On Death Essay

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One can imagine himself in another time and in another place, like England this spring or the beach this summer -- But death! Life, no matter the time and setting, the normal person can picture -- for there we are: whole, thinking, and partaking of life. But death! To be no more! It is a repulsive thought. Really, how can one possibly fit themselves into a situation in which they have no role, not even as an observer. How can one possibly contemplate a time when one is no more. To the whole idea of death our mind is like a repelling magnet. Most people -- more so when we are young -- do not believe that they will die. Freud found that "every man in his subconscious is convinced of his own immortality." But, believe it or not, death is the certain end for all of us. "We are," as Victor Hugo wrote, "All under sentence of death, but with a sort of indefinite reprieve." Death, to borrow words from Shakespeare, is a necessary end; it will come, when it will come. "It is as natural to die as to be born." (A process, Bacon might have added, which is no prettier nor more dignified.) And, though it be described as natural, death is something that we all worry and fuss about during our quiet times. What is it that we should think of as the "Dumb Hour" approaches. "You lean from the window, your last pipe reeking whitely in the darkness, your body full of delicious pains, your mind enthroned in the seventh circle of content; when suddenly the mood changes, the weathercock goes about, and you ask yourself one question more: whether, for the interval, you have been the wisest philosopher or the most egregious of donkeys? Human experience is not yet able to reply; but at least you have had a fine moment, and looked down upon all the kingdoms of the earth. And whether it was wise or foolish, to-morrow's travel will carry you, body and mind, into some different parish of the

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