Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘death

So many unknown who lived in fear. And died in Fear

He lived in fear. He died in Fear...

Is feeling Cold, an idea first?

Before we shiver

Before we feel our bones brittle

Before we feel our inside going to mush

 

Is feeling scared, an idea first?

Before our palms drip sweat

Before our deafening pounding heart drive us crazy

Before our lungs aches for holding breath…

 

Is mental turmoil, an idea first?

Before our dreams turn an unending nightmare

Before our days rush amid hallucinating monsters

Before we scream in horror …

 

Is physical pain, also an idea first?

Another one of the string of illusions?

Hardly

Hardly, hardly, hardly

Pain is more powerful than death

 

And empathy is irrelevant in this case

Only active remedies to alleviate pain count

And bring back Death

To the forefront…

Note 2: Millions upon millions died of famine, of  thirst, of persecution, of slavery… under all kinds of controlled governments, civil wars, pre-emptive wars for exploitation of resources… of colonial domination, of forced labor…Is it about time that humanity regain a few compassionate emotions, of the concept of fairness and equitabily to all, regardless of race, genders, class divide…?

Stories we tell ourselves about death

Why is humanity so obsessed with living forever

Philosopher Stephen Cave begins with a dark but compelling question: When did you first realize you were going to die?

And even more interesting: Why do we humans so often resist the inevitability of death?

Cave explores 4 narratives — common across civilizations — that we tell ourselves “in order to help us manage the terror of death.”

Stephen Cave. Philosopher.  He wants to know: Why is humanity so obsessed with living forever? Full bio

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.
ted.com|By Stephen Cave

I have a question: Who here remembers when they first realized they were going to die?

0:20 I do. I was a young boy, and my grandfather had just died, and I remember a few days later lying in bed at night trying to make sense of what had happened. What did it mean that he was dead?

Where had he gone? It was like a hole in reality had opened up and swallowed him.

But then the really shocking question occurred to me: If he could die, could it happen to me too?

Could that hole in reality open up and swallow me? Would it open up beneath my bed and swallow me as I slept?

Well, at some point, all children become aware of death. It can happen in different ways, of course, and usually comes in stages.

Our idea of death develops as we grow older. And if you reach back into the dark corners of your memory, you might remember something like what I felt when my grandfather died and when I realized it could happen to me too, that sense that behind all of this the void is waiting.

And this development in childhood reflects the development of our species. Just as there was a point in your development as a child when your sense of self and of time became sophisticated enough for you to realize you were mortal, so at some point in the evolution of our species, some early human’s sense of self and of time became sophisticated enough for them to become the first human to realize, “I’m going to die.” (Animal feel the nearing of death and isolate themselves)

This is, if you like, our curse. It’s the price we pay for being so damn clever.

We have to live in the knowledge that the worst thing that can possibly happen one day surely will, the end of all our projects, our hopes, our dreams, of our individual world. We each live in the shadow of a personal apocalypse.

And that’s frightening. It’s terrifying. And so we look for a way out. And in my case, as I was about five years old, this meant asking my mum. Now when I first started asking what happens when we die, the grown-ups around me at the time answered with a typical English mix of awkwardness and half-hearted Christianity, and the phrase I heard most often was that granddad was now up there looking down on us,” and if I should die too, which wouldn’t happen of course, then I too would go up there, which made death sound a lot like an existential elevator.

Now this didn’t sound very plausible. I used to watch a children’s news program at the time, and this was the era of space exploration. There were always rockets going up into the sky, up into space, going up there. But none of the astronauts when they came back ever mentioned having met my granddad or any other dead people.

But I was scared, and the idea of taking the existential elevator to see my granddad sounded a lot better than being swallowed by the void while I slept. And so I believed it anyway, even though it didn’t make much sense.

This thought process that I went through as a child, and have been through many times since, including as a grown-up, is a product of what psychologists call a bias. Now a bias is a way in which we systematically get things wrong, ways in which we miscalculate, misjudge, distort reality, or see what we want to see, and the bias I’m talking about works like this:

Confront someone with the fact that they are going to die and they will believe just about any story that tells them it isn’t true and they can, instead, live forever, even if it means taking the existential elevator.

