Last night (well, yesterday afternoon) I had a dream where I had died. I was still around and able in some way to communicate with people and see what was going on, but I wasn’t all there. It was a dream, it doesn’t have to make sense. Just understand that I was dead, and the dreams in which I’m dying are something much less than the best I’ve had.
When I went back to sleep in the early morning, I was in a suicidal mood. Not really suicidal as in, “I feel like killing myself,” more like I let my mind get ahead of itself and view my body doing various things. It’s like tracing out multiple future paths, but not. Overactive imagination, whatever.
So at first it’s concrete things, slamming my head into a coffee table. I guess not really suicidal, but I can see myself getting up, going into the other room and doing that. I stay in bed, of course, but I see it happening as if it is. Eventually I work up to running out in front of a car, then killing myself with a gun. This is the most romantic, masculine way to commit suicide, after all. Phallic weapon exploding into your head or mouth. Maybe the word I’m thinking of is “gay”, not “masculine”. Regardless, I spent more time on this one and realized I probably wouldn’t ever be able to do it. I guess I might, if I managed to disassociate the moment from reality enough, but even very depressed, it would be really, really tough.
It’s not the moment of pulling the trigger and blood splatter that’s all that frightening. It’s the moment after. This is just a body, whatever happens to it is not so important, especially if I’m not around to experience it anymore. But I’m frightened to be nothing (although my non-self will be a peace), I’m frightened to have lived according to the wrong religion. Hell, I’m even frightened of being part of the right religion. The absolute unknown, the unknowable. It’s scary, and scary enough it makes people realize that, and scary enough to plant doubt in even the strongest saint or ardent atheist. This is not to say many saints did not willingly die martyrs or all atheists cry out to God on their deathbeds. Far from it. But when death approaches, the unanswerable questions start to repeat themselves louder and louder and second guessing becomes unavoidable.
There’s a saying: “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Granted. But only if we also accept this:
“Half way between the top of the building and concrete, everyone is agnostic.”
[Original title: ‘Donnie Darko is wrong.’]