Death and Its Concept

Philosophers and non-philosophers stand on a level of equality with respect to death. There are no experts on death, for there is nothing to know about it. Not even those who study the death process have an edge on the rest of us. We are all equals in thinking about death, and we all begin and end thinking about it from a position of ignorance.

Death and its concept are absolutely empty. No picture comes to mind. The concept of death has a use for the living, while death itself has no use for anything. All we can say about death is that it is either real or it is not real. If it is real, then the end of one’s life is a simple termination. If it is not real, then the end of one’s embodied life is not true death, but a portal to another life.

Having no content, we must speak of death metaphorically. For those who think death is real, death is a blank wall. For those who think it is not real, death is a door to another life. Whether we think of death as a wall or a door, we cannot avoid using one metaphor or another. We often say that a person who dies is relieved of suffering. However, if death is real, then it is metaphorical even to say that the dead do not suffer, as though something of them remains not to suffer. As there are already many speculations about some sort of ‘next life,’ I will focus on the view that death is real and marks the final end of an individual’s life

Let us explore the metaphor that death is a wall a bit further. Each of us is born facing this wall. From that moment on, every step we take is towards it, no matter which way we turn. There is simply no other direction to take. Like a fun house mirror, the wall of death show us our living fears and distorted images of ourselves. All we see when we look at death is a reflection of our own lives.

Death has no subjective meaning at all. It will come to other people, but never to me. Of course, I know that I am going to die. Death means the end of my future. However, as long as I am alive, I will be living toward that future possibility of no longer having possibilities.

The unavoidable conclusion is that, if death is real, neither I nor you will ever personally taste death. I will cease to be conscious before the end. No matter how close I come to it, death recedes before me. I am actually dead only for others. When the end actually arrives, my dead body passes into the hands of the coroner. I will no longer be there. Death is always described from the perspective of the living. As Ludwig Wittgenstein famously put it, “Death is not an experience in life.”

The concept of death is unlike most other concepts. Usually we have an object and the concept of that object. For example, we have a horse and the concept of a horse. However, the concept of death is absolutely without any object whatsoever. Thinking about the prospect of one’s own death is a constant meditation upon our own ignorance. There is no method for getting to know death better, because death cannot be known at all.

One trouble with discussing this topic is the instinctive fear of death. We tend to avoid death in our thoughts and actions. However, if we could forget our fears for a minute, we could see more clearly how interesting the concept actually is from a more detached point of view.

Birth and death are the bookends of our lives. Living towards death in time gives one’s life a direction and framework within which to understand the changes that life brings. The world looks very differently to the young and the old. The young look forward. The old look back. What matters to us changes as we get older. The prospect of death informs these changes. The young have an intellectual understanding that death comes to us all, but their mortality has not become real to them. For the old, mortality starts to sink in.

For a long time, I have been puzzled by two famous philosophical ideas about death, one from Plato and one from Spinoza. The first is that a philosopher has a vital concern with death and constantly meditates upon it. The second is that the wise person thinks of nothing so little as death. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle. Ignoring death leaves us with a false sense of life’s permanence and perhaps encourages us to lose ourselves in the minutiae of daily of life. Obsessive rumination on death, on the other hand, can lead us away from life. Honestly coming to terms with one’s death involves reflection on its significance in one’s life, and thinking about the larger values that give life its meaning. In the end, it is useful to think about death only to the point that it frees us to live fully immersed in the life we have yet to live.

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43 Comments.

  1. Justin Holder

    Great post. Leaning towards Plato, I think that death is a crucial topic for all thinking people, and should be kept in mind.

    However, I would associate my interpretation of that more on Buddha. He taught that death in itself was not so astonishing; it is just a natural expression of the impermanent nature of reality. Buddha would actually go with the ‘death does not exist’ stance, but not because there is something which always goes on living and always will; rather there is nothing that can be said to “have life” and then “lose it”.

