Corona Virus: To die or not to die: that is the question

Mel Arat

City people generally do not think about death or remember much about it. They only remember death for a short time on the rare occasion when an acquaintance or neighbor dies, but people quickly forget during their daily lives. Only those who lost their loved ones have a little grasp of their mortality. The coronavirus created two major differences in our lives. Firstly, it has forced life to grind to a halt for city people. Secondly, the Corona Virus reminded people worldwide about their mortality and their fear of death.

The daily rush has a drug-like effect. It does not allow us to focus deeply on something. If you have a nice meal at a restaurant in the evening before you realize it, you will be on a subway or bus to go home. After completing a project at work, you will receive a new to-do list. In the evening, when you get home, you will notice the missing food in the fridge. When you go out to the market, you will get a notification reminding you of your bills. Without realizing what you’re doing, all the week goes by, and if someone asks, “How are you?” you will answer, “I don’t understand how the week has passed.” During this rush, it is nearly impossible to remember our mortality.

The television series “Dead Like Me” on Amazon Prime tells the story of an eighteen-year-old girl named Georgia who dies when a toilet seat from the de-orbiting Russian space station falls on top of her.  After her death, she is assigned as an angel of death. Her job becomes taking the souls of people whose time has come. The two-season drama offers interesting opportunities to question life and death. Georgia is not the only angel of death; there are others. One of them is a character named Betty. Betty takes Polaroid pictures of the people before she takes their souls. In the fifth episode of the series, she gives tens of thousands of photos to Georgia. Dozens of shopping bags full of pre-death pictures. I found this scene very dramatic. Everyone reading this article may consider themselves the center of the world, and maybe lost in their daily hustle and bustle without ever remembering that we will die one day. If we knew this series depicted reality, perhaps we would go into one of Betty’s polaroid photo bags one day, and this life we care so much about would end. Fortunately, Betty takes pictures of people whose souls she has taken; because if she doesn’t, there would be no one to remember them fifty years after their death.

We only judge what is right and what is wrong by time. Taking something that is not yours is stealing, but until one gets caught, the person who steals may think it was the right thing to do. For example, a few opportunists during the demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in America ransacked the shops and stole the goods. Sometime during protests, the cameras showed one who stole a big television screen in New York. This person may think that what he did was the right thing to do while watching the TV that he stole. However, two months later, when police identified the thief who stole the television from the camera footage and went to his house to arrest him, he realized he made a big mistake. A lot of stuff sound right in the short run but appear to be wrong in the long run.

Knowing the time of your death hugely impacts our decision making. In terms of our to-do lists, there is a big difference between dying the next day and fifty years later. In addition, the existence of a reward and punishment system changes the decisions we make. Remembering the concept of death with the coronavirus and this television series has led me to review most of my choices.

Whether we believe in the existence of heaven or hell, it will not change the result, just like how believing in gravity does not change the existence of gravity.

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