death. fragments.

date. 2021

city. new york city​

Image by m wrona

Scrap board

 

Say goodbye to something or someone 

Take a week off. Completely. Shabbos for a week. Heck, Shabbos for a day.

Write letters to each of my friends and family

Death encourages us to forget the future and look toward the past. 

Life as pregnancy / incubation / the Jews in the desert. Death is birth

Meditation as death.

Death is a story.

Add: ego death on acid. That’s okay. “I” will be okay. 

Make a death list. Add something that died each day 

History: everything which has already died / been destroyed.

Read the obituary section each morning. 

Each day is born, lives, and dies. 

It gets dark so I can see the stars. 

“What does Christ do, but invite us to live watchfully, as if we were about to die at any moment, and to adhere to the practice of virtue, as if we were destined to live forever?” - Erasmus 

Slipping into myself. Isolated. Sad.

The fear of annihilation passed from the World Wars into the Cold War into the ecological war. The fear is the same; it simply inhabits different bodies.

 

Let life melt away, like boiled flesh slipping off the bone, and what is left?

Death as a thing in itself 

Ask people what they think happens after death

Death is beautiful (check out the Quora page)


By insisting that death is beautiful, I am trying to cover it up, turn it into something desirable. Insisting that death is this or that is just another attempt to hide from what death truly is. 

Death is a going home 

What is the darkness? It is the unwelcome appearance of my deepest fears.

Cremation vs burial

Death has become lonely. And thus far more dangerous.

I never got to say goodbye to tzvi. I missed his funeral. 

How do I spend my last year alive? I fill it with celebration!

“In the beginning there was only one evil that had various aspects: suffering, sin, and death.”

Suffering lets the pain out. It lets the pain escape from within me. Psychological blood letting.

 

 

Humility

 

To be humble

Is to become immune to the opinions of the crowd.

 

It is to strengthen one’s self

Against the steady onslaught

of both praise and criticism,

Which meets one each day.

 

To be humble is not to be small,

It is not to crouch

Or cower.

It is to stand up

Tall

And become the largest person in your world.

 

Staying true only to your self.

 

No ideas of me

Will ever reflect

My true self.

[Words can only reflect

The experiences they capture.

I cannot be captured.]

 

My soul is

an infinite source

Of surprises.

 

 

Give and Take

 

Life is but a question.

Death is its answer.

 

 

Darkness

 

I used to think that the idea

Was to stay up late into the night

Breathing in the darkness.

 

I now understand that

Darkness only suffocates.

 

One should give oneself up at dusk

And slip into a deep sleep.

 

Sleep alone

Accepts the darkness.

 

There are two kinds of darkness:

That which contains absolute terror.

And that which contains absolute nothing.

 

Evil vs. nihilism

Satan vs. the devil

Absence vs presence

Too much vs nothing at all.

 

And so two kinds of depressions.

That which desires nothing.

And that which fears everything.

 

 

Ash Wednesday

 

The body consumes itself.

The World According to Garp

-- I wish I knew you when you were fifteen
I wish I knew you when you were five.
I wish we grew up together as kids.
That was I could see you as flat chested and watch as your breasts grew.

-- You’ll get to see my breasts sag, my teeth fall out, and my hair turn grey. It’s not as exciting but…

-- Our youth is gone, isn’t it?

-- Mhm

-- How about that? I’m thirty. Dirty thirty.

————

-- Do you miss writing?
-- No, not at all. But if I do, I’ll start again. You know what I really love though? Thinking about everything. How we met and all that. 
-- We can’t live in the past.
-- But I can live in the present and think about the past. 
-- You’re supposed to do that when you’re old and grey.
-- Oh to hell with that. When I’m old and grey I probably won’t remember my past. You’ve got to be young when you do it. It’s really nice you know. To look back and see the arc of your life and it’s all connected. How you got from there to here. See the lines, you know? It really has been an adventure. 

