The Hereafter is a modern myth, a metaphorical idea of life and death but how does the story and the fictional promise of this artificial afterlife bare up under scientific theory?
According to Erwin SchrÖdinger via Brian Cox in a recent broadcast, life is a process of the interaction between energy and matter. According to SchrÖdinger there is no mystical or spiritual forces at work, no miracles. Life is just another way that the universe processes energy, but energy does not die – it transforms, so what is death?
Brian Cox did not address this question, but I have some ideas of my own off the back of his ideas about life. Death must be the point when the energy that is our life cannot be supported by our body any more and so that energy stops being us and becomes something else. So, if life is energy and energy does not die, there must life after death, with or without The Hereafter. The continuation of human consciousness however, is still a very big question.
In my novel, the personality is drained directly from the brain into a PSC (Personality Storage Capsule) at the moment of death. I do not go into the science of it in the book but in hindsight, I'm thinking this process must be the transition of the energy that was keeping the circuits of the brain into the PSC when the brain dies. Each PSC therefore must be designed to store that energy in a way that allows it to remain that individual, or mimic them at least, and therefore allow them to be loaded into their artificial heaven. This energy in the afterlife therefore may have the same memories as the person who died, but is it a continuation of the same consciousness?
If there is any break in consciousness during that transition though, it might mean the death of the previous consciousness and the birth of a completely new artificial consciousness with all the same memories and the belief they are still the same person. There is no way to tell if the technology of The Hereafter offers any kind of continuation of the same consciousness after death.
It would seem then that The Hereafter is not really providing anything that Nature does not already provide except a replica of the consciousness that died. That replica is no more the real individual than a memory of them is. It may however be a more fitting memorial to the person that died than a gravestone gathering a moss in the shade of a cemetery.
It does seem however that The Hereafter would be keeping that life energy from transforming to its natural form and therefore the conclusion of the story - that trapping the mind state in a The Hereafter is upsetting the balance of Nature - still makes a lot of sense even through a scientific lens.