The Fear of Death is Killing Us

sexanddeathservitorThere are a lot of utterly insane laws enforced throughout the world, but one of the absolute craziest involves the illegality of assisted suicide. That’s right, even if you are being ravaged by a debilitating disease and your life has devolved into absolute hell on earth, you’re legally required to suffer that hell. This is how nuts we are when it comes to spirituality. We threw Jack Kevorkian in fucking jail God help us all (or God Hates Us All if you’re going with the Slayer narrative).

As a spiritual person, I have exactly zero interest in living to be very old. As a matter of fact, I sort of think I was trying to kill myself with booze for most of my twenties but a guiding force prevented me from doing so. I’ve got things down here I’m supposed to accomplish apparently. The prison guards weren’t going to let me out so easily, especially on bad behavior. While ganj-i-tating I was once told that I was going to be “lucky enough to die young”, but then something changed. Plans were revised and now I’m supposed to live quite a bit longer. It seems as if my entire life has had to re-organize itself to accommodate this decision from on high. As a matter of fact, while in an altered Occult state a month or so back I was told exactly how old I was going to be when I kick it (Friend me on Facebook for magick updates). Reasonable number, not too young and more importantly, not old enough that I’ll have to be hooked up to fucking machines or take pills to maintain an erection.

You’d think that being told when you’re going to die would freak me out, and I have no idea if this number is accurate, but rather than being spooked I had the exact opposite reaction. Wow, I’m now 35, and I’m probably going to live to be roughly twice that old. Sort of astonishing to think I very well might only be half way to the finish line. What to do with all that time? How to keep myself entertained?

Moreover, how to pace myself? With all the import put on youth in popular culture, it seems as if we’ve somewhat forgotten that a lot of us live to be nearly twice as old now as we did just a hundred or so years back. We’re not teaching kids that life is a long haul, in fact, all advertising is essentially pushing an agenda of short term consumptive decadence. Buy now, pay later. I wasn’t considering the potential length of my sentence here and how to deal with that properly until just recently. I guess I sort of thought I could drink all the time and that wouldn’t lead to permanent health issues. I still wonder how I’m going to support myself financially for another 30 some odd years, and I have modest savings while half the people I know my age are in debt. It’s a disturbing trend, and something like 3 out of 4 individuals in our society now do not have enough money to pay for their retirement. I have no idea how we’re going to rectify this, but it’s going to require quite a spiritual overhaul.

When the research started coming out indicating that psychedelic drugs can serve to alleviate the fear of death I wasn’t surprised. The first time I took mushrooms on a beach in San Francisco when I was 18, that was one of my initial epiphanies. I suddenly knew that the death of my physical body was not the end of my consciousness and that the illusory material world I’d been stuck in represented just the tiniest fraction of reality. I’ve been interested in fringe spirituality ever since. What strikes me about this research, and what no one is really saying is, wait, isn’t that what religion is supposed to do? No, seriously, isn’t religion supposed to alleviate people’s fear of death? Isn’t that supposedly it’s base function? Obviously, it doesn’t work. Our society is driven by base thanataphobia now more than ever.

How driven? Well, my grandma had an unfortunate final run in this world. Her mind completely degenerated years before she passed. She went blind. Apparently she even developed a fun case of shingles while clinging to the hell her life had become in a memory care facility. Her pain lasted for about 4 years before respite finally came. Fascinating story on that front. Right as she went into that facility I had a fairly interesting dream. In it, I had seen an incredibly artful preview about a new indie film which had come out in the dream realm regarding souls lost in the limbo state of distorted past memories jumbled with non-functioning grey matter. The movie was called, “Waiting to Leave” and I thought it sounded compelling. I then for some reason ran into my Grandma on a bus stop bench and asked her if she’d be interested in seeing it with me, and she said that she definitely would. Shortly thereafter I woke up with my mind sort of blown. When I talked to my Grandma a week or so later I could tell her memory had vanished almost entirely. Unlike the year prior when I visited, she now didn’t remember me at all and nothing she said was remotely coherent. Sad, just sad. I’m glad I got in that final visit.

