Tag Archives: décès

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Life is full of contradictions.

I am attending a research retreat on mindfulness and contemplative practices at the beautiful Garrison Institute. I am learning a lot of interesting things, and meeting a lot of like-minded and excellent people – the kind of people with whom I could have deep conversation about the unreal nature of reality, unlike most people from other walks of life would politely and tactfully excuse themselves when I get a bit unreal.

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Twilight Years

At some point in our life, we come to accept the fact we are closer to death than life. What lies ahead is definitely less significant than what is left behind. These are the twilight years, and I have come to accept them. With darkness descending over the horizons, and the long shadows of misspent years and evaded human conditions slithering all around me, I peer into the void, into an eternity of silence and dreamlessness. Il est almost time.

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Mort et le deuil

Certains événements récents m'ont invité à revenir sur cette sujet mal à l'aise — pourquoi ne nous pleurons quand quelqu'un meurt?

La plupart des religions nous disent que le parti, s'ils étaient bien dans la vie, finir dans un meilleur endroit. Donc deuil n'a pas de sens. Si le défunt était mauvais, nous ne serions pas pleurer quelque manière.

Même si vous n'êtes pas religieux, et ne croient pas en une âme éternelle, la mort ne peut pas être une mauvaise chose pour les morts, car ils ne sentent rien, parce qu'ils n'existent pas, qui est la définition de la mort.

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Robin Williams

J'étais aussi surpris que tout le monde quand j'ai entendu les nouvelles de suicide apparent de Robin Williams. Je voulais écrire quelque chose à ce sujet parce que je suis fan ardent de son travail. En fait, Je suis un fan de tous ces gens talentueux qui peuvent faire rire les autres, à partir de Ted Danson de Cheers à Jon Stewart du Daily Show, et dans tous les f.r.i.e.n.d.s entre.

Il obtient également m'a fait réfléchir. La plupart d'entre nous veulent être riches et célèbres. Mais l'argent et la gloire ne semblent pas être assez pour garder tout le monde heureux. Pourquoi donc? Comme d'habitude, J'ai une théorie à ce sujet. En fait, J'ai deux. Je vais partager avec vous deux, mais gardez à l'esprit que ce ne sont que les théories d'un blogueur irréel, sans plus. Les théories malgré, maintenant, Je me sens profondément triste, presque comme si Robin Williams était quelqu'un que je connaissais et souciais. Il est ridicule, bien sûr, mais quelque chose au sujet de son âge (et comment il est trop proche de la mienne), la soudaineté de sa mort, et le fait qu'il nous a fait rire aux éclats, fait sa chose se séparer d'une perte personnelle.

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Pride and Pretention

What has been of intense personal satisfaction for me was mydiscoveryrelated to GRBs and radio sources alluded to earlier. Strangely, it is also the origin of most of things that I’m not proud of. Vous voyez, when you feel that you have found the purpose of your life, it is great. When you feel that you have achieved the purpose, it is greater still. But then comes the questionnow what? Life in some sense ends with the perceived attainment of the professed goals. A life without goals is a clearly a life without much motivation. It is a journey past its destination. As many before me have discovered, it is the journey toward an unknown destination that drives us. The journey’s end, the arrival, is troublesome, because it is death. With the honest conviction of this attainment of the goals then comes the disturbing feeling that life is over. Now there are only rituals left to perform. As a deep-seated, ingrained notion, this conviction of mine has led to personality traits that I regret. It has led to a level of detachment in everyday situations where detachment was perhaps not warranted, and a certain recklessness in choices where a more mature consideration was perhaps indicated.

The recklessness led to many strange career choices. En fait, I feel as though I lived many different lives in my time. In most roles I attempted, I managed to move near the top of the field. As an undergrad, I got into the most prestigious university in India. As a scientist later on, I worked with the best at that Mecca of physics, CERN. As a writer, I had the rare privilege of invited book commissions and regular column requests. During my short foray into quantitative finance, I am quite happy with my sojourn in banking, despite my ethical misgivings about it. Even as a blogger and a hobby programmer, I had quite a bit success. Maintenant, as the hour to bow out draws near, I feel as though I have been an actor who had the good fortune of landing several successful roles. As though the successes belonged to the characters, and my own contribution was a modicum of acting talent. I guess that detachment comes of trying too many things. Or is it just the grumbling restlessness in my soul?

