The world around us never bestows upon us the rarefied state of peace. It is all too easy to lay blame on those who share our existence. Yet this only serves to distance us further from the emancipation we seek. When my father departed this earthly realm, the stories of orphans that permeated our community were a poignant reminder of our shared humanity. It was as if I had just purchased a black Volkswagen Passat, only to notice the multitude of similar vehicles on the road. Watching people navigate the tumultuous waters of grief, some finding solace in Christ while others succumbed to the depths of despair, was a sobering experience. Thomas Mann On Death reminds us of deaths immense.
Ultimately, the pain consumed those who sought to ignore it. Spiraling into a maelstrom of anger, confusion, and self-destructive behavior that wreaked havoc on those around them. To avoid being consumed by it, we must have the bravery to confront the pain head-on. The sudden realization that life is a fleeting, ephemeral experience in the wake of my father’s passing was a clarion call to seize the day. But when this same knowledge was thrust upon my peers, their hearts were seized with a sense of dread. For beneath all their actions lay an unwillingness to accept the inevitability of death. Thomas Mann On Death says:
Permit me, permit me, my good engineer, to tell you something, to lay it upon your heart. The only healthy and noble and indeed, let me expressly point out, the only religious way in which to regard death is to perceive and feel it as a constituent part of life, as life’s holy prerequisite, and not to separate it intellectually, to set it up in opposition to life, or, worse, to play it off against life in some disgusting fashion–for that is indeed the antithesis of a healthy, noble, reasonable and religious fire.
The ancients decorated their sarcophagi with symbols of life and procreation, some of them even obscene. for the ancients, in fact, the sacred and the obscene were very often one and the same. These people knew how to honor death. Death is to be honored as the cradle of life, the womb of renewal. Once separated from life, it becomes grotesque, a wraith–or even worse. For as an independent spiritual power, death is a very depraved force. Whose wicked attractions are very strong and without doubt can cause the most abominable confusion of the human mind.
Thomas Mann On Death recognized the limitations of human existence and the inevitability of death. He believed that humans must accept the reality of mortality and strive to live meaningful lives despite this fact. He also believed that individuals had a responsibility to contribute to society. And to work towards creating a better world. Recognizing that the pursuit of individual happiness could not be divorced from the larger social and political context. Continue reading Thomas Mann On a meaningful life.