WHAT DREAMS MAY COME
A Note On The Afterlife
Of all living creatures, human beings alone know they will someday die
Of all living creatures, human beings alone know they will someday
die. They do not know, however, when that dreaded moment will
occur. And they do not know what, if anything, happens beyond
the door of death.
The afterlife is one topic that has confounded theorists, scientists,
religious leaders and agnostics.
Data does exist on matters concerning a belief in an afterlife.
But the data weaves a symbiotic relationship among three independent
experiences, the NDE (Near Death Experience), the OBE (Out of
Body Experience), and the belief in Life After Death which invites
consideration of the idea of Rebirth or Reincarnation.
A 1998 survey from the University of Chicago's National Opinion
Research Center found that 81% of Americans believe in life after
death, more than at any time in the past 25 years. On August 6,1998
the magazine show "48 Hours," hosted by Dan Rather,
devoted its entire program to life after death. It reported not
only that 82% of Americans believe in an afterlife but also that
two-thirds of all atheists state that they, too, believe in an
On March 31, 1997 U.S. News' cover story asked: "Is there
life after death?" This article states: "As sophisticated
medical technology has permitted more and more people to journey
back from the brink of death, such seemingly mystical reports
have become almost commonplace. Of the nearly 18% of Americans
who claimed in a recent U.S. News poll to have been on the verge
of dying, many researchers estimate that a third have had unusual
experiences while straddling the line between life and death -
perhaps as many as 15 million Americans. A small percentage recall
vivid images of an afterlife - including tunnels of light, peaceful
meadows, and angelic figures clad in white.
"No matter what the nature of the experience, it alters some
lives.. Hardened criminals opt for a life of helping others, atheists
embrace the existence of a deity...Such dramatic changes have
piqued the imagination of those searching for evidence of the
In the case of What Dreams May Come, the film's depiction
of the afterlife is based on spiritual, not religious, quality.
Yet it targets the question many seek: Is there something beyond
the world we know? Is eternal happiness centered on the eternity
"We are approaching not only the end of a decade, but the
end of a century and the beginning of a new Millennium,"
notes Producer Stephen Simon. "That carries with it a powerful
amount of energy, hope and unfortunately fear. This film presents
a great deal of hope about the true dignity of humanity and our
power to love, which is most certainly an antidote to fear and
In the film, Chris' afterlife is the ultimate resolution of his
earthly notion of Heaven with his true love.
"One of the great ideas behind this film," relates director
Vincent Ward, "is that, rather than there being an objective
paradise where everybody's paradise is the same, you create your
own paradise and it's whatever you want it to be." The same
applies to Hell.
In Chris' case, it is derived from his worst memories. The same
objects from his earthly life can assume different meanings in
both. In his imagined heaven, it can be a comforting sign of optimism;
in Hell, a haunting unresolved remembrance.
We may not know all there is to know about what happens after
we die, but there can be little doubt that we are living in a
time of expanding consciousness and growing spiritual awareness.
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