Thursday, May 10, 2007

Intimations of mortality

Lying in bed as the night middles, it comes once again, from left field quietly, yet at the speed of sound. I will die. I am overcome with an immense sadness at the prospect. I will not be here. All this will pass. Bibi will die. All those that I love will perish. The saddest music of a thought, like the lowest notes on a mighty cathedral organ, floods my being. The sound of death, like a warning from the other side, an invisible space that is not a space, where nothing lies.

Since the age of twelve I have regularly had this epiphany from beyond. It knocks me off my perch for days afterwards. All this will end. Nothing will last. I must die.

Some people say that it is irrational to fear death, as in death one is no-thing; and that the only rational response is to fear the process of dying. I'm not sure I agree. One might of course fear the process of dying (a prolonged illness, a murderous moment..) but surely, the deeper (and entirely rational) fear is that of non-being. Of all that is valued being undone. Of disappearance from the world, but the world carrying on. One fears death partly because one fears the realisation of one's own insignificance in the worldly scheme. Ultimately, as the buddhists have known for thousands of years, one fears death because one enters the world from the point of ego. Dissolve the ego into the world, and one dissolves the fear of non-being. So easy to think in the abstract, so difficult to practice every day.

What can come after the storm of such thoughts but music, dance, good food and laughter? Or perhaps a solitary walk in the woods or on the mountains..


. 4:05 pm  

Is it the End?

Cyber Caravan 6:31 pm  

Without death, there is no life. Without life, there is no death. The two must be really be 1?

Fred 6:39 pm  

Spoken like a true atheist.

St Antonym,  10:36 pm  

Beautiful meditation. It rings true: my mind has traveled the same circuits.

tade,  1:07 am  

I'll give you a typical 'Nigerian' response:

"Since you've come to terms with your mortality, please hurry up and produce an offspring! That way, we would at least know you passed by here..."

Abi, Nigerians, I lie?

Cee 8:18 am  


Na true you talk.

Still, isn't the rational behind the need for off-springs as prove as one's presence/existence coming from the ego?

just wondering...

culturalmiscellany 12:26 pm  

Try reading C.S.Lewis' writings on the death of his wife. Makes you think about not only death but life in a different way.

Anonymous,  4:27 pm  

produce a book, a work of art, partake in a revolution or something and then you are more likely to be assured of immortality than producing offsprings. Do we remember Charles Dickins', karl Marx's, Fanon's, sexy Che's etc. children? Or do we remember the Communist Manifesto, Oliver twist, wretched of the earth or the Cuban revolution?

I think immortality is more assured through works of creativity than children. Of course for those who want to achieve minor immortality then by all means having children can achieve that.

As a woman, i'd rather achieved immortality through acts of creativity and revolution than producing off-springs.


woman2woman,  4:04 pm  

Anon N,

You are talking a lot of rubbish. Are you so having children is unimportant? i bet you are one of those raging feminist who cannot have children anyway. The greatest thing a woman can do is to produce as many offsprings as possible. Who does it matter that you only achieve minor immortality?

Beth 2:18 pm  

This has been a periodic struggle for me too; the thought coming in the middle of the night, and then the succession of other thoughts it generates. All I can say is that over the years you get more used to it, and even grateful, because it makes you live your life much more intentionally than those who don't consider these things. The best way I've found to deal with the immediate sadness or fear, though, is to come back to the moment and realize I am here now; this moment is full and beautiful; and life is a successions of such moments. We only die in one of them, unless we insist on dwelling in the thought of that final one. Like you say, intellectually possible, hard to practice - but worth trying to do. Empathy from me. You describe it all well.

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