Death

graveyard

Shakespeare shared this about death (via the words of Macbeth):

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays, have lighted fools
The way to dust death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

“To the last syllable of recorded time …” Poetic, to be sure.

Death is viewed in multiple ways. As Wikipedia puts it: There are many scientific approaches and various interpretations of the concept. (I would add there are many spiritual approaches and interpretations as well.)

Many who adhere to Christian beliefs feel death is not the end — that there is an event in which some superior entity decides whether a person has lived a “good” or “bad” life. Depending on the entity’s determination, that person will “move on” to one of two final destinations, one of which is considered to be quite pleasant. The other? Not so much.

However, even those who have no religious ties of any kind often believe/suggest there is an undefined “something more.”

Some see death as simply a transformation into another living form, i.e., reincarnation (which could include a return as a god, a human, an animal, or even a denizen of Hell).

Still others believe in a type of “spiritual evolution” in that after death, spirits progress to new spheres of existence and, as these spirits evolve, they eventually become enlightened beings.

Still others contend that after death, the human entity returns to its source, i.e., the stars — “We are all star stuff.” (Read more about what it means to be “star stuff” here.)

Death is, by its very nature, an unwelcome event. And while there are many who are convinced it is nothing more than a cessation of this life and that there’s “more to come” — until someone “reports back,” all any of us can do is speculate. 

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Photo by Mike from Pexels

31 thoughts on “Death

  1. Hello Nan. An interesting starting point for a long discussion. I do want to mention for some death is welcome when life has become more than they can stand. Some of us know Dennis Cole going through that right now. But that is an issue not for this post. What is life and death. I have known people who were terrified of death, because even though they lived their life as non-religious they still thought they would face some judgement and punishment and felt they were not sure they would end up on the good list. Take that for what it is. I have known people so in pain that they simply did not care and wanted it to stop because life was not worth it any more. My own dear Grandfather had prostrate cancer back when he was in his 70’s. In the 1970’s. He got up, ate, went to bed, got up ate, went to bed, got up ate, went to bed. They told him the surgery to remove the cancer could kill him, and his reply was I am not living now, so what would be the difference. He came through the surgery and lived for years after. The question is for me not what comes next, I think that is saying everything we have in this life is not worth anything. Really if all your focus is on the next ride, how can you enjoy this one? I think it has to be about the quality of life you have now to decided if you are really living.

    For me your question boils down to beliefs and what can a person believe. When I needed a religious group to save my life I tried hard to believe, but because I had not grown up in their system I just did not fit. I asked awkward questions, I did not believe on faith but wanted answers. As you know that is not really accepted in a religious faith / cult. So during my young adulthood I fell into feel good whoo. In the military I read cards for other young people, used my physic powers to impress and help my fellows. All make believe but we were all young and wanting to believe. Then I got into middle age and the internet happened, I started watching and reading real skeptics, and finding the evidence was not there for the things I wanted to believe. Yes I wanted to be reincarnated, I wanted karma justice, I wanted a good force in the universe to punish the evil dowers instead of it being a cage match that the strongest assholes always won. But I found blogs like Ark’s, yours, and so many others of our community.

    Now my spouse clings to that idea that good has to some how win as he can not accept that the most evil and unmoral bastard thugs will win. He no longer believes in the Christian god but has gone back and forth over Wiccan beliefs to settle with there must be a force in the universe for good, it has to be for his idea of right and wrong to exist. Of course in his mind if a force for good to exist then a force for evil must also. He is sure there are some people who embody these evil forces and he also believes in demons in flesh. I let him have it because the idea that real human people could be that uncaring hurtful harming others and just evil would tear his world apart. To him my wonderful loving husband, humans simply can not be that bad, hurtful, harmful to each other without an outside evil force. I do not want to break that dream he has.

