Rotten Copper
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:06 pm



Reply to topic  [ 40 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Philosophic writings about Death 
Author Message
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 5118
Location: Way down South, UK.
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

baphomet wrote:
Lajos wrote:
but I do think that denying death (as most religions do) makes life (nearly) meaningless (or valueless), and perhaps that is almost the same.


So in the end, while being wrong in the premises, you're right in the end: religions do teach the fear and disgust of life.


Isn't it rather the opposite of both of these, too? All religions teach a certain amount of fear about living in certain ways (generally, anything the elders of whichever church disapproved of), but in all of them life itself has an enormous value as it determines what will happen for the rest of eternity. In a way, that's pretty much the point of all religions: you get your three-score-and-ten to earn your place in whichever version of heaven (or the next cycle of the great wheel etc etc). Get it right and death should hold no terrors, get it wrong and there will be some quite unpleasant long-term consequences.

Which actually makes life a very precious thing, because it's the only brief span of freewill in which you can approach your god. Death can mark a passage to glory, but you have to have done the legwork first...

_________________
>> ex silens nox noctis <<


Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:45 pm
Profile
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:46 am
Posts: 13002
Location: Belgium
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

no, no, no, no.; your interpretation is one of a modern guy, not sticking to any kind of dogmatic teaching. But all religions are dogmatic, they have to since they pretend they hold the Truth. They have to be very precise about what they approve and disapprove and how the faith has to be lived accordingly to the beliefs they wnat to transmit.

So, disgust of life or retreat from life and all its pleasures is seen (or has been seen) as a way to stay pure. Pure of any temptations, since you refuse them all. Sure, you're invited to be charitable, be nice to your neighbour as so on, but without too much joy which, as is taught, is an open door to instinct and chaos. Reason should dominate the instincts and reason demands to stay as sober as possible. That means, in the end, seen under the perspective of a man willing to enjoy life, the end of all joy, a huge wall erected between pleasure and salvation.

_________________
The horror... the horror...
nihil expedit - nothing is worth it


Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:00 pm
Profile
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 5118
Location: Way down South, UK.
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

Yes, to a point. I would certainly agree that all religions are quite proscriptive about what sort of a life should be led, although that hasn't always had a puritanical or fully dogmatic basis, particularly in either the more 'primitive' or more 'enlightened' ends of the spectrum.

But really, I was arguing that it isn't the case that religion automatically views life as either disgusting or meaningless, rather that it's quite selective about which aspects of actually living are considered good for your immortal soul! Even so, there must be some reward in adopting one of those codes: except under absolute tyranny, it's rare for any institution to endure with an entirely 'all stick, no carrot' approach. I can't think of any that particularly appeal to me*, but there are clearly quite a lot of people who do voluntarily adopt a path of salvation...

* I may, as a very lapsed Greek Orthodox baptisee, simply follow the lead of all High Churches and repent sincerely on my deathbed. That wouldn't be a bad investment of five minutes, just in case.

_________________
>> ex silens nox noctis <<


Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:53 pm
Profile
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:46 am
Posts: 13002
Location: Belgium
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

I can just repeat what I've already said: if we stick to Christianity, the whole purpose of the Church, and what held it together for so long was its ability to depict a better life in the afterlife: hold steady, a beter future is awaiting you beyond death, death is a gateway to eternal happiness. It's so comforting that is has been enough to ensure the prosperity of the Christian Church during all its history. After all, man is doomed by the primordial sin. The call to follow in the footsteps of so many vertuous saints, starting with Jesus Christ, whom are prayed and worshipped is also a way to curb any will, any temptation to individually take advantage of what is commonly considered as direct, easy pleasures; I mean just as simple a joy as eating and drinking or making love, earning money, getting rich… don't forget that at some point, theater, and even the simple fact of laughing have been condemned as slighting attitudes. And more: the spiritual efforts that are requested to get to salvation are always the more joy-deprived ones: abstinence, fasting, mortifications in the most extreme cases.

