Saturday, October 6, 2007

Death the Ultimate Mystery

"A moment there my buoyant heart hung slack,
And then the glad, barbaric blood came back
Singing a livelier tune; and in my pulse
Beat the great wave that surges and exults. . . .
Why I was there and whither I must go
I did not care. Enough for me to know
The same unresting struggle and the glowing
Beauty of spendthrift hours, bravely showing
Life, an adventure perilous and gay;
And Death, a long and vivid holiday."

~ extract from The Swimmers, Louis Untermeyer

According to some people, life is full of struggle and worries. Not a day passes when one has no cares about oneself, family and others. People say that in life one has to achieve much for self-actualization, or to prove to oneself that one can survive in the battlefield called ‘Life’.
It has been perceived by poets that death is an ‘everlasting holiday’, where man lives without a care or worry in the world.

If one observes, during life one always has the worry at the back of one’s mind as to what would be the consequences of one’s death on one’s environment i.e. family, friends etc. Therefore life which is full of worries becomes death, since one worries about one’s death and one’s life.

Now life need not really be like a battlefield, its how one perceives it that matters. Life is actually supposed to be a zone to improve and nurture oneself physically and mentally. Now also note that when we have a holiday, we tend to nurture our talents and skills. Since death has been defined as the ‘everlasting holiday’, then we have forever to improve on our skills and basically facilitate personality development. Therefore death becomes what life ideally should be.

Hence, life is equal to death and death is equal to life.


How do we really know what death really is like?
Can we truly rely on what people who have supposedly had near death experiences and gone into comas say?
These people may have been considered medically dead, but were they truly dead?

The ECG may depict a flat heartbeat graph, but only a visual graph cannot truly prove that a person is dead. A person can never truly be dead until his mind shuts down.

Now I know the debate here is that medical sciences have proved that the mind has shut down…but can we really prove that the mind is truly shut down, and what we see is not a defense mechanism of the mind. The mind could easily be portraying an image of inactivity but the mind could be very much active.

But who shuts down the mind? No it’s not the Supreme Creator, Jesus according to the bible any or other God. It’s us humans ourselves. When you close the door to your mind, you can be truly declared dead. But why do we do so? The reason is that, the fact that our physical body is useless is so shocking to us that we give up all hope and decide to switch off. But even if you don’t lose hope and come back to ‘conscious/physical’ living, your experience could not be termed as death.

Death is the ultimate, underrated mystery. We will probably never truly find out what death is, no matter how far science advances, because even if we were to map the brain and produce visual images in the future, we would only see what the mind has stereotyped death as, not death as itself. Also in death mind and body are both redundant.

But what we know, is the memories that death leaves us with, and time, the ultimate healer, at the end of the day what does it heal. A friend of mine, Janvi, sent me the following poem, and I think it speaks volume. The painful memories or the moments gone by, what is healed, I leave that to you, reader, to decide.

"Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountainside,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go - so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him."

~Edna St Vincent Millay

1 comment:

a guy named dave. said...

I really enjoyed reading this post!