    As it relates to philosophy, this was the way Buddha taught to find truth: think and act keeping the true nature of all things – impermanence – in mind. Thus we should keep death in mind not because it carries some special mysterious quality, but precisely because it does not.

    As he said in the Mirror of Truth parable: “Men are anxious about death and their fate after death; but consider, it is not at all strange, Ananda, that a human being should die.”

  2. There are two interesting proposals that are implicit in your post. First, there’s Wittgenstein’s platitude — that “Death is not an experience in life”. Second, there’s the idea that death entails the cessation of the person. The one seems to follow from the other.

    For all we know, we live in a physicalistic universe, and that there is no immortal soul, and no afterlife. All the same, it still may be the case that the second proposition is false, even though the first is true. For personhood is not necessarily the same as bodily continuity. A person might survive even if their body perishes, so long as their mind and legacy survive.

    Indeed, if the two propositions really were connected (through a presumption of bodily continuity), then the second proposition would be absurd. For talking about “a dead person” would be as silly as talking about “the halt of perpetual motion” or “the square circle”. However, as a matter of convention, we really do talk about “dead people” without any air of paradox. So it must be logically possible to be a dead person, at least in the common way of speaking.

    I believe the common way of speaking can be motivated by a philosophically bizarre — but coherent and defensible — notion of personhood. Notice that humans are obsessed with fame and glory, and gravitate towards areas where they are seen as authorities. These are the very places they feel that they’ll survive, even when their brains and bodies are shrivelled and rotting. It makes sense that they would organize their life plans along these lines, even at the expense of their happiness. The penchant for one’s legacy is so powerful, it is even a commonplace to look at people who lack any sense of legacy as if they lead impaired or diminished lives.

  3. michael reidy

    His father had always been a stranger, an irritable stranger with exceptional powers of intervention and comment, and an air of being disappointed about his offspring. It was shocking to lose him, it was like an unexpected hole in the universe, and the writing of “Death” upon the sky, but it did not tear Mr. Polly’s heartstrings at first so much as rouse him to a pitch of vivid attention.

    (The History of Mr. Polly by H.G.Wells)

    That amusing and warm hearted novel has a lot of wisdom in it. We face death by facing life otherwise it’s just a distracting mystery encompassed by either table turning or nihilism. As an old English labourer explained to me as I hacked ineffectually with my pick axe at the obdurate ground of Hertfordshire – ‘Pat, you’ve got to put a face on the work’. I won’t reduce that piece of instruction to its complete architectonic significance but the practical import of it is that you must first create a decent hole with a face that you can prise away into the void that you have created.

  4. Is it not as simple as this? Think what it was like for you in say the year 1800. That is what it will be like for you when you are dead. Absolutely Nothing. Thomas Jordan summed it up quite well:-

    A Hundred Years Hence
    Thomas Jordan (1612?-1685):
    Let us drink and be merry, dance, joke, and rejoice,
    With claret and sherry, theorbo and voice!
    The changeable world to our joy is unjust,
    All treasure’s uncertain,
    Then down with your dust!
    In frolics dispose your pounds, shillings, and pence,
    For we shall be nothing a hundred years hence.

    We’ll sport and be free with Moll, Betty, and Dolly,
    Have oysters and lobsters to cure melancholy:
    Fish-dinners will make a man spring like a flea,
    Dame Venus, love’s lady,
    Was born of the sea:
    With her and with Bacchus we’ll tickle the sense,
    For we shall be past it a hundred years hence.

    Your most beautiful bride who with garlands is crown’d
    And kills with each glance as she treads on the ground.
    Whose lightness and brightness doth shine in such splendour
    That none but the stars
    Are thought fit to attend her,
    Though now she be pleasant and sweet to the sense,
    Will be damnable mouldy a hundred years hence.

