13. I want to know, if we do really plan our lives before we are born. Is this a myth or for real? (Vidya)


A. . All the knowledge we get on any subject is through our sense perceptions: from what we see and hear, smell and taste and touch. And also from reflecting on and analyzing whatever inputs we get from these sources which include what we read and are told by reliable parties.
B. Now imagine you have a line drawn on a piece of paper. If this line corresponds to all the knowledge we acquire during our life time from these sources, everything beyond the end-points of that line will be knowledge of the AN and the PM states. AN stands for Ante Nationem (before birth) and PM stands for Post Mortem (after death).
C. From time immemorial people have been wondering about these two states which are Mysteries. Here, Mystery refers to a great question for which there is absolutely no reliable, trustworthy, or empirically verifiable answer.
D. This does not mean that people have not been giving interesting, silly, or profound answers to these Mysteries. Definitive answers to Mysteries constitute the doctrines of the religions of humanity. Depending on which religion you choose you will get a different answer for every Mystery.
E. If anyone tells you things about AN and PM states, just give a friendly smile and turn to something interesting or useful. Don’t ask the person how he or she knows it. You may not get anything more than a quote from a sacred book. If this is satisfactory to you, you may go to sleep peacefully. If not, forget it and turn your attention to the hundred other interesting, important, and enriching matters/subjects that are available.
F. Some people, like myself, are content to have all the reliable knowledge we can get from Science and other reliable sources, even if this is not 100% certain. I call this epistemic humility: A humility which makes me recognize that my knowledge is limited. I use Mysteries to just wonder about things and be thrilled by the knowledge of our finite minds. I do this especially when I am not doing anything worthwhile. So, honestly I have absolutely no idea of my or anybody’s ante nationem and post mortem states. I am quite happy with this ignorance.

12  January 2015

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About Varadaraja V. Raman

Physicist, philosopher, explorer of ideas, bridge-builder, devotee of Modern Science and Enlightenment, respecter of whatever is good and noble in religious traditions as well as in secular humanism,versifier and humorist, public speaker, dreamer of inter-cultural,international,inter-religious peace.
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