My niece called yesterday to say that her grandad was on life support after falling and having a heart attack, (or vice versa) and in a few hours they would be turning off the machines. Although not my direct relation, I have spent a lot of time with him since the mid 90s when they visited Australia a few times and many family events since I have lived in Finland.
Death is always strange to me, but perhaps because I am getting older and have been adjacent to it quite a lot, it seems to not have the same effect as it once did. Or perhaps, because my latest near-death experience is still so close in time and fresh in memory, the prospect of death seems normalized in some way. But of course, this doesn't help soften it for my niece and I am looking forward to seeing her before she flies back to the UK, where she has been living the last 6 months.
I have never really bought into the life after death idea for various reasons, but it was interesting a couple days ago when my daughter was talking about death the other day (I think she is going to have an "emo" phase for sure) and then said how when we do, we don't think anymore and we become nothing. When I asked why she thought this, she said that it was because before she was born she was nothing, so after death, she will be nothing again.
Of course, as a young kid for her, death doesn't carry the same "value" as it does for an adult, but her view is profound for a five year old nonetheless and I wonder if I spoke like this when I was her age. I do remember having conversations about death and after life with my father, but I don't think I would have had that level of profundity in the conversation.
But for me, death has never been far from my thoughts and while some people might find that quite morbid, I don't mean that I just spend all of my time thinking about it. It is just that, I don't avoid thinking about it in the same way that my wife seems to. Whenever I try to have conversations around these kinds of things, she is "disinterested" but I think it is more that it makes her uncomfortable and, especially that I am so comfortable with it. In her family, I don't think they talked much about these kinds of things as children, or adults. Which is strange, since it is part of existence and we are going to face it in many ways throughout our lives.
Being comfortable with death doesn't mean not feeling the emotions of it, but I think for me at least, it is about accepting that this is the way of the world and regardless of how we feel about it, there is no bringing them back. I actually think that this is one of the values of death itself, as it reminds us that life is fleeting and far less important than it feels as we are living it.
While living, everything we do feels "end of the world" of the world important, but how important is it if after we die, there is the fade to black and we return into the dark of thoughtlessness? Why spend time where we don't enjoy being, talking and arguing with people about things we find meaningless, complaining about conditions that we don't actually care enough about to actively change? Yet - a lot of people seem to be living this kind of life, doing a lot of stuff that if they took a step back and observed, they would discover, they don't want to be part of it. Why not step away?
As I mentioned to someone yesterday who really doesn't seem to like being on Hive, why stay - "if you don't like it, leave". They took offence to this as if I am dismissing them, but I earnestly mean it. Are people masochists? Unlike much of our lives, Hive is an opt-in experience and, it also has opt-out possibility too - no one is forced to be here. So, if you don't like being here, leave. But, most of them seem to be masochists or, want what Hive can offer enough, that they are more willing to stay for it, than leave because of the things they dislike.
Perhaps people stay out of fear though - what if they leave and things start to go really well and they miss their opportunity? Or, what if they leave and then discover, that wherever they are going, is worse than here? People don't want to miss out on a better life and the chance that they might just wake up - so they keep the machine running, because of the unknown they fear on the other side of the long beep.
Life isn't so serious.
[ Gen1: Hive ]