    Then why should we turmoil in cares and in fears,
    Turn all our tranquill’ty to sighs and to tears?
    Let’s eat, drink, and play till the worms do corrupt us,
    ‘Tis certain, Post mortem
    Nulla voluptas.
    For health, wealth and beauty, wit, learning and sense,
    Must all come to nothing a hundred years hence

  5. Ramesh Raghuvanshi

    Consciously we avoid to think our death. I think it is natural process but unconsciously we are overcoming the fear of death.Really speaking death only giving meaning to our life.From birth we started to overcome the fear of death.We love, we hate, envy,jealousy,all positive and negative emotion are expressing the fear of death.We build house, earn the money ,give birth to child all activities we do in life our intention is overcome the fear of death.If death is not there there is no meaning to evolution.No progress of mankind.No art, no science, no joy,no sorrow,no war no murder without death life is dull meaning less.

  6. Jeff addresses two issues, what is death, and what are its implications for the living? On the first one he says that death itself and its concept are empty. We cannot give them content, think what they are. Conflating the two: We do have a concept of it, else we couldn’t be talking about it, just like we have the concept unicorn and others like it. However, for death there is no referent image for us, for myself, only for others, in the sense that I have seen, perhaps, others die, or know of such. Suppose we think of death as nothingness. But can we think of nothingness? For example, I’ll think of myself out in space, but with no body, only a thinking thing, as Descartes might say. Not even a thing, just a thought somehow. Is that thinking of nothingness? Am I not thinking of empty space and a thought, whatever that might be? But with death we cannot even think that, hence death is not even nothingness. As a cop-out people often trot out the ‘it’s a mystery’ card. But it’s no mystery; it’s a common event. Yet, we cannot even say that it ‘just is’ for then we’re applying the predicate to be. What is? Perhaps language is incompetent to deal with death, since it leads to such contradictions as: Death is and is not nothingness. But linguistic insufficiency does not a mystery portend.

  7. Re Joaquin May 24th

    As you stand at the moment you are merely sandwiched between two eternities of oblivion that is all.

  8. What I find interesting in the comments here is the wealth of references to literature and metaphor and the dirth of philosophical answers. Looks like we’re all being honest here.
    Randy

  9. Randy, yah — that is interesting. But it’s hard to imagine what literature and poetry would have to say without the philosophers that do matter (to this subject) — Lucretius, Epicurus, Neitzsche, Camus…

  10. New Worlds Weam » A wall or a door? - pingback on May 29, 2011 at 12:38 pm
  11. What dies? All that exists are causes and conditions, neurotically interpreted, that the mind calls life. When the mind ceases, the illusion ceases. By contemplating death, the mind must let go of its illusion of permanence, hence the contemplation is resisted or, if not resisted, drawn toward the idea of “sacred protection” from impermanence, a life hereafter, forever. We are lead to believe that a fully “enlightened” mind understands the illusory nature of “life.” As such, the enlightened mind is freed from desire, anger, heartache, loss, even death. The real engagement comes with implications of “death” as a vehicle for living. This “death” is the letting go of the “me” that “dies.” With that accomplishment the mind quiets and “life” becomes an extraordinary experience of the causes and conditions unfolding unceasingly, one after another that the mind calls life. The enlightened mind observes the same thing as the unenlightened, only differently, without the illusion of “life” and “death.”

  12. Jan, I followed the link to the Wall or Door? posting and will confess that I agree with the “it takes a Buddhist” stance. Still, I’m a bit thrown off by the above comment which seems to start off with a view of life as illusion – especially thrown off when I found that the Wall or Door? link seemed to end with the stance that death, at least, is real. I’m really not sure that death can be more real than life. They would seem to be intricately interconnected. To die I tend to imagine that something must have first been alive.

    Maybe we need a G. E. Moore type defense of the common sense of death (and life); a sort of baseline; a general agreement of terms; a common point of departure. You would think that life and death would be perfectly black and white, but it seems we’re in some gray area. I’m not at all qualified to give this common sense defense, but I’d hope that anyone taking up the challenge would proceed with Moore’s same dry sense of humor.