    Nan for me reason and reality has to come first on the issue. If it can not be shown to exist it doesn’t. Reality is, and if it exists in realty it can be shown, demonstrated, duplicated, and examined. If not then it doesn’t exist in our reality. Show me another reality and I might accept it, show me a way to measure magic or the supernatural in our universe and I will reevaluate it. But to me if it can not be seen, felt, heard, touched, if it can not influence our reality in anyway, well it simply doesn’t exist.

    Hope this was not too long a response but I love the topic. Hugs

    Liked by 8 people

  2. If I had a time machine one of first events I’d whizz back to — if not the first — would be to watch the first Palaeolithic burial with grave goods (tools, jewellery, weapons, etc… fantastically precious items 150,000 years ago, and useful only to the living). That single event marks humans getting the idea that there is something ‘after’ death. It’d be interesting.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I think Macbeth’s ‘tale’ puts voice to the existential angst – Camus’ The Absurd – that is part and parcel of being human. Hence, the wisdom from the myth of Sisyphus, and the journey we must make to first accept, in order to then move beyond, our fate.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hello Tildeb. I know I am going to hate my self for opening this can of worms as brevity is not your style, but what do you mean by “Hence, the wisdom from the myth of Sisyphus, and the journey we must make to first accept, in order to then move beyond, our fate.” in context to the post. I tried to google it but came up with nothing that was usable to understand your point. Hugs

      Liked by 4 people

      • The myth itself. It is quite informative. This is the story used by Camus, who wrote a book about it, having understood about the absurdity of life once one is aware of death. This is the same angst being expressed by Macbeth that Shakespeare captures so well. But it’s about moving past this feeling that the myth teaches, that the way past is by going through and still finding value in the ‘journey’ so to speak.

        Liked by 5 people

  4. I wish my mother and I had had honest discussions of such things. Sadly, we could not. I suspect she died much less of a believer than any knew, except maybe me.

    We are Catholic. When she was on her death bed, I offered to fetch a Priest. She declined saying, “I walked away from my religion years ago. I’m not going back now.” Another thing she said to me at about the same time was, “When you’re dead, you’re dead.” Looking back I must wonder if my mother, who had a hard life indeed, was not a death bed de-convert. I don’t know.

    Death? How would I know? How would anyone who is living know? All the evidence is that dead is dead, be it human, an armadillo, or flea. To discover more, we must pass through the veil in October.
    As for Macbeth: “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

    Folks can believe as they want. But you do want your grave facing true east during the resurrection or Christ may miss part of you.

    Liked by 6 people

      • Hey boss, how’s it going? You know, you’ve been dead much longer than alive. This short span of consciousness bookended by 2 voids. However you felt before you were born? That’s how it will feel when you’re dead again.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Going not bad, considering the Red State I live in. 😉 You speak some heavy wisdom my Friend! Props to ya. I like Robert Frost’s interpretations of life and elusive “time”…

          Nature’s first green is gold,
          Her hardest hue to hold.
          Her early leaf’s a flower;
          But only so an hour.
          Then leaf subsides to leaf.
          So Eden sank to grief,
          So dawn goes down to day.
          Nothing gold can stay.

          And I sum it up his way, as such… “The best way out is always through.” Mr. Frost had much to say on life and death.

          We creatures of habit are meant to be in motion, so move (through it) until you no longer can. Always share until you no longer can… because then you’ll need that kindness in return. Breath until you can no longer. And as I often end on the bottom of my blog-posts, do all of the above with… Live Well—Laugh Often—Love Much—Learn Always. Now, if I can just keep remembering all of this while living amongst and surrounded (in Texas) by so many sociopolitical and religious numbskulls, I could have a VERY happy life! 😄 😛

          Liked by 4 people

    • “And when ti does come, we no longer exist.” The sadness of death is that you don’t get to see what happens tomorrow or any day after. The rest of the world goes on without you. Take heart, you are alive until you are not. Cheers! GROG