Now, when we look at our society and how to right the collision course with disaster we all unconsciously feel we’re headed on, I don’t honestly see too many people saying the blatantly obvious i.e. why exactly do we spend so much time, energy, and resources keeping people whose lives are non-stop pain, whose brains can’t even tether themselves to our consensus reality anymore alive? Is that the humane thing to do? Are we looking out for our best interests here as a culture? The answer, by any perspective is resoundingly no, and yet we persist in this course unflinchingly. Eventually we’re going to have to face facts. We’re keeping these people alive for us, not them. It’s our fear of death and losing them that compels us to burn so very much of our resources on well, maintaining quite hellish existences to put it bluntly. These people aren’t getting better. They’re not coming back. There isn’t going to be a surprise happy ending, just money flushed down the toilet to postpone our mental anguish. If we had the option of pulling the plug on our grandma, we certainly would have taken her out of the crazed waiting room and let her catch that next bus to the other realm. But we couldn’t. It’s illegal. And the profit margins of assisted living facilities and healthcare companies skyrocket.

The one aspect of near death experiences that I find the most compelling is that in most cases, the person who has crossed over isn’t begging to go back to their lives, it’s the exact inverse negotiation. They absolutely don’t want to go back. When one sees the splendors of the spiritual realm first hand, our mundane lives filled with boring repetition and nagging physical maladies seem like exactly what they are, a rather boring job, a low level position in the grand cosmic hierarchy. But we need to do it if we want to advance heavenward. I probably sensed this in my rebellious youth and was unconsciously trying to skip out early in a glorious lethal euphoria. It didn’t take. I was supposed to write shit like this. 12 years before my birth my mom tried to commit suicide. She wanted out too, but a booming voice from inside the divine light informed her that her job here wasn’t finished yet and sent her back. So why have experiences such as these been conveniently edited out of the spiritual dialogue? Instead we get re-hashed theories about visions that supposedly superior mystics had more than two centuries ago. It’s completely insane, and yet, the majority of people would call me insane for talking about this sort of thing openly. People who have visions or hear voices in their heads belong in institutions. But what if they’re not crazy? Relegate them to the absolute fringes of society. Because of this attitude our spiritual ignorance is killing us.

I’m not going to lie. Despite my grandma’s prolonged journey into the superunknown realms of tortured confusion brought on by Alzheimer’s, I still cried when I found out about her passing. I got the call at work and had to compose myself enough to tell my boss I was going home and wouldn’t be back the next day. I somehow communicated this to him through the tears, but I knew I wasn’t crying for her. She was finally free. I was crying because I remembered the person she was and missed that person – the person who instilled an inherent distrust of rampant consumerism in me having lived through the depression – the person who took me to places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone in my youth – the person who set aside a small chunk of money for me and wouldn’t let me have it until I graduated college. I wouldn’t be who I am now without her loving support, and the older I’ve gotten, the more obvious the invaluable contributions all of my grandparents made to my development has become.

As I was still mourning somewhat about a week after she’d passed, I had another dream, this time quite lucid. In it, I was back in my Grandparents house in the Bay Area. Everything was exactly as I remembered it as a child. My Grandma was there and so was my Grandpa who had passed away when I was like 11. It was a sunny day, and the whole family was out back by the pool, barbequing, laughing, and just generally having a great afternoon. I’ll always have fond memories of those times, but something was different here, I knew I was dreaming. With this knowledge I wandered through all the rooms in the house. It was a spotless recreation of exactly how I remembered it. I walked back outside and there was my family, all smiling and getting along, probably harkening back to a time before my parents got divorced. I continued to wander, enjoying the experience for a long while before I finally woke up.

When I did, I realized the message couldn’t be more crystal. Nothing is ever lost. Everything exists eternally and is always there if you care to revisit it. Death is only an illusion and so is loss in itself. Nothing ever goes away in the chaotic unraveling of time. It’s all still there being recorded for posterity, we just can’t see it anymore. We’ve moved on to different parts of the story. There is nothing to fear other than say, ending up in an assisted living facility and having to piss through a tube, not even knowing your own grandchildren when they call or visit. Until we evolve and develop a new spiritual paradigm, based on the potency of visions and encounters such as these, we will wander forever lost, creating our own tortured realities, spending an increasing amount of our resources on plotlines we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. We can do better than this, I know we can. From what I’ve been shown about the nature of time, we already have.

(As always, friend me on Facebook for magick weirdness, I don’t shut up about this stuff over there)

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  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Fear of death has a huge effect on politics too. Fear of death makes people more fascist. even liberals http://carnegieendowment.org/2007/08/17/death-grip-how-political-psychology-explains-bush-s-ghastly-success/olc

    Everyone needs to go on a shamanic journey and chill the fuck out already!

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    “the devil equals death!”

  • Gabriel D. Roberts

    I asked my brother on his visit with me yesterday if it was better to live a short life with fearless experiences than to remain safe till the age of 95. Well done, Thad.

  • trompe l’oiel

    Indeed, people fear losing the grain of ego they have been conditioned to cherish and regard as the solipsistic equivalent to having your cake and eating it too, they fear being dissolved into an ocean they know is there but forcibly ignore through distraction and density.

