Free example essay on Death:
There are many questions that go unanswered in one’s lifetime. Many of these questions surround death and what happens after one dies. People ponder what happens to them after they die. Well, no one really knows for sure, and that’s why this is one of the only questions that remains unanswered throughout time. Don Delillo offers a few speculations towards what happens in his book White Noise. His characters, Jack and Babette, ask most of the same questions everyone else only thinks about. Delillo entertains the idea of death and what happens after death through the thoughts, feelings, and actions of his characters, actions which describe some of the ways society approaches the act of death.
Death is an inevitable thing. Everything dies. There are no exceptions to this universal rule of death. Most things don’t fear death because they can not comprehend the significance of death; however, people can grasp what death means. It’s this consciousness that’s separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. Since, the beginning of mankind, people have feared the unknown, be it fire or electricity or witches. All have been feared because it has not been understood, but most misunderstood ideas have eventually been brought to light through science or some other revelation. However, death has not.
The fear of death has been around as long as death has been around, forever. It’s feeling that is totally indescribable and completely incomparable to any other sensation felt. No one can grasp what actually happens when they die; this fear of the unknown is the basic part in the fear of death. It’s not necessarily a fear of dying, but the fear of not knowing what’s going to happen after death. As Murray states, “We all fear death to some extent” (Delillo 284). This is true. Everything wonders and fears to some length that they don’t exactly know what is going to happen to them. It is this unknowingness that surrounds people with this fear.
Delillo has some interesting suggestions as to what can cure this ailment. One of ideas Murray had is to rely on technology (Delillo 285). This is an interesting idea to ponder. The technological advances that society has seen in the past decade have prolonged life well beyond what it used to be. Considering the current increasing age of death one might come to the conclusion that to believe in technology in turn means to believe in an eventual fountain of youth, so to speak. Another answer Murray suggests is “by concentrating on the life beyond” (Delillo 285). Murray inserts the idea of all religions here, a second life or birth (Delillo 285). Murray tells Jack he can pick any religion he likes because, although they are all very different in practice, they all have an afterlife to calm Jack’s fear of death. This is what most people do. Avoid the natural fear by believing in some unnatural force that will save them from death.
Life-credit is another theory on how to avoid actual death. Basically the principle of this idea is “if he dies, you cannot” (Delillo 290). Hitler is so popular because of this idea; he stored millions of life-credit by killing all those people, and to this day everyone knows who Hitler is. In that sense, society will not let him die. This is the end result of life-credit.
The life-credit explanation follows up Murray’s idea of killers and diers. Murray states that “most of us are diers” (Delillo 290). Murray implies it is whatever keeps the general public from killing that is also what makes them fear death. The general public lay over and dies while the killer does not. Murray explains that if the dier dies, then the killer cannot (Delillo 290). Although one can escape death for the time being by killing another, one ultimately will still die, but with more life-credit or favor from the gods (Delillo 290). This is a killer’s rational, if they have enough power, which is obtained through killing, and then they might escape death. This buys them time to kill again, so theoretically one might live forever if they keep killing. Power is a motivating factor to all. The more powerful one is the more one can do, even cheat death with enough power, yet even the most powerful in history have died.
Many of the popular theories of what happens after death involve some type of religion. These religions explain the phenomenon of death through various events, such as reincarnation, transmigration, hyperspace, and so on. In a conversation between Jack and Murray, Murray tells Jack to just “pick one” (Delillo 286). This is essentially what everybody has to decide in their lives, which explanation they think is right. However, Jack realizes that it sounds too much “like a convenient fantasy, the worst kind of self-delusion” (Delillo 286). Through this Delillo is trying to present the argument that has been made by atheists for years, all of the explanations are just false connotations to help one escape the fear of death. This pretense almost gives people something to look forward to after death, which is completely contradictive of what they would naturally feel. As with all theories, theories on death are just that, theories, with no actual documentation because nobody actually can say what they felt after they died.
Death intrigues and terrifies even the most intelligent people that seem to be too good to be scared. This is a very full fear that reaches the marrow of one’s bones. It cannot be denied. One can only try to suppress the fear using an explanation of death. This is what makes religion so successful; people need to relieve the fear of death. Delillo hints at some suggestions through his characters as to how people cope with their fear. Maybe atheists who can accept that they are going to die and that there is just going to be nothingness have it correct. Who knows? Only time will tell what actually happens, and it will only be solved through experience. As Isaac Asimov said “Although the time of death is approaching me, I am not afraid of dying and going to Hell or (what would be considerably worse) going to the popularized version of Heaven. I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism.
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