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What Dreams May Come and Death

The conditions of death as portrayed in What Dreams May Come are distinguished above all by consciousness and the unfolding of continuous experience. That would be consciousness of death and in the state of death, but experience unfolds as if the subject, the sentient being, were alive, at least alive to experiencing, though not affecting, novelty and its consequences. Experience in What Dreams May Come happens to the subject; the subject is not active, except emotionally. He cannot affect his environment or alter found conditions. Questions like these arise: How will he choose to feel about X? What insight will he arrive at about X, or how should he have felt before this time about X? Will he accept or reject found experience? The action of What Dreams May Come has Chris acquiescing in love and death--and attempting, with limited success, to persuade his wife Ann to do the same. What makes his effort distinctive is that it takes place in what is Chris's experience of an afterlife.

Arriving in Summerland after an accidental death, Chris adjusts to the fact that he is disembodied but not to the fact that death has robbed him of the continued presence of his beloved wife Annie. She, meanwhile, opts for suicide, having lost her children and Chris to accidental death; doing so, however, consigns her to a species of hell, or limbo, where she is obliged to "reside" until her normal life span is run through--at which point she can be reincarnated. At least, that is how Chris experiences Ann's fate, as he pursues her--more exactly her soul--in an attempt to redeem her despair, perhaps prevent her waking-life suicide, and reunite with her for all eternity. The point is that Chris's afterlife, which unfolds in the company of his guide Albert, is experiential as thought, dreams, consciousness, hyperawareness, but not as embodied experience. Indeed, his foray into embodied consciousness, as a stranger to the still-alive Ann, fails to convince h...

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What Dreams May Come and Death. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:21, April 19, 2019, from