Welcoming Death As An Absolute End?

Most theologies, be they Christian or otherwise, are established to deal with death, pain, and the business of living. We do our best to avoid death and yet, knowing that we will one day succumb to it we construct a hereafter that comforts our souls. We do this even though we have no proof of what a “heaven” is supposed to be. We live as if we will live forever and will one day visit the stalwarts of faith and family we have learned to love. Some of us are convinced of this. 

I am currently reading “Socrates Cafe”, a stimulating book. Within it I found the following quote by Walter Kaufmann that got me to thinking. Perhaps it will jar your thoughts a bit as well.

“Let people who do not know what to do with themselves in this life, but fritter away their time, hope for eternal life. If one lives intensely, the time comes when sleep seems bliss. If one loves intensely, the time comes when death seems bliss. The life I want is a life I could not endure in eternity. It is a life of love and intensity, suffering and creation, that makes life worthwhile and death welcome. There is no other life I should prefer. Neither should I like not to die. As one deserves a good night’s sleep, one also deserves to die, Why should I hope to wake again? To do what I have not done in the time I’ve had? All of us have so much more time than we use well. How many hours in a life are spent in a way of which one might be proud, looking back? For most of us death does not come soon enough. Lives are spoiled and made rotten by the sense that death is distant and irrelevant. Not only can love be deepened and made more intense and impassioned by the expectation of impending death; all of life is enriched by it. Why deceive myself to the last moment, and hungrily devour sights, sounds, and smells only when it is almost too late? In our treatment of others, too, it is well to remember that they will die: it makes for greater humanity.”
-Walter Kaufmann

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About Ed Anderson

I am "non-religious", not an atheist as some suppose, since after reading what I have written many wonder if I believe in "God", I just don't have a name for the concept, "God", nor do I have an origination story or theological mystery tour to stretch your faith. (I have no proof of what I believe and I wonder if my belief in "God" is supportable as I have increasing doubts.) I just can't accept an inflexible point of view that says, "I know what you need, and I know what you should know and here it is, you can have it too." Religionists present yet another obstacle to finding "truth" as they claim to have succeeded exclusively in finding it. Having been a part of the religious scene for years it is clear to me how easily duped we are to believe in something we have no proof of, has caused an abundance of divisions, and "territorialized" people into believers and non-believers. Furthermore, my belief in "God" equates to the larger perspective which includes an awareness of "God" in everything. I speculate at times whether or not consciousness is "God" So, my belief in "God" does not necessarily match up to the Christian/Judaeo tradition of a being existing somewhere in the beyond or in one's "heart". If there is a "God" he/she/it could be anywhere and in anything. Though I believe in God, it is not a belief in the God of Scripture. Too many “holes” in Scripture to satisfy my inquiring mind. It may indeed point me in the right direction but I find it not only unreliable but full of plagiaristic thought and re-writing of some of history’s interesting solutions. I much prefer to trust the minds of men and women who conjecture on the basis of what we now know of our universe than those men and women who trust the minds of ancient spiritual guides who, in turn, contributed to a book allegedly “inspired” by God. It is all unprovable, either side of this argument, but I prefer to invest most of my thinking in current ideas rather than those that show little support in logic. Do I hear an "Amen"? View all posts by Ed Anderson

One response to “Welcoming Death As An Absolute End?

  • vonleonhardt2

    I think a big part of being human is the fight; it’s why Epicurus’ school died so fast. Such thinking ask nothing of people. People don’t value free. They value struggle. It drives us onward and upward.

    And if we all constantly considered death we’d go crazy, no one comes from a war zone feeling lovey dovey. And is it a better love to feel as your lover is pried from your arms and shot? Or when you get a phone call from an accident? Kaufmann is too idealistic.

    Death is not a friend to anyone except those who give up on all of life’s value, and that doesn’t bode well for “love of fellow men” etc.

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