Question of death

Hm… some small thoughts from my discussion with a good friend of mine: maybe the question of death should precede the question of life.

If we take the question of death as seriously as the question of life, then maybe we can say that we have started off with a wrong starting point in our search for our personal meaning in life. Most of us take our current situation as the starting point from where we try to find ways to alter our current situation into happier states. Maybe, in order to gain true happiness, we should start with the undeniable fact that one day we will die. It’s the surest thing that will happen to us so why not simply accept it. Once we accept it, we don’t feel the need to deceive ourselves anymore in fairytales of after-lives, of God, of any other metaphysical being or otherworld. Then, by being conscious of death and being free from death anxiety, we can finally accept ourselves as ultimately responsible for our own lives. It’s empowering as it places tremendous power into our own bodies.
Camus’ existential statement that “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide” then suddenly may be not very far out of place. He might have seen that the question of death should precede the question of life as well.

Ultimately Being’s being-towards-death creates the awareness of the possibilities of existence. In order to be aware of these, one must be aware of the possibility of nonexistence – hence being aware that one day we will day and not exist anymore.

Authentic existence is awareness of the possibilities of being-relations, and the awareness of the metaphysical significance of death. Inauthentic existence is grounded in preoccupation with actuality. It is not aware of our eventual death, it does not see the importance of possibility, and is therefore extremely dull and poor.

Heidegger Death and pettiness of life


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