photo,"Julie" by William Huber

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


There are plenty of things that I just don't get. I guess most people could say that. But of those things, the one that leaves ME scratching my head in wonderment constantly, is how people deal with the grim reaper.

As Douglas Adams enjoyed observing, most people on this planet are unhappy most of the time. From your own experience(unless you are filthy rich or gloriously insane), you know that the bad times outweigh the good. This of course includes those days piled upon days of seemingly endless boredom. The same-0ld same-old. Days that you don't even remember...when nothing "out of the ordinary" happened. I must judge these times, considering the relative terseness of our human existence, as to be tallied in the "bad" column. Ok, let's lump that time with the really BAD times we all have; grief for the loss of someone close, aches and pains and injury or major medical problems, financial setbacks, disappointments in the behavior of others, unfulfilled wants and needs, and times of fear and hatred. I would say that being unhappy "most of the time" in our lives is a conservative estimate.

The "good" times we get-togethers, particular achievements by ourselves and those close to us, care-free vacations, holidays etc.., are few and far between for even the "happiest" among us. Most of us
appreciate the comforts of every day routine or the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. But is this happiness? Or is it just a "relief" of sorts that something out of the ordinary and bad isn't happening most of the time?

That being said, my wonderment about how people fear death is indeed a puzzlement. Why we continue to want to live after, say 25-30 years(except to save even more pain to those we would leave behind, in the case of suicide) interests me. It's as if we incessantly apologize to ourselves about not only our own foibles, but those of the world as a whole. "It's not so bad", we keep telling ourselves..."tomorrow is another day"...and so on and so forth. When we know all along, that the coming days will bring pain, physical AND mental, with very little to balance our reasons to continue living at all.

Before you go "end it all" after accepting this line of thinking as empirical gospel....
This is not meant to be an indictment of life in general. Life is adventure. Nor is it a blueprint for suicide. I merely mean to observe that the antithesis of life, what we call "death", albeit unknown in quality, is alternative in a quantitative sense.

I don't intend to quote anyone in this article. Everyone has their own opinion about death. It is usually influenced to some degree by religion. We all know the fables. They don't really concern me here. I have for years tried to approach the phenomenon of my demise as logically as will allow. I have found that death for the most part is almost entirely seen from the viewpoint of grief. True grief is like having a limb hacked off without the benefit of an anesthetic and the pain and scarring lasts as long. Therefore death itself is always portrayed in a "dark" light, because simply, it reflects only the dark emotions of loss on the part of those left to deal with the aftermath of loss.

But if you don't see your own end as the end to life's pain and unhappiness, or a new opportunity, or adventure, then I'm afraid that you are bogged down with these ancient dark feelings that should have nothing to do with YOU the traveler. Whether death is truly an "end" to this pain of living - mere non-existence("a consummation devoutly to be wished..." Damn, and I said I wasn't going to quote), or embarking on something entirely different, either scenario, as I view it, can be anticipated with positive thoughts. So in essence, I am saying that I know WHY death is viewed as it is, I just don't understand why most of us cannot overcome that rather basic reflex of fear, to celebrate our passing from this life. When one then offers up the maxim "fear of the unknown" to me, I must respond that death is NOT unknown. We all know it from this side. We bury our loved ones. We see them pass. We understand that every living human, no matter how frightened or ignorant, has and will experience it. It is not just for the brave, or the adventurous. I believe those that fear death have lived fearing life.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I knew there had to be someone out there that felt about this subject as I do. even at a young age, about 16 or so, my dad said that he wished he could be my age again. Even then, I wondered at this because I surely wasn't having all that good a time in my 'heyday'. Now some 35 years later I am grateful that it's more than halfway over with. I have never wished to be any age but what I am and plan on being done with it around 65-70 in any case. Life has been pretty good using the someone else has it worse' dogma. Nonetheless it has been more down than up as you astutely summarized.
Glad I found your blog.

Timster said...