Commemoration of the Faithful Departed

Memento Mori 8x8in oil on canvas by Brie Schulze

Though death is something everyone must face, we feel a strong instinctive conviction that it is something unintelligibly negative. The raw ugliness of it could kill our sense of purpose, so forgetting about it would seem to help us simply get on living. While the morose and morbid can become an unhealthy obsession, the fact of our mortality forces the way we understand and live life into perspective. If our capacity for life and activity ends with death, we have to wonder if what we are could somehow be greater than all our activity. Attempting to be happy requires some kind of activity – indeed happiness itself must be the kind of activity which makes existing meaningful and good. If the activity of happiness itself becomes impossible at death, our act of existing would contain an internal contradiction. So if we reject skepticism, and hope to find the happiness that makes sense of our existence, we must also be certain this happiness is possible beyond death. Without that certitude, we are forced to ignore death, flee from it, or thrust ourselves into it prematurely out of despair. read more