Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Pride is wasted on Death

A Fragment of Seneca Translated

After Death nothing is, and nothing, death,
The utmost limit of a gasp of breath.
Let the ambitious zealot lay aside
His hopes of heaven, whose faith is but his pride;
Let slavish souls lay by their fear
Nor be concerned which way nor where
After this life they shall be hurled.
Dead, we become the lumber of the world,
And to that mass of matter shall be swept
Where things destroyed with things unborn are kept.
Devouring time swallows us whole.
Impartial death confounds body and soul.
For Hell and the foul fiend that rules
God's everlasting fiery jails
(Devised by rogues, dreaded by fools),
With his grim, grisly dog that keeps the door,
Are senseless stories, idle tales,
Dreams, whimsey's, and no more.

John Wilmot

eh Trikki?
A Fragment of Seneca Translated

After Death nothing is, and nothing, death,
The utmost limit of a gasp of breath.
Let the ambitious zealot lay aside
His hopes of heaven, whose faith is but his pride;
Let slavish souls lay by their fear
Nor be concerned which way nor where
After this life they shall be hurled.
Dead, we become the lumber of the world,
And to that mass of matter shall be swept
Where things destroyed with things unborn are kept.
Devouring time swallows us whole.
Impartial death confounds body and soul.
For Hell and the foul fiend that rules
God's everlasting fiery jails
(Devised by rogues, dreaded by fools),
With his grim, grisly dog that keeps the door,
Are senseless stories, idle tales,
Dreams, whimsey's, and no more.

John Wilmot

eh Trikki?

Monday, May 15, 2006

For the record

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.

Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

John Donne

Thursday, April 27, 2006

'PROUD' will be a matter of circumstance and timing.

Since most people don't have much control over the situation in which they 'go', whether it is a proud moment or not depends on very much on what you're up to at the time. Sure, many of the situations that result in death are those same ones that we'd rather not be seen doing and therefore death is often not proud.

Given the choice, gee...burning up on re-entry; scuba-diving and not coming back to the surface when the air's finished; asphyxiation; flying a 747 into whatever they build at ground zero? There are so many options, how does one choose. I occasionally thought of the good music, good medicine, a hot bath and neat tubes running from my arms and legs, carrying my life cleanly through that mysterious little over-flow hole. If I believed in reincarnation I'd experiment with many different ways and write a book - one chapter per life.

I like Stuart's idea of having lots of other people's time and money spent on the occassion and if the right people read my 747 comment perhaps thats going to be the one. But, since I believe it only happens once so I'll opt for something more self-indulgent and a less re-assuring of my significance. I don't want to be one of a mass of martyrs either. Could fear of commitment and indecision be what are keeping me alive? Or is it that I believe that this is the only life I have, no reincarnation, no afterlife, so no matter what it is, its the only chance I have to experience this planet and all of the other little ants on it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fight or flight

It's easy for me to say, and believe, that I would fight to stay alive if I knew I was dying. I'm sitting here in a comfortable chair and not feeling any pain.

When I was twenty-two, I went into the hospital to have a brain tumor surgically removed. I'd been living with it, and enduring pain, for years. By the time I went onto the table, and felt them popping the anesthesia into my spine, I was so tired I didn't care if I woke up or not.

When I did wake up, I woke up without any fear of death. I don't know why. I felt like I had a brief experience with not existing, and realized that it was kind of nice in its own way. It wasn't painful. And it wasn't boring.

I do still have fears... and dangerous situations are still scary. But I don't fear death anymore - I don't fear not existing. I think it's because I can imagine what it's like now. I expect it will be fairly comfortable.

The transition, however... the letting go. The trading of life for death, that's still a slightly scary notion to me. If I could choose, I think I'd choose to go on drugs as well. Mushrooms and Morphine (or, even better, Stadol), in a forest meadow on a warm autumn day, surrounded by impossibly bright colors, beneath a parade of clouds, all of which look like types of animals.