Now we can see this as the biggest bias of all. It has been demonstrated in over 400 empirical studies.

Now these studies are ingenious, but they’re simple. They work like this.

You take two groups of people who are similar in all relevant respects, and you remind one group that they’re going to die but not the other, then you compare their behavior.

So you’re observing how it biases behavior when people become aware of their mortality. And every time, you get the same result: People who are made aware of their mortality are more willing to believe stories that tell them they can escape death and live forever.

So here’s an example: One recent study took two groups of agnostics, that is people who are undecided in their religious beliefs. Now, one group was asked to think about being dead. The other group was asked to think about being lonely. They were then asked again about their religious beliefs. Those who had been asked to think about being dead were afterwards twice as likely to express faith in God and Jesus. Twice as likely. Even though the before they were all equally agnostic. But put the fear of death in them, and they run to Jesus.

this shows that reminding people of death biases them to believe, regardless of the evidence, and it works not just for religion, but for any kind of belief system that promises immortality in some form, whether it’s becoming famous or having children or even nationalism, which promises you can live on as part of a greater whole.

This is a bias that has shaped the course of human history.

the theory behind this bias in the over 400 studies is called terror management theory, and the idea is simple. It’s just this.

We develop our worldviews, that is, the stories we tell ourselves about the world and our place in it, in order to help us manage the terror of death. And these immortality stories have thousands of different manifestations, but I believe that behind the apparent diversity there are actually just four basic forms that these immortality stories can take.

And we can see them repeating themselves throughout history, just with slight variations to reflect the vocabulary of the day. Now I’m going to briefly introduce these four basic forms of immortality story, and I want to try to give you some sense of the way in which they’re retold by each culture or generation using the vocabulary of their day.

The first story is the simplest. We want to avoid death, and the dream of doing that in this body in this world forever is the first and simplest kind of immortality story, and it might at first sound implausible, but actually, almost every culture in human history has had some myth or legend of an elixir of life or a fountain of youth or something that promises to keep us going forever.

Ancient Egypt had such myths, ancient Babylon, ancient India. Throughout European history, we find them in the work of the alchemists, and of course we still believe this today, only we tell this story using the vocabulary of science.

So 100 years ago, hormones had just been discovered, and people hoped that hormone treatments were going to cure aging and disease, and now instead we set our hopes on stem cells, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology.

the idea that science can cure death is just one more chapter in the story of the magical elixir, a story that is as old as civilization.

But betting everything on the idea of finding the elixir and staying alive forever is a risky strategy. When we look back through history at all those who have sought an elixir in the past, the one thing they now have in common is that they’re all dead.

So we need a backup plan, and exactly this kind of plan B is what the second kind of immortality story offers, and that’s resurrection.

And it stays with the idea that I am this body, I am this physical organism. It accepts that I’m going to have to die but says, despite that, I can rise up and I can live again. In other words, I can do what Jesus did. Jesus died, he was three days in the [tomb], and then he rose up and lived again.

And the idea that we can all be resurrected to live again is orthodox believe, not just for Christians but also Jews and Muslims.

But our desire to believe this story is so deeply embedded that we are reinventing it again for the scientific age, for example, with the idea of cryonics. That’s the idea that when you die, you can have yourself frozen, and then, at some point when technology has advanced enough, you can be thawed out and repaired and revived and so resurrected.

And so some people believe an omnipotent god will resurrect them to live again, and other people believe an omnipotent scientist will do it.

But for others, the whole idea of resurrection, of climbing out of the grave, it’s just too much like a bad zombie movie. They find the body too messy, too unreliable to guarantee eternal life, and so they set their hopes on the third, more spiritual immortality story, the idea that we can leave our body behind and live on as a soul.

