January 30, 2006

Death: The Great Nothingness?

Posted in Reflections, Religion at 5:11 am by egalitaria

When I was a kid, my favourite cartoon action figure was not He-man the hero, but Skeletor the evil. After a He-man entertainment show, I ran to be picked up by Skeletor while the other children crowded around He-man. I was fascinated by the gore and gruesome appearance of this seemingly frightening character. What lay beneath his skull? How could one be alive and yet appear dead?

Death has been tackled by many a philosopher and theologian. While some believe it is the ultimate end of life on earth, others believe it is but a passageway to either something greater or worse, depending on each’s conviction. If the former is true, then one ought to do all one can in this singular lifetime to achieve one’s personal goal and ambition. If feasible enough, one might even go beyond one’s expectations and die having reached glorious heights of ambition. Unfortunately, not many receive equal opportunity of education, geographical location, or disposition. Assuming a small percentage succeeds, this leaves the rest to rot in personal disappointment.

In the latter belief, death is not an ending but a beginning. Some believe that what happens next depends on good deeds carried out in a lifetime. The number of good things done determines the next level of destination. It is difficult for me to accept this very relative sort of argument. Anything goes. There is in fact no line between which good and evil can be compared, much less segregated. A response might be that there is no such thing as an absolute good, or an absolute evil. This makes foolish the very notions of honour, purity, righteousness and even the law that we citizens proclaim to uphold daily.

Death, to me, is a passage into the world that we cannot see with our naked eyes today. And stretches onto a realm more eternal than at least the earth mortals occupy. Why strive for justice and equality when nothing makes for its future?

And so, Skeletor, with all its charm, fails to impress me today. Living life on earth in deathly stature, hollow from real Life, isn’t good enough for me. Rather a man of flesh today, a man of spirit tomorrow, than to live carrying the mortal frame of bone with the fear of death riding on your shoulders.

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