Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Death Is A Long, Long Sleep*

I've said and thought about that a lot: when we die we return to what we were before we lived. It was a conclusion I reached on my own, far as I recall, many years ago; and it was an epiphany. For an infinite time before our birth, we didn't exist, and it seems to have been okay. Same with after it's over. An infinity of not-being, same as we've been through forever, and survived it. As it were.

Along those lines, I find this chart interesting:

I guess we've all learned to read polls with a certain amount of skepticism. And, to me, the biggest question that arises from this one is the chicken/egg: are those who fear death most the ones that are drawn to religion, or does religion make one think more about death? Plus "thinking about" isn't the same as "fearing." Either way, though, it seems to me that the most central reason for the existence of religion is cognizance and fear of death, and the need to believe that life exists beyond this one. Because for most, believing otherwise is intolerable.

I've said it a million times: to live a good life, an empathetic one, valuing honesty and treating others as one would have oneself treated, for its own sake, because it's right -- that is a much higher morality than doing so in expectation of reward, or for fear of punishment.
* The reference is to a song, based on a Joseph Hayden composition, sung as a rondo. When I travelled to the Soviet Union in college, there was a group of us who worked up some songs to sing in coffee shops there (brought down the house!) We learned that one, and liked singing it because of its complexities (five parts, actually); but we didn't perform it there. I mean, c'mon!

And, yes, I got the video and the graph, but not my thoughts, from a post on The Dish.

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