Everyone has their own opinions and beliefs and can interpret information as they see fit. Both Bertrand Russell and Richard Swinburne have expressed their views on the topics of the mind soul and the after life. These are very complex areas of science and have their own ideas of what the mind and soul are and what there purposes are. Russell discussed the finality of Death. He argues that there cannot be life after death and that after the destruction of our body's that our memories and personality are destroyed as well. He discusses the importance of fear when dealing with death.
He states that this is the strongest emotion and he also states that it is instinctive and biological and that it is useful. He thinks that if we truly believed in future life that we should have no fear of death. I have a few opinions about this subject. For one I think that fearing death can be to your advantage.
For instance I know people who believe in the after life but they still fear death. Having this fear of death prevents them from doing any harm to themselves. Also not knowing what awaits them in the after life could cause this fear as well. This also has to do with religions there are some that believe strongly that there is life after death and that it is their destiny to be with God. Furthermore Russell talks about memories and how after we die they no longer exist. I feel that he has not way of proving this.
I do not agree or disagree with his theory. I think that there are so many ways to record our memories now that they could always exist. Our memories and sometimes even our personality can be carried by and kept alive through our families depending on how strong the ties are. Maybe not the person's entire memories are kept but at least a fragment. For instance a lot of writers wrote about their real life experience so we get a glimpse of their life and through their writings the memories continue. On the other hand Swinburne discuss the relationship between the brain and the soul.
He feels that once the brain dies that soul does as well. He came up with an analogy witch does a good job of summing up how he feels "the soul is like a light bulb and the brain is like an electric light socket. If you plug the bulb into the socket and turn the current on, the light will shine. If the light is damaged or the current turned off, the light will not shine".
According to Swinburne if the soul does not function when the brain is active, or when we are in deep sleep how could it possibly function after death? The question Swinburne asks since the brain stops functioning at death can it start to function after death, and if so how much of it is intact? This leads him to speak about the act of transplanting the brain to an empty skull. He wonders if the person's personality would be transmitted after the change.
He speculates that if you died and your body was frozen and your brain was to be placed back in its original place would you be the same? Would your memories still be there? I believe that if you do take someone's brain and place it into somebody else's skull some of the personality would come through but there might be traces of the previous brain. Or then again everything might be intact. It is hard to say what the outcome might be. With today's modern technology anything and everything is possible.
Some people might view this act as reincarnation. The only difference is that technology was used. To some this is an unnatural scary though. It would seam odd and impossible to freeze someone for 50 years and then bring them back to life and expect everything to be the same. 50 years have gone bye would think that at some point the brain cells could deteriorate. What comes to mind as the author describes this isn't a brain molded to your head shape?
To me the brain is like contact lenses it should fit exactly and most importantly no one else should be handling it but you or in the brain's case doctors if necessary. What if the body changes in size some much time has gone by that anything could occur. I partly feel that by freezing the body and then putting the brain together you are tampering with the forces of nature or as other would put it with God's wish. In conclusion I believe that both of these authors have their valid reasons for writing about the mind, the soul, and death. These issues are rather difficult to discuss and it is my belief that there is no right or wrong answers. To me it is all based on your beliefs and how you were brought up.
I personally believe that religion place a strong role in this and it affects the way we view issues like these. Those who believe in reincarnation would have a lot to say on this. In certain cultures even after your dead your soul continues to live on. I understand that for some people this is a hard concept to grasp. To some it might seam rather abstract. I believe that once you die your soul is put to rest, to me that is what death is all about finally being at piece.