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Posted by on Dec 23, 2012 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

The Icy Cold Fingers Of Death (A Cheerful Holiday Post)

I have always treasured the following words by Mark Twain, who wrote, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” He spoke the truth. When we die, it will be as if we were never born. While physically we may change from one type of matter to another, the flame that flickered so briefly within will be forever extinguished.  The world will continue around us, and we will leave behind our children, our art, and the effects of our deeds during our days spent on earth. Our death may be painful to some, but life will go on, and eventually those who mourn will forget.

That said, when it comes to the topic of death, my heart belongs to Oscar Wilde, who wrote, “Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” While obviously written with poetic license, Wilde captures the essence of how I view death — as final, eternal, peace.

And then there’s Shakespeare, whose words have been felt by a million weary travelers on this path we all share:

To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.
To die, to sleep–No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to.
‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished…

I have stood on the precipice, and occasionally, I’ve slipped. But my love for others is what makes the daily struggle worthwhile. Life is too precious and valuable to give up. We have no souls; science and experience have shown that we are our brains and bodies, and that is all. There is no help coming from above. Nor do I wish for any. I see death as the logical, natural, and beautiful end to life.

Occasionally, I wonder if the way I feel about death influences or inspires my godlessness. I don’t want eternal existence, and I obviously don’t want to spend it with the monstrosities that human beings have invented as their gods. I have no use or desire for heaven. The only things I fear are the pain of life, and the loss of those I love. But I have to realize that occasionally, my loss is also an end to the suffering of others, and thus, their gain. Ironically, in the end, it is the comfort of death that keeps me alive. And while I live, I want to experience all the beauty, passion, and wonder that life has to offer. I don’t want to take more than my share, and I want to make the world a tiny bit better for those who are left behind. If I can do that, then I will consider my life a success.

___________________________________________________

Suicide Smiles

Suicide smiles, its beckoning grin,
Holds promise of peace, release from your sin.
Suicide smiles, through the fear and the pain,
It offers solace; it ruptures the chain.

Suicide smiles, while telling its lies,
There’s something ignoble in those hollow eyes.
And when you reach out for its welcoming hands,
It whisks you away to invisible lands.

While in body and mind you will no longer live,
You’ll leave others behind to mourn and to grieve.
For death’s not a problem for those who are dead,
It maliciously tortures the living instead.

Suicide smiles, with its ice-razor stare
It taunts you so sharply with pointed despair.
Suicide rages, since it’s still your choice,
And you’re still resisting the call of its voice.
— 2011

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerrold.tourte Jerrold Tourte

    Like Woody said – “I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens!”. Life is one long goodbye. We should treat each other as a precious gift, and remember there are no futures promised to us, so we only have the present to savor…

    • bluharmony

      Knowing what we know we have every reason to treat each other better than we do.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1219480206 Peter Fulda

        Everything that applies to us applies to the animals as well. Just like us, they have one life to live. Just like us, they suffer and have the ability to feel pain. They cherish their young and they love life. Again, just like us, they only have the one life to live. Don’t eat them, for that condemns them to a life and death of suffering. Go vegan.

  • http://evolvingthoughts.net John S. Wilkins

    Epicurus, via Lucretius, was right:

    For just as children tremble and fear all
    In the viewless dark, so even we at times
    Dread in the light so many things that be
    No whit more fearsome than what children feign,
    Shuddering, will be upon them in the dark.
    This terror, then, this darkness of the mind,
    Not sunrise with its flaring spokes of light,
    Nor glittering arrows of morning sun disperse,
    But only Nature’s aspect and her law.

    • bluharmony

      So true.

    • http://www.skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

      I love Lucretius, studied him a bit this year. There are so many poignant segments that still relate today. I plan on blogging about him at a later date.

  • http://disnotblog.blogspot.com/ Eugen

    Tempus fugit, memento mori.

    Now you make me think of serious stuff instead of silly things
    like jolly fat old man getting stuck in a chimney.

    Hope you are not on his naughty list.

    • bluharmony

      Nah, I’m nice.