Studying My Death

I study death as one would an especially curious insect, part metal, part decomposing flesh. I am detached and cold as I contemplate my own demise. The death of others is but a statistic. I would have made a great American governor, or general, or statesman - sentencing people to a bureaucratic, emotionless, end. Death is a constant presence in my life, as I disintegrate from within and from without. It is no stranger, but a comforting horizon. I would not seek it actively - but I am often terrified by the abhorrent thought of immortality. I would have gladly lived forever as an abstract entity. But, as I am, ensconced in my decaying corpse, I would rather die on schedule.

Hence my aversion to suicide. I love life - its surprises, intellectual challenges, technological innovations, scientific discoveries, unsolved mysteries, diverse cultures and societies. In short, I like the cerebral dimensions of my existence. I reject only the corporeal ones. I am enslaved to my mind and enthralled by it. It is my body that I hold in increasing contempt.

While I fear not death - I do fear dying. The very thought of pain makes me dizzy. I am a confirmed hypochondriac. I go into a frenzy at the sight of my own blood. I react with asthma to stress. I don't mind BEING dead - I mind the torture of getting there. I loathe and dread prolonged, body dissolving, maladies such as cancer or diabetes.

Yet none of this motivates me to maintain my health. I am obese. I do not exercise. I am internally inundated by cholesterol. My teeth crumble. My eyesight fails. I can barely hear when spoken to. I do nothing to ameliorate these circumstances beyond superstitiously popping assorted vitamin pills and drinking wine. I know I am rushing towards a crippling stroke, a devastating heart attack, or a diabetic meltdown.

But I keep still, hypnotized by the on-coming headlights of physical doom. I rationalize this irrational behaviour. My time, I argue with myself, is too precious to be wasted on jogging and muscle stretching. Anyhow it would do no good. The odds are overwhelmingly adverse. It is all determined by heredity.

I used to find my body sexually arousing - its pearly whiteness, its effeminate contours, the pleasure it yielded once stimulated. I no longer do. All self-eroticism was buried under the gellous, translucent, fat that is my constitution now. I hate my sweat - this salty adhesive that clings to me relentlessly. At least my scents are virile. Thus, I am not very attached to the vessel that contains me. I wouldn't mind to see it go. But I resent the farewell price - those protracted, bilious, and bloody agonies we call "passing away". Afflicted by death - I wish it only to be inflicted as painlessly and swiftly as possible. I wish to die as I have lived - detached, oblivious, absent minded, apathetic, and on my terms.



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APA Reference
Vaknin, S. (2008, December 17). Studying My Death, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 13 from

Last Updated: July 2, 2018

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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