It is time, reader, to tell you about death. I do not know how, exactly, I will die. I can hope for a peaceful death, one in which I am unaware. I can hope for a painless death, something swift. What I cannot hope for, however, is knowledge of if there is a form of “living” after one has passed. Most people fear death, and many of those people understand that it is the unknown elements of after that truly fear them. Sometimes I fear the unknowns of death too. But only sometimes.
In order for you to understand, my dear reader, I must explain my conflicting positions and ideas on spirituality and the creation of the universe. This is, of course, a controversial topic, and so I will say now that my views are strange in some ways and not strange in others. I hope that after all this time, a simple post does not come between you, the reader, and me, the writer. Two strangers who have, most likely, never met. What a lovely thought, to never meet…but I digress and return to the topic of death.
I am a person of science. I believe in evolution, in reason, and in logic. Religion without science is, in my opinion, synonymous with “foolish.” Blind faith holds no answers. Yes, science is where I have always gravitated! However…as I grow, and as I learn, the denial of creationism becomes increasingly difficult. I look toward a passion- medicine- and it is practically looking at me in the face. How can this world be? DNA, cells, viruses, reproduction, ecosystems…they all fit perfectly into each other, they are all puzzle pieces that fit so smoothly it is hard to believe they came about by chance, that they just happened to form this complex puzzle. Doesn’t it make more sense, I ask myself, isn’t it more logical for these pieces to have been carved? And that, reader, is a question I do not have an answer to. At the moment, I believe in science. At the moment, I believe in some vague idea of Creationism. The two- science and creationism- do not necessarily conflict, and so I accept it.
When it comes to God, reader, I must say that I do not believe in Him as Christians do. My God is not one higher being, one almighty power who’s omniscience is to be feared or awed. No, my spirituality is based in science and psychology. Science explains that energy can neither be created not destroyed, and that is a fact on which my beliefs are built. I believe in a universal energy, ever changing its form as we humans have proven possible. This energy is within everything- living or non-living, sentient or not. This energy can be called God, or it can be called something else. Changing the name of something will not change its properties. If I were to start calling all cats “chairs”, would they cease being living felines because of my words? Would they become a chair? The answer is no, it would continue on with being a cat and ignore my amazingly human attempt to neatly catorgize it. I believe it is this energy that runs through everything, forever, that humans can not connect to because of the desire- no, need- to organise and understand the world around them, and so they create false ideas to help connect with it. Religion and myths are used to exlplain the unexplainable. How does the sun rise? The Greeks decided a god carried it across the sky. How did life come to be? Creationism became an answer.
This leads me to the original topic, death. Humans fear what they cannot understand. They create stories and beings to force a false understanding for themselves. What happens after death? We don’t know. Nobody who has truly experienced it can tell us. So stories of the afterlife and good vs bad and gods and souls came about. I must admit, reader, that I searched desperately for some kind of answer for a very long time. It wasn’t until I decided to make a story for myself- a myth based on what knowlede I had- of what happens after death that I became calm. What did I know about death? I knew that it happened to everything that lived, and that nothing came back from it. I knew the heart stopped beating, the brain stopped sending electrical impulses. And so my conclusion was that, after one dies, they stop existing. Their thoughts and opinions and feelings vanish; that person’s energy (or, as some will argue, their soul) will go back into the world and universal energy in some way or another. They will cease to think and feel, and therefore exist. When a person dies, we do not mourn for the deceased’s body, but for the mind we shall no longer connect and interact with. The dead do not think. The dead do not feel. The dead, as I now believe, are gone forever.
Yet I believe in ghosts and spirits and the like. How contridicting, the two beliefs are, and how frustrating that contradiction can be at times. But that is part of what makes me human, I suppose. It would be nice to think that those who have died will not completely leave us, or that we shall see them again eventually, but to me these are small thoughts formed by a selfish mind. The human mind is undeniably selfish and flawed, and each is unique. And so we mourn each time we realise we can no longer interact with a mind we are particularly fond of….
There is a finality in death, a period at the end of a very short sentence. It is this finality that is sometimes a comfort to me at night, that I will share the experience of dying with every other thing that has lived or will live. So sometimes, when I firmly believe in nothingness, I do not fear death. Other times I do not completely believe, I do not want to believe, and it is in those moments that fear of the inevitable grip my heart. But I know that I, along with everyone, must pay for living out my life. The price is settled. We all must pay it.
I’m sure others would like to argue and debate over what I’ve written. In all honesty, reader, I am barely conscious as I type. My goal is not to convince anybody that my ideas are “correct.” I simply wanted to explain why I sometimes do not fear death. For now I will enjoy my science-spirit journey.
Religion asks “why,” science asks “how.” The two should not exist without each other.