The Desirability of Death
Posted June 30, 2010on:
It is said that if one believed in life beyond death, one would live life differently, and better, even though there is no objective way of finding out. I agree, positive benefits would flow from a belief in permanence, if one thinks of it. As it is, our life span of 70 odd years is rather short, and even in those 70 years, death lurks as a possibility.
But death as a psychological concept, is not wholly undesirable. A normal person may find the thought of a final end unpleasant, but for a sufferer, death offers the ultimate escape. Think of someone suffering from chronic depression, or worse, from a severe mental ailment, a state of constant inner tumbling. The thought of being eternally trapped, having no escape from the torment of ones state would be horrendous. Not in this lifetime, or the next, but for ever. Imagine the victim of torture, and his desperate scream “does this agony know no end??”.
Heaven and Hell are undoubtedly states of mind, which are not even realized in every life, or as glimpses, but in some lives they are, and they always exist as possibilities. But death ensures no suffering is permanent, there’s a limit to every agony and torment. There can be no Sisyphus or Prometheus. Death is the ultimate relief, the ultimate catharsis. It is the psyche, the self’s final defense mechanism – to be obliterated into nothingness. It is maybe for this reason we even carry the idea of Death.
In the future, we may be happier when we have controlled death. But we would still like to have a “death switch”.