    This willful ignorance effects far more than a single individual, it is an infectious illness that spreads through peoples lack of empathy and utter complacence with the reality they regard as sensibly the only one. peoples unwillingness to take the plunge into altered states of consciousness can be directly attributed to the rampant fear of the beyond, honestly, a majority are cowards. they sleep in a nightmare, they are afraid of themselves the most, because once they die, they will have to face who they really are, and they know the scales don’t lie.

    keep up the great work Thad.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    More so than many places, America’s people often mistake respect for life with avoidance of death. We seem to place a great emphasis on life’s sanctity…but only when death is imminent by other than natural causes…while showing almost no reverence for the process of living. Throw in a consumer/youth culture that worships attractiveness and consumption rather than the pursuit of meaningful contribution and the accumulation of wisdom worth sharing…and you get our funky melting pot of anxiety riddled, self absorbed uber shoppers universally struggling to celebrate a hundred years of resource gobbling while poo-pooing as savage anyone who suggests that sometimes death isn’t terrible, but is in fact not only a part of life…but the unavoidable conclusion for every living creature that ever was or will be.

    Not that life isn’t worth hanging onto for awhile, but we’ve carried that notion into the realm of the absurd…with tearful relatives hovering over bedsides refusing to pull plugs on dead people held together by machinery, or religions of ‘peace’ and ‘mercy’ forbidding people from legally ending a severe and incurable illness until they either die screaming in agony or fade away in a drug induced haze.

    There’s a huge difference between suicidal morbidity and calm acceptance of a statistical and unalterable fact…and it would be nice if at least a few more people grasped that.

  • Dingbert

    It’s never too early to complete your Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney, kids!

  • mannyfurious

    I really enjoyed this piece.

    As someone who also had something of a death wish in his late teens, early 20s, I eventually found a profound love of life. But it was a “true” love, wherein I realize that my life does not actually belong to “me.” I don’t possess my life and I don’t try to control it. It is a wonderful gift and I wouldn’t mind living a long, tragic, suffering, beautiful life.

    I also don’t particularly fear an early death. Again, it’s all relative. The illusion of Time waits for no man and the illusion of a “long” or “short” life is just that, an illusion. Whether you die at 20 or at 90, it will never seem long enough.

  • Simon Valentine

    spiritual overhaul
    there are going to be well meaning people who all save agree, and some of them who adamantly maintain unquestionable integerized disparity between the wordideamorpheme “spiritual” and what still another group may know as the 2nd (sub)group’s version of “spiritual” … and again some of those who remit that position by being seemingly anti, antagonistic, or even death-threateningly abusive of the modus vivendi.

    in short, yes, a spiritual overhaul by any other name, or any other name by the name of spiritual overhaul. despite what i have left to say, it is necessary more than ever to look into the future, to envision, and to cast vision back into the now from the future in which we must live and die.

    look at promises. banks. governments. i’m digging into my disparity-maintained past here, but i remember the book of Judges. stuff about prophets? it was never to my readings detailed as my knowledge or journey or spirit whatnot has maintained it inunto me. a comprehension of an idea of an abstract system of all that is wrong. seemingly unrelated wrongs that turn out to be identical … here again some may adamantly maintain “parallel”, “algorithmically identical”, “analogous”, etc. i was just going over this sort of thing here in response to mr. goodbomb .. http://disinfo.com/2013/05/spaceballs-is-now-air-water-and-the-monetization-of-human-life/#comment-911816686

    my maternal gradma had the memory issue (Alz) too. also she lived in ohio. salem area.

    all in all, same book, a few pages different. some loose leaves :). feels and knows like your feelings or spirits really wrote this all right out of you. thank you.

  • jnana

    the question is: how much pain and suffering is too much pain and suffering to keep going in this world? all life is suffering so why not just kill everything?

    • Matt Staggs

      Everything is pain and suffering in your life? You need a fun infusion, stat.

      • jnana

        does this fun infusion contain whiskey? if so, ill try it

  • Adamas Macalz

    I find spirituality to be one of the main influences in my life(albeit a different paradigm than most of the population) but I’m still in no rush to die and go to blissful never never land… quite the opposite actually actually… I would live for a thousand years if I could. not because I fear death, but because i’m kind of obsessed with knowledge(and the acquisition of it) and I would like to see a few things before I die… like off world colonization… besides I enjoy playing the game too much

  • Guest

    Jesus defeated death and it all comes down to what you want, LIFE or DEATH? Death is nothing to be feared.