—bird in hand ... April 2, 2009
It is not uncommon to hear someone say that they are not afraid of dying, and whenever we do we are tempted to wonder who they are trying to convince, not really believing they are earnest with their assurance.
We think of it, in other words as an empty claim, that they really are afraid of dying but only want to somehow appear otherwise.
Personally, I consider it a mark of wisdom to be truly unafraid of death.
In fact, it is life we should fear, not death.
Death bears a resemblence to zero, a place holder. It is nothing. Life, on the other hand, is most assuredly something.
Life gives us diseases (and other unpleasantries), not death.
Life is filled with uncertainties that ever hang over us, causing us to be in states of virtually constant fear.
We have no fear of going blind when we're dead, or losing our children, or job or anything else. (Death, by contrast, is the most certain thing we can imagine.)
It is life that eventually removes us, not death, which only embraces us.
There is nothing wrong with claiming to have no fear of death. Quite the contrary. There is everything right with it. It is life we should fear, not death.
One of the greatest things we should fear of life is its power to make its way into the vast halls of death, find our peaceful souls and heartlessly (and pitilessly) abscond with them. It has done it before (perhaps many times before), so what assurance do we have that it will not do it again?
Yes, we have all been dead already. We were dead before we were born. When we look closely at it death is clearly evident as a state of being gone, unable to be found. (From this perspective, we are dead even now to the billions of people in the world who will never know us.)
We should also never forget that death stands poised at both ends
of our life. The time before our birth qualifies as a time of death for us
as much as the time after it, and our “emergence” from our prior
death is proof that it has no exclusive, or inexorable, power over Life.
The One Thing: The Ultimate Secret
Am I proposing suicide? Not at all. I am simply trying to see through the so-called grandeur and glory of life, the false view of it that our culture tries to foist on us.
In truth, the society that we are born into does not care so much for us as our labor. It only cares about what we can do for it (pay taxes). We have all heard the hackneyed refrain about making a contribution to society.
But what does society ever truly do for us other than urge us to behave and threaten us with punishment if we do not?