and so i said – i will die one day, that’s a fact.
and my colleagues at work went berserk with ‘shush, don’t say so’ and ‘you do not mean it’, and ‘how can you say so, we must think of living forever’.
and i thought – why should i succumb to the cult of death, manifested in worship of living forever (and i do not mean life eternal)?
as time has passed by since the incident, i’ve been thinking of this time and again. and have considered a few things that make the cult of death so powerful. it might be illustrated thus:
of these five, only the fear of the unknown is something i understand and can accept – as shakespeare wrote in his ‘hamlet’ – death is ‘the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns.’ and so it has been, probably, since the first flashes of self-awareness in the humankind. as humanity is locked in linear, irreversible time, fear of death becomes fear of the truly unknowable, as it is impossible to either go forth in time and check things out in advance (and few would want to live with that knowledge anyway), or to go back in time and tell things to people who do not know.
a way out of this is in trust in things outside one’s own experience. which is a problem in itself, and i will consider it at some other time.
the other four elements supporting the cult of death are full-fledged cults in their own right. they arise in the spiritual vacuum left by demise of organised religion in the western world after the world wars.
cult of possession. probably the oldest in existence. probably the strongest of all of them, as it proceeds directly from the desire to sustain oneself, to ensure that tomorrow will not be a hungry day. and there is hardly anything wrong with the will to survive or ensure sustenance: after all, that is the means of perpetuation of life on this planet. at the same time there is something basically warped in turning possessions into the end of human desire.
possession ultimately spreads from things to people, and death from the point of possession is viewed as a loss. it is not the passing away of the dear ones people often mourn, it is themselves and the diminishing of their possession and destruction of their collection of souls that is the cause of grief. the cult of possession supports the cult of death by diverting the attention from spiritual growth and charity to things and selfishness. death is worshipped through worshiping inanimate objects and turning people into things.
cult of progress. the western culture is linear in time. this is due to many circumstances i will not discuss here. progress dictates that anything newer is automatically better. progress dictates that things be compared diachronically. this leads to endless comparing of things, methods, people, where preference and positive evaluation is given to the newer, faster, more efficient. (this gives rise to the cult of youth). at the same time the ultimate progress in a linear world is total entropy and thus, death. the progress worshippers worship death in its hypostasis of entropy.
cult of youth. often mistaken for cult of life, cult of youth actually finds roots in the worship of progress and possession. looking at the advertisements on television or posters, at the images projected by leading figures of the society, or just at toys, it is hard to miss the imagery conditioning the perception of beauty, achievement and prosperity.
it is not the living forever actually that is advertised throughout the western world (even if it is often called so for marketing purposes), it is remaining young forever. the aging, the sick, the crippled and the dying are locked away in the dark closet of silences (they are as good as dead). the cult of youth besides being totally hypocritical is also self-contradictory. it demands experience of the young and discards the experienced for their appearance and age. thus all the layers of society live in never-ending stress and angst, which paradoxically shorten their lives. the worshippers of youth worship death by refusing to see the natural order of things in a linear world.
cult of emotion. the youngest of them all, this one displays enormous capacity for proliferation among the blinking-thinkers. if in the former centuries the cult (lol) of rationalism did something to balance the scales, then now, freed from the confines of thought, emotions can be freely worshipped and allowed to lead human choices and lives. in a world based on emotion, nothing is steady, nothing is certain – entropy rules again, and through entropy – death.
and thus, the end: the refusal to admit mortality is a participation in the worship of death. and this cult is designated to stop humanity from growing spiritually, from realising that death is not the end, but a transition; not a prison, but liberation from the confines of earthly rules and regulations.
growing in wisdom and becoming more than distant cousins of apes means also learning to let go, allowing people to move on, to make the great transition – regardless of one’s own selfish desire for owning another person, owning stability and future.
only what we give away cannot be stolen from us.