Untitled, from a Philosophy class 2005

Awareness of my mortality makes my life meaningful


            For those questioning the meaning of life, it is always difficult to keep on living. When questions about things on such a grand scale tie up the mind’s resources it is next to impossible to carry on with life’s day to day routine of seemingly pointless activities and exercises.  For instance, if one is constantly daydreaming about death; how it will come; and what if anything lies after it; then one will naturally find it difficult to divert attention to minute and meager junctions in time when they are tired, in bed, and reluctant to get up and get ready to go to a job that is so unfulfiling that it is painful.  What you would rather do is phone in to work, from bed, tell your boss that you quit effective immediately, and go back to sleep.  When you wake you will take steps that will immediately set you on course to fulfilling a lost dream that you had for the time being put on hold.  In other words, you fee like you are wasting your life doing somethign that does not fulfill your soul’s desire.  And the reason you may be so anxious is because you are preoccupied with death.  In Dying: Facing the Facts it says:


Death is difficult to understand. Death is mysterious.  It is almost universally feared. And it remains forever elusive.  This is especially so with suicide.  Almost all of us are perplexed, bewildered, confused, and even overwhelmed when confronted with suicide. Yet, for some it is a final solution.  It is actively sought. However, these same people are likely the least aware of the essetntial reasons for doing so. Understanding suicide – and death – is a complex endeavor ( Wass 19).


When such an endeavor is taken up and committed to by an individual they gein to live on the edge.  Imagine yourself standing on the edge of a cliff, with your toes gripping the earth tightly, and glancing over the edge to the ground far below, you find yourself looking death in the face.  A movement forward is indeed that; an immediate decision to confront every living human being’s greatest fear, death.  Is it the final end of life, or is death just another path; one that we all must take. Whatever it is, because your are aware of it, and of your mortality, you are inevitably destined to be preoccupied with making your life as worthwhile an experience as you can.  You want to enjoy life to the fullest – have fun, fulfill dreams and goals, fall in love, have a son, have a daughter, start a family, see the world etc.  If you do decide to step back from that cliff and return to the ‘safety’ of life, you are showing courage, because for the most part life is a gamble.  Afterall, nobody knows when death will come knocking at their door.  It is this uncertainty and the absolute frailty of life that makes it so unbearable at times.


            Awareness of your mortality usually arises when death rears its head close to, but not at you.  A family member may have recently passed, or close friend, or even a pet that has been in your life for a substantial amount of time.  When you see death, or when you see someone or something cease to live, you are bewildered by the spectacle.   Even when you are walking down the street and you accidentally or purposefully step on an insect, you think to yourself, as you stare at the squished bug: ‘where has the life that once coarsed through this vessel gone to?’  Those of the scientific mindset believe that energy never ceases to exist, that it just changes from one state to the next; like water into ice or fuel into fuems.  That is a scientific fact and personally, I refuse to believe that human consciousness – also proven to be a form of energy – is the sole exception to this rule.  Even in nature, death does not seem to be the end of things.  Consider a caterpillar, who disappears for days, seemingly dead and gone within a silken coocoon, only to reemerge from that hard chrysalis days later, an entirely different thing, a butterfly, ready to experience the world in a whole new way.  Seeing this evidence that death is not a line but indeed a circle, may convince those who are contemplating suicide – because life at the time seems too much to contend with – that it would be easier to kill one’s self in the hope of moving on to whatever may lie after death for the human immortal energy.  Relying on the consolation of oppression to be found in the afterlife is a cop out in my opinion.  Life is hard, but because you are alive, because you exist, you can only assume that it is for a reason.  In searching for that reason, I believe, you need look no further than inwards, to all you have, yourself.  Also, like the caterpillar, death, or change, comes at a certain time; when it is natural.  You often hear of people dying before their time, which indicates that they had much to accomplish here on earth, in this life, before moving on to the next.  I believe that suicide is not a sin, but a cowardly way to deal with life’s hardships.  Plus, most of the time there are people all over the world who have it much harder than you, and when you consider this, you may be able to find the courage to solve your problems by facing them rather than running from them.  Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  In extreme circumstances, such as euthenasia or in war, could I ever deem suicide morally permissible.  I suppose that is because I agree with John Hick, the philosopher, Presyterian minister, and a scholar of religion.  Though I am not Christian in the purest sense of the word – and who is these days? – I agree with Hicks view that life has a purpose and what does not kill you can only make you stronger:


Christianity, however, has never supposed that God’s purpose in the creation of the world was to construct a paradise whose inhabitants would experience a maximum of pleasure and a minimum of pain.  The world is seen, instead, as a place of ‘soul-making” in which free beings grappling with the tasks and challenges of their existence in a common environment (Hick 43).


If life on earth is indeed a place of “soul-making”, and if the experiences you go through make you who you are and define your strength and resolve, then no matter how hard life may seem at the time, one should weather the storm and allow for God’s molding of your soul – assuming that their is a God and that he or she has a plan for each and every one of us. 

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