A comfort with death

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by wil, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Sounds sort of morose and it isn't 100% true, but I have a comfort with death.

    I don't know when it happened, but it was evident decades ago when my father died. It may have started long before that when my paternal grandmother died, or thinking about it before that when as a teen my maternal grandfather died.

    I saw it in my daughter when my maternal grandmother died at 99 she said "ah dang, (as she swung her balled fist downward) she didn't make it to 100!". The recognition of passing, some disappointment, but not sorrow. That is 'often' how I feel, a recognition of a life lived..and having said that, where I find issues is when I feel a life was not lived. Those taken to young, those getting things done and cut down in their prime.

    As a kid seeing my grandfather in a casket I saw a shell, not the man I new, it didn't even look like him to me. And every open casket I've walked up to, I've recognized the body, but not the person I knew....obviously the life was gone and that is what I knew was the life.

    When someone you treasure becomes a memory, your memories become a treasure.

    That has been my mantra a long time. When they pass my memories become alive, joyous and the thing I cling. I have no hope for a hereafter, I do have a clinging on some form of reincarnation, that spirit moving into onto another life however that may occur or manifest.

    This contemplation like me is a work in progress. But I see death as inevitable part of life. I have a connection of sorts with Shiva, with the tasty fungus in a fallen log, with change as it naturally inevitably occurs.

    The contemplation has been accentuated and complicated with my brush with death, with my not only being brought back from the brink, but my life intentionally temporarily extinguished and revived. I've misplaced a couple weeks there, and then recovered amazed. If I had gone, that would have been that...and I would have had a hell of a life...now I contemplate how to add to it.

    (This is not the thread I started but it is the thread I have)
     
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  2. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    I do sometimes lament over lost youth and the ravages of time on the flesh, but as for my own physical demise, I made piece with that long ago. It's when others pass that I'm sometimes taken aback. Those I held in the highest regard. Those that in my eyes, were bigger than life.

    It's times like these I feel a deep void and long for what once was. Ah, but this too doth pass and life goes on with many a fond memory to draw upon...
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  3. StevePame

    StevePame Administrator Staff Member

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    I still struggle with it. I'm fortunate in that I didn't lose many people close to me until I was older, but that left me more aware of their absence. I've wondered if losing a love one early is easier, because you have longer to process it, or because in your most formative years you build walls to contain the grief.
     
  4. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    It is a good that the life you have lived has bought you this quietude in your later years. It is peace, brother
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  5. Cino

    Cino Big Love

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    Good for you, Wil!

    I did not have healthy relationships with either of my parents. One died when I was a young adult, and their death was a relief. When the other parent died we were able to part in peace, with lots of unfinished business nonetheless.

    A life-threatening illness of a loved one left me devastated, although they recovered. I would not have been ready, and am still not ready, should they die before it's my time.

    As for me, I used to almost long for the release of death. Happy to report that I've been back from that place for many years now. Not ready to go yet. But not afraid either.
     
  6. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    A Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

    “The gift to a Believer is Death.”

    (At-Tirmidhi)
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    That makes incredible sense for an abrahamic believer that has followed the tenets of their belief system.
     
  8. Arif Ghamiq

    Arif Ghamiq Active Member

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    Could it not apply to a Hindu, Buddhist or others ?
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Sure, I just don't know their hereafter beliefs
     
  10. Cino

    Cino Big Love

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    I gues in Buddhism they would call that kind of death Parinirvana, the death of an awakened being.
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    That should be inscribed somewhere ...
     
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  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    It is my go-to saying whenever I encounter people who have experienced a loss. I can't recall where I first read it, but is it is the words I use when there are no words.
     
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  13. The Artis Magistra

    The Artis Magistra Member

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    Thanks for bringing this up. I hear a lot of people say they are comfortable with death and unphased by it, and I'm very curious about this. I am very terrified of death, and it fills me with intense dread. I am not comfortable about my loved ones dying either, but the majority of my concern is regarding my own death which I'm most afraid of.

    I understand there is nothing much apparently anyone has determined to prevent the eventual event, but thinking about my dying is really horrifying to me and my worst fear probably other than torture or something. I guess horrific endless pain is more terrifying than death.

    I was in the hospital recently with extreme pain and then I could understand the comfort of death or sleep, but dying and not being able to live, or dying and facing something unknown are both pretty disturbing options.

    I'm not confident about what happens or anything and every possibility seems risky and disturbing. I think people who kill themselves must be full of some kind of confidence that it will be better or nothing or solve their issues or end their pain but I have no such confidence, and their lack of terror is probably not really in their favor or anyone's favor who intends to survive as long as possible. I make very little effort towards a long life though, I seem unconvinced that a life of endless effort to prolong it is l balanced out as worthwhile, so I indulge in lots of pleasurable things like tasty foods and very little exercise and lots of leisure.
     
  14. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    But why are you afraid of death, as opposed to dying, which surely frightens most of us.

    Are you afraid of ceasing to exist? Or of continuing to exist in some way after death?

    Of a hell? A purgatory?
     
  15. The Artis Magistra

    The Artis Magistra Member

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    Great questions! I am afraid of every possibility you mentioned. I am very, very afraid of dying and losing in some way my comfort, status, ease, existence, or anything I like. I'm afraid of worse.
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I can definitely see why the average age in churches is over 50. While my end has not become any more certain than it ever has been, it is definitely closer. I've had many episodes in my life which could have easily ended in death...aging of course brings it all closer... And then there is time to think about it. More activity takes up hours, minutes, days and brain space.

    The unknown is well unknown and that is always daunting, I can see where having a belief in something or having that knowing, would be comforting.
     
