- BC Games
Why all this focus on beginnings and endings?
We don’t have a health care system; we have a death avoidance system.
It must be so because it seems inescapable that the most important underlying desire of just about anyone alive today — in the western world at least — is to have life continue, not only for themselves but also for those near and dear to them.
How else do you explain the extraordinary effort put into putting off aging?
This isn’t just to avoid the experience of diminishing function – but it is also to put off the death that is the inevitable end of diminished function.
Death, then, is a great ending that we do not want to occur.
We battle against it on all fronts; our health system consumes nearly 50 per cent of provincial government spending. We demand that the system do everything conceivably possible to avoid the loss of family, friends and pets; not necessarily for the benefit of those being lost but to avoid the grief (self-pity) we will surely experience, and the reminder that our own death is an inevitable ending.
Why are we so certain that endings are inevitable? Is it because we are immersed in beginnings and endings? This sentence has a beginning and an ending; so does this paragraph.
This column begins and ends; days begin and end; every book, television show and movie begins and ends.
Religions bring the promise of eternal life; an idea that must be attractive as over half of the world’s countries historically are either Christian or Muslim. Of course, you must die to find out if you continue.
We are so fixated on beginnings and endings that science insists on a Big Bang explanation for the origins of the universe. What if that is not true? Perhaps there was no beginning – but no one seems to be willing to consider that.
Is that any more strange than a theory that says there was nothing and then suddenly there as something?
Popular culture sometimes refers to the death of a person as the ending of a chapter in the book of that person’s life that prepares the way for a new chapter. Maybe this is closer to what is going on.
There is a way to look at this question about life continuing after death, whether it is in some form of heaven or into a newly reincarnated life.
If there is no life after death, when you die it will be lights out and you won’t know; so it doesn’t matter. If there is life after death you will certainly know about it and again it won’t matter because you will experience yourself continuing.
Why, you may be asking yourself, would anyone write a newspaper column about beginnings and endings. Well, what if belief in beginnings and endings creates many of the struggles we experience in life?
Maybe we should be focused on living life fully so that we are creating the memories of ourselves today that we want to have tomorrow. If we continue after death then I suspect those are the memories we will want to carry forward.
Patrick Hrushowy is a Cowichan writer and political consultant. Email him at email@example.com