"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method". Herman Melville

"I know nothing but miracles." Walt Whitman

quinta-feira, 6 de outubro de 2011

Death is the turn on the road

Death is the turn on the road
Death is just not being seen.

Fernando Pessoa

Recently, within a couple of days, fate or some spirit diligently working to organize for me the zigliotrilionmegabites of information out there, presented me with two coinciding references to death. First, while surfing the net, I learned about this movie on one of my favourite movie directors: Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky, by Dmitry Trakovsky.
Excerpts from reviews:

"The young filmmaker Dmitry Trakovsky sets out in search of his favorite director's legacy.He attempts to come closer to the meaning of one of Tarkovsky's most enigmatic beliefs... that death doesn't exist. What he sets out to achieve is to find out the ways in which Tarkovsky is still alive, and that's why the movie's single act of formal daring may be its beautiful, if misleading title. Instead of "searching" or "remembering" Tarkovsky, this new documentary hints boldly at his persistent, real, and this-wordly presence. The latter may manifest itself in memories others have of Tarkovsky, but it also finds a material dimension in his son Andrei Andreevich. Finally, and most poignantly, the filmmaker points to numerous people whose life choices were forever altered by encountering Tarkovsky's films. As we're watching the serious, unsmiling and yet serene face of a young Orthodox monk, as he's declaring Tarkovsky's work as the single most decisive factor in his choice of becoming a man of cloth, it's hard not to think of Tarkovsky as still living through the existence of this man."

Soon after I read this article by Larissa MacFarquhar in the Sept.5, 2011 issue of "The New Yorker" about Derek Parfit,

"...thought by many to be the most original moral philosopher in the English-speaking world. He has written two books, both of which have been called the most important works written in the field in more than a century. Parfit´s first book, "Reasons and Persons"...was dense with science-fictional thought experiments, all urging a shift toward a more impersonal, non-physical, and selfless view of human life. When, in the process of a zygote´s cellular self-multiplication, does a person start to exist? Or when does a person, descending into dementia or coma, cease to be? There is no simple answer - it is a matter of degree.
Parfit´s view resembles in some ways the Buddhist view of the self, a fact that was pointed out to him years ago by a professor of Oriental religions. Parfit was delighted by this discovery. Sometime later he learned that "Reasons and persons" was being memorized and chanted, along with sutras, by novice monks at a monastery in Tibet.
It seems to a friend of Parfit´s that his theory of personal identity is motivated by an extreme fear of death. But Prfit doesn´t believe that he once feared death more than any other people, and now he thinks he fears it less.

My death will break the more direct relations between my present experiences and future experiences, but it will not break various other relations.

Some people will remember him. Others may be influenced by his writing, or act upon his advice. Memories that connect with his memories, thoughts that connect with his thoughts, actions taken that connect with his intentions, will persist after he is gone, just inside diferent bodies.

This is all there is to the fact that there will be no one living who will be me. Now that I have seen this, my death seems to me less bad.

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