History Main / TheNothingAfterDeath

8th Jun '16 11:46:45 AM Morgenthaler
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* In ''[[DivineComedy The Divine Comedy]]'' this is how Limbo, the first circle of Hell, is described. An utterly dark land of no pain, no harm... and no hope. All you can hear are the sighs of the virtuous non-christians: trapped because they were virtuous enough to avoid Hell, but since they aren't Catholics they can't go to Heaven (or reach Purgatory and get there eventually). Dante "subverts" this with a city in this wasteland, full of the Light of Human Reason, where all the pre-Christian philosophers and scientists have built a home for themselves. However, while it's nice, it's not Heaven nor can the people there hope to reach it because The Light of Human Reason is not a true substitute for God's divine salvation. Most scholars believe he did this because otherwise, he would have had to send every pre-Christian philosopher to one of the deeper levels.

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* In ''[[DivineComedy The Divine Comedy]]'' ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'' this is how Limbo, the first circle of Hell, is described. An utterly dark land of no pain, no harm... and no hope. All you can hear are the sighs of the virtuous non-christians: trapped because they were virtuous enough to avoid Hell, but since they aren't Catholics they can't go to Heaven (or reach Purgatory and get there eventually). Dante "subverts" this with a city in this wasteland, full of the Light of Human Reason, where all the pre-Christian philosophers and scientists have built a home for themselves. However, while it's nice, it's not Heaven nor can the people there hope to reach it because The Light of Human Reason is not a true substitute for God's divine salvation. Most scholars believe he did this because otherwise, he would have had to send every pre-Christian philosopher to one of the deeper levels.



* Hell in Creator/CSLewis' ''TheGreatDivorce'' is a borderline version of this--a bleak "city" which has been [[YourMindMakesItReal created by the minds of the people there]], but which is not really substantial. Eventually "night" will fall on the city and even this existence will give way to something still less real. Hell is also "microscopic" compared to heaven--the visitors in heaven are shown to have emerged from a tiny crack in the ground, enlarging as they go.

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* Hell in Creator/CSLewis' ''TheGreatDivorce'' ''Literature/TheGreatDivorce'' is a borderline version of this--a bleak "city" which has been [[YourMindMakesItReal created by the minds of the people there]], but which is not really substantial. Eventually "night" will fall on the city and even this existence will give way to something still less real. Hell is also "microscopic" compared to heaven--the visitors in heaven are shown to have emerged from a tiny crack in the ground, enlarging as they go.



* In ''HisDarkMaterials'', The afterlife is a flat, featureless plane where the only thing that breaks up the monotony is random harpy attacks. Will and Lyra arrange for everyone in there to get oblivion instead, which is a far better (in the protagonists' opinions) fate, as it allows the atoms making up a person's ghost to distribute themselves back into the physical world. Oblivion of consciousness, yes, but a roundabout return to life.

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* In ''HisDarkMaterials'', ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials'', The afterlife is a flat, featureless plane where the only thing that breaks up the monotony is random harpy attacks. Will and Lyra arrange for everyone in there to get oblivion instead, which is a far better (in the protagonists' opinions) fate, as it allows the atoms making up a person's ghost to distribute themselves back into the physical world. Oblivion of consciousness, yes, but a roundabout return to life.



* Creator/PeterFHamilton's ''TheNightsDawnTrilogy'': Science fiction author Peter F. Hamilton wrote his trilogy around this concept. The souls of the dead are trapped in The Beyond where they can see our world but not touch it; the series tells of what happens when they find a means of crossing back into the real world by possessing the bodies of the living. People soon begin to wonder why all those who return from the dead seem to be evil, or at least morally bankrupt and it's revealed toward the end of the third book that [[spoiler: only people who are unwilling to let go of their mortal lives, or believe they are not worthy of an afterlife, are stuck in this non-existence: those who accept the end of their life move on somewhere else.]]
* This concept is explored in Creator/TadWilliams' ''MemorySorrowAndThorn'' series, on several levels. There is a plane of existence between life and death which is absolutely featureless but reflects the thoughts and memories of those trapped there. As a completely spiritual realm, distance and physicality are irrelevant, so it's possible to converse with those with whom you share a metaphysical connection no matter how far away. The realm acts as a gateway to true death, and it's incredibly rare for anyone to return. (That Simon does is a major plot point.) In addition, the Sithi speak of the concept of Unbeing, which is quite literally a force that seeks to unmake reality, and those consumed by it are DeaderThanDead. They fled from it to Osten Ard, but failed to escape its shadow, and the BigBad Storm King ultimately seeks to [[OmnicidalManiac bring Unbeing]] to the entire world in revenge for the destruction of everything he loved in life.
* Though there's no direct textual evidence for this, readers of EdgarAllanPoe sometimes suspect that the narrators are speaking from this vantage point, telling the stories of their lives to themselves to try to, in the words of one critic, "try to persuade themselves that they're not dead."

