When I was still in high school, I was once asked by my grandmother: Yu, what is close to human life? At that time I was confused about what to answer. I chose silence. She also answered her question, saying: "The closest to human life is death". Then I asked: "Why death?" She explained simply that death is something that is not expected to come. She analogized death as a thief. At that time I just said yes and the conversation ended with a short piece of advice from my grandmother: "Use a short life for something 'useful'."
Lately, when reading in newspapers or online media, watching the news on television or on Youtube, or hearing stories from people closest to me at this time about victims who were exposed and died due to the Covid-19 pandemic, or the calamities that hit some European countries (Netherlands, Germany, Austria) due to bad weather, the question that once escaped from my grandmother's lips, came back and I was called to reflect on who humans are in the face of death. To me, this is an enigma worth pondering.
Of course, many of us have contemplated death. However, many of us choose not to think about it. Is death something scary? Maybe. Why? The simple reason that can be given may be that humans are comfortable with their current world, namely, humans gather with their family members, with the possessions they have or the air they breathe freely from Nature to support their lives, and so on. Or the terrible reason is to imagine what Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) imagined about death that "I will rot and nothing of me can survive. That means I met nothingness.”
Humans who are born into the world will certainly experience what is called death. Death is an inevitable certainty of human life. No matter how tough, no matter how hard a human refuses to die, they will die in the end. It should be realized that today's technological advances cannot deny death. Death does not recognize the dichotomy of rich-poor, smart-stupid, diligent-lazy, beautiful-ugly, black-and-white, healthy-sick, normal-disabled, and so on. When death picks up humans, it is the moment when death says: "hi humans, now I have come to pick you up!".
The world that was originally "noisy" because it was struggling in time and space suddenly turned into "silent". So it is fitting that Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) in his book "On the suffering of the world" said that "One of the torments that interfere with our existence is the constant pressure of time and never allows us to take a breath but always chasing us like a foreman with a whip. He no longer torments us if he has sent us into 'boredness' (read: death).” When death comes at that moment the chain of time for humans to have fun in the world is broken.
What, then, can be concluded from the above description of man before death?
First, humans are fragile creatures. It is said to be a fragile human because when humans are faced with death, humans who glorify their intellect, worship their beauty or handsomeness, admire their sexy or muscular posture, etc., are analogous to flowers that are fresh in the morning and withered in the afternoon. In short, it can be said that Death is the weak point that makes humans fragile amid the exalted 'gold'.
Second, humans are helpless creatures. Helplessness here refers to the human inability to resist death. When humans are faced with death, humans can only say yes. Or in other words, humans can only surrender. It's like a servant who always says to his master: "Yes, I'm coming!".
Third, humans are finite creatures. I am reminded of the words of a scholar in the Sermon who said that "everything has its time!". This is to show that humans live in a world there are limits. This is in line with what is conveyed by a religious holy book that the limit of human life is 70 years or 80 if it is strong. Limited shows the temporary human being and human imperfection.
Remembering who humans (we are) in the face of death, doesn't mean we can't do something "great". It is precisely in this transience and imperfection that we fill that short time with various kinds of activities that support our way of existence in space and time. Life is a way How? The way is simple, which is to live life with life that animates it. Example: doing small things with great love.
So, enjoy your temporary life. Keep moving. Don't be afraid to move while contemplating death until finally, Death comes to pick you up. Hope you think about it.
The lead image by: https://unsplash.com/photos/j3R9C-Xqe1w