Dear Johnny,

I’ve become completely terrified of death. We see people commit suicide or pass away after an illness or simply of old age.

I’ve seen an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson where Larry King asks him if he thinks there’s something after death. He answered that when we die and get buried, we become part of plants and insects and that’s how life continues. That’s cute and all but what the actual crap kind of answer is that?

King then asked him about our consciousness and Tyson said that we weren’t conscious before we were born. When King made the very valid point that, now that he is conscious, he wants to remain so, Tyson made it clear he didn’t think that was possible. That’s what terrifies me the most. I want my consciousness to be eternal. Whether it’s in heaven, through reincarnation or anything else our limited human brains can’t imagine, I don’t care.

I fear the void. I am terrified of the void.

Of course that fear makes me appreciate life a lot more than I would if I had believed in an afterlife. To me, that’s the reason we don’t know what comes after death. So that we realize how precious life is. That was also what Tyson told Larry King.

But that’s also what’s so terrifying about it…

I see life as a storyline without a predefined ending. Everyone has about the same amount of empty pages to fill. When you die, the pages cease to get written and your story is over. The end.

In the last years, I’ve seen people I know, a lot of them my age, or artists I like die. Their story is over while everybody else’s go on. I cannot fathom that.

Being in my early 30’s, seeing people I went to school with pass away is really harsh. It’s also very unfair, not to me of course, but to that person and his or her loved ones.

There are those who believe that life is useless. I cannot get my head around that. Something so complex, so big would cannot be useless. We can’t all live and die for no reason. There has to be more. And who’s to say we didn’t exist before being born in our current life? It’s not because science hasn’t proven it that it doesn’t exist!

Of course scientists and their (sometimes dogmatic) followers will have a tendency of focusing on what they can measure, which explains Tyson’s view on death. But that also means that there’s a 50% chance that there’s something after death.

Of course, I could go all quantum physics and use the example of Schrodinger’s Cat to hang on to the thought that, as long as I’m alive, both options exist. But that wouldn’t help in any way would it?
Life is precious and can be taken away from us at any time. So we live it the best way we can. But what if once you’re dead everything just turns off and you’re not even conscious? What if your life becomes a void? That is the most sickening thing to me. It literally makes me sick to my stomach just to think about it.

When Judy was in high school she probably thought she’d live until her 70’s, 80’s or 90’s. Same with Remy or Pat. Yet, their stories are over. And I hope that there’s something else for them as I am hoping there’s something else for me.

The worst part I think, other than the fact that I’ve brought children into this world who will eventually have to go through the same questions someday, is that nobody can help me figure this one out. It’s a question we all have and will probably never find an answer to.

I envy religious people. They have it all figured out in their heads. They’re not bothered by death. Yet sometimes I wonder if that doesn’t make life less important to them. Why not kill yourself when things become to hard? You literally have HEAVEN waiting for you on the other side, with your deceased loved ones and that hamster you loved so much when you were 6.

I see atheists say that they’re certain that there’s nothing after life. Somehow they’re fine with that. I can’t understand how they do it. I cannot understand being okay with not existing anymore. Unless of course they don’t really grasp what that actually means.

Chester Bennington took his own life last week. Like every untimely death, his passing stirred up these thoughts in my head.

We have a tendency to say that someone who suffered is in a better place when they die. That’s what we like to tell ourselves of course because it’s the easiest way to deal with our own death. But I do hope he’s in a better place. I hope there is a better place or even a new beginning for people who die. For the ones who died from an illness, for victims of wars and violence or even for people who are just bad at life in general like criminals. I hope everyone gets a chance at a good life or that we all get another chance at happiness. I hope that we all get the opportunity to learn and live our lives to their fullest or to simply do better.

Nevertheless this world and the way that everything works together like huge gears is just too complex to simply be a coincidence. There has to be more to everything we see. This life cannot be vain. It just cannot be. It wouldn’t make any sense would it? Everything else in the world makes sense except human consciousness. That’s the only thing we can’t explain. No scratch that, there’s a lot of things we can’t explain. But we find a purpose for everything, even the most irritating things! Mosquitoes! Even they have a purpose!

I read somewhere that, considering the fact that nothing is created and nothing is destroyed, the energy that is our conscious mind has to go somewhere. If so, I hope that it’s not merely to become worm food…

-Dean.