What is death?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by iBrian, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    The short:

    Death is simply change - it is simply the movement from one experience of reality to another, in a never ending chain of experiences in a never ending depth of different realities.

    The long:

    I had an experience that would likely be categorised as a Near Death Experience (NDE) when I was 18.

    I was in my most rationalist period, and although I always tried to force myself into believing I'd experienced a massive endorphin cascade, I never felt quite convinced by my rationalist attempt to pass it of as an entirely internal psychological/neurological construct.

    Something that doesn't at all communicate well from general NDE accounts that I've read of, though, is the intense sense of magnitude.

    The only way I can describe that is to imagine how an ant may relate to the perceptions and experiences of being a human being. If you really and try and imagine that - how it might relate to our mathematics and art and science and spirituality - then you may glimpse something of the experience. :)

    On saying that, doubt is a necessary part of spiritual growth. I can never say that my NDE experience was by any means objective. I am quite happy to even say that I would not disagree that it is quite possible that it was nothing more than an extreme biological process at work.

    It would be impossible for anyone to give a definitive answers on the issue, and personally, I find uncertainly is a far better friend that disposable absolute answers.

    Make no mistake, though - if anyone threatened myself and my family with harm I'd be the first to act. It would be irrational not to


    The conclusion:

    However - and here's the point of this long post - if death is never seen as a finality, but merely a change of state in an ever continuing process, then death in itself fails to be so terrible.

    Certainly it's a high spiritual teaching to be compassionate to others - and even to attend to the injustices committed against them.

    But death itself is not to be feared.

    Whether a life is lived for days or decades, there are many instance where that life may seem fulfilling.

    And if a moment of pain - usually vastly shorter in comparison to the length of the span - then leads to new life, as does birth, then is death really such a terrible thing?

    Or course, that depends upon whether you agree with that particular perception.

    But is it really a cold perception, or does that stance make sense to anyone?
     
  2. Baud

    Baud Seeker of Knowledge

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    I don't think it is a cold perception, on the contrary. I find it a very optimistic perception, and I certainly share it. I personally believe in some form of reincarnation, but it is possible to come to the same conclusion as you did (death is not to be feared) by logical reasoning:

    - If there is nothing at all after life, then at death, one's "soul" just dissapears. It is sad, but you won't know it. Death can then only be feared by those who are afraid of not being, but in this hypothesis, it will happen anyway one day.
    - If death leads to rebirth, then it is just one step in a journey and a chance to learn new things in the next phase of the journey.
    - If the "soul" of the dead goes to Heaven or Hell, then the ones who do the right thing should not fear it because death is a one-way ticket to Heaven. On the other hand, the ones who have been somehow "bad" can certainly fear death. ;)

    The thing I must say I fear is pain at the moment/period of death, but death itself does not really bother me. I would be sad not to have finished what I wanted to do in this world, but this is not the same thing as fearing death.

    Baud
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    I certainly share a lot of those sentiments - though as a particular moment I have no angle on there being a "moral" aspect to any of this. In other words, I don't (yet?) see how any actions of the living can determine their state after death.

    To some this would be an abhorrent idea, because the idea of moral judgement of the living after death can be so appealing to many.

    I have simply not seen the aspect of "divine Judgement" in that aspect - or else, have not understood it. But, hey, I'm only mortal. :)
     
  4. Baud

    Baud Seeker of Knowledge

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    Just to make it clear, the "options" in my post were just alternatives - that I don't necessarily believe in myself. I personnaly don't believe in a moral judgement after death.

    Baud
     
  5. Elizabeth May

    Elizabeth May Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to think it was all true in a way. We just don't know though. If I die and there's nothing I just won't know about so I wouldn't be able to get upset about it.
     
  6. Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine Junior Moderator, Intro Moderator

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    Something I heard somewhere that this thread reminded me of: The ones who fear death really haven't lived life.

    I know it's rather simplistic, but that's what I think of concerning this thread. :)

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
     
  7. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Sounds like a good perspective to myself - never give in to fear.
     
  8. aged hippy

    aged hippy drifting gently

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    I agree with Bauds' thoughts, death itself is not to be feared, but haps the actual method of dying may raise some fear. I must confess, having been very close to it on two occasions, and wide-awake and fully functional in both events, it can bring a certain clarity of thought to ones' mind, in what - at that time - appear to be the closing moments of life.

    One realises, on later reflection, what is truly important.

