Saturday 2 September 2023

Why death? (And other taboo questions)

Why are so many people unwilling to ask "why?" In particular why is there death? Why do people die - why will you die? 

But people don't like talking (seriously) about death; but when they do it's all about how to delay death; or how to reduce the suffering of death for the person dying and others. 

(It seems that death 'always' entails suffering; that seems to be a built-in fact of life. At any rate that is how nearly-everybody behaves: how they react to the prospect and actuality of death. Attempts to pretend death is properly-considered Not suffering are common through history - but have near zero traction.) 

And people don't like asking, seriously, "why?" In fact, its a kind of taboo. To ask it is to be revealed and childish, stupid or evil. 

Why is there death? This is a question that spontaneously occurs to most children; and seems to have been asked by almost-every society through history and around the world... 

But not in The West for the past few generations, when we have decided that it is a stupid question; unanswerable because meaningless. 

We are prepared to discuss how death - i.e. processes involved. Or how we might modify such processes - but not "why is there death?". 


What does the inevitability of death tell us about reality? In other words: what does death presuppose

In other words: how is death possible? 

The answer seems obvious enough when the question is asked: Death is possible because, in the first place, there is life

Death can only be inevitable and universal, because there already is life. 

For there to be death: Life must come first

It seems obvious, put that way. And putting it that way seems to be valid and necessary - I mean, surely we could not have a universe of death without it first being alive - could we? 

Yet how often is the question put that way? 

Have you ever heard the question put that way? 

Death is inevitable (so far as we know) yet this cannot be a reality built-upon death... 

Which seems to mean that this is a reality built-upon life. 

If so, then this strikes me as something that is very important to make clear and to know. I mean; that we inhabit a reality built upon life!

This is (to my way of thinking) just another way of saying that this Must Be a created reality; if the universe is built on life, then in some essential way we inhabit "a creation"... By which I mean that creation, the 'process' of life, the tendency towards life - needs to come first. And only then, after life is, could death emerge 'everywhere'.

Life is the host, death is the parasite. 

(And you need a host before you can get a parasite.)

One conclusion is that - because life is primary - then it is possible to imagine life without death. Indeed, there must have been a time (however brief) when there was life without death: that must have been how things started. 

And if there was life once without death; then - in principle - there could be again; and life everlasting and eternal is not just conceivable, but - in principle - possible. 

So what Jesus Christ offered (to those who wanted it, and would 'follow' Him) is potentially something that we could imagine being delivered. Not impossible, at any rate. 

The Biggest Question is whether we actually want it! 

We could, and should, ask: is our allegiance to life, or to death? 

We need to ask: Why death? 

1 comment:

No Longer Reading said...

That's a clarifying way to look at it.