Now, the majority of people on Earth believe they have a soul, and the idea is central to many religions. But even though, in its current form, in its traditional form, the idea of the soul is still hugely popular, nonetheless we are again reinventing it for the digital age, for example with the idea that you can leave your body behind by uploading your mind, your essence, the real you, onto a computer, and so live on as an avatar in the ether.

 there are skeptics who say if we look at the evidence of science, particularly neuroscience, it suggests that your mind, your essence, the real you, is very much dependent on a particular part of your body, that is, your brain.

And such skeptics can find comfort in the fourth kind of immortality story, and that is legacy, the idea that you can live on through the echo you leave in the world, like the great Greek warrior Achilles, who sacrificed his life fighting at Troy so that he might win immortal fame.

And the pursuit of fame is as widespread and popular now as it ever was, and in our digital age, it’s even easier to achieve. You don’t need to be a great warrior like Achilles or a great king or hero. All you need is an Internet connection and a funny cat. (Laughter) But some people prefer to leave a more tangible, biological legacy — children, for example.

Or they like, they hope, to live on as part of some greater whole, a nation or a family or a tribe, their gene pool. But again, there are skeptics who doubt whether legacy really is immortality. Woody Allen, for example, who said, “I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen. I want to live on in my apartment.”

So those are the four basic kinds of immortality stories, and I’ve tried to give just some sense of how they’re retold by each generation with just slight variations to fit the fashions of the day.

And the fact that they recur in this way, in such a similar form but in such different belief systems, suggests, I think, that we should be skeptical of the truth of any particular version of these stories.

The fact that some people believe an omnipotent god will resurrect them to live again and others believe an omnipotent scientist will do it suggests that neither are really believing this on the strength of the evidence.

Rather, we believe these stories because we are biased to believe them, and we are biased to believe them because we are so afraid of death.

So the question is, are we doomed to lead the one life we have in a way that is shaped by fear and denial, or can we overcome this bias?

Well the Greek philosopher Epicurus thought we could. He argued that the fear of death is natural, but it is not rational. “Death,” he said, “is nothing to us, because when we are here, death is not, and when death is here, we are gone.”

Now this is often quoted, but it’s difficult to really grasp, to really internalize, because exactly this idea of being gone is so difficult to imagine. So 2,000 years later, another philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, put it like this: “Death is not an event in life: We do not live to experience death. And so,” he added, “in this sense, life has no end.”

 it was natural for me as a child to fear being swallowed by the void, but it wasn’t rational, because being swallowed by the void is not something that any of us will ever live to experience.

overcoming this bias is not easy because the fear of death is so deeply embedded in us, yet when we see that the fear itself is not rational, and when we bring out into the open the ways in which it can unconsciously bias us, then we can at least start to try to minimize the influence it has on our lives.

14:02  I find it helps to see life as being like a book: Just as a book is bounded by its covers, by beginning and end, so our lives are bounded by birth and death, and even though a book is limited by beginning and end, it can encompass distant landscapes, exotic figures, fantastic adventures.

And even though a book is limited by beginning and end, the characters within it know no horizons. They only know the moments that make up their story, even when the book is closed. And so the characters of a book are not afraid of reaching the last page.

Long John Silver is not afraid of you finishing your copy of “Treasure Island.” And so it should be with us. Imagine the book of your life, its covers, its beginning and end, and your birth and your death. You can only know the moments in between, the moments that make up your life.

It makes no sense for you to fear what is outside of those covers, whether before your birth or after your death. And you needn’t worry how long the book is, or whether it’s a comic strip or an epic. The only thing that matters is that you make it a good story.

Note: On time and death: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/time-for-remembrance-2/

Real, final, absolute: Death in Gaza. July 21, 2014

Nothing can moves you?

There is nothing more real than death.
Nothing more, true, than death.
It’s absolute. It’s final.

When death erases hundreds of lives.
Thousands.
Or even just 4 children playing on the beach.
The action that created death
Is as real, true and absolute
As death itself.

Yet even with this concrete truth.
This overwhelming evidence of atrocity.
It does not move you.
It does not fuel you with fire.
It does not fuel you,
To act, with conviction.

This is not a “conflict”.
There is an oppressor.
There is an oppressed people.

