Free Essay About Universality Of Death

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Death, Life, Culture, Religion, World, Philosophy, Greece, People

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/11/29

Most people are extremely scared of the phenomenon of death. Their fear stems from the fact that the person who is dead has ceased to live and that someday they too would meet the same fate. The other reason is the unknown and mysterious aspect of death. While many theories have been presented by philosophers since ancient times, there is no way of reliably arriving at a conclusion of the events that transpire ‘post mortem.’ All these factors contribute in creating a fear of death in one’s mind without making one realize that death is, in fact, all around us and is as real or possibly more real than life itself. Some people would disagree with this line since the act of ‘living life’ is a subjective one and that life itself is prevalent in beings across the universe leading to the argument that life prevails. However, this essay will seek to establish that death is more universal than life by examining general aspects such as views on the subject within cultures, religions etc. rather than specific individual views.
The maxim ‘Death is more universal than life’ was coined by Alan Sachs. This essay will start by examining the relevance of death in human life. Life and death are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other since where there is life, death must follow. One observes that it is far more difficult to lead one’s life than to embrace death. In a way, death is a release from the fickleness and uncertainty of life. For all living beings on this planet, death is certain – only the manner, timing and place might differ. But in any form, the inevitability of death is something that no one has escaped to date. The moment we are born, the inevitability of death comes into the picture and with every passing second we begin the process of aging. Given this backdrop, it is rather strange that most of us are afraid of death. One’s fear does not preclude one from dying and neither does it make the process of death any easier. One could view death to be an interruption in the routine of life. At times, one sees people who have experienced a near-death experience (NDE) that almost always alters their outlook. These people realize the fact that death is inevitable since they came close to experiencing it, but were saved for some reason. More than others, these people do realize the amazing power of death and the absolute inability of life to restrict or even delay death. In that way, as far as living beings, in general, and humans, in particular, are concerned death and fate are intertwined. While we all lead our respective lives – some of us may be poor or rich, fat or thin, good looking or ugly, famous or obscure the common factor amongst all these dualities is the unifying factor of death. In human life, therefore, one clearly sees that death occupies center stage as one of the most pivotal and terminal events in the drama of life. The fact that death affects all living beings, including humans and that it has the power to interrupt life makes it universal.
Within individual human cultures too (especially in Asian religions, particularly Hinduism), death is assigned a very prominent place. Most Asian religions including Hinduism place a great emphasis on the manner of cremating the dead since these cultures view death as analogous to life. The view emerges due to the belief that life leads to death and from death emerges from life again. The concept of reincarnation that is present in both Hinduism and Buddhism ensure that its followers do not view death with fear, but accord it the same respect that they would otherwise accord for life. Most Hindus or Buddhists, therefore, accept the fact that death is inevitable as well as the fact that death rules over life. The depictions of Goddess Kali in Hinduism are evidence to the fact that death itself conquers life unless and until a balance is reached. In most Asian countries (and in modern science, including Darwin’s theory) people believe that death is nature’s own way of correcting imbalances in populations or to correct gross environmental abuse or any such factors. Death is also nature’s instrument to eradicate the weaker species, thereby leading to the proliferation of the strongest species, as per Darwin.
If one goes through the annals of history, one repeatedly sees large epidemics, wars and famines devouring entire populations leaving much destruction and mayhem in their wake. For instance, the two world wars of the previous century resulted in the deaths of millions. These phenomena caused deaths without any discrimination or limit. The unlimited power of death was before all to see when such events occurred since deaths occurred on a very large scale during such events. Similarly, the tsunami that occurred in the South East Asian countries caused a similar catastrophe. When such events occur, one can clearly see the manner in which death plays a disruptive role in the lives of thousands or sometimes even millions of people who were otherwise leading normal lives. One gets to see the manner in which death has the power and will to interrupt these lives and cause utter destruction.