      Liked by 3 people

  5. It seems to me that there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ life or a ‘bad’ one. All humans – in my opinion – live a life full of good things that have happened and not-so-good things. It’s completely subjective as to what is good or bad. I think each and every one of us are shaped by our experiences and they determine how we react to stimuli. I like to think that the good things I have done have outweighed the not-so-good but I’m willing to bet that even those I might think who’ve had a ‘bad’ life think the same way I do.
    I agree with that statement – ‘when you’re dead, you’re dead’. That is all there is to it. 🙂 I won’t know about it, that’s for sure. I can be cavalier about it but my poor sister – who has esophageal cancer at 61 – probably has a completely different perspective. 😦

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Ah, that brief candle. But how wonderful it is.
    I don’t have anything deep tonight, sorry, tired.
    But that is just a great passage, thanks for bringin it, Nan.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Death, by its very nature, is an unwelcome event. Only to those who fear it, Nan. Whatever happens at death, oblivion or some kind of continuance, I will welcome Death. I played this song on my old blog, but I give it to you here. George Harrison, The Art of Dying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s too bad you can’t “report back” when that moment of life cessation is at your doorstep because the fear of actual death is pretty much universal.

      Yes, those who suffer physical limitations and/or are handicapped in various ways are probably more likely to be prepared for death than others. But for someone to say they “welcome” death is, IMO, a fallacy.

      No offense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not a fallacy, no offense taken. Death is a natural part of life. I think, though, for most people it is not the fear of death as much as the fear of dying–how are they going to die? Because of a childhood incident, I fear dying by drowning. It is not an instantaneous process. I remember horrible pain in my lungs.
        And there are other loonnngggg ways to die. Dying under the rubble of a collapsed building, how long does that take? What thoughts go through your head as you lie there, hoping someone will rescue you, having to deal with thirst, hunger, again more pain? It cannot be a pleasant way to die.
        The only good way to die is in your sleep, to my way of thinking, or to get hit from behind with sufficient force to kill you instantly before you know it. The thing is, there are way more bad ways to die than there are good ways. And that is what most people fear, I think.
        Death itself has no fear for me. I have said this many times for many reasons, but if death is oblivion, I will never know it. Big deal. But if, as I believe, it is just moving from one plane of existence to another, I am ready for it. Either way, no fear needed. The other part of that is no belief in heaven or hell. I have no worries about either eternal boredom, or eternal damnation. If, as many billions of people believe, those are their only choices, they should be scared to die. As much as they tell themselves they will go to heaven, each one of them knows they are going the other way. It is impossible to live an entire life without screwing up somewhere. Did the demanding God of the the Old Testament really change into the forgiving God of the New Testament? If he was perfect the way he was, why would he have changed? Logic says he did not. Maybe is he was a female, but then there would be no Christianity, would there? She would not have made her son to die on a cross. What a helluva long and painful way to die! And in only three days? He must have been very sickly to die in three days.
        Ach, I am rambling again again. Sorry.
        I am not scared of death, though depending on how I die, that I may be scared of!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I wish there was something after death, which means mom dying is not the end for her. Sadly I’m not sure how I feel about it or what I believe. Mom believed she would go to heaven, even saying she would watch over us and “make us rich” because we suffered from financial difficulties. I envy those who have such clear fate and beliefs.

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    • Hello Erika. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      Many people would like to think –or actually believe– there is life after death. Since no one has reported back, we can only rely on our own wishes and/or beliefs. And of course, all of us will one day discover “the truth.”

      Like

  9. I look forward to the day when we will never have to worry about death. And we will live here on earth in peaceful conditions.
    Revelation 21:4-And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.

    Psalms 37:11-11 But the meek will possess the earth, And they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.❤️

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    • Hello Shonnie. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      Yes, it would be “heavenly” to live forever on a peaceful earth, but by all indications such a scenario isn’t going to happen — at least not in the foreseeable future. Perhaps after many hundreds of years pass, people will stop killing each other and those that are left may finally learn to live in peace.

      HOWEVER, I’m quite certain such a scenario is not going to be the result of any biblical promises.

      Like

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