10 Questions That Science Can't Answer Yet

What Happens When You Die?
The subject of the afterlife — or lack thereof — is one of the oldest quandries troubling humankind. Muchlis Akbar/EyeEm/Getty Images

Everyone on the planet would like a better idea of what happens to them after they die. And hey, there are billions of people who already know the answer to that question. Unfortunately, they can't tell us about it because, well, they're all dead.

The subject of the afterlife — or lack thereof — is one of the oldest questions troubling humankind. Will we all float off into eternal bliss? Will the evil among us be damned to the pits of Hell? Will our consciousness merely vanish once our bodies have expired? Or will we all be reincarnated as angry hippos or fluffy cats?

Scientist do understand the beginning stages of death. They know how the human body begins shutting down. Like store employees turning of the lights at a megastore after closing hours, your body's cells begin to blink off, one by one, until your heart and brain cease activity.

What happens after your brain clicks off, though, is still a complete mystery. Many people who have gone through near-death experiences and then come back to life speak about tunnels of light or flashbacks to life occurrences or conversations with loved ones who've passed away. All of those experiences could have biological origins, perhaps spurred by lack of oxygen or wild biochemical fluctuations.

Of the many questions we face about our existence, this is one that may never, ever be answered. Instead, we'll all be left yearning for wondering, searching for sort of meaning in the death.