What happens after we die is a question that many people ask themselves on a regular basis and that is undoubtedly one of the most mysterious and important unanswered questions of all. Is there a heaven or a hell? Are we reincarnated as other beings? Or are we greeted with nothingness after we’re gone? Could we all just be playing one very well-made virtual reality game?
Unfortunately this is a question that science can’t answer, and theories on the matter are as varied as you can imagine. However what we do know a little more about, is what happens to our bodies after we’re gone and the materials that make them up. What happens to your flesh and bone when you’re dead?
What Humans Are Made Of
If you’re describing the afterlife in a purely physical sense, then reincarnation provides perhaps the best analogy for what happens. After you die you will be recycled into countless other things – just as you yourself are made up of countless other beings.
The expression ‘you are what you eat’ you see is actually a very accurate one. When we eat anything, our bodies use the raw materials in that food and break them down in order to create something edible.
This is particularly interesting in the case of protein. When you eat protein from an animal or plant, your body breaks that down into amino acids – which are simply chains of carbon atoms (ever heard the expression ‘carbon-based life-forms’? These amino acids can then be recombined to form our muscles, our bones, our acids and much more. So you really are what you eat in a very literal sense – your biceps are made up of the chicken, egg and beef you’ve previously eaten. And that beef was made up of the grass and milk that that cow ate…
The Circle of Life
Thus, when you die, your body will decompose and return to the system. If you are buried, then your body will very quickly become dehydrated as the 52% of your body made up of water will evaporate and enter into the soil containing lots of nice nutrients that help to feed the plants. In this sense you’ll quickly become a lovely fertiliser. If you opt for cremation then these chemicals and nutrients will largely be released as smoke into the air where they’ll settle elsewhere.
Over time all your meat and eventually your bones will decompose too and will sink deeper and deeper into the earth. Some of your protein will make it back into the food chain meaning that parts of you will be walking around again – even as humans. In fact did you know that due to the sheer amount of atoms in a single person, probability dictates that you are almost guaranteed to have an atom in you that once belonged to Shakespeare!
We may not know what happens to the ‘soul’ or consciousness after death then, but don’t feel too bad – at least your protein will live on and will continue to do great things!