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Tony Grist

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Taboo [Feb. 17th, 2016|11:35 am]
Tony Grist
I don't think it's death that's the taboo subject in our society- because, God only knows, our media are as full of images of mortality as an 18th century graveyard. No, it's not death we don't want to discuss, it's what comes after, that undiscovered country etc etc. The not very good movie I watched yesterday afternoon is predicated on society's reluctance to deal with it. Our heroine- played by Cecile de France- is told (because she's a well-known public face) that her publishers will take any book she cares to throw at them. She pitches a biography of Francois Mitterand. They say, "Great, here's a huge advance." So she goes away and thinks about it and decides she's not that interested in Mitterand after all and instead turns in the first couple of chapters of a book about her Near Death Experience. Her publishers squirm.

I was thinking, that's a bit exaggerated, but then I thought, no, actually, it's not. We don't talk about the afterlife. We're embarrassed by it.. The odd newspaper article- more likely to be published in the Mail than the Guardian- draws comments about "sky fairies" and all that fundamentalist rot from semi-literate Dawkinsians- and one realises why people who have something to say on the subject are reluctant to put themselves in the spotlight. Mention angels or spirit guides in any public arena and expect the cabbage stalks to fly.  My readers on LJ are too polite to shout at me but I notice that I never get any comments if I post about- say- the spiritualist books I've been reading. I used to have conversations here about God and the afterlife with dear jackiejj but since she went off to explore the undiscovered country for herself there's been next to nothing.

I refuse to believe people are simply not interested, because, really, what subject could be more relevant or urgent? We're all going to die and we're all either going to wink out like a candle flame or find out that, hey, actually...

[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2016-02-17 12:20 pm (UTC)
I myself have no problem discussing either the dying process or speculation on the aftermath. With 4 suicide attempts and a near drowning in my life, I've obviously thought quite a lot about the processes in any event.

And I still miss Jackie as well.

Edited at 2016-02-17 12:21 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-02-17 12:26 pm (UTC)
So, do you have a view about what comes next? Did your brushes with death afford you any glimpses?

Jackie was very special.
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From: cmcmck
2016-02-17 01:17 pm (UTC)
As one who needed surgery that took long enough to be a potential killer (as it was back then- 10+ hours) I had to think a lot about death at one time.

I find it an intriguing topic, I have to admit, but that's probably the historian in me.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-02-17 01:43 pm (UTC)
So have you a view as to what happens next?

Obviously most people in the past believed is some sort of afterlife or other.
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[User Picture]From: haikujaguar
2016-02-17 01:31 pm (UTC)
I love spiritual things! But like you, I feel like there's no talking about it anymore. There's so much condescension in modern society toward people who believe.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-02-17 01:47 pm (UTC)
And the condescension mostly comes from people who have never seriously considered the issues, but have just absorbed the mindset prevalent in their society.

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[User Picture]From: chochiyo_sama
2016-02-17 03:50 pm (UTC)
I don't think we wink out like a candle. 🙂

I am not sure what does happen but I know it is something.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-02-17 03:55 pm (UTC)
I'm sure of it.

Sure, that is, that this world is only one of many in which we have our existence.

Edited at 2016-02-17 03:56 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2016-02-17 04:11 pm (UTC)
I believe death is the end - dust to dust, and we are gone - and to me that thought is a great comfort. Hard to explain why; though Hardy captures something of it in A Drizzling Easter Morning:

And he is risen? Well, be it so...
And still the pensive lands complain,
And dead men wait as long ago,
As if, much doubting, they would know
What they are ransomed from, before
They pass again their sheltering door.

I stand amid them in the rain,
While blusters vex the yew and vane:
And on the road the weary wain
Plods forward, laden heavily;
And toilers with their aches are fain
For endless rest - though risen is he.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-02-17 05:54 pm (UTC)
I can see the appeal of Hardy's view of things; eternal sleep is good- but, in my humble submission, immortality is better.

Ah well, we shall find out- or not as the case may be.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2016-02-17 07:35 pm (UTC)
Another vote here for life before death, but not afterwards.

I'm afraid that I've read too much about the brain and consciousness to be able to believe that there is a disembodied essence that can continue on somehow.

However, if there should, somehow, be an afterlife, then the traditional Christian God had better not be involved or he'll get a piece of my mind about the awful job he did when he created humans.
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2016-02-17 07:57 pm (UTC)
It's the winking out for me, I think.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-02-17 08:37 pm (UTC)
Fair enough.

But I don't think there's ever been a time- except perhaps for a few months when I was trying to scour myself clean of Christianity- when I haven't believed in Life After Death.
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[User Picture]From: wlotusopenid
2016-02-17 10:21 pm (UTC)
I'm not embarrassed by the afterlife. I don't see the point in talking deeply about something that probably doesn't exist. But I don't want to get in the way of someone else talking about it, if that makes them feel better. So I leave that conversation for people who find meaning in it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-02-18 09:54 am (UTC)
You see I've always wanted to know whether it exists or not, and so....

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