If death makes you re-evaluate your life, you’re wasting it

That’s about it, mostly. If you’re one of the nearly brain-dead majority that do their best to avoid even thinking of death (since it makes people sad, it must be evil, right?), then you’re wasting your life. Maybe not all of it, like someone scared to death of, well, death, but still. Most people go through life, unconsciously believing that death is something that happens to old people and others. It’s something looming in the future so far that it doesn’t seem real and thus can easily be made to not exist. People like that cannot possibly appreciate life and the time they have every day, and thus will waste loads of it. Only when someone close to them dies or they escape death by a margin do they suddenly “discover” that death might always be just around the next corner and that they might not be the “millionaires of time” that they subconsciously believe they are. But, living in our world, only an ignorant halfwit can feel even temprorarily immortal.

I wake every morning, knowing that this day would be my last. I go to sleep knowing I might not wake up. Or anyone I know or love. And you know what? It doesn’t make me sad or depressive or scared. It makes me realize how precious every moment is – not when someone dies, or almost dies, but every day of my life. I cringe when my plans (which I don’t make often) fall through and I’m forced to waste more than 15 minutes not doing anything. I hate it when people are late, because they might be wasting the last minutes or hours of my life.

Today I almost died. A speeding jeep almost ran me over in the middle of the city, even though I was crossing by green light. I jumped out of the way by a few centimeteres at the last second, before I even had time to get scared (and afterwards, there wasn’t any point anymore). I had forgotten the incident within 5 minutes. Not because I desperately tried, but because I don’t like to waste my time and energy on menial, unimportant issues.

I don not have a deathwish. I am scared of death as much as anyone, and I will do my best to postpone it as much as I can. I am extremely saddened when someone close to me dies. It takes a while to cope with the fact that someone I’ve spent a lot of time with will no longer be around, ever. But being heartbroken does not make death important, because it isn’t. It’s part of everyday life.

P.S. And I hate that you can’t joke about living people being dead. It’s stupid and ignorant, and is based on the superstitios belief that talking about death in anything other than general context (or about the deceased) will call it down on the person. Most people don’t get particulary scared if they break a mirror or see a black cat crossing the road (evil witches, anyone?). So why do I know that if I ever said one of my favorite substitute phrases for “I don’t know where he/she/it is” – “He/she/it’s dead, we buried him/her/it yesterday.” – when talking about a person, I would get dark looks, people would get all silent and uncomfortable. God, how I hate you little people with your narrow minds and made-up, superstitious fears that you enforce on everyone else.


~ by Shadowbird on 2008-08-25.

7 Responses to “If death makes you re-evaluate your life, you’re wasting it”

  1. I do agree with you that there is no point being afraid of death, however you are missing an important part of the mankind’s perception of the end of life – the afterlife. Be it only a religious or social construct, but the notion of afterlife has rooted in our minds long before we properly came out of the caves and has a major role in our ability to know we are mortal (which, by some theories, sets us apart from all the other live beings in the world).
    And it is the fear of what comes after which most of us are scared of – an irrational fear for someone who is firm in his beliefs, but a very understandable fear for someone who simply does not know.
    Death itself as a process is only – in most cases – a short, perhaps painful moment of our being passing into another stage of being; or, as some, including myself, would like it to be – into absolute non-being.

  2. “the notion of afterlife has rooted in our minds long before we properly came out of the caves”
    I assume this is an exaggeration, since you cannot honestly try to tell me that people who lived in caves, ate raw meat and wore nothing but animal skins also engaged in philosophical queries. Though they probably did start early on,as soon as they got their hands on their first intoxicating plant. ;)

    Of course we are scared of the “unknown after”, not the dying itself. I sort of expected it to be implied that when one says “scared of death”, it means “scared of dying because of the unknown consequences”. It’s the same thing if you say you’re afraid to go to the dentist. It doesn’t mean you’re afraid to walk to his clinic and open the door, it’s implied that you’re scared of what will happen once you’re inside. :)

    And the main point of the post wasn’t that you shouldn’t be afraid of death, it was that you shouldn’t treat it like an unmentionable disease or some evil entity that’s just waiting for someone to say “I hope you die” or joke about someone dying so it can jump out of the nearest shadow and start killing. It’s that kind of thinking that leads to homophobia (the one that implies you can “catch” homosexuality like a virus) and other similar superstitions that aren’t always harmless.

  3. Um, speaking of the cavemen and afterlife, it was not such a large exaggeration as might seem, since the first ideas about afterlife were rooted in the religious/mythical ponderings of mankind, not the philosophical/rational thinking (which only started some 2000 years ago, along with the first Greek philosophers, of course). I read about the ancient afterlife thing when doing a research on the topic of death and in between other materials read parts of this book.

    Anyway, the underlying point of my comment was to somehow justify why people actually do make the topic of death a sort of a taboo. The reasons are not simply being superstitious or silly; it’s a part of the humanity’s mindset and fear that has always accompanied us and all our ancients. When looking at a larger scope, you can’t even do anything about it, just like you can’t do anything about many other things (for example, Christianity) that have developed over a very long course of history, like them or not. Of course, there are many ‘ways of thinking’ nowadays that end up in really stupid conclusions, then again even a die-hard rationalist can also sometimes look completely dull.

    And this doesn’t even have to do anything with my personal views on death, afterlife or jokes about dead people (:

  4. OK, I can’t much comment about the thinking process of primitive humans, and truthfully I think nobody can, but that’s besides the point. :)

    Great age doesn’t make a superstitious and silly idea less so. Human sacrifice also evolved and developed for thousands of years, but somehow most of the world ended up deciding that it’s not a tradition that we should continue. So there is no reason why (theoretically) we couldn’t start dropping other habits based on nothing but subconscious superstition.

    And I repeat — there is nothing silly about being afraid of death, the silly part is consciously making the whole topic something extremely somber and something to be approached with utmost care. That is something we do consciously, the roots might be deep and subconscious, but the act of avoiding a topic is a fully conscious decision that we make for ourselves, and teach our children to make (so when they grow up, they do it automatically and keep teaching their children and so on).

    There are a lot of things we seemingly can do nothing about globally, but that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t do it where we can. Everything global starts local.

  5. BTW, I misspoke before — the “death taboo” wasn’t the main point of the post, the main point was that we treat death as something supernatural, “rare and far away”, and sometimes even as something with intelligence, when it’s actually an everyday occurance, “walking right next to us”, so to speak, every moment of our lives. Of which the “death taboo” is a direct consequence and sub-topic.

  6. Ok, clear, got your point. You soo should watch this (:

  7. simbel, even considering the possibility of me not having seen each and every Family Guy episode at least 3 times is a mistake of gargantuan proportions. :D

    A tā nāve ir drausmīgi nosperta no Terija Pretčeta grāmatām. Manuprāt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_(Discworld)
    “Death is one of the most popular Discworld characters. His steed is a great pale horse called Binky who is very much still alive (in Reaper Man it is remarked that he tried riding a steed of flames and a skeletal one, but the former was constantly setting the stable on fire, and he got rid of the latter because he grew tired of “constantly getting off to wire bits back on”). His hollow, peculiar voice is represented in the books by unquoted small caps; it is peculiar because since he is a tall skeleton, he has no vocal cords to speak with, and therefore the words enter your head with no involvement from your ears. In The Colour of Magic (the first Discworld novel), and in Eric, all direct written references to Death are proper nouns, thus, for example, “he” is written as “He”. This is usually reserved for the Discworld gods and is not featured in any of the other novels.”

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