Wednesday, March 25, 2009

what's wrong with death?

Does anyone or anything "die gracefully?"

This morning, I was reading a posted article* from The Nation about the demise of newspapers and, true to the age I live in, or perhaps just my age, I couldn't find a reason to finish it. This, despite the fact that I work for a downward-spiraling newspaper and the fact that I have some pretty strong feelings about the implications of the death of journalism. The article felt repetitive, threadbare and perhaps a bit whine-y.

The evidence was nicely assembled in the article and the reasons why death might be worth battling were cogent enough. But I found myself whispering and wondering ....

What's wrong with death?

Personally, historically, socially, whatever-ly -- what's wrong with death? Socially, in the case of newspapers ... OK, no one enjoys the inexorable march of the United States to Third-World-Nation status. Historically, the implications are unpleasant. And personally, sure, anyone with two brain cells to rub together might be willing to say, "Yes, it is the nature of all things to be born and to die," but there's always an top-secret addendum: "...but that wasn't supposed to extend to me!" Where your ox is gored, I may positively wallow in the sympathies I am willing to extend. But when it's my ox ... yoiks!

And having discovered that my ox is in the line of fire ... well, it's Nellie bar the door. The discovery seems to prompt a knee-jerk philosophical and religious outpouring. There is "reincarnation" and a misconstrued "rebirth" and "heaven" and "hell" ... all kinds of wily smooth-talking ... who knows, maybe there really are 77 virgins just around the corner. But none of that can still the whisper:

What's wrong with death?

Perhaps it in the nature of things that what is alive should go gracelessly into this "good night." But grace and gracelessness are not so much the point. The point is "me" and whatever that might mean. If asserting a "me" has proved certifiably unable to answer questions I take seriously and if "no-me" has proved equally inane, then what is it that can answer serious questions seriously?

If you're stuck with the farm, whatever the farm might be, then I guess the best anyone could do would be to investigate that farm. Promises and philosophies about some 'other' farm just don't cut it. What about this farm? What about this birth? What about this death? Squirm and fidget and wail and wax as wise as you like ... what about this farm? C'mon, you've gone the sophisticated bullshit route already ... what about this farm?

Is it born? Does it die? Don't try to answer ... just investigate. And, having investigated a little, consider ... who is this investigator? Again, don't try to answer ... just investigate and see what happens.

No one can tell anyone what to do about their own farm. Some raise sheep, some grow corn, some seek vast tracts of land in order to assert their power ... their answers. OK. But whatever the farm's size or purpose ... how about it?

What's wrong with death?


* ... sorry, this place doesn't allow me to insert a link.

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