Celebrating Death Day

By Jin-yeong Yi

Theodor Kittelsen - The Pauper

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.”

—Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow

“Death is not our enemy—I think St. Paul was dead wrong. Death is our friend, death is our shadow, death is what gives life its meaning. You walk with death every day of your life, and ultimately you put your hand in the hand of death and you depart this world. And somehow, we don’t seem to have that relationship correct.”

—John Shelby Spong

“Nothing is more certain for us than death and nothing more uncertain than the precise hour at which it will strike.”

—Corliss Lamont, Freedom of Choice Affirmed

“Only death is real…”

—Hellhammer, “Messiah” (Apocalyptic Raids)

You might die today.

No matter how strong and healthy you are right now, God can throw you a lethal curveball at any time without warning, whether in the form of a devastating earthquake, a sociopathic burglar, a drunk driver, or a 1,000 foot sinkhole.

Whether we are young or old, it is never too early to think about death, because death can come at any time.

We might die within the next hour, for all we know. Maybe not. Either way, we’re running out of time, because we were born terminally ill. Every day is another 24 hours closer to the grave. Every day people die. Every day is Death Day.

The question isn’t whether we will die, because our deaths are all but a given, an inevitability. The question is how we will die. All of us will have to step down from the stage of life eventually, but what kind of exit will each of us make when we do? And in the interim, what will we do with the time we have left?

“We are all racing towards death. No matter how many great, intellectual conclusions we draw during our lives, we know that they’re all only man-made, like God. I begin to wonder where it all leads. What can you do, except do what you can do as best you know how.”

—John Hurt

“We cannot fix death, perhaps, but we can make life so good that death is paltry.”

—Spinoza Ray Prozak, “The Internet People”

“Though it’s odd, you’re never more alive than when you’re almost dead.”

—Tim O’Brien

Some light listening for Death Day:

Entombed – “Carnal Leftovers” (Left Hand Path)

Carcass – “Reek of Putrefaction” (Symphonies of Sickness)

Asphyx – “Embrace the Death” (Embrace the Death)

Hellhammer – “Triumph of Death” (Apocalyptic Raids)

Nihilist – “When Life Has Ceased” (Nihilist [1987-1989])

Cryptopsy – “Graves of the Fathers” (None So Vile)

Deicide – “Dead by Dawn” (Deicide)

Celtic Frost – “Necromantical Screams” (To Mega Therion)

Demigod – “Towards the Shrouded Infinity” (Slumber of Sullen Eyes)

Demilich – “And You’ll Remain… (In Pieces of Nothingness)” (Nespithe)

Morpheus Descends – “Ritual of Infinity” (Ritual of Infinity)

Gorguts – “Sweet Silence” (Obscura)


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