Over the past few days, since the demise of the infamous “Dr. Death”, I have been wondering if he got as much out of his death as he had hoped. Kevorkian had a morbid fascination with death and though few of us are as obsessed as was the doctor, we all share some of his fascination. After all, we are all destined to follow him – sooner or later.
The existence of an afterlife might be experienced but the lack of one can never be experienced. This leaves us, accustomed as we are, to experience only experiences and not their absence, assuming that there is an afterlife.
As for the nature of such an afterlife, by force we cannot imagine it outside the confines of time. Is time a creation of our own minds? Animals are born, live and die but we have no idea how they experience time. We do know that younger people perceive the passage of time more slowly than older people. Boredom and suffering seem to stretch it out. If so, can our minds experience “eternity” in a moment under the right circumstances? If billions of subatomic particles can exist on the head of a pin, who’s to say that an eternity cannot exist in an instant?
As we grow older, most of us come to realize how insignificant we really are. There is nothing unique or irreplaceable about us. Hopefully, by the time death comes knocking at our door, we will have internalized this truth and our demise will be of little consequence. For what it’s worth, the “I” will live on as the particles that formed it” to begin with; when it comes down to it, there really is no static, definable “I” anyway. This concept, though not new to me, was brought home forcefully through the book “Living to Die” by L.B. Kelly. Kelly shows, through cold science, how after-death experiences fall short as evidence of a surviving soul. But then, using Buddhist concepts, she shows the reader that there is really nothing to fear from death after all. It’s a strangely comforting book.
I found this on a blog called sammyangels:
And then I heard him talk about a form of meditation called “Dying before you die”, practiced by Sufis. And something clicked. It made sense. You come to peace with the fact that your mind and body, and with it this material world, will come to an end. You will die. You will be forgotten. And everything you ever accomplished, everything you ever created will be lost.With (sic) this means is that you allow your ego to die before your time in this world is actually up. All your fears will disappear. You will no longer take life so seriously. You would come to peace with what is.
I don’t pretend to be a philosopher, or to imagine that the above ideas are original. I’m certain they’ve been written down before – perhaps as examples of folly. But the death of a man so famously fascinated by death brought back many of my own thoughts about death and though I had misgivings about publishing a post as unoriginal as this one, sometimes I like to just share my thoughts, original or not.