the fear of death and the need of metaphysics

Yesterday a terrible accident happened on the Swiss highway E62. 28 people died, of which 22 were children the age of 12. This accident is close to me, in many ways. Some victims lived nearby in Leuven(B), and I must have met them unknowingly when doing groceries or walking through the city. Moreover, I have often been on that highway where the accident happened. In august 2010 my family and I visited the place where the victims departed from.

It seems that the closer we feel to something of this scale, the more disturbing it becomes.

I’m learning to recognizing the patterns: 2 years ago a commuter train crashed. I could have been on that train. I did take it often. 18 people died. Our neighbour’s daughter in law survived the crash, but was terribly injured. The child that was in her belly at the time of the crash is now still under special care. The woman herself still walks on crutches.

And I documented in an earlier blog thinking of losing control about what happened in my brain when Breivik shot more than 70 youngsters in Norway in the summer of 2011.

So here we have 3 terrible events in a recent past, that i feel/felt involved, and where i was more or less aware of what was going on inside me.

When this happens I feel sadness and anger at the same time.  
Sadnes for the loss of live, anger for the cause of the accident.
Anger is a resistance against the unpredictability of life.
Sadness is there for the goodbyes never exchanged, for the potential hellos not ever being exchanged, and for any other potential that is now barred from ever developing.

On a day like yesterday it is better not to talk to me, but such is of course unavoidable. I live in a family, and work in a society.
However, i see that my reaction to such events is easing up over the years.
Yesterday i let most of the feelings run their way while being in nature. Writing about it, what i’m doing now, is to totally get rid of it.
Two years ago, with that traincrash, i had arguments with my wife, and with my father about i-don’t-remember-what. And it took some time to repair things. All because the extra energy inside me that had no place to go to.

Where do those feelings of anger and the sadness come from?
And are anger and sadnes related to each other?

6 months ago i wrote: “Very deep inside, the issue was about losing control.”

If i dare to go one step deeper, I see that anger for losing control means ultimately the fear of death. Death is uncontrollable, it comes when it wants, not when we want it. And it is unavoidable.

The sadness for loss of any potential of that other person is somehow a fear of being lonely.  “Each of us travels alone. No one else can always keep us safe.” (Gail Sheehy, Passages (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1977) and the fear of being lonely is a fear for not being safe, which is in the end also a fear of death.

When death approaches, we don’t want to be part of it, we will not accept it. And then the mind has found a way to remain in control even during and after death: METAPHYSICS

Stanford university website says the following. Metaphysics: It is not easy to say what metaphysics is. Ancient and Medieval philosophers might have said that metaphysics was, like chemistry or astrology, to be defined by its subject matter: metaphysics was the “science” that studied “being as such” or “the first causes of things” or “things that do not change”.

Buddhism teaches that suchness is empty. In its phylosophy everything changes which is called impermanence, and there is no first cause of things, there is a flow of causes and effects.

Regardless, even this is metaphysics, because even when we see that those three buddhist assumptions are probably correct, there is and never will there be any empirical proof.

The mind will conceptualize any metaphysica, even the buddhist one. These concepts keep the mind at ease during times of turmoil. It prevents the mind from crashing or getting caught in a loop, as computers do when we divide the number zero by itself. Mind feels safe and in control.

When i read the writings of contemporary enlightened masters like Linda Clair, Roger Voorhoeve or Harada Tangen Roshi I notice that they never talk about God or afterlife, and barely mention Karma. And when they talk about karma it seems to be another something for them as for most of us, or for most hindus or for most buddhists.

Enlightened masters don’t need constructs of the mind to defend themselves against death. Their Mind has already died when they got enlightened. They finaly overcame the fear of death during their own lifetime. That makes them utterly free.

It’s obvious that i’m not free.

Maybe this blog is just a way of remaining in control even when death catches up with me?”


2 thoughts on “the fear of death and the need of metaphysics

  1. Thank You Charley,your comparison hits the nail on the head.But as unpredictable as the weather might be,people listen to the weather forecast,and many of them will wear clothes according to what they heard the evening before, without first looking outside the window.

  2. I've never thought I didn't fear death. I'm suspicious of those who say they do not fear it.Acceptance of death is something else entirely. Its not to banish anger or banish fear – the idea is to accept them, recognize them and therefore master them.A cold, rainy day is a cold, rainy day. When you've left your umbrella and boots at home you will be uncomfortable. You can't "conceptualize" the weather away. You can only pretend that you are not wet, cold, and uncomfortable.But you can accept it – for tomorrow or next week the weather will change. Your wetness and coldness are impermanent. They will change.We accept it as it is.

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