Death – The Universal Part of Life
I’m sure we all at times ponder what it means to be alive, and what happens when we die. And if you’re anything like me, you get a bit anxious when you think about it. But what if death really isn’t as scary as we think!
Is there actually a light at the end of the tunnel?
For such a long time, death has been the greatest taboo of life, but we can never get away from the depressing fact – we are all going to die one day. For some, it may come sooner than others. We may have time to say our final goodbye, or we might be met with sudden news. But is this something we should be afraid of?
Thanatology is the study of dying and is mostly concerned with our understanding and psychological responses to the end of life. Many health professionals and educators study thanatology to have a better understanding of human mortality. This helps them comfort individuals who are facing death and their families.
Understanding the complexities of the human condition is no easy task. We have very funny ways of thinking about situations, especially those surrounding our own death. The “my death versus your death” concept is a peculiar way that we believe “your death” (in the third person) is certain, but for “my death” there is an exemption. In a weird way, it allows us to consider both our death and our ‘eternal life’; something that I personally and many others may find comforting.
Life is short, death is forever
I often ponder what actually happens to us when we die. Is it that we become another being, or do we just cease to exist? The thought of not living is uncomfortable for us, because it is something that nobody has experienced; well, experienced and come back from the dead to document it.
Although nobody has come back from the dead, there are some individuals with a personal ‘near death experience’, associated with a looming passing. People often report a feeling of being out of one’s body, interacting with deceased loved ones and the Hollywood classic – “seeing a light”.
Scientists explain these events with a sudden surge of brain activity and huge surge of hormones released as the brain begins to die. These experiences are often “pleasant” and may be linked to some aspect of religious beliefs in the presence of and afterlife.
Naturally, many people within the ‘pseudoscience’ community have looked into the possibility of a life after life. Essentially, scientists adopted a ‘ghostbusters’ style approach to study hauntings, apparitions and communicate with the dead. Sadly, there has been little evidence to support this theory, but it has given rise to many great Hollywood blockbusters. I personally think it would be pretty cool to come back as a ghost!
Maybe I will be the first immortal being!
I have always wanted to live to the grand age of 100, mostly so I can get that letter from the Queen of England! Once upon a time, this was such a bizarre concept. But as with many things in today’s age, it is rapidly becoming a reality.
Advances within medicine have made it possible for people with either a terminal or chronic illness to have longer lives. Of course, this has many benefits for these people and their families, but just because we can, does this mean that we should?
About 75% of an individual’s lifetime healthcare cost is spent in the last 6 months of their life, which in effect is money wasted. As we get older, it is more difficult to know at what point we should stop trying to intervene in nature’s course. Does this tell us that as a society, we don’t know when to give up and accept that we are going to die? Is it worth inflicting great suffering on some people in the way of medical treatments to let them live 6 more months?
I’m sorry, but I don’t have an answer.
We are all bound by the same fate
There is some comfort in knowing that we are all bound by the same fate. Death doesn’t discriminate between individuals based on their ethnicity, wealth, education or beliefs.