Death View Determines Quality of Life

When we plan a journey, our preparation will depend on the duration and location of our destination. Similarly, our views on death will determine the quality of our lives. If we think that a human being as just a body, we will not take up a long term view of life; but if we believe that we are more than just physical entities, our philosophy of life will be different.

Death is a great leveller and God is not partial to anybody. A lot of people are very angry with God for taking away someone they love. But if the rule of life is – death is inevitable, why use God as a punching bag? We grow up believing ‘the young do not die’, ‘death will come with old age’ and then blame God for shaking our unrealistic belief system. One visit to any hospital will make us aware of just how many people die in the prime of life! In fact, in our anger, we forget all our strength we can mobilize from within ourselves and from people around.

Most people refer to death as a tragedy and a disaster. The nature of the sun is to rise and to set each day. Would you label the sunset as a disaster? The nature of life is to be born and to die and yet we, who are most unprepared for this natural process, look upon it as a tragedy. Not getting along with people when they are alive and not investing in relationships which are important is a tragedy: the disaster is when we stop growing (emotionally and spiritually) by not questioning our old ways.

Death is a topic which most individuals feel uncomfortable about. Is it not strange that we consider death morbid and somehow believe that by not talking about it, we will avoid it? We tend to forget that we cannot be sure of any event in life – except one: and that is death. 

Death of a dear one is an opportunity to revalidate our goals. It can be a pause in our mad preoccupation with non-essentials like money, status, power to find out what is really worthwhile. When a dear one is alive, we often take the relationship for granted and not nurture it. At times we value it but find no time. We clutter up our day with rituals rather than investing in meaningful relationships.

We all say we love freedom, but we are enslaved to old ways of thinking and we use activity and ‘busyness’ as a distraction from self reflection and finding our strengths.

Montaigne has said, “We do not know where death awaits us; so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”  


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Views: 3464      Comments: 16

Comment Thanx Adriana. Appreciate ur feedback.
Doc, thanx to u too.

A beautiful soul once told me that awareness is great but has to be followed by action in order for the learning to be complete.
We know ppl will eventually 'return from whence they sprung' n to acknowledge that and work towards building relationships n taking care of priorities is what this article reminds us of.
If it makes you think about that, great! Was worth writing it.


09-Nov-2010 12:33 PM

Comment Oh my God , just today I posted something in my FB after 3 death news , GOD ! And as I read you calmly it feel conforting ! I love yr style and flow. Keep it up and share, as it is a tool of healing ! In love and gratitude Adriana MeBarr

Adriana MeBarr
06-Nov-2010 12:13 PM

Comment Death!
There is no harm in viewing it as an inevitable event in life.The cycle cannot be altered but, it can be definately be made less of a demon as is made out by most of us.To see and enjoy the sunset in all its beauty or fear the darkness that follows is again an attitude that develops in some, according to the way they have been influenced by circumstances in their lives.One cannot and should not pass a judgment on anybody's view about DEATH but rather help them understand and make the passage as comfortable as possible.After all 'to each his own', would be a proper attitude towards all people who perceive death as something uncomfortable.To all the cooks that want to handle death. I say,' make it palatable or else, get out of my kitchen.
Perrin,are you still there? See the strength of your subject ! You actually made me answer you.Post me a YAWN if you did'nt like it.

Ramraje Jadhav
05-Nov-2010 14:48 PM

Comment Thanks Rajendra. Appreciate your comments.
I wrote this article 14 years ago.
Maybe a follow-up one would be more suited to 'today'


04-Nov-2010 05:45 AM

Comment One more good one from you Perrin. you have attempted a very bold subject to write. congratulations on that.
BUT honestly did not enjoy reading it in context of the title and especially the ending.

I think it lacks the depth in expression... the title is so strong but… for me it did not bring out your intent behind this write up clearly which you have explained so strongly in one of the replies
'the only thing certain in life is death'. True, the death... to make the most of it while they're alive, practice forgiveness, spend more time, than to regret not doing it when they're gone? The 'could haves, should haves and what ifs' become insignificant then. And living in regret can be worse.

to me, Death is such a strong, meaningful single activity in life that it scares hell out of people. (fear of unknown?) This ultimate fear has given birth to different 'isms. So all ideologies ensure to scare people to make them do something in present life (present) in pursuit of unknown. You call that as distraction as you have said in 2nd last para.

if you think, distraction is not a good way of acceptance then what is that active acceptance you are suggesting is not clear from the article. May be this could be the topic for one more article from you?



