You don't have to look very far back in history to find cultures that celebrated and walked eagerly towards death. Mostly due to a full bodied belief in an afterlife and continued evolution after death which is also a birth. And if they weren't walking eagerly towards it, they at least were at peace with it, many cultures around the world practicing a laying out period after death so community and family members could say goodbye, with death being a lot more present and visible in every day life.
Just off the top of my head, I remember reading about Thai monks who laid their dead peers in huts to decay slowly, while they meditated on the process of decomposition. There are so many elaborate and ritualistic burials, from Tibetan sky burials to Indian funeral pyres to Egyptian pyramids to Celtic cairns and mounds to massive Chinese monuments to Viking burials in longboats to the Mexican Day Of The Dead to the Indonesian tribe that enbalm their dead and bring them out for festivals to sea burials practiced by sea folk all over the world to Roman mausoleums and catacombs to Tribal cannibalism...............we've collectively dealt with death in a myriad of ways.
In terms of actively seeking death most especially through battle, we've got the Kamikaze, the Bezerkers, the Celts, the Aztecs, and the Mongols, just to name a few. All diving into the afterlife with strong ideas about the bountiful lands, rewards and loved ones to reconnect with on the other side.
And in our modern day, we have widespread Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and New Ageism, all with their differing theories on death and the afterlife making up a large part of their focus, which gives their faithful peace around death and where they are going.
At least you would hope so!
But is this the case in our pandemic fear filled days? I can't speak for the non western religions, but as for Christianity and New Ageism in our western world, I'm not seeing a lot of peace around death and the afterlife. I'm seeing a panic and terror leading people to take strong and rigid stances on one side of the fence or the other, and allowing a yawning chasm of a divide to stand between friends, family and communities.
In recent years, we've been led down an angry and divisive path, led by a mainstream media that's tightening their ownership, stranglehold and censorship on the world wide web, and every other form of media they can lay their hands on. We were taken in baby steps, through Climate Change, then the Yes vote, then the Me Too movement, then the Transgender movement, then Black Lives Matter........taking a brief interlude for wildfires to ravage the world, both physically with brutal fires in the Amazon, Australia, America, and many other places you would never think it could happen, and spiritually, with protests happening in just about every country, gaining in strength and momentum, which led to Time magazine proclaiming 2019 the Year Of The Protest........till we arrived at the Pandemic.
All of these movements - Climate Change, Yes vote, Me too, Transgender, Black Lives Matter and Pandemic - are explosively divisive and full of anger, fear and projection. All of them can sometimes feel like the only conversations being had, no matter where you are in the western world, and often result in statements like "If you don't agree with me, you're a total waste of space and breath and unfriend me right now." All create extreme polarity between view points, being either the mainstream belief or 'the other'. Alternative beliefs or Mainstream beliefs that have quickly became lumped in with everything else associated with them, to form an amorphous blob of either Conspiracist or Sheeple.
And whichever of the two you choose to identify with, you are choosing your stance based on loving your family and wanting the best for them, and making the very best decision you can based on your life experience and knowledge. Both sides believe equally they are thinking of the good of other people and trying to save the world. And both sides being completely terrified about the mega scale death they are convinced will ensue, if the other side doesn't listen to 'The Truth'. Which everyone seems to know these days.
Personally, as an adept of Newtons Third Law, of every action having an equal and opposite reaction, as well as of Heraclitus, who proclaimed that every pair of opposites is a unity, as it's the dynamic interplay between the two that sparks evolution and growth........I'm firmly entrenched in the middle ground. From my life experience, most recently bumping into Leukaemia as an organic off grid dweller, I've found that paradox really is the nature of the universe, and truth lays in neither but both extremes being true. The extreme polar ends are both right and wrong, and in acknowledging that, I can take what makes sense to me from both of them to fashion a path forward. I know from experience, that as shit as it gets is also as great as it gets, and that is always going on.
Which of course doesn't mean that I don't get filled with fear and worry and overwhelm at the state of the planet, but coming back to the point I was trying to make at the start, at least I'm not terrified of death. And I'm getting quite good at finding the equal and opposite to it.
I've decided for myself that the best thing I can do in a world that can seem at times overrun with destruction, is to create. So in the spirit of that, here is my visual and word manifesto on Birth, Sex and Death.
And here are the words spoken......