to be teenagers again and society might have a "minor problem". What could that mean for policies of society?
  • Does that mean anything for the responsibility of adolescent persons?
  • What could that mean for the education of adolescent persons?
  • Should society place restrictions on adults to act in childish manners? When should those restrictions be codes of conduct or policies rather than laws?
  • Does it represent any sign of quality to fail to educate persons in order to protect a marginal intellectual advantage or even to turn an intellectual disadvantage into an advantage? (An oversimplified metaphor here could be that education could be humorously misrepresented as a poor man's procedure for mind transfer and the precedent and attitude of a teacher could be seen to be a necessary precondition for a celestial society, which then is in control of the actual process of mind transfer. For a scientific mind, of course, the metaphor does not make any statement about the existence or non-existence of an afterlife, because it has no informative value. A non-scientific mind on the contrary could (arbitrarily) decide to have been fooled. This last statement merely for the benefit of the non-scientific readers. Genetics could also be misinterpreted as mind-transfer for instinct behavior of animals.)

Why should the right to a life after death be a basic right?[edit]

  • For a celestial being in the Hilbert Hotel, it is just "the right to life" and the right to life is quite definitely a fundamental right.
  • One could consider oneself to be part of the lower class of the post-informaton society of the Hilbert Hotel: If the "right to a life after death" was not a fundamental right, then one would in all probability not enjoy it, because there would be no need to grant it to the lower class (because it would be no fundamental right).
  • The ethics of a mentor are to encourage his mentees, not to hinder them. A mentor will therefore always prefer the attempt of qualification, if the qualification is deemed possible and not unreasonable. Only through his work a mentor provides the necessary social cohesion for the highly developed society of the Hilbert Hotel.
  • The categorical imperative explains that one should behave the way one wants others to behave. Consequently, if one wants to grant the "fundamental right to life after death" to oneself, one may have to grant it to others, otherwise one may not have it. Ill-founded disqualifications of third parties are therefore not a good precedent.
  • Celestial beings are probably very smart and may think at the speed of light (like optical computers), an omniscient creator should at least the considered to be capable to accomplish this, if desired. Consequently one should assume that each human candidate is thoroughly examined, which could even include the full assessment of his entire life. Given the existing capacity and quality of the evaluation, it appears presumptuous to want to participate in disqualification measures, while qualifying measures appear to be in one's own best interest.
  • The technical feasibility of converting a human into a celestial beings can be assumed as given, because celestial beings may (or may not) be related to natural intelligences as predecessors. Consequently it could be seen as merely a medical service of the highest quality to convert one into the other, which is offered by a volunteer and in a developing country ("Planet Earth"). Thus the related precedent would be the work of Doctors Without Borders, which one would be consequently motivated to fund.
  • Benevolent behavior seems to be a very important criterion, as the conversion of a man into a celestial being may be regarded as very benevolent behavior. Consequently, if one wants to enjoy this goodwill, it seems logical to show at least the goodwill to third parties not to deny them the opportunity.

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