The only time I have ever seen my dad cry was when I was seven years old. He came into my bedroom one night to find me crying beneath the covers. “What’s wrong?” he asked, and I told him: I was scared of my grandad, his father, dying. He too began to cry. I am struck by this memory, not only because of the humanization of my dad, but also because I understood and feared the uncertainty that accompanies death even at that young age. The question is: what if death was not the end? Without the fear of failure, I would apply myself to the task of proving that “life after death” really exists. The trending phrase “YOLO” and the coverage of multiple police shootings in the news show the awareness and emphasis our nation places on mortality. Humans generally fear the unknown (which explains tensions between different racial groups, sexual orientations, and economic classes), the greatest unknown being the fear of death. Despite their current importance to our culture, the disparities preventing equality and resulting in violence across our nation are temporary. Across the globe, humanity suffers the fear and repercussions of loss.
When I was in the fifth grade, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result, the fear of the unknown I experienced at the age of seven resurfaced. Then at the age of seventeen, a close friend of my older sister got into a car accident that killed her younger brother. He was my age. Whether it’s from old age, disease, or an accident, death is inevitable. Why, then, would I not try to prevent death with an infallible task? As I have witnessed in my own life, and as I have learned through outside influences, too many causes of death exist to address them all in one fell swoop. In addition, unknown implications accompany this theoretical task. In a world without death, humanity would be forced to implement a moratorium on new birth to conserve resources and avoid overpopulation; this would eventually lead to a stagnation of inventions and innovations as eventually those who occupied the Earth would max out the limits of their imaginations. Furthermore, “curing death” would result in what could be considered the worst outcome, eternal suffering: without death, hunger would remain, but without consequence, criminals could roam for eternity, and the losses previously experienced before the end of death would continue to be felt. The sufferings of life eventually make death a necessary experience. Despite its necessity, death remains a frightening and painful experience to contemplate and eventually endure.
What could alleviate the pain of loss and decrease the fear of death without the possible negative outcomes aforementioned would be definitive knowledge of what comes next. Though methods of achieving this goal are currently a matter of science fiction, the results can easily be imagined. Whether it proves to be Heaven, reincarnation, a period of rest, or another unimaginable state, understanding could provide direction for those still alive on Earth. Not only would humanity be comforted in the knowledge of the fate of their loved ones, they would also gain the knowledge needed to achieve this fate for themselves.
Without the fear of failure, I would discover what lies beyond death. What would you try if you knew you could not fail?