So, I think about death a lot. And I try to talk about it. But no one is listening, and if they are, it isn’t usually with concern for my own wellbeing. But thinking about death needn’t be viewed negatively! I’m curious about death, but I don’t want to die right now, necessarily. Although, I am also somewhat at peace with it, as I am with life. Despite the seemingly undeniable fact that every person will eventually face the prospects of non-existence (in this form, anyway), discourse relating to death is hushed. If one speaks about it, often, they are rendered unwell.
What would happen if we shifted the way in which we viewed death? The big D word is seldom spoken about, until it is right in our faces. And when we do speak about it, it is often in whispers. The ultimate taboo. Death. Non existence. The antithesis of life, but not really – it can’t be, because we don’t really know what it is.
So, we don’t know what it is – then why the fear? It is like fearing our next meal that is to be prepared by our friend, just because we are unsure about what the meal will be! It doesn’t make sense!
As a Western society, fear of death underpins much of the way in which we operate. We have a fear of disease: both physical and psychological. We outsource death to funeral homes. We place our elderly in establishments, far from the view of the youthful eye. We treat the decay of our bodies and mind with all kinds of chemicals, prolonging our existence. There are even services available that freeze our bodies in the hope that one day, scientists will be able to revive us. I am not advocated for nor against such practices. I have my own views on death, of which I will share in another post. For now, I am just interested in exploring what would happen should we celebrate death, rather than retract when we hear the word, or inevitable come to face it.
How would our society act if death were truly an event to be celebrated and embraced? Would our conception of beauty shift? Would we be more forgiving of those who want to die, but we prolongue their suffering on account of our attachment to their existence? Would we look forward to – rather than fear – growing old? Would we have more diversity in the kinds of voices we hear – would elderly people be given space in parliament?
Death is worth talking about. Let’s get the conversation started.