Often regarded as one of the few certainties of life, death has always been a major concern of human race since time immemorial. Over the years many philosophers as well as non-philosophers have given many similar as well as contrasting theories on death but nothing so profound till date can give the exact and truest definition of death? Then why the subject death is still one of the most discussed topic in current world? And above all, what is it that compels us to fear death?
To answer this question, Jaff Mason argues that the concept of death has no subjective meaning. Death and its concepts are absolutely empty. No clear picture comes to mind when we think about death. All we can conclude is that death is either real or vague. If it’s real than it is the termination of one’s life entirely and if it is vague it is just the closing of one chapter and the opening of the succeeding chapter of the very book called life. Now it all depends on our own perspectives whether we’ll consider death as a wall or a door leading us to another room.
The prominent Greek philosopher, Socrates illustrates both possibilities of death. As per him death is either a dreamless sleep or a transition of the soul to another world, where it joins the souls of all the other dead. Using his Socratic irony, Socrates claims that, if the latter is correct, he’s going to spend the afterlife examining all those prominent historical and mythological figures, just as he did his fellow Athenians when he was alive. Socrates also insisted that for a moral person, death was a good thing and should be welcomed. Suicide was wrong, he added, because men and women are the property of the immortal gods, and as such should not be harmed intentionally because this was an attack on the property of others. But when death did come, it was no bad thing at all. It should be treated as normally as anything else in life.
Similar things were even depicted by William Cullen Bryant in his famous poem, “Thanatopsis”. As per him, there’s nothing to fear about death ’cause we won’t go alone to our place of eternal sleep, nor could we ask for a more impressive bed. We’ll lie down with the earliest rulers of human history—with kings, the most powerful people on earth—and with wise people, virtuous people, beautiful people, and the white-haired prophets of ancient times, all in one magnificent tomb. Above all death is the only route to meet our creator. So there’s little to fear about death. He also says that human beings remain dormant for a much greater period of time than he actually lives in the world. So humans must use their life in the most magnificent way so that when they are called to join the infinite train of dead people on its way to the unknown realm of the death, we don’t go like a rock mining slave sent to the dungeon but instead go cheerfully and unbowed.