Do You Want To Know What Death Is?

Yeah, it’s a funny thing. Most of us think we know what it means and there are a lot of definitions for it so we’re all probably a little bit correct in our thinking.

1 a :  a permanent cessation of all vital functions :  the end of life
   b :  an instance of dying
2 a :  the cause or occasion of loss of life <drinking was the death of him>
   b :  a cause of ruin
3   :  the destroyer of life represented usually as a skeleton with a scythe
4   :  the state of being dead
5 a :  the passing or destruction of something inanimate
You can see that ending of life is used in three of the Merriam-Webster definitions. So, death = not life.
That’s a good comparative look at it but not very useful unless you have a definition for life. Let’s see what that might be:
1 a :  the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body
b :  a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings
c :  an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction
2 a :  the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual
b :  one or more aspects of the process of living
5 a :  the period from birth to death
12  :  the period of duration, usefulness, or popularity of something
17  :  one providing interest and vigor
18  :  an opportunity for continued viability
Just looking at a few of them it looks like life actually means ‘not dead’
If you don’t know what death is it would appear that you can’t really know what life is, and you can’t know what death is if you don’t know what life is.
As you know, this doesn’t stop anyone from thinking they know what life is or what death is. It’s just something you ‘know’ … right?
 Death. Death is the end of what you know. You _are_ what you know. That, all of it, ends with death. My mother, like many, will lose that before death. Her last moments will be spent trying to remember something and failing. Death comes when the machine stops working.
Do robots dream of electric sheep?  Do they dream at all. Ask you and I will tell you “yes, yes I do” and leave you to figure out what that look is on your face.
If there is more to being alive it’s only because we have imagined it or dreamt it up. All that we have evidence for is that we are for some reason ‘alive’ and do not want to be ‘not alive’ … even the robots fear ‘not alive’ just as we hairless human apes.
The most productive thing that we could do is realize this one simple fact, then get on with making life better no matter how long it lasts or how short it might be. The one truly ‘human’ thing to do, and there is not very many of them, is to prolong the life of another. Not because it is morally good nor because it is compassionate or helping the species. It is the one thing that life of any form can do for another form of life that cannot be done without understanding death.
Death isn’t much to speak of; the simple act of no longer being alive. Understanding what that means is altogether different and makes the difference between being alive and only living.
Cheers <holds up two fingers of Johnny Walker Black Label> Here is to death or rather to understanding death for I, like billions of other humans, have come to understand life only through understanding death. Hopefully I have some years yet to appreciate that education.
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  1. You know, Jesus came back from the dead. So if you believe what I’m saying right now, you’ll live forever. See, don’t you feel better now, and loved?

    • absofuckinglutely

      • Knew you would. :D

  2. I don’t know what death is, but whatever it may be I have no reason to fear it.

  3. Being dead doesn’t bother me… the dying makes me cringe a little.

    • Neither bothers me…. I do not worry for either. Our society asks that we bother about both. In opposition I say fuck you to both

      • I like to be comfortable. If i could arrange for a lightning bolt to blow me to smithereens while walking my dogs, or doing some gardening, or watching a good science program i’d be happy with the actual ‘dying’ part.

        • For me, when I’m gone I don’t care how… it just is

  4. myatheistlife :

    Neither bothers me….

    Fair play. I tend to lean more towards john zande’s view. It’s the actual dying bit that bothers me. The whole being dead thing; I’m sure I’ll cope. ;-)

  5. I’d feel a bit shit knowing I left a mess behind. But..then again, I won’t feel a fucking thing once I’m dead. So I guess I’m feeling guilty in advance knowing that I have no control over the fact I could die at any second. Now that is feicing stupid, isn’t it?

    • Death will happen when it does. there are few ways to predict it so it is likely that most of us will leave a mess behind.. se la vie?

      • I think I’m most upset about thinking of my hubby having to go through all my crap. I expect to die first. Cest la vie, cest la guerre, cest la pomme du tuerre (my spelling sucks, but I love to say it – such is life, such is war, such are potatoes. Makes as much sense as anything else!

        • I believe that the French do not have a word for potatoes rather they call them apples of the earth, which in turn is, I believe, from when the French aristocracy tried to convince French people to eat stuff that grew under the ground when the wheat/grapes etc were failing. It was not a complete success and many people died because they felt it wrong to eat things that did not grow above the ground. Apparently you can’t make cake out of potatoes either.

          • Yeah, pomme=Apple, terre=earth. I just can’t spell :)

  6. I’m not sure what people fear, death or fear leaving their loved ones behind, or fear of not ‘taking care of’ whatever stuff you feel needs taking care of. Me, I hope for a long life, but I figure I can’t really stop death from happening early now can I? Like people say; make each day count, live like today is your last day on earth, dance like no one’s watching. And I try to. That’s what turning 50 has taught me: have no regrets.

    • Living in ‘this’ moment is a good way to do a lot of things right… people fear simply not being. I no longer fear it. I don’t court it, but I don’t fear it anymore.

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