Science

EDITION. Essentials of Sciences et Avenir: Death – Sciences et Avenir

If anything seems immortal from the beginning of the world, it is death. And yet… it changes. Not in its obscene cruelty, inexorable wit. But the living thing that we are is developing, and at the same time, we have a relationship with it. For centuries, it has been a question of living well in a short existence, in order to have the right to enjoy eternity. For several years now, each of us has been called upon to answer new questions: not about a hypothetical future in another world, but about how to leave this one … Do we want, if one day suffering becomes unbearable, we decide – individually and collectively – on this the tragic choice that is euthanasia? Should we write advance directives to indicate what we want medicine to do or not do in order to push back the hour of our final hour?

A species that must coexist with others

More practical questions require us to take a stand. We, as conscientious earthlings, now have to think about the carbon footprint of our funeral: burial – 833 kg of CO2 – or cremation, which is 3.6 times less polluting? As responsible internet users, we are mandated to write a digital will, anticipating the fate of the footprints we leave every day on social media. And as members of a species that must coexist with others, we must state whether we want to continue killing animals to eat them…

But death is also and above all the story of the bonds between us humans. Should we give in to the hope of finding the dead as digital avatars to touch, even kiss? This ersatz immortality seems rather falsified, especially in relation to the inventions of incredible wealth displayed by the peoples of the whole earth in relations with their dead: the carefully dressed dead, who are taken for a walk in Indonesia, the joyful Mexican Day of the Dead provides an opportunity to share their favorite dishes at the grave of the deceased. ..

The pleasure of feeling alive

And, even in our Western societies, endless dialogues with those whose life is over, but who continue to exist in the hearts of their loved ones. Over the past few years, death seemed to expand its empire, wiping out millions of people due to a virus, wiping out animals and plants due to devastating floods or wildfires. And we begin to fear: what if, in addition to accepting us personally, she finds herself in the shoes of life itself? Let’s not give in to these deadly thoughts that add death to death and prevent us from devoting ourselves decisively to solving problems, says philosopher Frederick Worms. Of course, there is death, but there is always a struggle with death. And at the same time with this struggle, and who knows because of it, with pleasure. Pleasure, as strong as suffering, from the feeling of life, love, creation in this short period of time that we spend on Earth.

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