Kevorkian croaks

Over the past few days, since the demise of the infamous “Dr. Death”, I have been wondering if he got as much out of his death as he had hoped.  Kevorkian had a morbid fascination with death and though few of us are as obsessed as was the doctor, we all share some of his fascination.  After all, we are all destined to follow him – sooner or later.
The existence of an afterlife might be experienced but the lack of one can never be experienced.  This leaves us, accustomed as we are, to experience only experiences and not their absence, assuming that there is an afterlife.
As for the nature of such an afterlife, by force we cannot imagine it outside the confines of time.  Is time a creation of our own minds?  Animals are born, live and die but we have no idea how they experience time.  We do know that younger people perceive the passage of time more slowly than older people.  Boredom and suffering seem to stretch it out.  If so, can our minds experience “eternity” in a moment under the right circumstances?  If billions of subatomic particles can exist on the head of a pin, who’s to say that an eternity cannot exist in an instant?
As we grow older, most of us come to realize how insignificant we really are.  There is nothing unique or irreplaceable about us.  Hopefully, by the time death comes knocking at our door, we will have internalized this truth and our demise will be of little consequence.  For what it’s worth, the “I” will live on as the particles that formed it” to begin with; when it comes down to it, there really is no static, definable “I” anyway.  This concept, though not new to me, was brought home forcefully through the book “Living to Die” by L.B. Kelly.  Kelly shows, through cold science, how after-death experiences fall short as evidence of a surviving soul.  But then, using Buddhist concepts, she shows the reader that there is really nothing to fear from death after all.  It’s a strangely comforting book.
I found this on a blog called sammyangels:

And then I heard him talk about a form of meditation called “Dying before you die”, practiced by Sufis. And something clicked. It made sense. You come to peace with the fact that your mind and body, and with it this material world, will come to an end. You will die. You will be forgotten. And everything you ever accomplished, everything you ever created will be lost.
With (sic) this means is that you allow your ego to die before your time in this world is actually up. All your fears will disappear. You will no longer take life so seriously. You would come to peace with what is.
It’s not like we have much of a choice in the matter, so we might as well make peace with it.  I wonder if Kevorkian did this.

I don’t pretend to be a philosopher, or to imagine that the above ideas are original.  I’m certain they’ve been written down before – perhaps as examples of folly.  But the death of a man so famously fascinated by death brought back many of my own thoughts about death and though I had misgivings about publishing a post as unoriginal as this one, sometimes I like to just share my thoughts, original or not.

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5 Responses to Kevorkian croaks

  1. > But the death of a man so famously fascinated by death
    I think SOCIETY is fascinated about death. It is so fascinated, it forces people to suffer profoundly, for years, in terrible health even though they plead to be left to die.
    And if they are allowed to die, they have to die suffering, they are allowed to die slowly of hunger or drown in lung fluids. Active help to die, that is the right of every dog or horse, is usually not allowed to humans.
    Dr Kevorkian just brings back self-determination and freedom. He tries to UNDO society’s obsession about death.

  2. DipsoDan says:

    Had you ever read about Jack Kervorkian prior to his death? You seem to to think you have a real handle on who he was and what it was he was doing. The nickname “Dr. Death” he had been tagged with sneeringly had absolutely nothing to do with what he was and what he did. He was a doctor who actually cared about people not just when they were in hope-filled years of their lives but when the only hope left was to die as comfortably as possible and with dignity. I have sat with a friend in the final days in a hospice and was thankful that friend had comfort and some peace of mind, even though knowing the end was at hand.
    A dying person may not necessarily feel pain because medical science has provided pills or injections to alleviate physical suffering. A Priest or Pastor can perhaps alleviate the pain of worry and fear to some extent, and maybe family and friends can provide companionship until the last few breaths are consumed. But if those who have no hope that the pain will soon be over, no Faith to lean upon with the knowledge that soon open arms of angels and perhaps loved ones will be beckoning and has nothing to do but watch the clock slowly, slowly mark the seconds that may be weeks or months until at last the final breaths. For those hopelessly waiting for death, there was at least one man who wanted to help end the suffering.
    We don’t allow horses to suffer when the end is inevitable and we put dogs “out of their misery” as the humane thing to do. How could anyone not have the compassion to do what Jack did? And Jack knew he was probably going to forfeit his freedom to help the dying leave on their own schedule, but he was a doctor who did what doctors are supposed to do, stop the dying from suffering any longer than necessary. Rest now yourself Jack, your work is done and a job well done.

    • jewamongyou says:

      I read some of his work, but not much. I did not condemn him. I only wrote that he had a fascination with death – which I think is accurate. Perhaps I should not have used the word “infamous”. As for “morbid”, I think it’s appropriate and I did not mean to be judgmental by using it. In this post, I used Kevorkian’s death as a segue to write my own thoughts on death. At any rate, you are right that I should have written more carefully regarding him. My apologies.
      For the record, I agree with human stupidity that people should be allowed to end their own suffering when they choose.

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