Death: An End or A New Beginning
The Meaning of Life and Death
When we think about death with its general definition, we can say that it is the end every person who comes to this world will face after living life, be it short or long. The end of our life is perhaps the only certain fact in this world. I can say this very clearly because I’m sure everyone has witnessed the death of someone close to them and everyone is certain they too will die one day.
Have you ever seen a person who didn’t die? This is against the nature of the world. Every single person will die sooner or later. Isn’t that the reason why people are so afraid of death? Of course, seeing this as the loss of people’s lives prevents us from fully understanding the issue. Just like humans, plants and animals have a certain lifespan, as well.
The life cycle of living things
Every living thing has a life cycle, just like humans. Let’s consider a silkworm as an example. It is born as a caterpillar and spins a cocoon around itself, in which it will live in a certain period. The cocoon, knitted with liquid silk coming out of the caterpillar’s mouth, turns into a hard, protective, and comfortable chamber as it contacts with air.
When the transformation inside the cocoon is completed, it comes out again by piercing the cocoon with its liquid secretion. During the last period of its life when it becomes an adult butterfly, it reproduces and lays its eggs in a short time, and the life cycle of the silkworm starts again from these new eggs.
Another living being that has an interesting life cycle is a mosquito. Mosquitoes, which are tiny creatures but have a hard time coping with, go through a complete metamorphosis throughout their lives. They develop through four stages as egg, pupa, larva, and adult. Mosquitoes appear as completely different creatures at each stage.
Plants also have life cycles. The aggregation of many phases, such as seed, fruit formation, germination, young plant formation, growth, and mature plant stage, make up their life cycles. Interestingly, the lives of plants, animals, and microscopic living things that make up life vary from minutes to thousands of years.
The life cycle of the universe and the world we live in
The earth, the only planet capable of sustaining life, and other planets, stars, and celestial bodies in the universe have a certain life span and a certain life cycle. For example, more massive stars burn much faster and hotter than smaller ones. They exhaust themselves faster even with their greater mass. The Sun, our source of heat, is a medium-sized star and has a lifespan of 5.5 billion years by running out of hydrogen fuel in its core.
All living things, the world we live in, and everything in the universe is related to one another. Everything has a certain balance, measure, and order. The lack of one affects all other vitality. Therefore, we as humans, have a responsibility to ourselves and our loved ones, as well as to other living things and the planet we live in.
Perhaps because we forget our responsibility to the world we live in and selfishly focus on our own life, we are faced with disasters such as floods, fires and droughts all over the world under the name of the climate crisis. This is a reminder to us! We cannot leave such a world to the next generations because we have lived and will leave this world. Other plans and alternative solutions can be offered for many problems in the world, but there is no other world of ours that contains vitality. For this reason, we should look at it in the best way and start raising awareness on this issue individually and expand its scope.
The contemplation of death
As I have mentioned so far, all life and the universe we live in have a beginning and an end. Although this end is interpreted differently in terms of science, philosophy, and religion, we generally call it death. Death is a topic that has become the focus of poets, writers, screenwriters, songwriters. Death is the most curious and feared phenomenon since the existence of humanity, on which books have been written and movies have been made. Aren’t love poems always written on the topic of losing a loved one, or being separated from him/her? Why is the pain of separation compared to the pain of death? All this, of course, stems from the fact that death is the absolute truth and irresistible.
Likewise, in novels and movies, the loss of a loved one is told and the events associated with it. Moreover, in many science-fiction movies, death is handled from a quite different perspective. Efforts are made to find remedies for death to attain immortality. The reason for such a pursuit is that death is unavoidable and considered the most painful reality of life. The aim here is to get away from this fact even for a short time and to have short happiness.
Stopping the intrusive thoughts of death
Most people are afraid of death. People are afraid of death, perhaps because it involves uncertainty, or no one can have any real experience or knowledge of it. Death is also an important subject of philosophy and religion. According to some philosophical movements, death is nothingness. From this point of view, death is not an insoluble phenomenon, but a scientific end to the extent that medicine explains. According to religions and some philosophical approaches, death is a fact.
German philosopher Schopenhauer, who sees death as nothingness, also argues that he will not perceive it as evil. On the contrary, Socrates claims that it is difficult and meaningless to make a philosophy by ignoring death. As per Spinoza, on the other hand, the man tries to get the idea of death away from his mind, but this may be due not only to fear of death but also to the effort to maintain his existence.
The fact that one sees death as distant from oneself shows itself with a remarkable example in Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. The author states that the Prince was probably thinking the following in the car while he was being taken to the execution: “Oh, I have a long, long time yet. Three streets of life yet! When we’ve passed this street there’ll be that other one; and then that one where the baker’s shop is on the right; and when shall we get there? It’s ages, ages!”
There may be many reasons why people avoid thinking about death. One reason may be that they lost a loved one unexpectedly as a result of an accident or illness. They may become anxious and depressed at the thought that they or their family members may die suddenly in the same way. This loss makes them question the meaning of life and death. In some way, people may think of death as a failure but contemplating as a natural phenomenon will make them feel better and be ready when the time comes.
Everyone is born, lives, and then dies. Everyone has different experiences and each one of them is tried with different challenges. Some experience difficulties and troubles, some live a life amid conflicts, while others lead an enjoyable life in abundance and prosperity without any worries. But no matter what kind of life is experienced in this world, everyone will eventually die one day.
Some people see this as nothingness while others as the only truth. There are those who believe that death is an end even if religious people believe that the soul leaves the physical body on earth and continues to live in the next world in a different dimension. Whatever belief it may be, we should value the life we live and our environment as much as we can. Perhaps the value of beings in this world is because they are finite.
Instead of comparing the lives we live with other people, we should think that each of us is a single individual who has responsibilities on his/her own and that we should have characteristics such as good morals, humanity, and virtue. Just as being born, growing up and starting a family are natural phenomena, death is also a natural fact in this world. Even after we die, we will be remembered for how we behaved in this world.
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About the author
Economist, certified English<>Turkish translator, writer, NFT collector