They say the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, but I’d like to add a third: we’ve all thought about what happens when we die.
For millennia, societies have attempted to answer that question. The ancient Egyptians believed departed souls would have their heart weighed against a feather to see if they continued on to the afterlife; the ancient Greeks believed their souls were ferried to the underworld across the River Styx and placed in the care of Hades; and the Vikings believed warriors slain in battle would join the god Odin in the halls of Valhalla.
Today, people turn to religion, spirituality, science or gut instinct to answer that question.
In the third episode of 27 Pedestrians, we asked our 27 young Aussies that exact question. Turns out, people have wildly different ideas about what happens after we stop breathing (shocker). Who knew reincarnation was so popular?
For some, like Ash, reincarnation was a hopeful belief that we would have a second chance at life.
For others, like Fletcher, it was a belief driven by an experience with death.
“I’ve always been pretty spiritual,” Fletcher said.
I just didn’t know what it was. Unfortunately about a decade ago, my father passed away. I spent a bit of time speaking to one of Mum’s friends, who’s psychic. She was explaining to us what happens after we die, and she said okay, Fletcher you’ve been alive for 17 years, and this isn’t as long as you’ve known your father, your mum, your siblings, anyone like that. You’ve been with your dad for multiple life spans, and I’ve got no doubt whatsoever that just because it stops this time around, doesn’t mean it will be the last time you ever see him.
Shauny, on the other hand, believes there’s nothing waiting for us on the other side, after a close friend had a brush with death.
“One of my mates fell out of a building in Paris, four storeys up, and died for ten minutes,” Shauny said.
“Literally, flatlined. And he just said when he died, it was just darkness, and then he woke up a few months later in the hospital. [So when you die], I’m just gonna say – yeah, it’s just darkness.”
Arya said that although she was raised a Hindu and believed in reincarnation when she was younger, now she’s studying a science degree and believes we become “a great fertiliser for the soil around you.”
Matika said that from an Aboriginal standpoint, her spirit would continue to live with the rest of her ancestors, caring for the land and looking after her people, the Wiradjuri nation.
Giancarlo said he believes that this life is our only life – and uses that belief to drive him.
“I like to think that this is my shot,” he said. “I know that might scare some people, but it gives me motivation to keep living every day as if it’s my last, because it could be.”
You can peep everyone’s answer in the video above, or subscribe to our YouTube channel (and never miss a video) right here.