“Out walking this morning, [Alphose] Daudet asked me whether my brother had been tormented by the thought of an after-life. I replied that he had not and that not once during the whole of his illness had he mentioned an after-life in his conversations with me.
Then Daudet asked me what my own opinions on the subject were, and I answered that in spite of my longing to see my brother again I believed that the individual was totally annihilated at death, that we were utterly insignificant beings, ephemeral creatures lasting a few days longer than those which lived for a single day, and that if God existed it was expecting too much of Him in the way of accounting to imagine that each one of us would have a second life in another world. Daudet told me that he shared my opinions; somewhere in his notes, he said, he had a record of a dream in which he was crossing a field of broom to the sound of the crackling of the bursting pods, and he compared our lives to those little explosions.”
Edmond de Goncourt’s journal entry on Friday, July 17th, 1891.