This short read presents ideas and speculation about the nature of freedom in the afterlife, without delving into any one particular theory.
Brinkman’s debut collection of various views on the afterlife focuses on the possibility of free will for disembodied souls, astral bodies, spiritual selves or whatever is left after our flesh dissolves. For such a hotly debated concept, both within religious and secular contexts, the author believes there’s surprising consensus about what happens after death. She begins by discussing free will and consciousness, briefly summarizing various current and past philosophers and psychologists, New-Age authors and Eastern mystics. Brinkman doesn’t provide much context for engaging with these works; each author’s opinion is weighed equally, regardless of discipline or authority. In lightly addressing long-standing philosophical questions about the nature of the soul, as well as the arguments for and against free will, the first half of the guide seems incomplete. This weakens the foundation for the latter half, in which Brinkman discusses how New-Age and Eastern thinkers perceive the stages of the afterlife. Brinkman does offer her step-by-step opinion of what happens when we die. She invokes some familiar, even archetypal ideas, such as the judgment of the dead (here framed as a calm discussion with the spiritual self) and contact with various entities. Luckily for us, if we have lived a life without harming others, many pleasant afterlife activities may be available, as well as perfect homes and other amenities. Most of all, we will have time to make decisions about what we’ll do, including whether we’ll re-enter the physical world. The question of free will after death, however, hardly seems paramount in this worldview. The afterlife looks much like life itself, except better, without all the pain of the body or the problems of movement, physical health or sleep (though apparently, we may rest). Academics may consider the work unsupported, while New Agers may find the relentless citation of other thinkers to be tiring.
May assist those looking for a bibliography of serious works about the afterlife.