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* Creator/PeterFHamilton's ''TheNightsDawnTrilogy'': ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy'': Science fiction author Peter F. Hamilton wrote his trilogy around this concept. The souls of the dead are trapped in The Beyond where they can see our world but not touch it; the series tells of what happens when they find a means of crossing back into the real world by possessing the bodies of the living. People soon begin to wonder why all those who return from the dead seem to be evil, or at least morally bankrupt and it's revealed toward the end of the third book that [[spoiler: only people who are unwilling to let go of their mortal lives, or believe they are not worthy of an afterlife, are stuck in this non-existence: those who accept the end of their life move on somewhere else.]]
* This concept is explored in Creator/TadWilliams' ''MemorySorrowAndThorn'' ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'' series, on several levels. There is a plane of existence between life and death which is absolutely featureless but reflects the thoughts and memories of those trapped there. As a completely spiritual realm, distance and physicality are irrelevant, so it's possible to converse with those with whom you share a metaphysical connection no matter how far away. The realm acts as a gateway to true death, and it's incredibly rare for anyone to return. (That Simon does is a major plot point.) In addition, the Sithi speak of the concept of Unbeing, which is quite literally a force that seeks to unmake reality, and those consumed by it are DeaderThanDead. They fled from it to Osten Ard, but failed to escape its shadow, and the BigBad Storm King ultimately seeks to [[OmnicidalManiac bring Unbeing]] to the entire world in revenge for the destruction of everything he loved in life.
* Though there's no direct textual evidence for this, readers of EdgarAllanPoe Creator/EdgarAllanPoe sometimes suspect that the narrators are speaking from this vantage point, telling the stories of their lives to themselves to try to, in the words of one critic, "try to persuade themselves that they're not dead."



* In AnneRice's ''[[TheVampireChronicles Memnoch the Devil]]'', the eponymous character takes [[LovableRogue Lestat]] on a journey through the ages and shows the truth (his version, at least) behind the creation and everything after. After humans gained souls (through evolution, not through something God did, which freaked the angels out), the dead souls ended up trapped in a metaphysical layer above Earth called Sheol. Behind disembodied entities, there was little they could do. Some managed to get back to Earth and mess with people. This is how we got stories of ghosts and spirits. It wasn't until Memnoch found a group who found peace in forgiving their creator (whereas everyone else was bitter) that he managed to convince God to allow human souls to enter Heaven. The first batch who did instantly transformed it into the garden of Eden everyone assumes it to be. Memnoch's constant disagreements with God about the fate of the humans resulted in his banishment, after which God asked him to contemplate creating Gehenna, Hell. Thus Memnoch turned Sheol into Hell in an effort to prove God that humans can be made to forgive God given sufficient "encouragement". Of course, this is less like the Christian version of Hell, which you can never leave, and more like Purgatory.
* In SergeyLukyanenko's ''Literature/SeekersOfTheSky'', Hell is a frozen wasteland, and you're all alone in there. It's also hinted that the [[ReligionIsMagic Cold]] is actually Hell.

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* In AnneRice's ''[[TheVampireChronicles Creator/AnneRice's ''[[Literature/TheVampireChronicles Memnoch the Devil]]'', the eponymous character takes [[LovableRogue Lestat]] on a journey through the ages and shows the truth (his version, at least) behind the creation and everything after. After humans gained souls (through evolution, not through something God did, which freaked the angels out), the dead souls ended up trapped in a metaphysical layer above Earth called Sheol. Behind disembodied entities, there was little they could do. Some managed to get back to Earth and mess with people. This is how we got stories of ghosts and spirits. It wasn't until Memnoch found a group who found peace in forgiving their creator (whereas everyone else was bitter) that he managed to convince God to allow human souls to enter Heaven. The first batch who did instantly transformed it into the garden of Eden everyone assumes it to be. Memnoch's constant disagreements with God about the fate of the humans resulted in his banishment, after which God asked him to contemplate creating Gehenna, Hell. Thus Memnoch turned Sheol into Hell in an effort to prove God that humans can be made to forgive God given sufficient "encouragement". Of course, this is less like the Christian version of Hell, which you can never leave, and more like Purgatory.
* In SergeyLukyanenko's Creator/SergeyLukyanenko's ''Literature/SeekersOfTheSky'', Hell is a frozen wasteland, and you're all alone in there. It's also hinted that the [[ReligionIsMagic Cold]] is actually Hell.
4th Jun '16 10:03:05 PM DarkHunter
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* ''Manga/DeathNote'': The rules of the Death Note states that: "All humans, without exception, will eventually die. When they die, the place they go to is MU (nothingness). Once dead they can never be revived." The problem is that this is a slightly off translation. This is not meant to imply that there is a ''place'' of nothingness where all souls reside after death, but rather that the idea of a "place after death" is a fundamentally flawed assumption[[note]]the word "mu", in this context, basically means "Your question is invalid, thus there is no answer"[[/note]]. WordOfGod, comments from Ryuk and Light, and other notebook rules make it clear what actually happens upon death is a CessationOfExistence.

