The end of your life, my life, and those of everyone you know are assured. There is no way around it; technology can forestall the skeletal touch of Death but it cannot keep it at bay indefinitely.
Why then do humans fight so hard against it?
I have had some experience with Death. My grandparents, uncles, aunties, friends; I have lost many people and each time it is different and in its own way, it is worse.
It is worse because I have lost someone close to me.
But it is also worse because with each death and each funeral I am reminded that one day; any day, it could be me laying up there. Forever supine, dolled up like I never was in life.
Blood gone, replaced with formaldehyde, face drawn into an artificial visage of pallid peace.
It is terrifying. It is stay-up-late-at-night-and-cry-yourself-to-sleep scary.
But it is inevitable.
What do we do about it then? What have humans throughout history done about the ever-present specter of Death looming above them?
Some turned to religion and some still do. I can see why, though that path has never appealed to me personally. It offers a promise of something after; something beyond the final curtain call. Whether it is pearly gates and a Peter checking your name off a list or reincarnation into different lifeforms; most religions (I say most because I am not well versed in all religions) offer some promise of a life after death.
And I see the appeal, I really do. Something to look forward to, something to hold on to as my body withers and fails or as time slows when the bus doesn’t break and I can’t move out of the way. A promise of something beyond is hope.
Hope is why millions are persecuted throughout the world on the basis of their different beliefs; one religious person believes that their god is the true one and they know that there is only one heaven and therefore, all others must be false.
Though, that is a very small fraction of religious people. Most are like any other person. Hell, they might even be happier than most other non-religious people. The promise of a life beyond death, after all, must make life less terrifying and easier.
But what about the non-religious people? How do they find peace and purpose with Death’s hand becoming them into the abyssal blackness?
That is a harder question to answer as there are so many people who do not conform to a specific religion, spirituality, or belief.
For you it might be a combination of reincarnation and life as a ghost. Or perhaps you believe with all your heart that whilst there might not be a heaven per se, there is something else, because there has to be, right? It doesn’t matter what. As long as it’s not nothing.
But in my opinion it is nothing.
I believe there is nothing else after we die. Once our biological processes stop we exist only in memory.
That might seem depressing or nihilistic to you, but I see it a different way.
Let’s all agree, for a moment, that there is truly nothingness after death. No thought, no feeling, no self-awareness. Pure nothingness.
What you did in life, every action, every thought, every time you were mean or kind or loving. They start to dilute with your demise and they cease to exist when the people who knew you die.
Isn’t that freeing?
Don’t you feel the burden of existential dread lifting off your chest?
If, in the end, everyone dies, then nothing truly matters.
Only you and the people you know and love while you are alive.
And that’s my point, and what a long and winding road we took to get here.
Enjoy the time you have. Love fiercely, seek happiness, read a good book, and enjoy yourself.
No matter how long your life is, no matter how you lived it, in the end, it doesn’t matter. So live it well and live it joyously.
There’s a lot more I have to say on the subject of Death but for now I think this is enough.