I once met a 40-year-old man who had obliterated his own heart with a 12-gauge shotgun. Incredibly, he remained alive. Happy people seized him and worked ceaselessly to further this miracle of sustained agony. To their disappointment and his relief, they failed after three days.
Wasps, as you’ll notice, sting themselves through the face when injured. Dogs voluntarily dash themselves onto rocks from Overtoun Bridge in Scotland. Who can blame them? The urge to destroy one’s own organism is a natural inclination. Death, you imagine, is preferable to pain.
But you are wrong. You are seduced by the magic of death. You watch in awe as others die; the things they say, their sacred “last words,” are suffused with a golden light of divinity inaccessible to those of us firmly in the realm of life. Every gesture of the dying is imbued with meaning; a feeble cough reflects the gradual dissolution of a decaying cosmos.
Don’t be fooled by the dying. It is merely the mystery behind a distant death of your own that casts this artificial glow. The death of others is a play, a game, pure theatrics. Your own death will not be a mystery. Yes, it will mystify your friends and family, if you are lucky enough to have them. You, for once, will not be fooled. There is no relief in death. No ecstasy will surge through your body as the tension of existence relaxes. You will cease. You become nothing. Even the reward of watching in scorn as others grieve over your corpse is denied you. There is no final magic, no finale to the roiling opera of daily pain. Death owes you nothing, and you will receive nothing. There is no escape.
-C. M. Bartolomeo