Sorry, just had to begin this rebuttal(if you can call it that) with an ancient SNL reference.
A brilliant piece all in all, however I must take you to task on a few items. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly… I understand WHY death is so feared. And you are right, aside from the religious seeds planted in our little heads, eons ago when we were shiny and new, grief is the only other culprit. But that ain’t gonna cut it.
Let’s address religion for a moment. Even if we have followed the string of religion throughout our short lives and found out sometime in adulthood that it isn’t attached to anything….and dropped it, as you have pointed out, it is still there. With the lack of any other plausible(let’s leave out the ghosties for right now) explanation for what happens to that “I” when “I” is no longer dragging it’s physical carcass through gravity, the only thing that even hints as an instruction manual of sorts, are those desperate attempts to comfort. We find these in the musty-smelling buildings reserved for worship. Of course each flavor of religion comes with it’s own topping. The Christians tell us, we are all going to become musicians and hoard precious metal found on streets. Islam entreats us with 72 virgins. Well, that’s for the men…wonder what the girls get? OMG. I’ve done a few virgins…wouldn’t want 72 more. Jews don’t have an afterlife. Perhaps that is why they try to get their greedy little mits on everything while they are here? That about covers Abraham. The rest are bundled with reincarnation(oh no…not again!)…being a GOD yourself(thanks, but no thanks) and various other scenarios that, beyond being childish hedonism, couldn’t entice anyone with half a brain.
However, if all these afterlife fables meet the approval of the various followers, why the trembling? What is there to fear, and where is the “unknown” factor. A fundamentalist Christian will tell you with utmost certainty that they are “going to see Jesus” when they shuffle off, yet they fear that day more than coming up short of cash at a McDonald’s drive-through. It is precisely that type of dull mentality that creates these images of “evil death”. I don’t get it. Which was the premise of my original post.
Of course, I DO get it. They don’t truly believe these fairy tales anymore than someone with an average I.Q. No matter how much they shout HALLELUJAH and appear to welcome their own “Val Hala” , they are as clueless as the rest of us. Just wishful thinking on their part.
Now, let’s look at your assessment.
You are SO positive about this existence…it humbles me…..
Sort of. And in many ways I envy you. To be sure, life is an adventure. But the thing about adventures in THIS life, is that they are usually only exhilarating in retrospect…or in movies.
In movies, we don’t actually “feel” the pain of the protagonist. Neither do we always remember our own pains of life as intently as first experienced. We tend to “gloss over” our griefs and our injuries from the past. Until. Until we have the time, usually reserved for “old age”, to reflect upon them from a “balance sheet” kind of perspective. When one views their life from this vantage point, unless they are an eternal optimist( I hate those people), I believe that the “tendency” is to summate that although it has had it’s ups and downs…mostly,(factoring in as I stated before, that we can add those endless hours of “down-time” at our jobs and in the familiar day-to-day experience to the negative column, if we are honest with ourselves), that life ain’t so great. It looses it’s charm rather quickly, relatively speaking.
So, I stand by Douglas Adam’s (and my agreement with) observation that most people are generally unhappy. Who was it that said: “most men lead lives of quiet desperation…” ?
Therefore, I ask again: How can fear override the chance for either rest from this “veil of tears”, or an entirely new experience….when you think about it logically. Either there IS no afterlife/plane-shift/ethereal graduation…which would mean that when we are dead, our identities cease to exist(of which we would NOT be cognizant, obviously…no pain-no grief), or we embark on something probably VERY different.
If one harbours feelings of guilt pursuant to a life led poorly, I would suggest that one is again tying himself to the fairy-tale punishment thingy. If this type of guilt causes fear of impending punishment, I would suggest that living a more selfless existence might be in order.
At any rate. To sum up: Life generally sucks. Get from it what you can. Be happy to go to the next level-whatever it may be. Overcome what petty fears have been taught you. You might as well…it’s not like you have a choice.