_________________
The horror... the horror...
nihil expedit - nothing is worth it


Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:13 pm
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 9:51 am
Posts: 158
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

baphomet wrote:
well no, you said religions have taught to deny death. Or were denying death. It's the exact opposite in fact.

Id did not say that religions have taught to deny death, but that they do deny death. That's an entirely different claim.
Most religions deny death by assuming that the soul survives in some kind of afterlife or reincarnates. Buddhism denies death by claiming that there really is any person/self that dies (with the exception of Pure Land Buddhism, which opts for the surviving soul). In other words, denying death is the core idea of most (if not all) religions. This is hardly a new or controversial idea; it was popularized by Ernest Becker's (1973) The Denial of Death.

I'm not sure that we are really disagreeing, by the way. Perhaps you misunderstood what I mean with "denying death".


My point was (and is), that by denying death, by making death not such a big thing, life is devalued. For example, people are taught to accept misfortune and are discouraged (or even forbidden) to make their lives the best they could be, on the grounds of a mistaken idea that this life isn't what really matters. And for that reason, I find religion deeply immoral. (So unlike most atheists, I do not just think that religion is factually wrong, but that it is also morally wrong.)


Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:03 am
Profile WWW
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:46 am
Posts: 13002
Location: Belgium
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

Lajos wrote:


I'm not sure that we are really disagreeing, by the way. Perhaps you misunderstood what I mean with "denying death".




Sorry again, but you are placing yourself outside the debate; let me explain: in fact, yes, it seems I took the word "death" in your mouth for the "concept of death", that is the end of all material life, which is, in a spiritual perspective, hardly a big matter. But you are in fact talking of your own conception of death... and I'mnot sure I can quite follow your reasoning here. Because You can't judge the way religions deal with death if you stick to your non-religious conception of that moment.

To me religions DON'T deny death, death is a very important religious concept. it is the core of the religious belief. But if to you death is the end, kaputt, nothing after, great oblivion, then the debate is skewed, and you can't apprehend the religious way of seeing things. Because we are simply talking about two different things!

_________________
The horror... the horror...
nihil expedit - nothing is worth it


Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:14 am
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 9:51 am
Posts: 158
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

The way I use the term "denying death" is pretty much standard in philosophical thought about death and religion, at least since Becker's book. Hence, I'm not using strange or idiosyncratic terminology (or "my own conception of death"); I'm using standard terminology. If that apparently is not allowed here, then it is not me who is placing himself out of the debate.


Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:09 pm
Profile WWW
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:46 am
Posts: 13002
Location: Belgium
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

Well, then nothing can be discussed if the terms are understood differently.

And if you allow me, I'd say that any philosophical thought should always question standards; I didn't suspect the group of words "denying death" was a standard philosophical terminology! I don't see why "denying death" should be the lexical prerogative of a school of thought which would have arbitrarily given it a meaning limited to its own conception of life and death. I mean, "denying death" ... so what? In it self that doesn't mean much if the philosophical concept underlying this posture isn't clearly identified.

Who is thinking outside the box? The Church who think death is an achievement or the -now dominant- existentialist/ materialistic position that says death is the end? Really, to me, there are just two truths facing each other, both being based on drastically diverging presumtions. The problem is that both postions are expressed using the same words, hence the confusion...

_________________
The horror... the horror...
nihil expedit - nothing is worth it


Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:28 pm
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 9:51 am
Posts: 158
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

I already recommended Mark Johnston's (2010) Surviving Death above, and would like to repeat that recommendation. With laudable patience, he analyses every (religious and other) attempt to hold on to an afterlife (however desperate the attempt, he takes all of them seriously), and one after the other he shows them to be incoherent or otherwise deeply problematic. (He does offer an 'escape' in the second part of the book, however, which is very similar to the Buddhist form of death denial, but this 'escape' comes with some other problems.)

The conclusion is simple: death is final; there is no 'surviving' death. Denying that is not open minded or "thinking outside the box" as you suggest - it is self-delusion.


Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:55 pm
Profile WWW
Forum User

Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:24 pm
Posts: 18
Location: London, UK
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

I think it's helpful to distinguish between physical death and spiritual death.
Nobody denies the existence of physical death (except in the case of one or two instances in the Old Testament, that I'm aware of at least). Indeed, for many religions physical death is very important, for all of the reasons provided by Baphomet. Indeed, the (physical) death of Jesus is one of, if not the, most important aspects of Christian theology.*
Spiritual death is more open to debate. Many religoins deny spiritual death. So do many atheists (myself included). If you're a materialist, then there is no such thing as spiritual life, therefore there can be no spiritual death (depending on how you define spiritual, of course. Here I mean something like "immaterial mind/soul/essence".).
Is the motivation for religious belief some kind of guarantee of the spiritual survival of physical death? Schopenhauer said that if you could totally convince everyone that there was no life after death, religion would die out overnight. I think he was wrong. There are probably lots of motivations for religious belief: moral guidance, a sense of purpose, etc. And the Greeks seem to have got along well enough without believing in anything like our notion of the (spiritual) survival of (physical) death.

*Personally, I think the relevance of Jesus' life should be sought for not in how he died (plenty of people were crucified, after all), but in how he lived.

_________________
De trop.


Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:50 pm
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:13 pm
Posts: 43
Location: Poland
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

Stanisław Lem "Summa Technologiae"
Amazing it has been written in 1964 but explains (almost) everything...

_________________
Odium humani generis


Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:11 pm
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 487
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

Topics like these illustrate it is only really possible to communicate on the most basic of levels and that we are island universes. Everything we take in is mutated and forced to fit our own personal model of our own personal universe. What is religion, what is death, we cannot communicate these things in any deep way because they are feelings, emotions, we only sense them because we are alive, or, we are alive because we not only think we are, but because we feel we are and we only think we think, when in reality we feel we think and thought is just more hopeless, censored crude language.

Death is a part of our model of life whether you accept it, welcome it, deny it or fear it. The fear of death is the fear of missing life and its experiences. You didn't fear death before you were born or regret missing all the things that happened, and you won't miss them after you die. You have to be alive to fear death, so life in an abstract way is death and things like fun and happiness are there to confront it, hide from it, binge on having a good time before it claims you, but it doesn't exist. You weren't dead before you were born and you won't be after you die, you will cease to exist which like infinity is a concept beyond our comprehension. Death is the final act of life, once over, death only exists in the feelings of these still alive who await their turn. Life is death because it follows us around and dictates all we do, sometimes without our knowing it. We measure the brightness and worth of our lives against it, like the brightness of a candle in a dark room.

Mind you, I'll have a different opinion tomorrow most likely when I have a different head on.

_________________
Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:41 pm
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 487
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death



That time of year thou may'st in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day,
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by-and-by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Is the subject wallowing in self pity at the thought of his impending death, or is he being kind to those he will leave behind by saying it's the natural order of things like a fire building up from kindling, burning fierce, dying away to a grow, then going out. Is he being cruel to be kind by saying don't grieve, it was the man in his youth, in his prime you loved not this corpse, this shipwreck you see dying in this bed. Or is it a final a declaration of love. For me the meaning is in the final 2 lines. I like to think it's a love song.

_________________
Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:39 am
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 487
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death



Worldly bliss does not last for a moment;
it goes and passes away presently.
The longer that I know it,
the less value I find in it;
for it is all mingled with care,
with sorrows and with ill fortune,
and at the last, poor and bare
it leaves man when it departs.
All the bliss which is here and there
amounts at the end to weeping and grief.

All the bliss of this life,
you shall, man, end in weeping;
of house and home, of child and wife,
o, silly man, none of them shall you keep.
For you shall leave here all
of which you were once lord;
when you lie, man, upon the bier
and sleep that swift and dreadful sleep,
you will have with you no companion
but your piled-up deeds.