  13. Randy, I assume you meant “dearth” and I don’t consider it to be particularly truthful, only uncritically non-philosophical. Although Francis Kamm’s Morality, Mortality – Volume I is essentially about organ transplants, Part I offers an interesting, sustained and rigorous philosophical analysis of death.

  14. I say we wake up when we’re dead, but believe me this world in which there are seven continents is a computer simulation giving us the impression this is real, while God is above us controlling everything, idealism states that, so now I’m on a quest to find out if this earth is our imagination.

  15. I say we wake up when we’re dead, but believe me this world in which there are seven continents is a computer simulation giving us the impression this is real, while God is above us controlling everything, idealism states that.

  16. The rewrite above is just a typo.

  17. Only the constant reminder of death, can make life be lived with an urgency that is what makes it what it can and should be.

    Space time, life and death are all features of the way we interpret the world. If you don’t like it, change the interpretation.

  18. Everything was going quite well until you offered the metaphor ‘death is like a blank wall.’ Apart from the fact that there was no mention of how high or wide this wall was you set the precedent that this imaginary wall is insurmoutable. In doing this you created your own fictional stopping point on the basis that this should be universally acceptable. Philosophically, for the sake of argument, you then went on to form an outlook on something that you, yourself, created barriers for from the onset. The entire premise is flawed. Constructing an impossible point from an impossible premise is, to me, a pointless excercise if you feel you have to start from boundaries that you intentionally set. If one were to look deeply at your article one would find flimsy extrapolation based on an unsatisfactory premise. The main problem here is that there is a total lack of lateral thinking leading to a natural tendency to create boundaries where, philosophically, none should exist. Basic logic, therefore, far exceeded philosophy to the point of being trite.

  19. 1. Death as an event, i.e. as a transition from one state to another:

    1.1. psychological death: being able to be conscious –› being unable to be conscious

    1.2. biological death: being alive –› not being alive

    1.3. physical death: having corporeal integrity/having existence –› lacking corporeal integrity/lacking existence

    (1.3 entails 1.2 and 1.1, 1.2 entails 1.1, and 1.1, 2.1, and 3.1 can coincide temporally, e.g. when somebody is killed and atomized by a bomb explosion.)

    2. Death as a state, i.e. as the state of being dead:

    2.1. being psychologically dead

    2.2. being biologically dead

    2.3. being physically dead

    Assuming that negative states and properties do not exist, the state/property of being dead is not a real state/property because it doesn’t consist in the having of a (negative) state/property but in the lacking of a (positive) state/property: the state/property of being able to be conscious, being alive, or having corporeal integrity.
    Animals which are psychologically or biologically dead are still existent animals, whereas physically dead animals are nonexistent animals, since a physically destroyed, completely decomposed animal is no longer an animal. An animal can survive (i.e. continue to exist after) its psychological death and its biolological death, but it cannot survive its physical death. So, dying in the psychological or biological sense is not the same as ceasing to exist.
    Of course, being dead is not a subjective or experiential state. There is nothing it is like for an animal to be dead. All three kinds of death entail the absence of all mental states or processes.

  20. P.S.:
    Death as a negative state is the absence of consciousness, life, or organismic integrity and unity.

  21. “Death is not an experience in life.” – Wittgenstein

    My biological death (which entails my psychological death) as the transition from my being alive to my not being alive is an event that happens to me; and as long as I am conscious, the process of dying is an experience in life. (Of course, dying is not the same as having died or being dead.)

