Death is the road to Awe
The answers to everything we are looking for are right in front of us
In 2006, Darren Aronofsky released the film, The Fountain, a deeply introspective piece of work that highlighted the human struggle of understanding death, life and the search for meaning in the cruellest of illnesses, cancer. It was based on Darren’s own experiences in losing his father and friends along the way. The film features a piece of music written by Clint Mansell titled, Death is the road to awe, something quite powerful and poetic when you stop to think and truly comprehend what it means.
Death is largely overlooked in society. It’s the thing that happens at the end, the natural order, but we’d rather avoid becoming fixated on that in daily life, otherwise it would prove to be too distracting. If we had to think about it, we’d begin to question our reasons for being, every action, interaction and ultimately what does it all mean.
But death is unavoidable. It will happen to all of us. So shouldn’t we give it more thought? Inevitably all things die do, yet some things live again, like plants. It’s almost as if it was a cyclical process. A circadian rhythm. Yet what if the universe dies? Stars and planets die, so why not then the universe? Let’s reframe death, it may be holding us back from thinking about things in a different way.
Let’s say death is not the end, but in fact the beginning. A new beginning. We as humans understand the origins of life as the process of evolution and the creation of us humans as the fertilisation of an egg by sperm through the act of procreation. But we don’t actually know how it all began. We can go as far back the big bang, but after that, we just don’t know. So how could we possibly know what comes after death?
What if life and death are a cycle, the way in which all things in the universe are. Through a series of massive nuclear (or chemical) chain reactions the initial building blocks of the universe were formed, space itself went into hyper accelerated expansion and we began to see the dust particles of the cosmos begin to take shape. It eventually led to the creation of stars, planets and everything else. Yet these things have a date of expiration. At a certain points stars go supernova, exploding to release elements and particles that become the basis of new life. This process is repeated over and over.
We as humans, largely ignore death, its a “necessarily evil”, if we had it our way, we’d live forever right? Who wouldn’t want to live an infinite number of years wandering the stars and exploring in search of meaning, in pursuit of love, joy and happiness. Yet haven’t we stopped to think, maybe that’s not the answer. That maybe death exists for a reason? We don’t have the ability to see beyond death, but we do have some ideas, over time humans have pondered over the great question of, “what comes next?”, only to find we don’t have the answer. We don’t know. But in certain circles, in certain communities, they do have the answers, they do know to some extent what comes next, and they do have a reason and meaning for existence, because they have been informed by a higher form of guidance. An external force and power beyond our comprehension.
Death is not the end. There is far more yet to come.