  17. Cino

    Cino Big Love

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    The events you fear can happen in this very life, right? I'm not trying to alarm you! You will likely get the opportunity to address many kinds of loss a long time before your eventual death, so by that time, loss will not be the unknown terror it may be now. You will not be wholly unprepared.

    Not confidence, but a sense of inexorable inevitability. Depression is a deadly disease, if left untreated. There are treatments, and they save lives.
     
  18. The Artis Magistra

    The Artis Magistra Member

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    You actually bring up a good point. I may be so worn down by that point, that I won't fear death as much perhaps. Since it is possible everyone and everything I love and care about will also be dead first, and having suffered through one disgusting tragedy after another, I will embrace my own leap from the chest, the feeling of losing all pressure and being unable to withhold it, holding to the hope I may see the beloved dead again.

    I am very unsatisfied with this being the state of things though, but see very little being really very pleasant at all.

    My final terror regarding death though, becomes my inability to experience it, as one is not capable of experiencing non-experience or non-information or cessation of input, all we ever experience is experience, and so if and when its all cut off, no matter how long it may take, from our perspective it may just be like a brief dreamless slumber before we hit upon experience again in sone way or some form, just like we had been "dead" in a sense before our reception of information around birth and development and especially after a while where we can report it.

    Then there are those things which may come after which are disturbing and the threats of the very ancient which echo to this day, the general jist being, did I do enough good or is there some suffering at hand?

    It may be that by the point my loved ones are all dead though, I won't care as much about my state after this life if I ever return to my senses in some way, but my views based on observation of this nature and this life are pretty pessimistic overall. I can much sooner believe in something worse than better, even though I have heard of progress benefitting us, in day to day affairs I have seen lots of injustice to wonder how such seeming or apparent mismanagement bodes for any future state, and I don't mean that in a necessarily science fiction sense, but rather that to me, life, full of death and tragedy, seems rather miserable and full of suffering, and what things allow it, tolerate it, and bring it about, may not be abolished, as they aren't even now.

    So coming from a world which seems wicked, I fear a wicked future as well, and from that I can imagine no real relief or savior, because the only evidence here seems to be degrees of hell and lesser evils.

    So I'll try to live well, enjoy myself for a short while, perhaps witness endless tragedies, try to accumulate some good in case it helps me get something less worse, and go with that, but at this time not very sure of all those things I can't know or see, and only ever gambling, but that is what I do every day like you mentioned as well, but at least my feet are on the ground and though it may be illusory, I feel some sureness, stability, and ability to predict things.
     
  19. The Artis Magistra

    The Artis Magistra Member

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    I think even atheists have some kind of faith more than I do. The only thing I seem to have faith in is terror or chaos, that nothing is sure or stable. The greatest blessing which has come with age seems to be exhaustion or tiredness, where I can be afraid but too weak feeling to do much about it regardless.

    I've seen multiple films and heard stories about people who, finding out they are soon to die, invest all their efforts into leaving behind things or doing some great deeds or going through some tremendous efforts and working their last days at some mighty feat or accomplishment.

    What the heck is that? In my simulations, and even in my real experiences, when I find out I am dying, I do very little except more freely indulge myself. I can't imagine suddenly writing some big biography, and also I don't feel very kindly towards the healthy or living as to leave them a gift on top of it or make some effort towards them. All that withholds me from complete excesses is a concern about judgment, which is really a concern about living or living on in some way as to receive consequences or shame and harm.

    I don't understand fully the whole going to church thing either, I don't understand much at all. If you never believed in something, how can you sit there and hear it rattled off? How do people tolerate so much of what they do? They never believed and then suddenly when they are afraid, things that never seemed possible to them appear suddenly real? Its so weird seeming to me, but maybe it works that way, but I don't grasp it, meaning its very difficult for me to calculate a believable simulation where I come to accept things that I considered untrue or unlikely just because I'm afraid suddenly of something else.

    I've been puzzling over a lot, and the more I look into these things and ask people about them and interview and interrogate people from around the world, the more I feel as though we are all very mad and nothing in the thought processes of people or their responses seems to make sense today. In the past, or rather writingsabout the past, there seemed to be some sense to what people were doing maybe or an understanding of how the superstitions or practices may have come about. Today though, I just don't get it. There are people who like to dress up on certain days and do certain weird seeming things, or they cut their hands and burn their blood in a fire, maybe because it looks or seems "real" and cool to them or aesthetically pleasing like being in a film they like or something, but to me it just seems false, because when questioned on such acts (and my example was likely uncommon and an extreme one) they often have very little justification or reasoning behind it except they somehow liked the vision and concept of them doing whatever they imagined and went ahead and did it, almost for its own sake.

    I think maybe there are similarly people who have a vision of themselves being a certain way, or that being a certain way means to them being a certain thing and that such a vision seems pleasing to them and they try to conform to it, even if all the details it is made up of are as absurd as brush strokes looked at closely. Maybe these are big picture people, so that sitting in Church is the goal, not what its made up of, and maybe all thats left of it is a picture they made in their mind. I've asked them even, "what did they talk about?" and often many people can't remember, like they really were just there to model for a photograph and have no idea what advertisement their image might appear in.

    What happens over 50 is assumed to be an increasing awareness of mortality and impending death, and maybe Church is all they can think of in this case, but it still seems rather weird to me overall, especially when one gets the impression the care so little and hear even less.
     
  20. Cino

    Cino Big Love

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    There is something to cessation, which is very remarkable, in ordinary everyday living experience: In dreamless sleep, or in the change of focus from one thing to another, the observation that it is only ever possible to focus on one thing at a time... that one perception can not perceive another perception... have you explored this?

    It takes an unconditional gesture of acceptance of the contingencies of our existence to really get into this. Surrender to God, if you prefer that way of phrasing it.

    Hope this is helpful and not just mystic sounding gibberish...
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019

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