Saturday, August 10, 2013

Where Is Death?

The problem, I see, is this: science and medicine have advanced to the point where bodies can be kept alive past the point where the mind gives out, but not yet to the point where the mind can be kept alive to the same extent as the body.

So where is death? Is it at the point where the heart, and thus the body, gives out? Or is it where the mind gives out?

I believe death happens when the mind gives out, but I do not feel any aversion or competition towards those who lean in the other direction; I respect their right of choice. I believe live ends when the sense of identity fades, disappears, and/or significantly diminishes. I feel that is the point at which mourning should take place.

That is why I feel no compulsion or sense of obligation to visit those in "waiting houses." Retirement homes is not an applicable or appropriate term, because many minds are surviving well beyond retirement. In truth, they are waiting homes, filled with people with diminished minds and/or diminished bodies, waiting for the other one to fail so that they can move onward.

If you don't mind the cruelty (if you do, skip this paragraph), call them ice floes, where the Inuit once sent their elderly who had passed beyond the point of being useful to the community. I do include being able to pass down knowledge but unable to hunt within the realm of usefulness, and am not suggesting in any way that once the body is gone, even if the mind remains largely intact, that their degree of contributiveness (if I may coin such a term) becomes negligible.

This is why I feel no need to mourn, though the husk of my grandfather has passed this past week. His mind has been gone for months, and at that point, I did my dutiful mourning.