Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Task No. 7: Rebirth – Dying With Life Jung
At some level we all wonder what is this dream we call life, where is it going and does it matter?
So each of us has our own understanding of what death means to us so is there life after death, as some believe, or do we reincarnate as others believe or do we just cease to be? Whatever you believe, this task is designed to allow you to face and fully understand you believe will happen to you when you die
“Jung’s last task of aging, “Rebirth — dying with life," is a familiar theme throughout the religious genre, but he was not thinking religion when he framed that task.
Rebirth after dying with life transports a person into the timeless domains of an artist lost in his or her work or a child absorbed in play when living in the time of a delicious moment is all that matters.”
So here are some quotes from others who have looked at death and have perhaps some thoughts we should consider:
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.
Richard Dawkins, 'Unweaving The Rainbow'; Dawkins has stated on many occasions that this passage will be read at his funeral.
Shakespeare poignantly captures the timelessness that comes with rebirth in King Lear’s soliloquy to his daughter Cordelia in the time of their dying as though it were the time of their living for the first time:
…Come, Let’s away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i’the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we’ll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we’ll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who’s in , who’s out;
And take upon’s the mystery of things,
As if we were God’s spies: and we’ll wear out,
In a walled prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by th’moon.
—The Tragedy of King Lear, Act V/Scene 3
I believe this thought, of the possibility of death — if calmly realised, and steadily faced would be one of the best possible tests as to our going to any scene of amusement being right or wrong. If the thought of sudden death acquires, for you, a special horror when imagined as happening in a theatre, then be very sure the theatre is harmful for you, however harmless it may be for others; and that you are incurring a deadly peril in going. Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die.
But, once realise what the true object is in life — that it is not pleasure, not knowledge, not even fame itself, 'that last infirmity of noble minds' — but that it is the development of character, the rising to a higher, nobler, purer standard, the building-up of the perfect Man — and then, so long as we feel that this is going on, and will (we trust) go on for evermore, death has for us no terror; it is not a shadow, but a light; not an end, but a beginning! Lewis Carroll, Sylvie and Bruno (1889), Preface
Death is not the end. Death can never be the end. Death is the road. Life is the traveller. The soul is the guide. Sri Chinmoy, My Rose Petals (1971)
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement address (12 June 2005)
When you think of your own death, the fact that all the good things in life will come to an end is certainly a reason for regret. But that doesn't seem to be the whole story. Most people want there to be more of what they enjoy in life, but for some people, the prospect of nonexistence is itself frightening, in a way that isn't adequately explained by what has been said so far. The thought that the world will go on without you, that you will become nothing, is very hard to take in.
The fear of death is very puzzling, in a way that regret about the end of life is not. It's easy to understand that we might want to have more life, more of the things it contains, so that we see death as a negative evil. But how can the prospect of your own nonexistence be alarming in a positive way? If we really cease to exist at death, there's nothing to look forward to, so how can there be anything to be afraid of? If one thinks about it logically, it seems as though death should be something to be afraid of only if we will survive it, and perhaps undergo some terrifying transformation. But that doesn't prevent many people from thinking that annihilation is one of the worst things that could happen to them. Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987), Ch. 9. Death