It is a comforting, hallucinogenic thought at Christian funerals. It is also the ultimate delusion. We cannot let go. Death cannot, must not, be the end of it all. We even imagine family reunions after our death. “See ya, buddy !” “If you get to Heaven before I do, just bore a hole and pull me through”. “The Mother of all Reunions : eternal life together”.
Death, as the end of existence, annihilation (“nihil” is Latin for “nothing”), literally reduction to nothingness, is too much to accept Many need to believe that loved ones live on, as they themselves will, as we all will, together. We are going to need one helluva playground and “many mansions” for all the people who have died since we became human (mind you, many – most – of us will not be in Heaven, but in the Other Place : the limit seems to be just 144,000 who make it upstairs). Animals, lacking an eternal soul, just decompose. Thank God, otherwise we would be facing an animal kingdom that far outnumbers the human race. Who would keep the lions and tigers at a safe distance ? Or does no one need to eat in Heaven (no Ben and Jerry’s) ? The Sacred Writ is silent on the point. Who would pick up the droppings of elephants ? Can you imagine the number of cat-litters needing to be replaced ? The mind boggles.
Most of us cannot face the truth. Dead, buried, cremated, gone, girl, gone forever. Like Clementine. Like your dog, your cat, your hamster, your goldfish. Back to no-thingness. No God, no Heaven, no way. Why can’t we look death, “The End”, in the face ? We used to put that phrase at the end of books and movies; why not to our life ?
I pity the clergy, some of whom are at least agnostic, who find themselves obliged to continue to reinforce the illusion. I will do what I can to destroy it.