Death, the Final Frontier

BA (Hons) 

Author’s brief:
The question of human destiny remains unfulfilled. The focus of this paper aims not only to demonstrate this, but will debate furthermore our future potential. By focusing in the main on that which is central to all known faiths i.e. the concept of ‘immortality’, attention will be drawn as to why this belief emerged, why it has prevailed throughout the millennia, and why it is anything other than being in a sense ‘illusory’. 

In Denial of Death, Becker suggests that the reality of our physical mortality constitutes the fundamental human terror, and our efforts to come to terms with it “is a mainspring of human activity–activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man.” 
    Although a measure of such ‘activity’ remains precisely unknown, there clearly exist a number of factors implicit to this extent. These include, as Becker infers, by procreating genetic matter, or perhaps by attaining global renown. However, arguably the most apparent means of claiming a stake to ‘immortal splendour’ is via a faith of kind. Indeed, the growth science may have rocked the foundations of religion world over, yet the need to have faith remains strong. 
Could therefore, the human condition be predisposed to religious beliefs (Wilson 1978), for just the same reason it hungers for sex and kudos perchance moreover? 
    On the one hand, it would be fair to say that sex isn’t good for nothing, however, such pleasure derived is the bait of a process that aims to continue genetic life. Kudos however, is doubtless sought for not least the following reasons. Initially, the object of kudos in theory at least, could take more partners than would be probable, if the reverse were true. 
    Second, yet more crucially however, is the chance to become a historical icon. Although religion moreover concerns the notion of immortality, it may be argued one is drawn to an end thus quite distinct. For in contrast to becoming nothing more than diluted genetic matter, or another dead star in the over-crowded historical cosmos or both, one may through faith exist after death within yet another dimension. For as all known faiths at heart manifest a claim to this extent, it must therefore be the extent to which religious endeavour transpires. 
    Alas however, the exposé of reason has all but shown this claim to be illusory, in short it would have nothing more than a product of human nature. Yet despite this fact, no single theory can fully debate without question, why we have come to conceive in that which simply doesn’t exist. 
    Granted, the negation of death may have served to bind the illiterate small-scale culture, however, the same it seems cannot be said of those that are far more advanced. The Marxist may view eternal salvation as verbal smack for the pain of oppression, yet according to Weber, the entrepreneur was far from being agnostic. If reason therefore, cannot fully gauge why thus we have come to conceive this illusion, then perhaps human nature to this extent remains at best unsound. However, it is more than likely this notion arose from a psyche not prone to conceive the fantastic, but one more inclined to maintaining existence well beyond current parameters. 
    Hence, the idea of extending the temporal time clock is thus by no means modern. As data suggests, primitive people were buried with tools and clothing, to equip them no doubt for what they envisaged was life in the next dimension. Although it remains somewhat vague as to when this belief emerged however, it is broadly held as one which evolved in relation to homo~sapien. Thus at first hand, it seems quite bizarre, that we should evolve to contemplate death as being in-essence unnatural. For is death notwithstanding a facet of life to which all must inevitably yield? 
    As we gaze toward the ashened sky do orbs not once resplendent, now serve as buoys to verify this universal maxim! Yet, as we pale into cosmic significance, a token sense of smugness prevails, for the star moreover, knows not its fate, whereas we on the other hand do. Thus on reflection, it may not be bizarre for precisely this reason that death is conceived as unnatural, for pathos not only shaped who we are, but reminds us of what ought to follow. 
    Indeed, there exists good reason to think of pain as the sinner amid all our emotions, though in effect it is more than likely that quite the reverse is true. In defining terms, pain is a caution that all is not good and well, yet turned aside no matter how slight must the odds of survival increase. Although our existence does in itself reflect this fact alone, arguably thus, lies a further stage of human progression in waiting. For at no other time will pain as defined, serve to be more efficient, other than when we come to know that death is close at hand. 
    Thus our quest for immortal life has a purely rational basis, and is not resultant for want of say an ‘over-inflated ego’. If pain furthermore is a feeling bestowed entirely by nature alone, then to overturn death must in fact be a perfectly natural process. 
    There remains little doubt that religion emerged to resolve the problem of death, and continues for many regardless of creed, to reflect a simple maxim. For if one is conceived with no other purpose in life except to survive, then life is a realm within which the reaper has no place to reside. 
    It would of course be inept to conclude we are destined to live forever, yet not so to state that we are in effect, destined to have a choice. As current research therefore intends to make us forever young, then perhaps one day we may have a choice, which is clearly better than none!


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