Pursuit of Knowledge

What I would like to believe my goal in life to be is the pursuit of knowledge, qui est, sans doute, a noble goal to have. It may be only my vanity, but I honestly believe that it was really my goal and purpose. But by itself, the pursuit of knowledge is a useless goal. One could render it useful, par exemple, by applying itto make money, in the final analysis. Or by spreading it, teaching it, which is also a noble calling. But to what end? So that others may apply it, spread it and teach it? In that simple infinite regression lies the futility of all noble pursuits in life.

Futile as it may be, what is infinitely more noble, à mon avis, is to add to the body of our collective knowledge. On that count, I am satisfied with my life’s work. I figured out how certain astrophysical phenomena (comme gamma ray bursts and radio jets) work. And I honestly believe that it is new knowledge, and there was an instant a few years ago when I felt if I died then, I would die a happy man for I had achieved my purpose. Liberating as this feeling was, now I wonderis it enough to add a small bit of knowledge to the stuff we know with a little post-it note saying, “Take it or leave it”? Should I also ensure that whatever I think I found gets accepted and officiallyadded”? This is indeed a hard question. To want to be officially accepted is also a call for validation and glory. We don’t want any of that, do we? Puis à nouveau, if the knowledge just dies with me, what is the point? Hard question indeed.

Speaking of goals in life reminds me of this story of a wise man and his brooding friend. The wise man asks, “Why are you so glum? What is it that you want?”
The friend says, “I wish I had a million bucks. That’s what I want.
“Bien, why do you want a million bucks?”
“Bien, then I could buy a nice house.
So it is a nice house that you want, not a million bucks. Why do you want that?”
Then I could invite my friends, and have a nice time with them and family.
So you want to have a nice time with your friends and family. Not really a nice house. Pourquoi donc?”

Such why questions will soon yield happiness as the final answer, and the ultimate goal, a point at which no wise man can ask, “Why do you want to be happy?”

I do ask that question, de temps en temps, but I have to say that the pursuit of happiness (or happyness) does sound like a good candidate for the ultimate goal in life.

Bilan de l'

Vers la fin de sa vie, Somerset Maugham a résumé son “plats à emporter” dans un livre justement intitulé “Le Bilan de l'.” Je pense aussi envie de résumer, de faire le bilan de ce que j'ai réalisé et tenté de parvenir à. Ce besoin est, bien sûr, un peu idiot dans mon cas. Pour une chose, Je rien fait clairement par rapport à Maugham; même en considérant qu'il était beaucoup plus vieux quand il résume son affaire et eu plus de temps à atteindre les choses. Deuxièmement, Maugham pourrait exprimer son point de vue sur la vie, univers et tout bien mieux que je ne le serai jamais en mesure de. Ces inconvénients malgré, Je vais essayer de répondre à moi-même parce que j'ai commencé à sentir la proximité d'une arrivée — un peu comme ce que vous ressentez dans les dernières heures d'un vol long-courrier. J'ai l'impression que tout ce que j'ai prévu de faire, si j'ai réussi ou non, est déjà derrière moi. Maintenant, est probablement aussi bon moment que tout me demander — qu'est-ce que je me mets à faire?

Je pense que mon principal but dans la vie était de connaître les choses. Au début, c'était des choses physiques comme les radios et la télévision. Je me souviens encore le frisson de trouver les six premiers volumes de “Radio de base” dans la collection de livres de mon père, bien que je n'avais aucune chance de comprendre ce qu'ils ont dit à ce moment-là. C'était un frisson qui m'a pris par mes années de premier cycle. Plus tard, mon objectif est passé à des choses plus fondamentales comme la question, atomes, lumière, particules, la physique etc. Ensuite, sur l'esprit et le cerveau, l'espace et le temps, perception et la réalité, la vie et la mort — questions qui sont le plus profond et le plus important, mais paradoxalement, le moins significatif. À ce stade de ma vie, où je prends le point sur ce que j'ai fait, Je dois me demander, était-il la peine? Ai-je bien, ou ai-je mal?

