Yule Stock Show Moon
Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. Rabindranath Tagore
Reframing is such a powerful tool. Tagore reframes death. Whether or not he’s right, and how can we know, the notion is a powerful one. The possibility of a new dawn after this life, what could it mean? No way to assess it. But just the idea is intriguing, especially when put against the judgmental metaphysics of most major religious traditions on the one hand and the nihilistic over confidence of latter day positivists like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens on the other.
The so-called new atheists are really metaphysical curmudgeons, still entranced by the bracing notion of nothing beyond this reality. They conclude that because the matter of metaphysics is beyond measurement, beyond sensory authentication that it is, ipso facto, non existent. This is a peculiar claim. That is, claiming the non-existence of something you cannot access admits, in and of itself, that the way of knowing that produces the conclusion is wrong for the question. Like the metaphysics of heaven and hell, moksha or nirvana, non-existence is not provable either. So, the big metaphysical question requires an agnostic position.
Tagore’s idea, like the analogy between life and death and the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly, depends on no dogma. It simply states an alternative possibility. The Otherworld in Celtic mythology had another existence beyond death, though characterizing it as a new dawn would not fit. It was more like a pale version of this world. Still, the hope that death is a doorway rather than a black hole has captured the imagination of countless humans over thousands of years.
Who knows? Perhaps your dying day will include a wakin’ up mornin’. It’s ok with me.