I’ve mentioned this before, a few years back. However, I’ve fleshed out my idea a bit more thoroughly. Humor me a moment, if you will, for this idle speculation.
Often we hear that “death is the end”, that there can be nothing beyond it. I think this view is inarguable in the respects it’s intended to address, which are not insignificant. Frequently, such statements are directed against the most populist religious sentiments. In these systems of organized and exploited folk spirituality, there will usually be some sort of afterlife which allows consciousness to continue in a manner not too alien to that which we experience on Earth. The primary problem with reincarnation is simply lack of compelling proof, but it’s different in this regard- consciousness continues, but it isn’t transported intact to some ethereal realm. In all cases there’s a lack of proof, of course. But in all cases also, there’s a more essential defect. There’s a lack of the perception that all of our consciousness is built around transience. The transience of our physical body is, in actuality, a cornerstone of our mental existence. Without this aspect, if there could be something we could term a “consciousness”- an interesting question in its own right- it would nonetheless be so inconceivably different from our own that we could hardly consider it a “continuation” of the life of this consciousness. On an integral level, the end of the body is assuredly the end of this consciousness. And the truth is that it’s this consciousness which we want to continue so much, which we’re so horrified of losing forever- to be actually comforted, we require a paradox.
What we begin to realize, as we explore notions of a consciousness beyond transience, is that it’s no insult to the subject matter to say that we can only speculate. Because our own consciousness is so tied to transient realities, to the limits of our world, that to leave such limits invites grievous harm upon us. To fully comprehend a consciousness beyond transience, if either such a comprehension or such a consciousness is allowed as a possibility, is probably to risk permanent brain damage. Therefore it may be just as well that most such speculations border on fantasy.
In this spirit, I would speculate a possible universal consciousness. Imagine the universe continues to expand, and molecules drift farther and farther apart. Finally, after time-beyond-time, a floating molecule improbably bumps up against another molecule. This creates a weird reaction with the space around the two molecules, and distances suddenly contract. (Here, you have to forgive my lack of scientific finesse- any scientific lingo would just be pseudoscience anyway.) All molecules of our universe are brought together in across-the-board full interaction with one another. This means that all components that were ever part of a consciousness are now conscious again. One universal being, which is in fact the Universe, now remembers all consciousness ever, with perfect crystal clarity. Therefore, memories interact with one another, something that was probably never possible before. The ensuing genesis of the next universe prevents this ultra-consciousness from continuing, but the impact of the event is powerful enough to leave a residual effect on the molecules that’s beyond our understanding, bringing about many of the notions of a “Creator God” entities have once they attain a high enough level of consciousness. This in no way contradicts the ideas posited by many atheists, such as myths of God being a way to put the face of a paternal figure upon the frightening unknown. This is literally true, and a daily and pertinent reality of religious belief, whereas the notions of the universal consciousness held by the religious, while in the best cases at least somewhat connected to the reality of the universal genesis, are vague and spotty in even the best circumstances.