Dabbling with Death: Philosophy in Flatliners

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The film raises the concept of ‘unfinished business’ and how a guilty conscience can manifest into hallucinations; tormenting a person until a moral situation is remedied.

We’ve all pondered for at least one moment of our lives, what will happen when it ends. Some say there is nothing, others say there is an ethereal place of eternal life. For the majority of ancient cultures, a sort of moral judgement awaits: Heaven or Hell, the Elysian Fields or Hades, the Afterlife… or eternal death by a crocodile-hippopotamus-lion deity (gotta love those Egyptians).

But after viewing the highly anticipated Flatliners remake (AKA Final Destination with a hopeful twist), I noted some relevant philosophies regarding what happens when we die and the implications of dabbling with death…

Guilty Ghosts: Manifestations of Unfinished Business

In brief, Flatliners follows the story of five medical students who begin carrying out ‘flat-lining’ experiments; wherein they stop their hearts for a few minutes and revive each other, in order to experience a fleeting glimpse of the afterlife through a near-death experience. Each experience of the students differs, however, the commonalities remain the same: each envision some sort of ‘bright light’, view troubling memories of past mistakes and revive to face haunting hallucinations of their ‘sins’.

“Is this a dagger I see before me?” Shakespeare perfectly summed up the mad, hallucinating state of mind that severe guilt can create. The film raises the concept of ‘unfinished business’ and how a guilty conscience can manifest into hallucinations; tormenting a person until a moral situation is remedied.

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More ‘in tune’ or ‘connected’ to their lives as well the errors of their ways by a sort of ‘rewiring’, the characters become moral didactics; transmitting the philosophy that unfinished business or unreconciled sins disallow a peaceful afterlife and the ability to fully move on into death.

This ‘moral awakening’ and new-found intuitiveness with their lives, causes them to ‘see’ things and become physically tormented by their ‘inner demons’; relaying the moral undertones of the afterlife and principally, the grim fate that awaits those without absolute purity of spirit/mind.

Being ‘In Tune’

The film- though fictional- also proposes the idea that a near-death experience can lead us onto the same connective frequency of paranormal and spiritual energies (much like psychics), as well as the things that are important to us in our lives. After flat-lining, the characters are more in touch with their desires and wants, fears and sins, in addition to the other flat-liners, who are commented to be ‘running on the same frequency’. After dying, Courtney -possibly one of the most intuitive and religious of the bunch- is also seen enveloped in white light and provides moral/spiritual wisdom about doing more than just being sorry for our errors but by forgiving ourselves and taking real action to remedy our wrongs.

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They are more ‘in tune’ or ‘connected’ to their lives as well the errors of their ways by a sort of ‘rewiring’.

Described as ‘pure energy’, the Flatliners philosophy of the afterlife further connotes the idea of a God/pure good and connection between individuals (take a look at my past post: Our Soul Purpose: Do we have souls and what are they? ).

Don’t Dabble in the Unknown

Finally -perhaps the most important philosophy contained within- is the idea of unwanted consequences when dabbling into the dark unknowns of the supernatural. Essentially, don’t touch a Ouija board, provoke evil or purposely die and come back, because you are basically begging for trouble to find you.

I highly recommend watching Flatliners. Catch the trailer above!

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Happy Halloween time! Find more of the skeptical and spiritual below:

Our Soul Purpose: Do we have souls and what are they?

We Come in Peace: Philosophy in Arrival

It’s the Horror Holiday!