Hi Chris, there is something so strange about the Denial of Death within our modern culture. There is a growing consciousness, however, as indicative of programs such as the End of Life challenge at Open Ideo. It is indeed, the elephant in the room of humanity. Becker’s argument about how this denial manifests in “immortality projects” that in turn give rise to competition is also very enlightening. It would appear to me that so much of the mythology we create as a culture surrounds this subconscious fear.
On the one hand, we have Business-As-Usual, earning money to survive, and all that entails. On the other, this constant subconscious, low grade but ever-present tension of our human predicament. What is collectively obstructing us from being open with it, to the degree that a small handful of indigenous cultures on the planet still are? When I hear that you struggle with it personally, it echos this elephant in the room we are speaking about. As a culture, we must seriously ask “why are we all so isolated with such an important, in fact, the most important question of our life?” Are we not failing ourselves as a society when we have cathedrals that celebrate false power, and masquerades the real power of tackling the fear that emerges from this fundamental and ever-present tension of our lives? As I’m writing this to you, my wife is playing a video of an old Nina Simone interview in which she says “You know what freedom is? Freedom is when you have no fear”.
At night when I sleep at night and awaken in the morning, death is often in my mind, whether consciously or not. All of life is a lesson in letting go. Every time we experience a loss of some kind, whether in relationship, work, friends, even when we fondly but sadly remember something of the past, we are experiencing letting go in the unceasing flow of time. This is a topic of many more medium essays! Let’s all continue the dialog! We’re all going to die. Nobody gets out alive, so we should collectively try to be in this consciousness. A greater death awareness would transform our current humanity into a better humanity. Why are we so afraid to open up to each other about it? By closing up in silos, we deny ourselves the most fundamental essence of our humanity. Let us laugh, cry and bond together to celebrate and honor our collective condition.