    As for being judged (by a god or whatever), this i find an odd concept, and to be honest, hard to sustain. Haps i do too good a job of judging myself. :)

    Warmest Regards
     
  9. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    in the Vajrayana tradition, we see life as a series of continually arising moments of consciousness. for an analogy, imagine bubbles rising from a babbling brook. each bubble is a moment of conciousness and is directly preceded by one and followed by one.

    death is, in our view, the last consciousness bubble appears and the very next one that appears is leading towards rebirth.

    in our way of practice, we seek to find the seperation between the bubbles that we are all subconsciously aware of. in our view, the anxiety that society feels is due to this subconscious awareness of our death... that we are, in a very real sense, dying every moment.

    the Vajrayana in particular, works with death on a daily basis... one of our most profound practices deals with recognizing the falling asleep phenomenon as a simlie for death. we can practice and learn what to expect when the final physical death approaches, which, as you can imagine, generally lends us a great deal of confidence about death and removes all the fear that it contains.

    naturally, this is a matter of practice and some are deeper than others. in any event, death is not viewed as an end state in any fashion whatsoever. it is the natural analog to life.
     
  10. Infit

    Infit New Member

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    "what is death"

    Hello, I am new to this forum.

    I have to respond to the query in somewhat of an existentialist manner; I feel that death is a natural occurence that is overconceptualized by humans due to the capacity of possibilities to be done so. (Humans are relativley intelligent) The notion of a moral judgment after death I find to be a rational conceptualization of an irrational event, which deems the conceptualization irrational as well, I would suppose. These thoughts are highly inconclusive, I understand, but I feel so is the nature of existence. The idea of nothingness is a painful abstraction, but I don't feel that there is conclusiveness in any supreme existence without essence; and essence is figurative expression of nothingness.


    -Infit
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Brian - this assumes a life after death, for which there is no guarantee for that which we conceive as the 'self'.

    Whilst the Christian tradition believes in life after death - in effect the continuance of being - it also believes in degrees of eschatalogical states, that range from complete Union with the Divine at the highest, to the total dissolution of the animic soul (psyche) at the lowest. 'My Father's house has many mansions' Christ said, and this is one indicator of degree.

    In the realm of possibilities, the complete cessation of being has to be acknowledged.

    The notion of 'judgement' belongs in the area of cause and effect - to assume that nothing you do in this life has any relevance or bearing on the next has no foundation in either sacred or secular philosophy - and effectively renders religion pointless.
     
  12. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Hi there, and welcome, Infit. :)
    Maybe it's just because I'm completely knackered, but I'm not quite sure what you're implication is by the statement above.

    Hi Thomas - ah...the old judgement issue. :)

    Whilst I can certainly make no bold claims of what "afterlife" may or may not represent - if indeed even probable - the whole concept of "moral judgement" somehow seems to myself as a very fixed in a general anthropomorphic outlook.

    Moral values often seem so personal and culturally specific - so any postulated "aboslute morality" would perhaps be most suggestive of contemporary social expressions? A general pointer. Maybe we should open up morality more specifically in the "Philosophy" section?
     
  13. louis

    louis Well-Known Member

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    death

    Death is simply change - it is simply the movement from one experience of reality to another, in a never ending chain of experiences in a never ending depth of different realities.

    From Louis...
    I must agree - but a change to what ?
    Since I'm content as I am, any change would be undesireable .
    It's bad enough that I was thrust into my present existence and had to
    spend so many years learning to make a "go" of it . But now that I have
    things going my way, I have to face the fact that my time is limited !
    But my time is just that - MY time ! -to use productively or to squander
    in self-indulgence - that choice is mine alone.
    And if the choice I make disqualifies me for some "next existence", too bad !
    I had a great time while I was here and nobody can take that away !
     
  14. sag2008

    sag2008 Member

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    Hello' I am new at this I am very open mined person. Death in my opinion is existing without knowing who you really are being lost out there in time . I ve
    had some awsome experiences with life in general and now am willing to learn as much as possible. for about 13 yrs though there was a trial in my life that experienced death fear and death are of not the same though. death is a isolated experience in us all and yet we as people have not learned to share them as a whole
     
  15. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    death is the opposite of life :)
     
  16. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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  17. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Death is change. Hmmm... It's a big change. Like, your alive and you can walk and talk, see and hear, experience and do everything, and then you're dead. They either burn you or pump your carcass full of rubber cement and food coloring, stick you in a really nice box, and bury your ass. Big change.

    Chris
     
  18. cavalier

    cavalier Well-Known Member

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    Reminds me of John Donne

    John Donne - Death Be Not Proud

    Death be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
    For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
    Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
    From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
    Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
    And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
    Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
    Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
    And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
    And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
    And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
    One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
    And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
     
  19. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    What is death?

    Inevitable.
     
  20. Azure24

    Azure24 Well-Known Member

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    Death is part of living, both go hand-in-hand, one cannot exist without the other. What bothers me though, is why do people (or at least most) fear death? Something that obviously no one alive has ever experienced?

    Grieving the death of loved ones i can understand (for selfish reasons), but if anyone has ever seen a dead person before, you'd see it looks as if something is missing....
     

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