Meeting Death

I understand Death, I think.

In a previous post I touched on how giving in to your innate desire to dominate other people prevents you from creating everything that makes human beings special among all the animals. In future I want to talk about the other ways empathic morality makes you distinguishable from an unconscious being.

Today I want to talk about death.

When a person tortures another person, they are getting more from it than information or a wage from their employer. They enjoy the feeling of power and control over their victim, and how their victim’s suffering makes them act according to the torturers’ will. This triumphant feeling can only exist if the torturer is hurting someone that might conceivably be able to hurt them back, in the same way you can only enjoy a victory if you were up against someone who was capable of beating you. To enjoy dominating other people, you must feel that you are in a sense as vulnerable to suffering as they are – otherwise, why not brutalize a glass of water?

In seeing another’s suffering, you acknowledge your own frailty. In taking joy from killing another person, you acknowledge your own mortality.

Death makes everyone powerless. Many people who love power imagine that they will never die or that through death their spirit may persist so that they can continue feeling power over others for the rest of time. But in the moments when the body dies and the brain cells that supported things like memory and senses go whirling to destruction, everyone is alone – unable to hear the cries of loved ones or remember the heaven in their holy book – alone with their own character.

A person who has empathy for all people, whose personality has suppressed the instincts of abuse, will not be uncomfortable with being powerless. A moral person who takes joy in watching other people flourish alongside them will not struggle in their last moments. But a person who loves power and hell will spend their last moments on earth very horribly, unable to torture anyone but themselves.

I want to ask you a question. Is this a
Good
thing, an expression of universal justice, or a great
Shame
?

Your answer does not matter to the world, and neither does mine. But I think it’s a shame.

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