  22. Background information for those interested:

    Death: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/death/

    The Definition of Death: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/death-definition/

    * Feldman, Fred. Confrontations with the Reaper: A Philosophical Study of the Nature and Value of Death. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

    * Bradley, Ben, Fred Feldman, and Jens Johansson, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013 [forthcoming]. http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780195388923.do

  23. :shock: :shock: :shock:
    EXCELENT post.
    Reading this I just realised the contradiction of our common thinking.
    If we go in NON-EXISTENCE then where do we come from ?
    If we come from somewhere then surely we also go somewhere . One of the most profound and true affirmations is that nothing ever is neither ventured nor gained , everything is just transforming. Science is astonished to discover that matter as we know it is not matter at all. It is energy. Death is simply when we go back where we come from. Death is a door.
    Even from the religious viewpoint the concept of death is contradicting. If we all are to go in heaven or in hell then why all this fuss about death. If it is true that we go to heaven or hell then “death” does not exist. I do not completely identify myself with my body so I find no description for death but the decay of this lump of meat… …
    :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

  24. Life Insurance for You and Your Loved Ones | General Blogging - pingback on January 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm
  25. Myron,
    I believe you forgot the last state of death: spiritual death- and that’s the key life, and death. If it dies, then you are dead. It is the state that we all have within us, and must live with it daily and always. It is the key to life after death. The strength and power is in believing.

  26. I sympathise with your dilema.

    It is difficult to deliver a verdict without first hearing the evidence.

    Since you cannot have evidence, perhaps you should hold-off with the verdict.

    In good faith.

    Dr Paul

  27. It is my belief that dreams of death and the observation of subsequent travels hold more truth than the contemplation of such things.

  28. This is a great article, thanks!

  29. As far a as philosophy goes, there has been no answer, science is far from one too but the mix between philosophy and religion ends up with almost a scientific method proven by its practitioners, specifically talking about the mind that understands the causes and effects, law of action or karma, stands that if something is done there is a certain result, hence there most be a continuum of existence, that is further more relevant that a sac of bones and flesh, for the skin and bone have no concept of being skin and bones, biological death then can be seen as the example of the wall, then If the law of action is true then, the remain energy, produce of every action and thought must bring a consequence that cannot be escaped from, therefore a continuum of existence most be a fact,being it the energy that follows every action (physical or mental) then I wonder about the officers taking care of Tibetan Buddhist prisoners that said the monks were in perfect health and their bodies where found physically death, referring to the practice of expelling the consciousness.
    (Myron expressing: Death as a negative state is the absence of consciousness, life, or organismic integrity and unity.)

    So, is this debate about death as a physical event or about the cessation of consciousness?

    Do any of you have any ideas of an image that would represent this, as for words are few?

  30. The observations and comments are pretty safe as no one has ever come back from the dead, except
    Jesus, and he was not very talkative and left most of his observations to laymen who then made a religion out of it and their own interpretations in a bible. That is why their are
    individuals who believe in God but not religion.
    When it comes right down to it, life is a dream with a beginning and end but no one left behind through the generations to give more of an insight to what is really happening. Shall we call it a moment of fantasy?

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  32. Wittgenstein on death | - pingback on August 6, 2013 at 12:02 am
  33. a general concept that appeals to me is that there are similarities at various scales in the universe, call it fractal geometry if you will, but you can extend that in every dimension, not only the ones we can observe. Bear with me for a few seconds, this has to do with death, but I have to lay a couple of things out first.
    Recently there has been an increasing awareness that matter is very much less solid than our senses would have us believe, and if you go right down to component particles of matter, the spaces between “solid stuff” is on a similar scale to that between stars. So it’s only the energetic fields around such “particles” that cause physical interactions. Further, it has been observed that when particles such as electrons transit from one state to another, they do so instantaneously, and do not go through intermediate states. It had been postulated that they do so by exiting the dimensions we can observe, and go via an energy field where they mostly exist, and then the part we can observe re-appears in another state. Could it be that what we can observe here is only a shadow of what fully exists? Could it be that what we observe as an individual electron is only a manifestation of a much bigger entity, that exists in a much more powerful state beyond our universe? Or even that there is an electron being that manifests part of itself countless times in our universe, each manifestation being separate but connected to the whole?

    Scale that up to our size. Would death really only be a merging back into the whole, and re-incarnation being a re-introduction of a previous manifestation with some of its attributes? Normal (non-re-incarnated birth ) is just another manifestation, still connected to the whole but with new attributes.

