[Buddha-l] Being unable to imagine dying and living

Richard Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Sat Jun 26 15:10:10 MDT 2010

On Jun 26, 2010, at 2:42 PM, lemmett at talk21.com wrote:

>> Iain Thomson's office is right next to mine in the philosophy department. He'll be>tickled to learn that his work is being cited on buddha-l. By golly, he'll know he's>hit the big time now that the denizens of buddha-l have begun quoting his work.
> Awesome, tell him I'm his biggest fan lol. I'm trying to let Aporias percolate my whole being...

You're a better man than I, Gunga Din. I'm past retirement age, and I don't even know what an aporia is. I keep hearing my colleagues talking about aporias. They can't get through a day without encountering several of them. For the longest time, I though aporias were insects that lived on rose bushes.

> I am still concerned whether oblivion has to be a kind of "black velvet" or "slipping into the night". What do you think of that?

I don't think oblivion has to be as you describe it. I just think it probably is. But that is probably because that is what I fervently hope death will be. What one wishes were the case can flavor what one thinks the case is.

> If you do mean that you're going to mention Buddha-l to Thomson, what does he think of that?

I'm not going to speculate. I imagine if Thomson has somehow been able to come to terms with Heidegger's anti-Semitism, he may be able to come to terms with being quoted on buddha-l. But that is just my imagination at work. What I'll have to do is perform an empirical experiment. I'll just blurt out "You were quoted on buddha-l" and see what happens. I'll take the precaution of having an ambulance standing by, just in case. 

> Here's a link to what I *don't* *think* I believe, if I've been too unclear http://www.naturalism.org/death.htm

There are many views referred to in that paper, and it is unclear to me which of them you don't think you believe. There was one quotations that stated just about exactly what I believe: "For only death annihilates all sense, all becoming, to replace them with non-sense and absolute cessation." I gather the paper was aimed at making people see the inadequacy of that belief through a series of thought experiments. The thought experiments did not have that effect on me. I still believe what I have believed since I was about five years old, namely, that "only death annihilates all sense, all becoming, to replace them with non-sense and absolute cessation." But maybe it's only because, as Paul Simon put it, "A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest." I want death to annihilate all sense and all becoming, and if it doesn't I will be pissed off. Being an American, I'll probably start looking around right away for someone to sue.


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