The glorification of death… morbid, philosophical and natural.

Is death morbid? May be to most people. I’m a physician and so I’ve seen some instances where death is a release from pain. In those cases death becomes the antithesis of morbidity. Some people wait for it and welcome it. Some even expedite it.

But the glorification of death in popular media has got little to do with a practical approach to it. Death is glorified because we fear it. It is joked about for the same reason.

I would be nothing if I didn’t read Sigmund Freud like my life depended on it. All of my life’s experiences have been proved to be almost predictable by using Freudian psychology in hindsight.

Freud says that humor is a form of a defense mechanism and we joke about frightening things the most. This explains the romanticism around death also.

Death is also probably more impactful than life. Hamlet wouldn’t have been lamented as widely as his death caused him to. Desdemona wouldn’t have been empathized with as she has been if she hadn’t died at the hands of her love. The biggest love story of all times, Romeo and Juliet, became a classic because of the lovers dying in the end.

People want to see some redemption of death because it’s so final and fatal. They want to know that death has a saving grace too. They want to rationalize it. Rationalization, by the way, is another Freudian defense mechanism.

But a part of this rationalization and intellectualization of death is also philosophical. Sufism actually focuses on death being a journey of its own nuances and contingencies. One modern mystic character of the famous Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore, says famously,

“Death is but the next great journey”.

Muslims actually believe in death being a journey and they believe in the afterlife. There have been embellishments of that life for sure. But the Muslim belief in death further signifies how the end of life is so hard to imagine.

The fear of death is natural. I guess there is a little FOMO there too. (Fear of missing out).

This fear has also led popular culture to churn out ghouls, poltergeists, spirits and resurrected dead. This is a way to comfort our inner fear. Death can happen but staying on earth can also happen.

But I have considered multiple things about death and none have had a solid answer. Why is death necessary? According to the famous biologic theory of apoptosis, cells are programmed to die of their own death after a certain period of time. Some are programmed to last longer, causing longer life spans in some people. Some are genetically inferior.

Death probably also is necessary because it is a form of deliverance. I have heard many people say that they’d like to experience it. Now would they like to experience it when it’s staring them in the face is another thing .

I was reading a new writer’s work and she had talked about death in loving terms. I didn’t know her. She puts up her stories on the internet but I was finally able to land on her blog and email her. She asked for my phone number and we chatted for an hour about why she wrote what she wrote. I was young and naive. I asked her what was so great about death. She explained that nothing was great about death but then nothing is great about life either so she chooses to love both equally. It was a weird interaction and not one that left me anymore unsettled than when I read the story but it was an interaction nonetheless and I still sometimes think about it.

To me, death is fear-inducing. Whatever Shakespeare says in Hamlet, whatever Charles Dickens says in David Copperfield, whatever Wilde says in Dorian Gray, I’ll always consider Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher the closest sensibility to death and illness .

16 Comments

  1. One last thing. I feel sorry that I could not read your writings for some time due to excessively busy life and I missed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In a few words, we are not interested in knowing Death. If we were, we would know it and will never fear it. In closing, I would say that I know that not many people might agree with whatever I said but I will say this: We will have to find out all answers relating to death at individual level since it is an individual’s concern. And I think my Creator would not make me dependent upon others to know Him and to know the design of life, including Death. This is a journey which must be travelled alone. Are we prepared for it? If not, let’s get ready, otherwise we will continue to live a meaningless life. Can we take that chance? My CM tells me NO. I will end it here. 

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  3. I sincerely think that one must work on these fundamental questions of life, otherwise one would be a totally lost person. I have a feeling that not many of us are seriously addressing these questions. Hence, we live a life of confusion, not certainty. We can live a life of certainty if we worked enough on it. I have also a feeling that my Creator must not make this task too difficult. Rather, it should be a doable task by every human. Again, I am not judging anyone but I have a feeling that we are doing enough to get the correct answers which will put everything in perspective, including Death. That is the story of Death.

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  4. I have a very strong feeling that my Creator Loves me the Most in this universe. So, if we take that presumption as True, then would He do something which may hurt me. I do not think so. Correct? So, logically speaking, if my Creator put me in this Body, He must also give me a sense to understand as to why He did that. Right? He cannot do otherwise. That is what my CM tells me. And if that is the case, then shouldn’t I work on understanding what life is, who am I, who is my Creator etc. etc. 

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  5. What you’re saying is how I’ve interpreted Sufi musings and conclusions. And it’s not just intriguing, but has tons of validation for humans also.

    Like

  6. Based on these raw thoughts, I would presume the real problem underlying fear of Death is not Death, rather a violation of our inherent human values or not living in accordance with the values bestowed upon us by our Creator. Again, I do not know Him but I know for sure there is one.I do not think my Creator does not love me. My CM tells me that He must love me the most because He made me. In our daily life, we see it every day that we care about things we create. In fact, we love our creations the most. Ask this question to an author, artist or any other person who is involved in creative work. They will tell you.

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  7. If I live in accordance with the values I have been created with, would there be a fear of any kind? I mean even the fear of leaving this Body. What is death after all? It appears to be the fear of leaving this body and going to some unknown place. Correct? Why would I entertain any fear if I am living in accordance with the values I have. Shouldn’t those values give me enough strength to live a fearless life? I think following inherent human values should embolden me and make a very strong person. And why would I fear leaving this Body, which I am not. Don’t we move from home to home in search of our mundane objectives. Likewise, why would I fear leaving this Body for some better place etc etc. Just imagining. 

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  8. Now, if I am not a body then why did my Creator put me in this Body. It appears He had some objective. I will not go into that but will certainly say that my real existence (excluding body) knows certain things like good and bad, justice and injustice etc. etc. I am saying that it has some inherent understanding of certain traits and it exercises those understandings while living in this Body. Correct? For instance, it fights for human rights, women’s rights etc. etc.

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  9. Thank you for writing on this very important matter of our existence. Let me make an effort to explain my perspective. I would like to treat it from a common sense perspective only. Nothing else. No religion, no God etc. Let me try now.My common sense (CM) tells me that someone made me and put me in this body. Who made me? I do not know but I know someone did and I call that entity my Creator. I am certainly not a body because I can live without many parts of my body. Since I live in this body, therefore, to live in this body, I need only a minimum part of it to house me. It is just like our homes. We will call home a home even if it has only one room. We may get rid of 8 or 9 rooms which may be serving many other purposes but we need only one room to call it a home. So, I think I have hopefully established the fact that I am not a body.

    To be continued

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