What is Death?

When I asked my self " What is Death?" I realized that I can only get close to the question by looking at what death is in nature. My earlier comment is implicitly saying: I am not isolated from nature. I am nature…To use James words, I say: “living and the dying are interconnected” in me as they are in nature.
Apart from the biological death, which happens naturally in the body, every moment, what dies in me ?
Have I witnessed the death of anything that is mind created ?
I would say I did, it feels like the end of an illusion.

I don’t mind, James, you can edit my texts…it is actually very interesting to see my words rearranged by your mind.

Yes. My only hesitation is in the way you have phrased it here - that is, the notion of ‘righting a wrong’. Maybe it is silly of me, but this communicates a little too much of the Christian idea of “original sin”, which I find dogmatic (by association).

Original sin is a moral term, and I don’t view the ‘wrong turn’ that K and Bohm talked about in moral terms at all. Our human ancestors acted out of ignorance (their ignorance being an ignorance or unawareness of the nature of thought), and almost all human beings since then have continued or maintained that movement of ignorance.

So the very briefness of our lives (announced to us by the fact of death, or by our awareness of the fact of death) is an opportunity to wake up to our own ignorance, to see what is going on in the mind, in consciousness, and perhaps see that we are - just by being human beings - responsible for the whole content of human consciousness.

This responsibility is not a moral responsibility (as I understand it), it is merely our ability to respond, which depends on our awareness, our attention to what is going on in consciousness (an attention which is synonymous with love, compassion - compassion being passion for the whole of human consciousness, and perhaps animal consciousness too).

Yes. But not as an action to be done, to be carried out through prescription, correct? In understanding death - and love - it is implied that attachment is seen for what it is; and so any action that follows from this seeing, from this understanding (of love and death) is then without conflict, prescriptiveness, effort.

Yes. Which implies that death is natural for us, even though we feel an instinctive or conditioned revulsion towards it. Death is not evil or bad. Nor is death something to be sentimentalised. Death is at the heart of life, just as it is in nature.

Yes. Apart from the constant biological death and regeneration of the body (of the cells, of the organs, of the microbes in the organs, of our hair and teeth, of the replenishment of the brain through nightly sleep), and apart from the final irreversible organic death, what is involved in psychological death? What is implied by dying to things of the mind?

As you suggest, the death of an illusion is one form of psychological death. Perhaps the death of a strongly held belief, or the death of any strong attachment we might have (to things, people, ideas).

As Douglas says, maybe the ending of our attachment to our own individuality is the psychological death we most fear.

It’s strange how this identification to our individuality is so deep-rooted in us. We can see an instinctive refection of this in the animal world - no animal wants to die, to be parted from life. But nature doesn’t seem to mind the death of the individual. Nature immediately replaces individual animals and plants with new organisms, or with recycled energy and matter left over from the dead animal or plant. Nature seems more interested in the species than in the individual.

I think it was Schopenhauer who said that in nature death is for the species what sleep is for the individual, or what a blink is for the eye: just as vision continues despite the momentary blink of the eyelid, and just as the body wakes up each morning after losing consciousness in sleep, so the species continues even though the individual animal is lost.

But even though - like the animal, like the plant - we come from nature and are nature, we are limited by our psychological identification with the little ‘me’, and so we don’t ‘feel’ what nature ‘feels’ (i.e. nature as a whole). And so this is the psychological death we most fear.

Yet as K points out, the ‘me’ may be an illusion created by our thinking, by our lack of attention. In which case psychologically dying and awakening to our true nature may be exactly the same action. The door to life and the door to death may be the very same door.

Nor do I. For me at this point, the ‘wrong’ is the brain with thought, constructing an imaginary ‘individual’ in psychological ‘time’. The ‘wrong’ is that by doing this it has restricted itself, isolated itself and can’t realize its potential. The violence and brutality are just some of the results of this ‘wrong’.

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Death is an opportunity for there to be no longer ‘I’.

When K talks about “entering the house of death while living”, this seems to be what he had in mind.

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The other aspect of this is that the very impermanence of life, the inherent insecurity in life - which objective, outward death reaffirms (when we are aware of it) - means that if we strive to be secure at all costs, then we will always fail.

So there is a certain freedom in realising that we will never be perfectly safe or secure - we can then let life be what it is (and life obviously includes death). If we cannot be perfectly secure, then the seeing of this frees us from the ideal that we must be secure.

Am I (what I consider habitually as me) anything other than the need to control? As in this perpetual movement away from what is, to what should be. (security, progress)

Maybe, yes. But if death is unknown - as it is really (no one has come back to tell us exactly what happens, unless you believe what the Tibetans say) - then what is the meaning of control then?

We can control what we know, but we cannot control the unknown. So the mind that is needed to visit the unknown (if this is possible for the mind) cannot be in control of what happens.

In order to cross to the other shore, we must empty the boat and let go of the tiller - no?

Si (yes).
2 things come to mind:
The unknown is pretty much everything really (not just death) - the known being merely my world view, or conditioned beliefs.
How can I let go of me (and all that I know)? As in what provokes psychological death?

Yes, which means that if the brain isn’t questioning its every move, losing confidence in what it purports to know, it is doing nothing new.

So letting go of me, is the same as seeing what I am.

And denying what I am?

So have we mastered step 1 yet?
I hear that in order to see what I am, I must be free of who I am - warning! warning! Circularity!

Anyway denying or being free of who I am seems pretty key on this journey.

I think this is the practical side of death (of what death and dying means):

In order to live in the present and meet life anew, we have to continually die to the past (and the future). So we have to continually die to ‘time’ (in K’s language).

This is why K says that truly living is also dying (dying constantly to the past so that we can truly be present now).

So what does this actually mean in our life?

We are told that it must not be a method. As in, I have this intellectual understanding, so therefore I will attempt to enter into a certain relation with myself/my thoughts etc… (this of course still being motive and time) - I will observe myself, pay attention to my thoughts - whatever we think that might mean.

What does psy death look like in our lives?

I think we all experience partial “psy death”, on many occasions. It looks and feels like relief due to loosening of the bonds of past experience. That is, upon reflection the brain realizes why it has retained the pain or pleasure of a past incident, and that realization relieves the brain of its need to hold on to that content.

Yes, but the self-centered brain can’t help but strive for security by never being quiet. It’s a false sense of security, of course, but that’s what I is.

Also, as I’ve said previously, I still don’t know what K meant when he said that “the brain must have complete security”. Any thoughts on that?

Absolutely no fear whatsoever of even Death itself.

How can I not be frightened by it if you keep CAPITALIZING it! :scream:

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Everyone seems to have their own answer to this K-question.

Yeah, Mac, no need to SHOUT…we hear ya…

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