Experience diary: about death and how it is changing
Ever wondered why everyone is dying all of a sudden? More so now than ever, because of the simple fact that plenty of people I know are actually dying, and that is nothing out of the ordinary as I know many, many people. Simple explanation is, yes the more people you know, the more deaths you will encounter. Which is exactly what I think is what’s happening.
Just like everything else, how people experience death of others has transformed tremendously to a point where it might create a huge shift in the general way we used to perceive the deaths of others. In the following paragraphs, I would like to share the only two key factors:
1. The number of public figures:
Simply put, we never had as many famous people before as we do now. As the world started feel smaller and more connected, information started to flow faster, the number of people known to public sky rocketed. Hence why we have more celebrities now than ever before. We know the names and faces of strangers, and sadly enough, these famous strangers are mortal too. So they die, just like the rest of us; randomly, expectedly, accidentally, and in every other way. We get more emotionally connected to these figures we grew up watching as kids. They grow older to die as we grow up, and we find ourselves loosing our childhood dream-makers every now and then. Some of these famous strangers have touched us emotionally, so the knowledge of their death unsettles us. Just like the thought of the casts of ‘Friends’ or Bob Dylan dying.
2. The number of people we are connected to:
Technology has made it easier for us to connect, discover and reconnect. This is off-course because of telecommunication, internet, social media platforms and all other usual suspects. Meaning, the average number of people that we are introduced to, or have met, has increased incredibly. Not only do we meet new people, we stay connected even in a non-interactive way. For example, there are people we may have met once but we see their pictures pop up on our social media platforms every now and then. So inevitably, we are aware of their existence and vise versa, in a bizarre way. Then, unfortunately they die too, just like members of our family do, just like our friends, relatives, family friends and etc. Sometimes we get the news from somewhere and we go like - oh my god! I saw something he/she posted just the other day …
In terms of our own death; despite the subject of death still being ever so mysterious, we have some edge of knowledge now at-least to make sense of timing of death, like we can almost see some sort of pattern. Comparing to any other time, we have a higher amount of medical information available at our fingertips. The monumental amount of medical discovery that we have now, can at-least give us a sense of predictability of natural deaths. For example, we now have more awareness of how we die in heart diseases vs. cancer and have a sense of range of lifespan for different medical condition and so on. To clarify further, a downhill passenger with heart disease most probably knows for a while that it is going to be that - something heart related that will end the saga, if that makes sense.
Now the question is, how does the massive and ever increasing number of deaths affect ones personality, behavior and the overall perception of death? If it at all does affect anything? Are we becoming more rational than emotional towards death? Does the mourning phase last as long as it used to or does grief become a temporary disruption? In the future, will we even be sad or shocked at all when we loose someone?
I guess there is only one way to find out.