The universality of death cannot be made applicable solely to humans, but to cultures and civilizations as well. Since a group of human beings comprises a cultural association and several such cultures make a civilization, many a times, both cultures and civilizations also die. Most of us tend to see one’s own culture as a personal heritage that has been passed on through the years and sometimes centuries. However, many a times, cultures tend to die – either suddenly or gradually. The reasons for the demise of a culture may range from the unwillingness of the members of that community to follow that specific culture to the invasion of another culture that makes the earlier one obsolete. In such instances, one sees that change and dynamism that are the very components of life also become the principle reason behind the death of a specific culture. Therefore, the death of the culture springs from its own followers and the manner in which they wish to either continue or abandon their cultural heritage. For instance, one sees several native and tribal practices that have already died or are on the verge of becoming extinct since the larger organized religions have managed to invade a specific original culture that led to its demise. In certain cases, Hinduism, Buddhism and other Asian religions have survived only because of the sheer number of their practitioners. But, for instance, Hinduism has managed to modify itself to suit the times since the religion as practiced a few hundred years ago is markedly different than it is now. The earlier practices were more ritualistic, which then moved to a more philosophical thought and is presently a mix of spiritual, philosophical and ritualistic. The manner in which this religion morphed itself has been the sole reason for the survival of the religion, although even within the religion certain schools of thought have met its death either due to the difficulty in practicing these or since main-school Hinduism encroached and destroyed these alternative schools. One can, therefore, see that when outside influences are not very high, main school influences within a religion or culture also destroy other schools of thought within that culture.
Similarly, on a larger scale, civilizations that comprise of several cultures could also be possible candidates for a slow death. However, in case of civilizations, this takes several years or even centuries. For instance, amongst the oldest civilizations in the world, the only surviving ones are China and India. The former civilizations of Egypt, Macedonia, Rome and Greece (as well as others) have simply collapsed into dust taking with it their inhabitants and followers. Within these civilizations, many philosophers emerged and people in these civilizations lived by these sets of philosophical principles. But even these philosophers and their philosophies too met their own death at the hands of time and other philosophers who pointed out inadequacies in their theories. The death of a civilization that was once full of life, teeming with people who had a glorious set of cultures imbibed within them is testimony to the impermanence of life on earth. For instance, one can consider the Greek civilization. This civilization was one of the most advanced in that region with the emergence of city-states and governance that was hitherto unknown to the world. Further, Greece produced not only Greek Philosophy but also great philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and several others. It was one of the only states in that region to have a school of Philosophy and thought. Even in the later years, Alexander – the Great, who conquered major parts of Asia and Europe, thus spreading the Greek hegemony far and wide, too came from Greece. However, the Greeks had their time and decadency soon overtook them. Further, the spread of Christianity, in part, led to the demise of the native Greek culture which was rooted in the worship of multiple Gods. The spread of Christianity coupled with the fall of Greece resulted in the death of not only their religion, but also their philosophies. As a result, the Greece we see today is a very different country as compared to the past. There are many such instances in history to prove the efficacy of death and its universality as applicable not only to living beings, but also to facets such as cultures and civilizations.
If one talks of the universality of death, one must examine if death is also applicable to entities in our universe. The fact that nothing is permanent becomes obvious when we talk about our solar system. The Earth itself is not permanent and the present state of Earth is only a phase of existence. Even the sun that gives us warmth and light has a certain lifespan. Being a star, there will be a time when the sun will run out of helium and other combustible material leading to its death (a cold star that does not emit much light and very little heat. In this circumstance, the planets surrounding the Sun, including Earth, will be certainly doomed. Even outside the solar system, entire galaxies, black-holes and other astronomical bodies all have a certain time span. Almost every astronomical entity has death in one form or another as determined by observations made by physicists and astronomers. One can, therefore, see that death exists even outside the ambit of the earth and the solar system. In conclusion, one can see that no entity in this universe is immune from death. Everyone and everything eventually meets their demise in one form or another. It becomes safe to generalize that nothing in this world is permanent, although life is, since death limits life itself, making death somewhat superior to life, in a sense. One can, therefore, conclude that death is more universal than life.

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Free Essay About Universality Of Death. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 29, 2020. Accessed May 20, 2024.

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