    Scale that up again, and look at the Big Bang. what was that, if not a manifestation of something that previously was not observable in “our universe” but which was fully present else-everything (elsewhere, elsewhen, elsehow)?

    Facinating to think of our universe as being just a transient expression of a much bigger something, which, presumably, could just wink out of “existence” just as everything else does?

  34. Poetic. Many suppositions. Death and it’s place could be nothing more than a choice of relevance. Most stories, ideas, myths, social expressions and speculations often indicate that relevant choice is the deciding importance. Value to the individual and to the individuals experience of the whole of all people’s values weren’t included. Death is simple. Living is simple. It’s knowing death while living that you haven’t answered.

  35. death is a word for humans to say but the humans don’t know anything about the afterlife as some people do but they wont say anything even if u make them talk but they wont

  36. the truth is unknown but there are does who know their knowledge is given to theme by the one who send us to earth from their own planet there are those whom are living in earth for thousand of years for example nooh in qoran he lived more the a 900 years and he was not of our kind he was an alien kind this might make u think im crazy but this is the exact truth and soon or later u will see

  37. The truth about death or even the answer to the question, “What is the importance of LIFE?” cannot be determined with any degree of certainty while we rely on sense data for meaning. Because of our accumulated sense data, we approach the concept of death with preconceived ideas that make it nearly impossible to understand what death is. We can pinpoint a number of things that seem apparent and consistent based on perceptions of life and death both individually and en masse, but this is a far cry from uncovering the Truth of the matters.

    Our individual lives are exercises in consciousness. The universe is a similar exercise. We seem to occupy or “own” this consciousness for a number of years, but it is not our own. To me, this is evident by the existence of death: we give back that which is not our own. What “we” are is “something” far greater than senses can perceive and certainly more than what one little life (however greatly lived) or one finite body can encapsulate. Because of this, certain concepts and understandings are meaningless – though it is not above/beneath us to ascribe certain “truths” to them. So it is with the concepts of life and death.

    IMO, death is the final answer to the question of individual consciousness (to be understood as “life”). Who am I? What is the purpose of life? What is truth? These are answers only death provides with ultimate clarity. The living Reality that death recovers from individual consciousness is our natural, eternal inheritance. It is Being, unencumbered by consciousness, undivided by perception and unaltered by changes in time and space. This is our Home, our natural State of Being. Some call it Heaven, others Nirvana or Ultimate Reality. Words don’t matter. They are only symbols to direct the mind. It’s what those words point to in the Center of our Being that counts.

    This imperceptive, immaterial, noncorporeal State of Being is the Truth about our “selves”. It is Who We Are. The answer given is one of complete oneness and wholeness. As such, death is the end of perception (itself flawed, limited and obscuring) and our ego-life (based upon separateness and division). It is a doorway through which all of us must enter into Living. Our little lives are circumscribed at every level and on all sides by the shroud of death and in this way we understand “life” only as it is defined by the existence of death.

    Throughout our years, we encounter innumerable “mini-deaths” with accompanying varying degrees of mental and emotional turbulence. The final death is merely a transition and not an end. But because of the perceived FINALITY of death and our insistence on reliance on perception for clues and answers, we don’t recognize it as a transition (or if we do, we are unsure of what we are transitioning TO). Likewise, birth is also a transition and not a beginning. We “existed” before time began, both collectively and individually, and we will continue to “exist” after our bodies perish and the universe collapses into nothingness. Absent time constraints based upon a linear construct, we simply ARE – forever and permanently. Somehow, people are more concerned with the question of death than they are with the question, “What was I before I was born.” These are the same questions and yield the same answers.

