When Do We Die?
Imagine a person sitting in a room full of people debating a subject. This person does not say a word. Does not express himself even in body language.
You would say that this person is not really there. He is physically there but that is all.
Now imagine the same room with the same people debating a subject and repetitively quoting someone. Is that “someone” in the room? Not physically, but otherwise he is fully engaged and “alive.”
May I suggest there are two ways to exist: physically and interactively.
Some people pass through life unnoticed. They have been here physically, but when they perish physically, they perish totally.
We die twice: once physically and the second time when no one remembers us.
Is Buddha alive? Not physically but interactively very much so. Is Jesus Christ alive? For sure. And Moses and even Hitler, with the rise of the neo-Nazis around the word.
How about Karl Marx? I would say he is either dead or dying.
To remain alive one has to do something memorable while physically alive. What is that something?
There is a difference between Hitler and Buddha or Jesus Christ.
One had a destructive impact. The other a constructive impact. Destructive means he preached and is still preaching destruction and hate through his work and followers. The other growth and love.
Neither can be forgotten but one is preferable to the other. And, may I also suggest that those who are presently and interactively offering love “live” longer.
However, there is more to this notion that we do not actually die. Physically yes, but interactively no.
We carry in our genes the style and physical characteristics of our ancestors. And, I suggest we also carry their fears and hopes. Which means they live through us; they are still “alive.”
There is a difference, however, between physical life and interactive life.
In physical life, we experience joy directly. Joy from the pleasure of food, intimacy, socialization, and intellectual stimulation. None of which we experience when we are only interactively present.
Or maybe, we just postulate we are not enjoying it anymore. Because none of us knows for sure what life thereafter offers?
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes