What happens to a society during a pandemic when Death is a taboo subject?
Being alive at this very intense and interesting time has made me explore many things. Theories, ideals, philosophies, science, conspiracies etc. Yet what I have come to through all of this madness of completely contradicting opinions and knowledge is the importance of Death.
Death, especially here in New Zealand from what I would call a mainstream point of view is a very taboo subject. It is something we are all trying to actively avoid, and people who start getting close to death, whether that be through illness, accident or old age; are kindly shunned to the side by our society as we tend to look the other way and put these people in a box on the top shelf so the rest of us can live our so called vital lives.
Death is seen as game over, as darkness, the place where life is over. The end.
This is not to say each individual experiences death like this, yet the collective ideal (or mainstream ideal) from a macro point of view, is that death is the end, and that anything or anyone that is in the process of dying is seen as something to avoid, not something to desire or even seek to understand. We basically lock our old and sick away, without hearing these people share, we miss the profound perception shifting insights that facing death can offer. In fact in many cases these people who may be having what we call ‘paranormal’ experiences are explained away as ‘brain activity’ or ‘the system shutting down’. Leading to the assumption that they are crazy and are ‘losing touch with reality’.
Of course dying people are losing touch of reality, they are leaving this reality. The issue here is we, collectively have been trained to look down at this behavior, to see it as something lower or less than what we experience, in our ‘Vital living reality’.
All in all, death is seen as finite and something we should all be trying to avoid. I think if we as a culture were honest, we could admit that for many years we have not looked after our vulnerable. In fact, we mostly just try to hide these people to keep the focus and attention on youth, vitality and high energy. The focus is on productivity, busy-ness, doing more, earning more, learning more, more, more more. There is little to no mainstream focus on dying or shifting the tone of life to a slow pace, turning inward, or to seek a profound personal understanding of what the world might mean, what your spiritual beliefs are and how you understand the great (and only transition) Death. Death is your sacred birth right and could be given positive, loving and curious attention. Death, as most all indigenous, spiritual, philosophical cultures have known, can be trained and done with much loving, conscious attention. We really owe it to ourselves to ask - why does our current culture/society and mainstream systems (media, education, medicine etc) want to keep death in the dark? Who benefits from this?
Now let’s take a moment to consider what’s happening globally, and yes in New Zealand. The fear of dying is currently at the forefront of our collective attention, whether anyone realizes it is or not. When we look at fear, it manifests in many different ways and can lead to anger, rage, micro policing, jealousy, frustration, mis-understandings, not listening, being passive aggressive, feeling anxious or depressed and the list could go on. I would go as far to say that any level of fear ultimately always comes back to the fear of death.
If death were understood as a beautiful profound transition out of this reality, how different would our world be? How different would our priorities be? How different would our relationships be?
How different would a pandemic be?
Let me be clear, I am not saying we should all be looking for death, or taking our own lives, or trying to make each other sick. What I am saying is that fear of dying, takes us away from living.
Using fear of death to control people, is not protecting people.
The irony of our pandemic times is the constant Fear based policing from our leaders and officials. (aside from the toxic micro-policing between the people)
The foundation for justifying these extreme actions such as lockdown have come from the ‘loving’ idea to protect our most vulnerable. This would be great if our leaders and systems actually took care of our vulnerable normally.
I don't mean to sound negative or dark; yet I can not take the leadership seriously. If our leaders, if our society actually gave a shit about our most vulnerable we would live in a very different way.
NOW, this doesn't mean that there are not hundreds, even thousands of heart centered, incredible people who dedicate their lives to looking after the vulnerable and doing everything in their personal power to see positive change in our systems. Yet how do these people get treated? How do they get paid? Do they get paid? And who benefits from this?
The reality is our world and our health systems are upside down, people get neglected, they get shunned, they die in non-loving ways and in many ways die when they didn't need to. These might sound like outrageous claims, but hey, prove me wrong. I am not saying this is the case for everyone, yet it is too common. This goes for how our systems are structured to support; certain socio-economic groups, the mental health sector, domestic violence victims, eldery people, sexual abuse victims, chronic pain sufferers, all those people who fall through the mainstream cracks, and the list could go on. Anything that does not fit into a certain box is kept quiet. The vulnerable are systematically neglected and they are still being neglected now.
Life is hard right now because of the unknown. Death is the greatest unknown. Take the time to reflect for yourself on the question,
Who benefits from the fear of death?