どちらが幸せですか? Which is happier?

作者の仮説によれば、肉体の死後も心は時空を超越したあの世に残ることになる。人間の心は、この世にある肉体から受けていた影響がなくなることで大きく変容するが、記憶を含めて基本的な自我意識は存在する。

さて、ここで、なぜか、このような仮説を嘲笑う人もいるので、仮説の真偽を離れて、別視点から考えてみよう。肉体の死後に、自我意識が存在する場合と存在しない場合を比較する。以後、存在を信じるグループを存在派、信じないグループを非存在派と呼ぶ。

存在派は歳を取っても、元気である。なぜなら、肉体の死が自分の全ての終わりとは思っていないからだ。亡くなったお祖父さん、お祖母さん、お父さん、お母さん、そして、昔お世話になった懐かしい人々にも会うことができる。想起するだけで幸福感を味わえる。「あの世に行ったら、老人の体を脱ぎ捨てて、新しい何かに挑戦したい」などと考える。また、倫理的にも、優れた状態を保つことができる。誰でも地獄には行きたくないし、倫理感情に永遠性を感じるからである。
これに対し、非存在派は、肉体の死に臨んで、自分の全ての終わりしか考えられない。さらに、自分は単なる物質だと信じていれば、倫理感情の意味も失う。能力を失った老人は単なるごみでしかない。悲しく寂しい老後が待っている。頼れるものはせいぜいお金しかない。

ここで、さらに興味深い話に移る。

存在派は、肉体の死後に自我意識があることに気付けば、「そうだろう」と頷く。「そういう生き方をして来て、良かった」と改めて認識できる。一方、もし自我意識がなければ、何も意識しないまま、それだけだ。悔いも反省もない。自我意識が消滅するまで、希望や幸福感を持てた分だけ、得をしたのだ。
これに対し、非存在派は、どうだろうか。肉体の死後に自我意識のあることに気付けば、「大きな間違いをして来てしまった」と反省せざるを得ない。間違った信念を持って生きて来たことに大きな悔いが残る筈だ。一方、もし自我意識がなければ、何もないまま、それで、終わりだ。「自分の信念が正しかった」ということになるのだが、残念ながら、それを認識する意識がない。

即ち、こうした長期的な観点から見ると、非存在派の生きている時のその信念には意味と価値がないのである。この話は単なる笑い話ではない。真理の背景にある大きな知恵に気付いて欲しい。

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