“Death sits on your left shoulder “— shaman Don Juan Matus, who author Carlos Casteneda claimed instructed him, back in the 1960s. Not sure that’s the actual quote, but it’s close. A message I have never forgotten. And actually, I didn’t even need to be reminded, since I have been fascinated with Death since childhood. Death as mystery. Death as the seeming state of being that remains when that which integrates, unifies, and sets direction through time of a particular material form — the life force we call it — or is this the soul? what is the difference? is there a difference? — has departed. But of course, living forces remain, to decompose the body, return it to dust, for regeneration into new forms, time after time.
Meanwhile, in this death-dealing American culture we tend to ignore, or deny, or live in terror of, Death, our own death — while identifying with real and toy guns and building more and more clever weapons of mass destruction and playing video games and war games and other games that aim to get “the enemy” before he gets us. Weird. A fascination with death then. Yes. A love of death, even, just not our own death. Not that. Never that. But of course, that will come, given enough time, and who knows when it will come. It may be today, it may be the very next minute!
As usual, we need to learn how to balance and integrate the opposites within ourselves. Eros and Thanatos. Love and Death. Both. The one implies the other, just as happiness implies sadness. Without evolving capacity to hold such “contradictions” we go off balance, project one of the opposites out on to the Other, setting the stage for yet more suffering.