are there any humans who live their entire lives without ever facing the fact that they are going to die?
i guess being dead is not going to be very interesting but dying might be — if it isn’t traumatic.
everyone, it seems to me, is faced sooner or later with the fact, or at least the inescapable idea, or thought/feeling, that a day will come when the person who constitutes what you have come to believe is, or think of as, ‘i’, no longer exists.
death is always ahead of you, heidegger drily observed. you can’t outrun death. you can only be towards death.
when i was young i wanted to die in my sleep but now that i’m old i’ve changed my mind : i want to be fully conscious when i die, to be aware of the moment of death, of the transition from being alive to being dead. perhaps it will be a disappointment. wouldn’t it be sad for the last thing you will ever know to be disappointment — but i am prepared to run that risk. i am radically optimistic that to be there when time and being stops could be the most extraordinary experience of your life, and it can only happen once. all those near death experience books have nothing to say about death because the are written by people that didn’t actually die, no matter what they remember the doctors saying when their heart stopped. but they didn’t actually die did they? the fact that they were able to write a book about it demonstrates that.
of all the hundreds and hundreds of holocaust testimonies i’ve read and watched and listened to there isn’t one which tells you what it was like to die, to be killed for no good reason, in a gas chamber or to be shot in a field after you’ve dug your own grave. what it is it like to die in a state of utter bewilderment about what has befallen you. we have no idea about it, because we only have the accounts of survivors.
the dead have cheated death, cioran wrote, that’s very droll. but you can only see the irony of it if you’re not dead yourself.