The only conflict for you is this.
Will you be honest with yourself?
Will you be honest with others?
Will you share this truth, without fear?

Are you willing to take a side?
Whether it’s with the oppressor or the oppressed.

Let the world know.

I know, that my freedom as an individual,
Will not be complete, without the freedom,
Of the Palestinians.

Sherif Mktbi shared #‎FreePalestine‬

“Know what it is to be a child . . .
To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
William Blake

Note: 

Is life that chose me and made me survive all the hurdles and illnesses

It is events that directed me in the alleys of life

Guided me in the countless forks that led me

Far away from the path that my parents wished me to take

And strove to show me at every bend

Ease up your judgment on your fellow neighbor.

He might seems a tad luckier

He could look not so lucky in the opportunities of his life.

Both of you share this common characteristic:

You both had to struggle all the way

And try to grab the few moments of satisfaction and hope.

 

He lived in fear. He died in Fear...

Is feeling Cold, an idea first?

Before we shiver

Before we feel our bones brittle

Before we feel our inside going to mush

Is feeling scared, an idea first?

Before our palms drip sweat

Before our deafening pounding heart drive us crazy

Before our lungs aches for holding breath…

Is mental turmoil, an idea first?

Before our dreams turn an unending nightmare

Before our days rush amid hallucinating monsters

Before we scream in horror …

Is physical pain, also an idea first?

Another one of the string of illusions?

Hardly

Hardly, hardly, hardly

Pain is more powerful than death

And empathy is irrelevant in this case

Only active remedies to alleviate pain count

And bring back Death

To the forefront…

I am celebrating my final departure: I am experiencing death while alive!

Ha Sun is 62 of age and wishes to feel what happens when he is inserted in a coffin. Why wait for death? Let me experience death while I am still alive and kicking.

Ha Sun wore the traditional “death yellow garment”, lay down in the coffin, felt at peace.  He had invited friends and relatives to celebrate his burying procedure.  The lid of the gasket was shut: The eternal dark is closing in.  Ha Sun said: “I was very relieved that this ceremony was a fake one. There is a single line to crossing between life and death, but this line is terrifying”

Ha Sun was one of 70 participants willing to practice “Dying in good style”, organized by a local association in the Capital Seaoul in South Korea.  The sessions include writing farewell letters such as: “Get along among one another. Stop ego trips…”

Suicide rate has increased dramatically in Korea since the financial fiasco in 1997, and it is among the highest among the developed States.  Suicide is the number one cause of death in South Korea. Do you think such an experience is helpful when the time comes to cross the terrible line? Is this opportunity a good method for assessing life and healthy condition more seriously?

One female participant said after easing her way out of the closed gasket: “I will communicate much better with my husband and daughters.  No more hoarding of futile possessions.”

There are designers interested in clothing the dead persons: That is an excellent business venture.  The cloth is designed to correspond to the departed characters and personality, and not what the religion demand for the cloth to look like.  The design uses appropriate clothing materials that withstand deterioration…More importantly, how about designing for the terminally ill persons?

Indeed, “How about designing cloths for the terminally ill individuals”, who refuses to die stoically like the wretched animals, who consider their terminal illness period as an opportunity to getting engaged polically and socially. 

The dress code will be an open invitation to communicate with the terminally ill: “Hey, I am dying.  You will die too.  My disease is not contagious. You will also die of one of those many non-contagious diseases anytime soon.  Would you like to know “How I feel”?  How I am coping with the last days of my life among the living?  Don’t be afraid of the dying taboo:  See, I am literally diagnozed as dead, but I am alive and kicking.  I have something to communicate to you, and you need to know something while you are still upbeat and thinking that you are healthy and immune to decrepitude…”

Wearing code dresses of the terminally ill persons is not meant for the benefit of encouraging the healthy people to engage conversation with the dying people, but rather to give the terminally ill a grip on their conditions.  Countless dying persons have said on their deathbed:

“I am pretty sure I know nothing of life and the universe. How time fled so fast! I never imagined that I have been so ignorant and helpless in matters that count most.  I never took time to reflect on my condition and the living species conditions.  Never felt that I should be engaged socially and politically to easing the plights of mankind.  A few serious engagements in issues that count in human rights, dignity to living adequately, and taking seriously the UN indicators of human development would have given me a sense of departing at peace, of having done my share…”

Note: This article was inspired by two pieces in the Lebanese daily Al Nahar

And you dare look me in the eyes, and censure me?