En regardant ma vie jusqu'à présent maintenant, J'ai beaucoup de choses pour être heureux, et peut d'autres que je ne suis pas très fier de. Les bonnes nouvelles d'abord — J'ai parcouru un long chemin depuis un où j'ai commencé. J'ai grandi dans une famille de la classe moyenne dans les années soixante-dix en Inde. Classe moyenne indienne dans les années soixante-dix serait pauvre à tous les standards mondiaux sensibles. Et la pauvreté était tout autour de moi, avec ses camarades de classe qui abandonnent l'école pour s'engager dans des tâches subalternes de l'enfant comme la réalisation de la boue et des cousins ​​qui ne pouvait pas se permettre un repas carré par jour. La pauvreté n'était pas une condition hypothétique qui afflige les âmes inconnues dans des contrées lointaines, mais c'était une réalité douloureuse et palpable tout autour de moi, une réalité je me suis échappé par chance aveugle. A partir de là, J'ai réussi à récupérer mon chemin à une existence de la classe moyenne supérieure à Singapour, qui est riche par la plupart des normes mondiales. Ce voyage, dont la plupart peuvent être attribués à la chance aveugle en termes d'accidents génétiques (comme l'intelligence académique) ou d'autres coups de chance, est intéressante en soi. Je pense que je devrais être en mesure de donner un tour humoristique sur elle et le blog en place un jour. Bien qu'il est stupide de prendre le crédit pour les gloires accidentelles de ce type, Je serais tout à fait honnête si je disais que je n'étais pas fier de l'être.

How Should I Die?

I have reached the age where I have seen a few deaths. And I have had time to think about it a bit. I feel the most important thing is to die with dignity. The advances in modern medicine, though effective in keeping us alive longer, may rob us of the dignity with which we would like to go. The focus is on keeping the patient alive. But the fact of the matter is that everybody will die. So medicine will lose the battle, and it is a sore loser. That’s why the statements likeCancer is the biggest killer” etc. sont, to some extent, meaningless. When we figure out how to prevent deaths from common colds and other infections, heart disease begins to claim a relatively larger share of deaths. When we beat the heart disease, cancer becomes the biggest killer, not so much because it is now more prevalent or virulent, but in the zero-sum game of life and death, it had to.

The focus on the quantity of life diminishes its quality near its tail end due to a host of social and ethical considerations. Doctors are bound by their professional covenants to offer us the best care we ask for (provided, bien sûr, that we can afford it). La “best careusually means the one that will keep us alive the longest. The tricky part is that it has become an entrenched part of the system, and the default choice that will be made for usat times even despite our express wishes to the contrary.

Consider the situation when an aged and fond relative of ours falls terminally sick. The relative is no longer in control of the medical choices; we make the choices for them. Our well-meaning intentions make us choose exactly thebest careregardless of whether the patient has made different end-of-life choices.

The situation is further complicated by other factors. The terminal nature of the sickness may not be apparent at the outset. How are we supposed to decide whether the end-of-life choices apply when even the doctors may not know? En plus de, in those dark hours, we are understandably upset and stressed, and our decisions are not always rational and well-considered. Lastly, the validity of the end-of-life choices may be called into question. How sure are we that our dying relative hasn’t changed their mind? It is impossible for any of us to put ourselves in their shoes. Consider my case. I may have made it abundantly clear now that I do not want any aggressive prolongation of my life, but when I make that decision, I am healthy. Toward the end, lying comatose in a hospital bed, I may be screaming in my mind, “Please, s'il vous plaît, don’t pull the plug!” How do we really know that we should be bound by the decisions we took under drastically different circumstances?

I have no easy answers here. Cependant, we do have some answers from the expertsthe doctors. How do they choose to die? May be we can learn something from them. I for one would like to go the way the doctors choose to go.

DeathLast Words

We all have some genetic logic hard-coded in our DNA regarding death and how to face it — et, much more importantly, how to avoid it. One aspect of this genetic logic perplexes me. It is the meekness with which we seem to face the prospect of death, especially violent death. In violent situations, we seem bent on appealing to the assailant’s better nature to let us be. With apologies to those who may find this reference offensive, I’m thinking of the millions of people who marched quietly into the night during the holocaust, par exemple. Given that the end result (décès) was more or less guaranteed whether they resisted or not, why didn’t they? Why is there such a motto asresist no evil”? Why the heck not?