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* ''Manga/DeathNote'': The rules of the Death Note states that: "All humans, without exception, will eventually die. When they die, the place they go to is MU (nothingness). Once dead they can never be revived." The problem is that this is a slightly off translation. This is not meant to imply that there is a ''place'' of nothingness where all souls reside after death, but rather that the idea of a "place after death" is a fundamentally flawed assumption[[note]]the word "mu", in this context, basically means "Your assumptions are flawed, thus your question is invalid, thus there is no answer"[[/note]].cannot be answered"[[/note]]. WordOfGod, comments from Ryuk and Light, and other notebook rules make it clear what actually happens upon death is a CessationOfExistence.
4th Jun '16 9:59:17 PM DarkHunter
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* While some people think this is the ultimate fate of the deceased in ''Manga/DeathNote'', WordOfGod, comments from Ryuk and Light, and notebook rules make it clear it's actually CessationOfExistence.

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* While some people think ''Manga/DeathNote'': The rules of the Death Note states that: "All humans, without exception, will eventually die. When they die, the place they go to is MU (nothingness). Once dead they can never be revived." The problem is that this is a slightly off translation. This is not meant to imply that there is a ''place'' of nothingness where all souls reside after death, but rather that the ultimate fate idea of the deceased a "place after death" is a fundamentally flawed assumption[[note]]the word "mu", in ''Manga/DeathNote'', this context, basically means "Your question is invalid, thus there is no answer"[[/note]]. WordOfGod, comments from Ryuk and Light, and other notebook rules make it clear it's what actually happens upon death is a CessationOfExistence.
21st May '16 9:18:23 AM IHateAlmostEverything
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* Combined with MundaneAfterlife in ''Literature/CrimeAndPunishment'': [[ManipulativeBastard Svidrigaylov]] speculates that afterlife is just a dusty, dark room where you spend all of eternity.
12th May '16 4:40:04 PM Nintendoman01
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* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Season 11 reveals the existence of "the Empty," a void that is implied to be this. In the episode "Form and Void," the Reaper Billie tells Sam that the new Death will not tolerate Sam and Dean repeatedly coming BackFromTheDead, and the next time one of them dies, the Reapers will send their souls to the Empty [[KilledOffForReal to ensure they'll never be resurrected again]].
10th May '16 11:47:38 AM ScroogeMacDuck
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* In the ''Fanfic/HarryPotterAndTheMethodsOfRationality'' RecursiveFanfiction ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10636246/1/Following-the-Phoenix Following the Phoenix]]'', this is what all human souls ended up experiencing after {{Atlantis}} disappeared without building a decent afterlife or resurrection method, even though they had already created souls. They just… float… in some unspecified dimension/region of space called the Ether by Cadmus Peverell, in a sleep-like state. They can be called back thanks to the ResurrectionStone or end up as ghosts, but in either case, those thus brought back are unable to form original thoughts or change their minds about anything, though they can chat about when they were alive.
9th May '16 5:24:58 PM wuggles
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** [[spoiler: When Jon Snow is revived by Melisandre, she asks him what he saw, and he says he saw nothing.]]
8th May '16 7:29:59 PM caivu
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* After being paralyzed in a cave-in, ComicBook/Batwoman commits suicide so her teammates can heal her in a nearby Lazarus Pit. After being revived, she describes death as being "like riding a roller coaster in the dark."

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* After being paralyzed in a cave-in, ComicBook/Batwoman ComicBook/{{Batwoman}} commits suicide so her teammates can heal her in a nearby Lazarus Pit. After being revived, she describes death as being "like riding a roller coaster in the dark."
8th May '16 7:29:05 PM caivu
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--> '''Ismael''': What… what happened ? So ''that''[='s=] the afterlife ? An infinite empty darkness ?

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--> '''Ismael''': What… what happened ? So ''that''[='s=] the afterlife ? afterlife? An infinite empty darkness ?darkness?
* After being paralyzed in a cave-in, ComicBook/Batwoman commits suicide so her teammates can heal her in a nearby Lazarus Pit. After being revived, she describes death as being "like riding a roller coaster in the dark."
22nd Apr '16 5:23:20 AM Morgenthaler
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[[folder:Real Life]]
* Some {{Near Death Experience}}s are in part or wholly described as such - total sensory deprivation and paralysis, with a loss of ability to perceive the passage of time. This may be related to sleep paralysis, which is believed to be responsible for many claims of AlienAbduction and claims of visitation by otherworldly beings. Other experiences start out as this but transform into more conventional "pleasant" ones later.
[[/folder]]


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[[folder:Real Life]]
* Some {{Near Death Experience}}s are in part or wholly described as such - total sensory deprivation and paralysis, with a loss of ability to perceive the passage of time. This may be related to sleep paralysis, which is believed to be responsible for many claims of AlienAbduction and claims of visitation by otherworldly beings. Other experiences start out as this but transform into more conventional "pleasant" ones later.
[[/folder]]
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.TheNothingAfterDeath