    Being a “mystic” at heart, I have a great affinity for William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience. Those who have seen beyond their egos, their little life, their fear of death, find within and without themselves something eternal … ineffable but revelatory at the same time. A mystical experience is a mini-death, too. I liken them more to uncovering forgotten memories than to discovering a previously unknown fact. Either way, ego-consciousness is killed – if only for a time. Yet, although perception maintains the illusion of the transiency of such mystical states, when perception is removed at death, the Heart of ourselves will speak our Name and we will remember That Which we have always known. It will be more familiar to us than “the back of our hands”. And this knowledge doesn’t ever truly change and is never fully forgotten – it is Who and What we are. Perception can hide this for a time, and I would argue that this is the purpose of time and space. Because perception cannot change Reality, we must eventually put down our “toys” and exercises in “make-believing” and once again accept the Truth. To me, that moment is the point of death. But we don’t have to wait until death to find answers. Soul searchers are archaeologists of self-consciousness and belief structures. Underneath the top soil of human experience, beneath the layers of stratified accepted beliefs, lies the Relic of Life.

    I’ve just laid out many of my preconceptions. Many of those have been formed over several years of meditation and psychedelic use, and gleaned from many experiences I have taken to be mystical in nature. For clarity’s sake, I am of the belief that perception is a dream and so is the entire construct of the universe. It is meaningful and important for us while living and is, therefore, something we fight to defend and maintain (i.e. self-preservation). There is, however, a Reality that I’ve experienced – one that is unchanging, permanent, infinite, eternal and ultimate. It exists whether or not I recognize it, whether I live or die, and despite any exercise I undertake to hide and forget it. Perception has no effect on it.

    Is death scary? Yes. Do I have personal investments in my life? Yes! Do I fear losing those investments or missing out on a possible future? You bet. Regardless of these ego investments and the fears of loss and/or scarcity, there is the underlying Truth that death constantly brings to the fore. Death is the final act of accepting the Truth and Reality of What We Are. We are so much more and death cannot define us any more than our single life can. But what death points us towards can and will define us.

  38. “For those who think death is real, death is a blank wall.”

    As you say, we don’t come into contact with death subjectively, which suggests that when anticipating death we shouldn’t anticipate the cessation of subjectivity. What then should we anticipate? By means of a thought experiment patterned on Derek Parfit’s work in Reasons and Persons, I suggest that we should anticipate the continuation of subjectivity, just not in the context of the person who dies (me). So death represents the end of my personal subjective continuity, but not what I call *generic* subjective continuity. This might help assuage the worries of those who suppose that death takes us into oblivion, blackness, the void or nothingness. – http://www.naturalism.org/death.htm

  39. Death is a true phinomenon which veryone should not negate. The truism of death is as true as human existence. I am of the opinion that a denial of the existence of death is a denial of the existence of life. We say life is because death is. The concept of life is influenced by the concept of death. There is a great danger to assert that death is not real and that there is no supernatural life after death. If that is true, let us ask: from where do we stand each time we go out from ourselves? On this terrestial planet or something other than it? If we say on this planet then we agree that things exist here on eath, things exist because we percieve it and can see it manifestation. If then we say, something other than this planet then will also agree that things exist because we percieve it by thinking. In either way we go things exist.

  40. If the mind is mechanistic and we are all materialists then death is final; there is no afterlife, therefore make the best of the present: All knowledge is of the past and in reality the past does not exist. The future may bring death, but even the future doesn’t exist;there is only this present moment, but because it takes time for the cognitive mind to function then everything we believe to be true or real may be (like the people in Plato’s cave)an illusion.

  41. Artefact 3 – The Death of Evita – Context | - pingback on November 26, 2014 at 4:22 pm
  42. SUMBIT – Artefact 3 – The Death of Evita – Context | - pingback on November 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm
  43. Okay, let me ask myself a few questions.

    The fact that I can read this means I’m here!

    The above post pointing out the recently discovered dark matter means that I’m here, sipping on a whisky and that all the science that I have injested also exists and so does all those who discovered it, they are here too. Or at least they do in the portal I’m privelaged in witnessing.

    Given what we have learned in the last twenty years, and given what my children’s and grandchildren’s generation are yet to learn, about how the whole universe is constructed, we are in for some interesting discoveries.

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