Death Instinct

  • Against the desire to live, there is an equal and opposite desire to die.

    • In my own case, barely a day goes by where I’m not tempted to just let go, release, return, sinking back into the beckoning arms of warm earth. How much longer before my energy runs dry? I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. But what’s the alternative? Depression is no fun either. I find myself caught between exhaustion and restlessness. A desire to die and the need to live. I guess that’s where faith comes in.

    • Decay reveals itself as the residue of joy.

 

  • Durkheim, Suicide. Page 218. He claims that in ancient times suicide was far more palatable than a natural death. “According to them, death, passively awaited, is a dishonor to life.”

    • In other words, the rejection of death is a cultural performance.

    • See also, Philippe Ariès’ The Hour of our Death.

 

  • Thus Baron Bunsen writes to his wife: "Nothing is near but the far; nothing true but the highest; nothing credible but the inconceivable; nothing so real as the impossible; nothing clear but the deepest; nothing so visible as the invisible; and no life is there but through death.”

 

  • Bryson, The Body: “Before we move on, Ben examines the wrist more closely for a moment. ‘You shouldn't ever try to kill yourself by cutting your wrists, by the way,’ he says. ‘All of those things going in are wrapped in a protective band called a fascial sheath, which makes it really hard to get to the arteries. Most people who cut their wrists fail to kill themselves, which is no doubt a good thing.’ He is briefly thoughtful. ‘It's also really hard to kill yourself by jumping from a height,’ he adds. ‘The legs become a kind of crumple zone. You can make a real mess of yourself, but you are very likely to survive. Killing yourself is actually difficult. We are designed not to die.’”

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“There you are then, I thought, that’s what is waiting for you, 20, 30, 40 years hence: that is how the lucky ones die, the ones who live to be old. One wants to live, of course, indeed one only stays alive by virtue of the fear of death, but I think now, as I thought then, that it’s better to die violently and not too old. Natural death, almost by definition, means something slow, smelly, and painful.” - George Orwell

 

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“I was required to exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur for realities of little worth.” - Mary Shelley

 

“I had desired it with an ardor that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” - Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

 

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“Like one who, on a lonely road,

Doth walk in fear and dread,

And, having once turn’d round, walks on,

And turns no more his lead;

Because he knows a frightful fiend

Doth close behind him tread.” - Coleridge, Ancient Mariner

 

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Autumn was created to show us just how beautiful death truly is. Just how necessary, comforting, peaceful, restorative, it can be.

 

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CS Lewis: page 73, the focus on ritualizing death and thus preserving, might be a way of keeping the dead dead. Not allowing them to come back to life.

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I know you don’t want to talk to me anymore, and I respect that. I won’t bother you more than I already have. I just wanted to say that I’m sorry and thank you for standing up to me and my words. You showed me, with your words and your actions, that what I said and thought is not okay. I’ll try my best to be better. I know you wanted to have a nice time and I'm very sorry for ruining your night with my behavior. Take care. I hope that the lesson you taught me will sting for as long as it takes. Most of all, I’m sorry I hurt you.

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The sunset is so beautiful tonight.

But more beautiful still

Is the look on your face

As you turn

To gaze in awe at the sky.

 

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Country of eternal light

 

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To write is to confess.

And what is prayer but a confession of our deepest loneliness.

To confess, then, as to write, is to become intimate with our unbearable solitude.

 

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As I sat upon my garden bench,

A large yellowed leaf fell

From the tree overhead.

I burst out crying.

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The Tibetan Book of the Dead:

 

How pitiful is the view which dualises ‘higher and lower’,

When the center is free from higher and lower!

How deluded we have been in clinging to the dichotomy between higher and lower!

We confess this transgression within the expanse of the secret place, which is free from higher and lower.

 

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There is a small land

Between desire and suffering

Of which the Buddha knew not.

It is in that place

That one meets god

And the world.

We have a name for that country.

We’ve all visited at some point.

It’s a land called love.