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SAMRIDHI CHAWLA

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Why do we die until we want to die & until we have lived our lives fully? What is beyond that?

While I appreciate the various questions raised in the conversation titled "Questions no one knows the answers to", I would ask one more question. It is something that deals with us directly and most closely and it is - why do we die?
It is not that I had not seen people die before, but last year I saw my grandfather die. It was only on loosing someone so close that made me question life. I was a lot more close to him then I was to anyone in my family. He meant so much to me. He had sacrificed his whole life for his family. He had never even boarded a plane! I was scheduled to give my exams and we had thought once I clear them well & get a job, with my earnings,we'll roam the world, enjoy life. He would always be proud of my academic accomplishments, even though to the world and to me they were simply average. To me his death was untimely -irrespective of his health conditions. It was the death of our dreams, how could his life end when he had not lived it fully, before he wanted to die? It makes me question why do we die, until we want to die & have lived our lives fully? Wwhat happens after that? For about a month and a half, each night I would wait to see him, to see his soul, until I had to face the reality & get back to life, get back to studies. I always believed we just have one life and we must live it fully, but today I hope my grandfather would have taken rebirth and this time would able to fulfill all his dreams. Its a thought to convince myself, to continue with my own life.
But at the same time I fear what if I too face the same fate? It's said we all have a purpose in life, a path. But have you not seen too many people die without living their life? What happens to their path, their purpose? At TED we have our speakers who have accomplished so much in their lives, to us they are the people with a purpose in life. What about the purpose, the path of an ordinary man?
Irrespective of the number of opinions, there's no answer to this question.

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  • Mar 15 2012: A limited life time gives each organism time to pass or fail the tests of natural selection and pass on the relevant information to their offspring while working within the constraints of limited resources. Without selection and death, there would be no evolution - life as we understand it would simply not exist - and we would have starved a long time ago.

    Since developing intelligence we not only pass on chemical information, but ideas and behaviors. Chemical information gets passed to our offspring, but other information, call it memes if you like, can be passed on to anybody - even after death. In fact, I think the rituals surrounding death - the communal gathering, the eulogizing - seem like ideal and efficient mechanisms for these memes to be transferred between organisms linked to the dead person.

    Grieving is a complex process - and I often feel that as a civilization we are getting worse at it than we used to be. The words we use to describe death, the clinical way in which we deal with corpses, the commercialization of the process - detaches us further from what is the inevitable end to the life of every organism on the planet.

    Often unexpected, sometimes unnaturally, but it is an inevitable and essential part of the life whose purpose is simply to exist with the bodies and minds we inherit to see what might happen.
    • Mar 15 2012: Quoting Jonathan: "but it is an inevitable and essential part of the life whose purpose is simply to exist with the bodies and minds we inherit to see what might happen". This seems so parse. We live all our lives with so many different experiences to come to an end with just that limited purpose? Simply to exist?

      We have an opportunity to develop relationships during our lives and it is the nurturing of those relationships that is a mighty bedrock of purpose of life. We die because we are not immortal; our bodies wear out.

      Samridhi, you did not say if your grandfather was ill, but we may assume he died of old age.

      We are wise to build quality relationships while we live, to increase our love for one another, to serve one another, to help people develop a good concept of living and then prepare our minds for the next level of life on a higher plane of existence. This love learned in life is to extend to all human beings; we are to learn all humanity is valuable. We have so much to learn for us to overcome war, hate, prejudice, jealousy, procrastination, cynicism, laziness, and more. We die because we have had a chance to advance ourselves for improving and for helping others. We die because we, like tadpoles, must emerge into a new life like a frog emerges from a former self. We die because we must move onward through a plan of continuing life beyond and toward goals of achievement required by the Mysterious One.

      Our lives vary widely in experiences and education. We are not equal in opportunities, but we are equal in value of personhood and personality. We will be recognized upon reawakening in the next life for the good we do for one another here on this earth.

      A grand and glorious purpose for life is slowly revealed as we gain wisdom and look to the Mysterious One for guidance. Our memories of good value will be retained for us. No human being controls such gifts as these.

      Peace,
      Mark K.
      • Mar 15 2012: I agree with you sir. As you say, it is a lot about building quality relationships while we live, to increase our love for one another, to serve one another, to help people develop a good concept of living and then prepare our minds for the next level of life on a higher plane of existence. All these things although important to us take a back seat when we are young. I believe this becomes a lot more clear when we approach old age.
        What you have written is a lot of what he had done all his life. Though I always valued my grandfather's thoughts and ideals, I have a stronger determination to follow them after loosing him.
        Thank you for your valuable response.

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