What a whirlwind of constant matter,

Never increasing or diminishing.

This constant matter, filling the vast void,

Transforming, emitting, recycling

Into forms, sounds, lights, animates, and inanimates…

What is this ridiculous probability

To be who I am?

And you dare blame my huge vanity!

Is the spirit eternal?

How should I know?

Why should I care?

Is one eternity not good enough?

Have you been by a dying person?

Have you heard anyone on his deathbed, looking straight at you and say:

“I know one thing to be absolutely true!”

Had you the guts to go on adventures?

Had you learned to read, and read all that came under your hands?

Had you written down your reflections?

Had you shared your thought, and listened carefully to feedback

Before you claim to form an opinion?

I may then disagree with your position,

But you got my respect.

Are you such a coward, and never left your hometown?

Do you want to believe that the world turns around you?

Were you pressured to learn to read

So that you may read in a single book?

Have you lived so long

Just to end up believing that all knowledge and wisdoms are found

In a single book?

And you dare look me in the eyes

And censure me?!

I say. Is it time to ask the two questions?

There is this time when we seriously ask the two fundamental questions:

First, are we still healthy? And

Second, is our physical handicap not very painful?

Then, smile to life:  Whatever comes during the day is fine.  You are among the living.

Before this time, we don’t have eyes or ears to listen to words of wisdom or advices.

It is not that we lack intelligence or the will to learn, but life has demands on our energies to worry a lot, a strive to fulfill whatever dream we think we have.  This is best strategy to mankind.  I had written this short poem in 1999 and I don’t think I was that conscious of getting the wiser.

I Say  

I say, every one must have his identity:

Death has forced on us the I.

I say, what exists must be discovered:

Death impressed on us to know.

I say, every feeling must be experienced:

Death created stages for us to grow.

I say, there must be a meaning to life:

Death did not leave us a choice in that.

Time for Remembrance

 

I demand of Him never to die.

Time has no beginning. 

Big Bang and the ones that fizzled are point of views.

Time should have no end.

Man created time to reason with death.

      Man created time to race against death.

 

I demand an all encompassing Merciful God.

I demand Him to reconsider the timeless sentences.

I have a rage toward a death that may last forever.

I cannot fathom eternity; I was not trained for eternal life or death.

Time should have to start and it should end.

      Indeed, the sun will die.  Earth will melt into thin air.

      Everything has its time clock;

            Cells, iron and stone all have their own clocks.

 

Man created time to reason with death.

Man created time to race against death.

      I demand of Him to remember everything.

      I demand of Him to be the eternal witness.

      I need Him to witness

      That, once upon a time, I did exist.

 

Man created time to reason with death.

Man created time to race against death.

      Oh my God, oh his Devils,

      Someone, please, win this race for me.

It is a Fact

 

The sun was peeking into my new Morning.

My consciousness barely awakened,

In a twilight drowsiness.

Out of nowhere,

A huge banner flashed in my mind,

It said “you shall die”.

My mind was blank before I read it,

It was blank for a long moment afterward.

My semi waking conscious scrambled

Into filling in real and imaginary activities,

That I am to do today.

Appointments that I am to tend to, today.

The concept that all of us shall die,

Was clear to me.  A Fact to others,

Still a Fact to me,

In the distant future,

Rushing wildly now

To tell me that it is a Fact.

I Say

 

I say, every one must have his identity:

           Death has forced on us the I.

I say, what exists must be discovered:

           Death impressed on us to know.

I say, every feeling must be experienced:

           Death created stages for us to grow.

I say, there must be a meaning to life:

           Death did not leave us a choice in that.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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