Memory, Identity, Soul and Immortality
Since ancient times, there has always been a debate in the field of philosophy, of whether individuals continue to live after death. The debate raises a question of whether it is possible for an individual to have memories of his or her life before death if at all there is life after death. Another question is if an individual carries his identity to the other life after dying. Personal identity is an individual’s distinct personality that persists throughout his or her life. It is a unique thing about someone, which differentiates them from the rest. Personal identity would be important in identifying if the person that died is the same person living after death. The key issue in this debate is in what form an individual exists in life after death.
There is a difference between an individual’s soul and body. The body is the physical object of an individual, which lives until death, and then decomposes. On the other hand, people connect soul to an individual’s personality. At times, it is associated with mind. The Soul is spiritual as opposed to physical. Therefore, the soul is immortal because it continues to live independently even after an individual dies.
There are two theories, in philosophy that differ on this issue of life after death including materialism and dualism. According to the materialism theory,the soul does not exist. In other words, the physical body, only, makes an individual. This means that after an individual dies his or her identity ceases to exist.
On the other hand, dualists believe that the soul exists, and it interacts with the physical body. They also believe that an individual’s identity lies within his or her soul. Dualists as well try to differentiate the soul from the physical body. While the body is material, the soul is immaterial. The Soul will always try to know the truth that is beyond the world, and takes individuals to the spiritual world. According to dualists, memory does not survive after death and one forgets what he or she knew, after death.
Although philosophers differ on the issue of the existence of another life after death, they try to shed light on a couple of different possibilities. They would settle at a similar thing if only the memory survives. This is because people would be able to reflect their life after death by remembering activities that took place before dying.