The Great Leveller
Posted by spritzophrenia on July 8, 2010
From the website run by his wife:
He was only 42. Only the most hard-hearted would sneer at the hope of another life. David, I miss you and I love you. You were my friend, my schoolmate from age 10, a deep thinker and good guy.
Strangely, I was thinking about the fear of death the other day. The fear of death has never been a biggie for me. My friend Nathan cited it as the key thing that made him want to become a christian. He was regularly afraid of death as a teenager. These days Nathan is still a great guy, but is now an atheist, as I understand him.
I was nearly 41 when I first felt the fear of death, just a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t doing much, just walking up my path. Oh, I’d been afraid of dying before. A particularly harrowing moment rock climbing, or on top of a mountain in a storm. Yeah, I was scared of dying. But I wasn’t scared of being dead. This time it was actually experiencing being dead which scared me. How weird that it should come upon me when I was doing nothing.
I think of the poignant moment in Blade Runner, when the android Roy states it is his “Time To Die”.
At university, a member of the atheist club suggested that as we have no fear contemplating our non-existence before birth, so it makes sense to have the same lack of fear contemplating our non-existence post death. This has stuck with me and makes a lot of sense.
I recently found out this argument can be traced all the way back to Epicurus, a favourite philosopher of mine. Apparently there are good arguments against it too, but I don’t know what they are.
Either way, death is the great leveller. It has a way of making us stop and reflect, and this is a good thing.
I hope to see you again, Dave.