SPOTLIGHT: The Assumption of Death by Anthony David Vernon

One May Counter –
Is it not the case that everyone that has ever lived has died? Are you lying in a casket? Have your ashes been placed into a Folgers can? Are your bones assembled in some public high school? Is your flesh being eaten by the worms or the vultures? If you have not died how do you know you are going to die? You are not everyone else. You assume that you will die because others like you have died. But just because others like you have come to their demise does not necessitate your own death. Spinoza wrote, “I know that I shall die. I believe this because I have found that other men died, even though they do not all live the same length of time or die from the same disease.” However, is it not fair to say that this sort of belief could be a when there is smoke there is fire situation.

Funerals Are For The Living
Funerals are for the living not the dead. Despite always being the guest of honor, the dead have never attended a funeral. It is only the living that attend funerals and go about the rituals of death. The dead do not experience death, the dead experience dying. It is the living that experience death.
Funerals are thought of as for the dead, but the dead do not partake. Sure, when the dead were living they may have had requests about the nature of their funeral. However, these requests go about in a living fashion. Some of the dead made living requests because they want their funeral to go a certain way, acting as macabre event planners. Yet, the dead make these plans knowing they will not show up to the event. The dead may want to be honored, celebrated, or remembered in a particular manner, but that is just for their hopeful living ego. This hopefulness is utterly decimated upon dying. The dead will not experience their honoring, remembrance, celebration, or any other emotion had here after them. The emotions had at funerals are living emotions. When the living to be dead think about their funeral they think of the actions of others, others that will be living unlike them.
The dead do not need funerals, what for? Funerals are a living ritual. The ritual of the funeral does not affect the dead, it only affects the living. The dead will have no memories of their funeral, but the living will. Only the living could have invented the funeral. What do the dead care of their funeral? They are dead. Only the living can care about funerals. Those at a funeral are not concerned about the dead. Why have concern over that which cannot be concerned? The funeral is a living concern. Funerals are not for the dead but for the living.

The Horse Thief

– A sage was traveling on a country road by horseback. Hiding in a bush along the road was a thief armed with a bow and arrows.
When the sage came to the thief’s bush, the thief jumped out of the bush, aiming his bow and an arrow at the sage. Without concern or care, the sage got off his horse and surrendered his horse to the thief. Then the sage continued to walk down the country road as if nothing had happened.
This confused the thief so much that the thief unthreateningly approached the sage and asked, “How come you seem not to care that I took your horse?”
The sage answered, “I would have lost my horse one day anyways; perhaps someone else would have stolen it, maybe it would have eventually runaway, and even if it stayed with me for the rest of its days, it will certainly die on its last day.”

Guilt Is A Pleasure
Guilt is a form of pleasure. People get addicted to guilt as they would get addicted to a drug. Guilt generates catharsis. This catharsis from guilt is masochistic. The guilty gains pleasure from whipping themselves with their guilt. But wait, does guilt not teach one what one has done wrong? Does guilt not help people to not return to what they have done wrong? No, guilt only exacerbates what one felt guilty for. Because guilt derives pleasure, the guilty will do what made them feel guilty time and time again. This is how guilt becomes addicting, people become addicted to the feeling of guilt. When addicted the guilty will do whatever to generate that feeling of guilt like a druggie looking for a fix. The acts that cause guilt are simply convenient means to an end, that end being guilt itself. Guilt is pleasurable because it diverts loathing into masochism. Rather than being burdened by their loathing, the guilty obtains a sensuality masochistically and becomes dually pleasured by the relief of losing a burden. Guilt transforms a burden into a pleasure.

Not Even An Immortal Is Needed
Not even an immortal themselves is needed to destroy the assumption of death. Just the possible ability to gain immortality would carry out the destruction of the assumption of death. Perhaps the keys to immortality are yet to be found, are being kept secret, are currently unusable, are not being used, or as Hu-tzu said in a reply, “There are some people who know the principle of a skill and yet cannot apply it. There are some people who can apply the principles without knowing what they are. There is nothing unusual about someone who can pass on a theory but not the applications. Therefore, it is not unreasonable that mortals can posses information about immortality.”[1]


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