Life On Mars

After getting hooked on Bowie’s “Is there life on Mars?” for a couple weeks, came across this in The Portable Jung

It is particularly fatal for such people [those who sequestered their youth] to look back. For them a prospect and a goal in the future are absolutely necessary. That is why all great religions hold out the promise of a life beyond, of a supra mundane goal which makes it possible for mortal man to live the second half of life with as much purpose and aim as the first. For the man of today the expansion of life and its culmination are plausible goals, but the idea of life after death seems to him questionable or beyond belief. Life’s cessation, that is, death, can only be accepted as a reasonable goal either when existence is so wretched that we are only too glad for it to end, or when we are convinced that the sun strives to its setting “to illuminate distant races” with the same logical consistency it showed in rising to the zenith. But to believe has become such a difficult art today that it is beyond the capacity of most people, particularly the educated part of humanity. They have become too accustomed to the thought that, with regard to immortality and such questions, there are innumerable contradictory opinions and no convincing proofs. And since “science” is the catchword that seems to carry the weight of absolute conviction in the contemporary world, we ask for “scientific” proofs. But educated people who can think know very well that proof of this kind is a philosophical impossibility. We simply cannot know anything what so ever about such things.

May I remark that for the same reasons we cannot know, either, whether something does happen to a person after death? No answer of any kind is permissible, either for or against. We simply have no definite scientific knowledge about it one way or the other, and are therefore in the same position as when we ask whether the planet Mars is inhabited or not. And the inhabitants of Mars, if there are any, are certainly not concerned whether we affirm or deny their existence. They many exist or they may not. And that is how it stand with so-called immortality — with which we may shelve the problem.