Thursday, 2 January 2014

"The part of you that looks out through your eyes"


Death is a separation. The part of you that looks out through your eyes and allows you to think and smile and act and to know and to be, that is your spirit and that is eternal. It cannot die.

From a talk about theology and metaphysics addressed to children by President Boyd K Packer in 1973. 


The phrase about the part that 'looks out through your eyes' reminded me sharply of my childhood perception of exactly that; that I was the part that looked out through my eyes, or - when my eyes were closed - that carried on listening, feeling and thinking inside my head.

At some point we learn about death, and the question presses onto us: what happens to this part of us after death?

Either it dies, or it doesn't.


Modern secular thought has it that this question, this discussion, is an error; because the whole set-up is based on an illusion - and that there is really no 'part' that looks out through our eyes; because this perception is an artefact of...

Oh, something or another... body structure, brain structure, brain wiring... whatever: in a nutshell, it is an illusion because [blah blah neuroscience blah blah]. 

But the real illusion/ error is that a fundamental perception such as that you are "The part of you that looks out through your eyes" has anything whatsoever to do with  [blah blah neuroscience blah blah]; or that  [blah blah neuroscience blah blah] has anything whatsoever to say about the part that looks out through our eyes.

How on earth could a basic, human existential perception be disposed-of by dissecting brains, measuring chemicals, or making electrical recordings?

Only by a sleight-of-hand, by a non sequitur, by simply asserting, in effect, "Because [wonders of  modern science] therefore your deepest perceptions and intuitions are delusional nonsense."


The question cannot legitimately be evaded, so we return to: What happens to this part of us after death? Either it dies, or it doesn't.

Either could be true, and factual evidence doesn't tell us which.

Nonetheless we must decide which is true - in fact we will decide which is true - we have already decided which is true - and upon that choice so many things depend.

Indeed, that choice is perhaps the first step on a lifelong path of spiritual seeking.


But we can revisit our choice at any time; and change the decision - for good or ill.