Bien, I know some of the answers, but let’s stack some cold and possibly inappropriate logic against these vagaries of our genetic logic. If a Bengal tiger attacks you in a forest, your best chance of survival would be to stand up and fight, I would think. It is possible, though not likely, that the tiger might consider you too much trouble and give up on you. I know the tigerologists out there would laugh at me, but I did saynot likely.” En plus de, I have read this story of an Indian peasant who managed to save his friend from a tiger by scaring it off with a stick and a lot of noise. My be the peasant was just lucky that the tiger wasn’t too hungry, nonetheless… Anyhoo, I would have thought the genetic logic in our DNA would reflect this kind of fighting spirit which may improve our survival rate. Appealing to the tiger’s better nature would be somewhat less effective, à mon avis.

A similar meekness is apparent, I reckon, in our follow-the-crowd attitude toward many things in life, including our notion of morality, happiness etc. I suspect these notions are perhaps so complex and taxing to fathom that we let our intellectual laziness overtake our desire to know. My own thinking seems to lead to a dark symphony of aimlessness and lack of ethical values. I am desperately trying to find a happy note in it to wind up this series with.

La “troubleis that most people are moral, ethical and all-round decent folks, despite the existence of death and their knowledge thereof. It is silly to dismiss it as meekness, lack of intellectual effort etc. There must be some other reason. I don’t think I will be able to find this elusive reason before the end of this series. But I have to conclude thatliving everyday as your lastdefinitely doesn’t help. Si quoi que ce soit, it has to be our blissful capacity to ignore death that brings about ethical rectitude. Perhaps the other motto ofliving in the present momentis just thatan appeal to ignore the future where death looms.

Death has the effect of rendering our daily existence absurd, comme Sisyphus’s work on rocks. It really does make the notion of existence so absurd as to force one to justify why one should live at all. This dangerous line of thinking is something that every philosopher will have to face up to, at some point. Unless he has some answers, it would be wise to keep his thoughts to himself. I didn’t. Mais alors, very few have accused me of the vice of wisdom.

Does the World Go on?

Notwithstanding the certain rupture in the continuity of consciousness due to death, or a less certain rupture in that of a soul, we have another uninterrupted flowthat of life and of the world. This flow is the end result of a series of projections and perhaps the work of our mirror neurons. Permettez-moi de vous expliquer. Nous savoir that the world doesn’t stop just because someone dies. Most of us middle-aged folks have lost a loved one, et, pour all the grief, we know that life went on. So we can easily see that when we die, despite all the grief we may succeed in making our loved ones feel through our sheer good deeds, life will go on. Won’t it?

It is our absolute certainty about this continuity that prompts us to buy huge life insurances, and somewhat modulates the risk-reward analysis of our moral actions. I am not going to deny the existence of this continuity, tempted though I am to do just that. I merely want to point out certain facts that may prevent us from accepting it at its face value. The evidence for the world going on after our death is simple, too simple perhaps: We have seen people die; but we live on. Ergo, when we die, other people will live on. But you see, there is a profound difference between somebody else’s death and votre décès. We are thinking of death as the end of our consciousness or mind. Although I loosely group your mind and my mind as “notre” mind in the previous sentence, they are completely different entities. En fait, a more asymmetric system is hard to imagine. The only mind I know of, and will ever know of, is my own. Your mind has an existence only in mine. So the demise of my mind is literally the end of your mind (and indeed all minds) aussi. The world does come to an end with my death, quite logically.

This argument, though logical, is a bit formal and unconvincing. It smacks of solipsism. Let’s approach the issue from a different angle. As we did earlier in this essay, let’s think of death as dreamless slumber. If you are in such a state, does the world exist for you? I know the usual responses to this question: Of course it exists; just because you cannot feel it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Vous savoir it exists, and that is enough. Maintenant, who is this tu that knows?

Therein lies the real rub. Once you cease to have a consciousness, be it thanks to sleep or death, you lose the ability to experience everything, including the existence of anything (ou l'absence de). Maintenant, we can take the normal approach and just assert that things have an existence independent of your experiencing it; that would the natural, dualistic viewyou and everything else, your experiences and their physical causes, cause and effect, action and reaction, et ainsi de suite. Once you begin to doubt the dualistic worldview and suspect that your experiences are within your consciousness, and that the so-called physical causes are also your cognitive constructs, you are on a slippery slope toward another worldview, one that seriously doubts if it makes any sense to assert that the world goes on after your death.

The world is merely a dream. What sense could a dead man’s dream possibly make?