Life Ultimatum

Three are three kinds of death; the death of someone you don’t know; the death of someone you love; and your own death.

Death is an ultimatum we have to face. With this, we feel our life looks finite. It is an only one-time precious opportunity. Depending on whose death, however, the impact of this magnitude would change qualitatively.

Think of the death of someone you don’t know. It seems this is part of everyday news. Due to an accident or illness, they end their precious life. Even without any causes, people face it one day.

Statistically, 151,600 people die each day, 6,316 people each hour, 105 each minute, and nearly two people die each second.

It sounds overwhelming. But we are too busy to be devastated by such death of people we don’t know. Only when and if we are involved emotionally or existentially, we get affected. That’s why, news of terrorist attack scares us a lot more than that of a traffic accident, while the latter causes a much bigger death toll.

And this is why, the death of someone we love is qualitatively different from that of someone we don’t know. Usually, the end of our family members or even a pet we love reminds us of such a life ultimatum. One of the most emotional feelings is the moment when we remember how they get along – our grandparents, beloved dogs, etc. now in heaven.

If you’ve encountered the death of your mother or father, or your beloved daughter or son, perhaps, you would always remember when and how you could meet her or him again, in heaven. Can we meet them again once we also die?

Eric Clapton’s song goes this way:

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven

Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton

Consciously or unconsciously we believe we would meet them again, which is one of the foundations of religiosity. Christianity, for example, would be nothing without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Christian believers, His death and resurrection belong to this type of death – for someone you love, loved you.

It is overwhelming, devastating, and yet a glimpse of beyond life dimension as remembering special people who passed away, whom we hope to meet again. We could meet them again once we die.

Here, we face our life ultimatum, which is our own death.

Death means shutting down all our bodily functions. From scientific reductionism, the logical consequence of this state is nothingness. Just like a turned-off computer, nothing functions in our body. Our body has become an inanimate object.

The world we see, however, can be recognized only by our consciousness, the world is what we perceive. This means that, if we become such inanimate objects, then at least for us the world does not exist anymore.

The death of our own means that we can no longer see the world we live. Subjectively, this is indeed the end of the world. Perhaps, the world would continue to exist without us, without our recognition. But it is irrelevant. We don’t have any way to see this.

Some people accept this fact. Some avoid thinking of it. Others keep remembering this as their life ultimatum and go beyond. How should we embrace it? It’s up to us.

Image by Free-Photos

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