Rajendra Vaidya
04-Nov-2010 03:17 AM

Comment Using awareness of death as motivation for a good life, surely, has been the method of religion since time immemorial - the difference being that in your case, there is no mention of a reward or other consequence in an after life as an incentive. One is in admiration of your system, where one gains a reward in the mere act of kindness knowing that death is inevitable. But if the religious system is shown up as lacking over the long history of mankind in perfecting human behaviour across the board, your system can hardly be expected to be anything more than wishful thinking, a passionate idealism. You more or less confirm this yourself in statements like: 'Most people refer to death as a tragedy and a disaster' 'Death is a topic which most individuals feel uncomfortable about.' 'We clutter up our day with rituals rather than investing in meaningful relationships.' In these quotes you describe the reality, where normal people go about their normal business, where death is an abruption that can effect no conversion of behaviour as you hope it can, simply because one does not, one cannot, form a meaningful concept of death except as an abruption: I quote you again,'We live as if we're never going to die.' That is the universal fact from your own lips. Do you seriously think telling people what they already know, that we will die someday, is going to change anything? - Never mind the exertions of centuries of religion!

03-Nov-2010 19:16 PM

Comment Good article. Once people relise the importence of their living they all would be a better lot on earth.

Wish u all the very best.

leny john
03-Nov-2010 09:44 AM

Comment Hi BG, beautifully written piece. Very deep and thought provoking. Keep up the great work! -SK

Sheldon Serrao
03-Nov-2010 08:56 AM

Comment Thanks for your comments rda.

I conduct this introspective exercise for my trainees in my organization....ask them to write down their top 5 priorities if they had only 12 months to live. Not once in 9 years has anyone said, "I would like to spend more time in office." All the answers were about wanting to spend time with loved ones, working towards their personal goals, volunteering with NGOs, asking for forgiveness from people they've hurt, and the like.
We live as if we're never going to die. We are always waiting for the 'right' time to do things or pursue our dreams.

The intention behind writing this article was to remind people of one thing....'the only thing certain in life is death'. True, the death of a loved one can be devastating. Isnt it comforting then, to make the most of it while they're alive, practice forgiveness, spend more time, than to regret not doing it when they're gone? The 'could haves, should haves and what ifs' become insignificant then. And living in regret can be worse.

This is what its about.

02-Nov-2010 01:12 AM

Comment If we could resolve all the world's deaths with the sweet logic of 'death is the one sure thing' - what a happy world this would be. The reality is different - death is a tragedy because of an expectation of life that is curtailed - the child could have grown up to be an adult, the young man could have lived to raise a family or fulfill a term of life expected; at least, we can come close to the logic when an old person dies, but in terms of 'he had a good innings'. Life is thus a fulfilled term of living which death curtails, and in this sense death is a tragedy. To talk of 'waiting for death everywhere' is to deny the fulfilled term that life is, and is in my opinion a contradiction in terms. One lives knowing as an axiom one has to die sometime; and that however one may be reconciled to this, the tragedy of the curtailment of one's own life will always affect the people who love and survive us with no such easy reconciliation as 'oh well, he had to die some day'.

01-Nov-2010 21:58 PM

Comment Thanx Rajender. Appreciate your comments


31-Oct-2010 12:17 PM

Comment I love this article. True, succint and enlightening. Denying death is to negate life.

Rajender Krishan
31-Oct-2010 11:03 AM

Comment Thank you Mandar. Appreciate your comments.


31-Oct-2010 09:33 AM

Comment Very true and focusing on very subtle human psychology-Postpone thinking about things which you do not want to happen.Really nice article.

31-Oct-2010 07:46 AM

Comment Thank you for your feedback Mr. V.K. Joshi. Appreciate it.


31-Oct-2010 01:06 AM

Comment It is a wonderful article-lucid and enlightening.

V. K. Joshi
30-Oct-2010 11:44 AM

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