Of death


Cicero writes in his disputations

…..it must follow, then, that death cannot be an evil; or that it must rather be something desirable; for if either the heart, or the blood, or the brain, is the soul, then certainly the soul, being corporeal, must perish with the rest of the body; ….

He then asks

What shall I say of Dicearchus, who denies that there is any soul? In all these opinions, there is nothing to affect any one after death, for all feeling is lost with life, and where there is no sensation, nothing can interfere to affect us.

I don’t know about you, but as for me, having no coherent idea of what the soul is and having had no prior idea of life on earth before I was born, the future life doesn’t interfere with how I live today.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

23 thoughts on “Of death

  1. Arkenaten says:

    Exactly! Why fret about something (dying) you have almost no control over?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. john zande says:

    Law has proposed an interesting philosophical question: An Argument For Animal Extinction, which begins “Might a good philosophical case be made for – as painlessly as possible – bringing to an end all sentient animal life on planet Earth (with a few exception – e.g. pets and humans)?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hariod Brawn says:

      But flowers and trees have feelings and thoughts too, Prince Charles said so. And I’ve personally had many interesting conversations with trees; only last week, one on Brexit (it was a Treemainer Beech). So what does that all mean? I don’t know.

      Liked by 2 people

      • john zande says:

        It’s true, plants do scream. Frank Kühnemann at the Institute for Applied Physics in Bonn discovered in 1998 that plants not only experience pain through the depolarisation of voltage-sensitive ion channels (organic structures akin to nerve cells in higher organisms), but when under stress they generate a sound by releasing gasses such as ethylene under high pressure. Inaccessible to human ears, Kühnemann noted that “The more a plant is subjected to stress, the louder the signal we get on our microphone,” and this ranges from a low ‘bubbling’ moan when subjected to drought conditions, to an impossibly high-pitched shriek when being hacked apart. A scream.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Hariod Brawn says:

          Thanks John, I went and looked-up a couple of articles. Seems also that some fruits are not keen on being shipped around with a rotten one amongst their members, even though they’re physically separated — presumably that can’t be an effect of ethylene?

          ‘Feelings in humans are mental states representing groups of physiological functions that usually have defined behavioural purposes. Feelings, being evolutionarily ancient, are thought to be coordinated in the brain stem of animals. One function of the brain is to prioritise between competing mental states and, thus, groups of physiological functions and in turn behaviour. Plants use groups of coordinated physiological activities to deal with defined environmental situations but currently have no known mental state to prioritise any order of response. Plants do have a nervous system based on action potentials transmitted along phloem conduits but which in addition, through anastomoses and other cross‐links, forms a complex network. The emergent potential for this excitable network to form a mental state is unknown, but it might be used to distinguish between different and even contradictory signals to the individual plant and thus determine a priority of response. This plant nervous system stretches throughout the whole plant providing the potential for assessment in all parts and commensurate with its self‐organising, phenotypically plastic behaviour. Plasticity may, in turn, depend heavily on the instructive capabilities of local bioelectric fields enabling both a degree of behavioural independence but influenced by the condition of the whole plant.’

          Source: https://doi.org/10.1111/pce.13065

          Liked by 2 people

        • makagutu says:

          I don’t want to be near a screaming plant

          Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      A similar question has been asked before- not extinction of all sentient beings- but who decides who to go? In the movie God on Trial, a father was given a choice to choose among his three sons whom he would want saved?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You have no coherent idea of what the soul is because no coherent idea of the soul exists.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I suspect Cicero’s conception of the soul (Latin: animus) is more primal and missing much of the metaphysical baggage it subsequently picked up over the centuries.

    His view on death resonates with, and was probably influenced by, the Epicurean view: “Death is nothing to us; for that which is dissolved, is without sensation, and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Eric Alagan says:

    Oh Cicero, dear Cicero
    Death like his twin sister, Birth – is natural.
    Evil is a human construct.

    So said the mendicant.

    And the people shook their fists and yelled and threatened to stone him out of the village. For the mendicant had dared to disturb their bliss.

    And the mendicant dusted his sandals and left the acropolis of Blissland.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. renudepride says:

    My Kenyan brother, that summation makes perfect sense to me. After all, if I was nothing before I was born, then why shouldn’t I be nothing when I die. Naked hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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