Think, man, of what your life means to you,
and put away pride and filth and wrath.
Think how dearly those who loved you forgave you;
and sacrificed their precious blood for you.
They gave themselves to hardship,
to buy you bliss and if you are prudent;
bethink yourself then and rise up
from serving yourself and begin to do good
while there is time to act,
for certainly otherwise you are mad.

Every day you may understand
and see as if in a mirror before you
what is to be done and what avoided,
and what to be kept and what to flee;
for every day you see with your eyes
how this world goes and how men die.
Know this well, that you shall suffer
as others have done, and also die;
in that matter it does not help at all to lie
no man can oppose death.

Image

_________________
Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:00 pm
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 487
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

On A Portrait Of A Deaf Man, a poem about death, or love, or grief? I don't know. Does it really matter?

The kind old face, the egg-shaped head,
The tie, discretely loud,
The loosely fitting shooting clothes,
A closely fitting shroud.

He liked old city dining rooms,
Potatoes in their skin,
But now his mouth is wide to let
The London clay come in.

He took me on long silent walks
In country lanes when young.
He knew the names of ev’ry bird
But not the song it sung.

And when he could not hear me speak
He smiled and looked so wise
That now I do not like to think
Of maggots in his eyes.

He liked the rain-washed Cornish air
And smell of ploughed-up soil,
He liked a landscape big and bare
And painted it in oil.

But least of all he liked that place
Which hangs on Highgate Hill
Of soaked Carrara-covered earth
For Londoners to fill.

He would have liked to say goodbye,
Shake hands with many friends,
In Highgate now his finger-bones
Stick through his finger-ends.

You, God, who treat him thus and thus,
Say “Save his soul and pray.”
You ask me to believe You and
I only see decay.

_________________
Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:14 pm
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 487
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

The poetry of Steve von Till



You cut your high teeth on stone, your feet stood firm in the soil, your life is survived by your deeds, we will remember and honor your name.

A grave is a grim horse to ride.

I passed through the darkness this night with my face pressed into the earth, thin is the veil, thick is the skin to cross the borderlands of flesh.

A grave is a grim horse To ride.

As I lie on this house of bones, speak to me now of time’s strange berries. Do ages repeat all the same? Tell me what you see out there?

A grave is a grim horse to ride.

To cross this bridge of shadow, visions of silence all told what the dead reveal to the living. My blanket can’t keep out this cold.

A grave is a grim horse to ride.

_________________
Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:32 pm
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 487
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

Everybody do the danse macabre... yeah!



Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

_________________
Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Last edited by Beerman on Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:32 am, edited 6 times in total.



Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:43 am
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 487
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

What this thread needs is some colour to cheer it up

C'mon everybody let's do the shaking of the sheets! Whoop!



Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

_________________
Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:10 am
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 487
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death

Death and the Lady



As I walked out one day, one day, I met an aged man all on the way.
His head was bald, his beard was grey, his clothing made of the cold earthen clay.
His clothing made of the cold earthen clay.

I said, “Old man, what man are you? What country do you belong unto?”
“My name is Death, have you heard of me? All kings and princes bow down unto me.
And you fair maid must come along with me.”

“I'll give you gold, I'll give you pearl, I'll give you costly rich robes to wear,
If you will grant me a little while and give me time my life to amend.
And give me time my life to amend”

“I want no gold, I want no pearl, I want no costly rich robes to wear.
I cannot grant you a little while, nor give you time your life to amend.
Nor give you time your life to amend”

In six months time this young girl died. “Let this be on my tombstone,” she cried,
“Here lies a poor distressed maid, who in her youth she was snatched away.
Her clothing made of the cold earthen clay.”

_________________
Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Last edited by Beerman on Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:10 am, edited 6 times in total.



Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:43 am
Profile
Forum User
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:34 pm
Posts: 487
Reply with quote
Post Re: Philosophic writings about Death



Image

_________________
Gloom and Doom is dead. Long live Gloom and Doom


Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:49 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 40 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF.