Monday, February 15, 2010

Some Thoughts

When we die we are like an unfinished sentence. Even if we say before our deaths that we are happy to die, ready to die, prepared for death, finished with life, we are still, I think, cut off without conclusion. The end of life is no conclusion, no culmination. It is a withering, a decay, a wilting into blankness, a loss of voice, a truncation or curtailment. Perhaps this way of looking at it is a symptom of my under-bubbling assumption that we are in some way – or that we should be – immortal. And perhaps this, in turn, is a symptom of my fear of death.

I think I may have vaguely assumed human immortality in order to calm myself. Because death does frighten me. It is the end of all events. When we sit idle but alive, we are still an event, no matter how idle we may try to be. Meaning can be read in the absence of action. Signs linger in the silence. Words that we have not said sit on our lips and lurk in our throats. When we do anything it finds meaning in the context of an infinite number of other things we are not doing. But when we are dead (and forgotten) our being, if there is any, finds context only in its opposite. We are “not living”. The dead thing is only interesting apophatically.

Of course, there will always be those tender souls who extend their care and interest to everything, those studiers of stones, inspectors of dirt, cradlers of waste, and the particularly rare investigators of the vacuum. But these are few and far between and even their gaze is not a familiar one, not a loving one. And so death begins as an aposeopesis. The voice of our being becomes silent. But since even silence can have life, it is only later that death ends in oblivion, when all is forgotten and wiped away and even the silence loses its voice.

1 comment:

Domi Walker, LDN, 24 (Writer) said...

Death beginning as an aposiopesis is a great notion.