Change is a fundamental aspect of reality. Since nature is a single process, not a static ‘thing’, but rather a living, evolving, continuous process in time, everything is imbued with change.
It is the fact that change exists which makes experience possible. If you experienced no change, you would not experience any thoughts or emotions. To experience life, to feel a thought or emotion, is to witness change directly.
If your mind were a static, unmoving thing, you would experience nothing.
The Changing Self
Where is the 10 year old version of yourself? That person has totally disappeared. If you are now 20, 30 or older, then every cell in your body is new and different. The 10 year old version of yourself was physically, mentally and emotionally totally different from you. You have a relationship with that person, maybe certain personality traits that have survived, but you are largely an entirely different person now.
The 10 year old is now dead.
So when you hope to yourself that you will live forever, or that some part of you will live on after death, what exactly could that look like? How is that any different than the 10 year old version of you wishing to live forever? But hasn’t that 10 year old version already disappeared? That person only lives on in your memories and in the subtle effects of your personal evolution. You think and feel differently now, you exist now, the 10 year old doesn’t.
Do you lament the 10 year old’s passing? That seems strange doesn’t it? Though that person is gone, life continues. There is nothing sad there.
How could you possibly live on?
So if you imagine a soul that lives on after death, in order for that soul’s existence to mean anything, it would have to experience change. But if it experiences change, eventually it will be totally different than the you that exists now.
In 1,000 years, what relation could that soul possibly have to you now? You have certain ideas, emotions, concerns that only make sense because of who you are and what you experience right now.
So to wish for an immortal soul makes no sense, it is incoherent. To experience existing, the soul must change. And if it changes, the you of this moment will die no matter what. Just like the you of previous moments and years has already passed on to make way for the you of this moment.
No matter what, the you that exists right now will disappear. There is no self that will live on. There isn’t even truly a self that exists now, just a snapshot of a process embedded in the larger universal process that is reality itself.