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A conversation with Death

by Pedro Fonseca
(to read the original in Portuguese click here)

Death: Did you call?
Man: No! No! Itís not my time to die yet!
Death: I know, itís not that; but there was something you wanted to ask me about death, wasnít there?
Man: And you came to reply?
Death: Yes! Things are a bit boring around here, little service you know, at this hour.
Man: Well, I really would like to know: why do we have to die? Why donít we live forever and ever, eternally?
Death: Everything that has a beginning must have an end. Didnít you see The Matrix?
Man: But do you also watch movies?
Death: Only Kung Fu movies, in fact, I was a little disappointed with The Matrix. Well... I must be going...
Man: Wait a minute! Werenít you going to explain me what death was, or why it exists?
Death: But why do you thing Death exists? Wouldnít death be the End, Inexistence after all?
Man: Wait a minute! Who is answering questions anyway? Just tell me what Death is and lets be over with it.
Death: Death is what happens in every fleeting moment. Watch, there it goes! Did you see it, the fleeting moment? There it goes again, and again, and again...
Man: Hummm...
Death: There you go: you just died, just now, there: you died again, and now again, you died again, again, did you saw it?, just now, again!
Man: Look, are you mocking me around? Are you really Death..., you??
Death: You have an idea of a continuity, mainly because of your memory, of your cognitive structures, that lead you to concoct an ďIĒ an ďyouĒ, but in reality all of that is dissolved away in each fleeting moment. You can see this in senile persons, or that have deep memory problems. They donít actually have a personality, because by forgetting their past, they forgot who they were. But they are no more dead then you are, the difference is that you are able to imagine that you have an I who has existed for 20 years. But you do not exist for 20 years, you just exist in the now, and it has passed already, and now it has passed again, and again.
Man: Well, that means that all those fantasies about life after death are just that, illusions (the man says, with a very unhappy face).
Death: The moment is eternal!
Man: And what the heck does that mean?!
Death: It means you always exist.
Man: Man, am Iím going to break your nutty nose! Even now you were saying that I was practically dead already, no matter what, and now you are telling me that I am Eternal!
Death: (grinning in glee) What enthusiasm! So you want to know which part of you will remain, donít you? But the answer has already been given!
Man: . . .
Death: ďAll that has a beginning has an endĒ.
Man: . . .
Death: Therefore, you will only have an end if you did not have a beginning, or, more precisely, if there is a part of you that exists, even if only in a dormant state, since all of eternity.
Man: Are you sure?
Death: No! That was just what Iíve heard. In fact, I havenít really heard about it, itís more an idea from that movie, The Matrix. Doesnít it sound interesting?
Man: What?! Look, if I wanted to talk about the Matrix I would have called a movie critic, if I called Death it was because I thought you had something interesting to say, after all do you want to reveal what you know, or donít you?
Death: What I know you also know. After all, after death there is what there was before life, donít you remember?
Man: Donít I remember??
Death: Donít you remember?
Man: I can only remember things since I was three years old or something like that, before that time it is very difficult to remember whatever it is.
Death: Can you think without a brain?
Man: Look... if this is something like the Matrix...
Death: No, now Iím serious! Can you think without the brain?
Man: How do you want me to know something like that?!
Death: Everything that depends on your senses, your language, your culture, your linguistic and logical abilities, your mathematical skills, all those things have been given to you, by your culture, and depend on your brain, which, deep down, is your interface with the world. But, is there something that does not depend on your brain?
Man: Well, probably YOU do not depend on my brain!
Death: You are mistaken, because Iím talking to you in a certain language, if I were to talk you in Portuguese you would not understand, therefore, I am the way you have to tell your brain what you already know. You are trying to program your brain, with the help of a make -up character, a fantasy, but which tells you things that you ďknowĒ to be true, or that you ďfeelĒ that are true, but that do not fit in your culture, passed on by traditions: traditional, scientific or foreigner. I am a character made up by you, to tell you what you already know spiritually but ignore conceptually. Concepts are what your brain is capable of understanding and working with, your spiritual side is what is beyond your ordinary consciousness, but which senses and anticipates the larger reality, of which you, as a spiritual being, are a part and apprehend.
Man: Uhauu! Spectacular!
Death: On the other hand, the fact that I am a figment of your imagination makes all I can say quite unreliable, donít you think? In fact, how do you know you are not deluding yourself?
Man: Yes, I understand!
Death: Do you see . . . ? (behind the words)
Man: Yes, Freedom.
Death: Exactly, but (almost) no one else understands!
Man: It is true! But do we want them to understand?
Death: They already know, on the inside. But they are scared, because, through acceptance, many doors will open, and it is a windy world, easily able to take us to curious places, places where we cannot know, in advance, if want to be in or not. Or if we have sufficient art to handle.
Man: I donít have to teach anyone!
Death: You donít have to teach anyone. Everyone knows everything already. All that is needed is to accept what they feel. To look realistically, truthfully, without masks, to their hearts and everything will be revealed.
Man: Everybody already knows everything!
Death: Now then, youíre starting to look like those weird religious programs on tv.
Man: Well, anyway, so what is there after death?
Death: Iím going to explain it to you: You are familiar with Heisenbergís uncertainty principle, right? According to that principle when you know with absolute certainty the action of a particle (moment/movement/speed), you cannot know its position and vice-versa. In our psychological experience something similar occurs: when you try to understand something really well, impartially, from every side, everything gets very clear, but then many possibilities seem opened, each one with a particular set of advantages and disadvantages. By the contrary, when you ďwake up the animalĒ, when you ďjust do itĒ, you go straight to the heart, you are only agitation, movement, and the vision is lost in that moment of pure action, pure initiative, pure agency. Now you see, when people are dead their action ability is minimal. Their vision has a much wider scope. By the contrary, when they ďbreak intoĒ the world, they gain a great capacity for action and intervention in passing affairs, but that ability blinds them to what would seem to be utterly obvious when they were dead (blind by the senses Ė one here and now separated from the whole). It is like a breathing movement. On one side, by dying, you gain vision, on the other side, by being born, you gain the ability to intervene. But the ideal would be to have both of these abilities simultaneously, which means, having an associated body but still remembering the world beyond, or alternatively, being dead but being able to influence somewhat the world of the living (the so called angels or something like that). There, simple, isnít it?
Man: Címon, arenít you embarrassed of telling such ridiculous tall tales?!? Just imagine that someone would believe you? Then what?
Death: Then? Well you would be the one to have to untangle yourself from it! Look, Iíve got to go, thereís a guy over there on its last legs. This one lived for years ensnared by the desire to dominate, a dictator of the weak, now, that he is dying, he is in love with pain, as he was in life. He goes, straight like an arrow, to the arms of whoever best manages to give him suffering, because that is what he can see. It is the desire that brings him, like a leash, to the place where he can learn.
Man: Man!! From now on, instead of calling you Death, Iím going to call you the great confabulator. Because you really are nothing but a story teller, you know!!
Story teller: Well, see you next time then!
Man: eeeehhh, donít be such a portent of ill omens! I hope it is will be very far away!!

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