Birth and death are the boundary frames of the life of every creature on the planet. These are two sisters, complementing each other, two halves of the whole, which are constantly touching and interacting. Each is the start of something new, at the same time both symbolize the completion of yet another cycle of being. And if we associate with birth only pleasant and joyful moments, then the end of life, approaching daily, scares and scares the unknown. What is human death? What will happen next? Let's get it together.
What is death?
The world is structured so that all creatures living in it go through several stages: birth (appearance, emergence), growth and development, flowering (maturity), fading (aging), death. Even representatives of inanimate nature go through such cycles: stars and galaxies, for example, as well as various social objects - organizations and powers. In a word, nothing in the physical world can exist forever: everything has a logical beginning and no less relevant end. What to say about living creatures: insects, birds, animals and humans. They are arranged so that the body, having worked for a certain amount of time, begins to wear out and stops its life.
Death is the final stage of life, which becomes the consequence of a deep, strong, irreversible violation of the functions of vital organs. If it occurs due to the natural deterioration of tissues, aging of cells, then it is called physiological, or natural. A person, having lived a long and happy life, once falls asleep, and no longer opens his eyes. Such a death is even considered to be desired; it does not bring the dying person neither pain nor suffering. When the end of life was the result of adverse circumstances and factors, then we can talk about pathological death. It occurs due to trauma, asphyxia or blood loss, infections and diseases lead to it. Sometimes death is massive. For example, in the fourteenth century, a pandemic of the bubonic plague spread throughout Europe and Asia . What is black death? This is precisely that terrible pestilence, a pandemic that has taken the lives of 60 million people in two decades.
Different points of view
Atheists believe that the end of a person’s existence, his transition to complete non-existence - this is how death can be characterized. This, in their opinion, the death of not only the physical body, but also the consciousness of the individual. They do not believe in the soul, considering it to be a peculiar form of brain activity. After a sinking heart, gray matter is no longer fed with oxygen, so it dies along with other organs. Accordingly, atheists completely exclude eternal life and the immortality of the soul.
As for science, from its point of view, death is the natural mechanism that protects the planet from overpopulation. And also provides a change of generations, each subsequent one of them reaches greater development than the previous one, which becomes the starting point for the introduction of innovations and advanced technologies in different spheres of life.
Instead, religion in its own way explains what a person’s death is. All world famous religions emphasize that the death of the physical body is not the end. After all, it is just a shell for the eternal - the inner world, the soul. Everyone comes to this world to fulfill their destiny, after which they return to the Creator in heaven. Death is only the destruction of the body shell, after which the soul does not cease to exist, but continues it already outside the body. Each religion has its own ideas about the afterlife, and all of them differ significantly from each other.
Death in Christianity
Let's start with this religion, since it is closer and more familiar to the Slavic people. Even in distant times, learning what black death was, fearing its force majeure, people started talking about the rebirth of the soul. Rather, due to fear of death, trying to give themselves hope, some Christians admitted that not one, but several lives were prescribed to a person. If he made serious mistakes, sinned, but managed to repent, then the Lord will surely give him a chance to correct what he has done - gives another rebirth, but in a different body. In fact, true Christianity denies the mythical doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul. Another second Council of Constantinople, registered in the VI century, threatened anathema to those who would disseminate such ridiculous and absurd judgments.
According to Christianity, there is no death as such. Our existence on earth is just a preparation, a rehearsal before eternal life next to the Lord. After the immediate death of the body shell, the soul stays close to it for several days. Then on the third day, usually after a burial, it flies to heaven or goes to the den of devils and demons.
What is the death of man and what further awaits him? Christianity claims that this is only the completion of an insignificant stage of the existence of the soul, after which it continues to develop in paradise. But before getting there, she is obliged to go through the Last Judgment: unrepentant sinners go to purgatory. The duration of his stay in it depends on what the deceased's atrocities were, how much relatives on earth pray fervently for him.
Opinion of other religions
They interpret the concept of death in their own way. First, let's find out what death is from the point of view of Muslim philosophy. Firstly, there is a lot in common between Islam and Christianity. In the religion of Asian countries, earthly life is also considered a transitional stage. After its completion, the soul goes to court, headed by Nakir and Munkar. They will tell you where to go: to heaven or hell. Then comes the supreme and fair judgment of Allah himself. But he will come after the Universe collapses and completely disappears. Secondly, death itself, sensations during it, are highly dependent on the presence of sins and faith. It will be invisible and painless for true Muslims, long and painful for atheists and infidels.
As for Buddhism, for representatives of this religion the issues of death and life are secondary. In religion there is not even a concept of the soul as such, only its basic functions exist: cognition, desire, sensation and representation. The body plus bodily needs are characterized by the same aspects. True, Buddhists believe in reincarnation and believe that after death, the soul is always reborn - into a person or another living creature.
But Judaism does not pay much attention to explaining what death is. This, according to his followers, is not such an important issue. Having borrowed various concepts from other religions, Judaism absorbed a whole kaleidoscope of mixed and adapted beliefs. Therefore, it provides for reincarnation, as well as the presence of paradise, hell and purgatory.
In addition to representatives of religious faiths, the issue of the end of earthly life was also loved by thinkers. What is death in terms of philosophy? For example, the representative of Antiquity Plato believed that it is the result of the separation of the soul from the perishable physical shell. The thinker believed that the body is a prison for the spirit. In it, he forgets about his spiritual origin and strives for the satisfaction of base instincts.
The Roman Seneca claimed that he was not afraid of death. In his opinion, it is either the end, when you don’t care, or the relocation, which means continuation. Seneca was sure that nowhere would he be so crowded with man as on earth. Epicurus, meanwhile, believed that all the evil we get from our sensations. Death is the end of feelings and emotions. Therefore, there is nothing to fear.
What is death from the point of view of the philosophy of the Middle Ages? The early theologians - the God-bearer, Ignatius and Tatian - opposed her life, and not in favor of the latter. The cult again becomes the desire to die for faith and the Lord. In the XIX century, the attitude to the death of the body changed: some tried not to think about it, while others, on the contrary, preached about the death, raising it to the altar. Schopenhauer wrote: only an animal fully enjoys life and its benefits, because it does not think about death. In his opinion, only reason is to blame for the fact that the end of earthly life seems so terrifying to us. “The greatest fear is the fear of death,” the thinker maintained.
The spiritual component of human death is clear. Now let's try to find out what biological death is. Doctors distinguish several stages of the process of dying:
- Predagonal state. It lasts from a dozen minutes to several hours. Man is inhibited, consciousness is obscure. There may be no pulse on the peripheral arteries, while it is felt only on the femoral and carotid. Pallor of the skin is observed, shortness of breath is present. The predagonal state ends with a terminal pause.
- Agonal stage. Breathing can stop (from 30 seconds to one and a half minutes), blood pressure drops to zero, reflexes, including eye reflexes, fade. Inhibition of the cerebral cortex occurs; the functions of the gray matter are gradually switched off. Vital activity becomes chaotic, the body ceases to exist as a whole.
- Agony. It only lasts a few minutes. Preceded by clinical death. This is the last stage of human struggle for life. At the same time, all the functions of the body are impaired, the departments of the central nervous system located above the brain stem begin to slow down. Sometimes deep but rare breathing appears, a distinct but short-term increase in pressure occurs. Consciousness and reflexes are absent, although they may resume briefly. From the outside it seems that the person is getting better, but such a state is deceiving - this is the last flash of life.
Then comes clinical death. Although this is the last stage of dying, it is reversible. A person can be taken out of this state, or he can return to life on his own. What is clinical death? A detailed description of the process is described below.
Clinical death and its symptoms
This period is quite short. What is clinical death? And what are her symptoms? Doctors give a clear definition: this is the stage that begins immediately after the cessation of breathing and active circulation. In the central nervous system and other organs, changes in the cells are observed. If doctors competently support the work of the heart and lungs with the help of apparatuses, then the restoration of vital functions of the body is quite possible.
The main signs of clinical death:
- Reflexes and consciousness are absent.
- There is cyanosis of the epidermis, with hemorrhagic shock and large blood loss - a sharp pallor.
- The pupils are very dilated.
- Heart contractions cease, the person does not breathe.
Cardiac arrest is diagnosed when there is no pulsation on the carotid arteries for 5 seconds and the organ contraction is not heard. If the patient is given an electrocardiogram, then ventricular fibrillation can be seen, that is, contractions of individual myocardial bundles, bradyarrhythmia will be expressed, or a straight line will be recorded, indicating a complete cessation of muscle work.
Lack of breathing is also determined quite simply. It is diagnosed if, after 15 seconds of observation, doctors can not recognize the obvious movements of the chest, do not hear the noise of exhaled air. At the same time, irregular convulsive breaths cannot provide ventilation of the lungs, so it is difficult to call them full breath. Although doctors, knowing what clinical death is, are trying at this stage to save the patient. Since this condition is not a guarantee that a person will necessarily die.
What to do?
We found that clinical death is the last stage before the final death of the physical body. Its duration directly depends on the nature of the disease or injury that led to this condition, as well as on the course and complexity of the stages that precede it. So, if the pre-agonal and agonal periods were accompanied by complications, for example, severe circulatory disturbance, then the duration of clinical death does not exceed 2 minutes.
It is not always possible to fix the exact moment of its onset. Only in 15% of cases, experienced doctors know when it began, and can name the time of transition of clinical death to biological. Therefore, if the patient has no signs of the latter, for example, cadaveric spots, then we can talk about the absence of actual death of the physical body. In this case, you need to immediately begin resuscitation: artificial respiration and indirect heart massage. Doctors say if you find a person who has no signs of life, then the sequence of your actions should be as follows:
- Report the absence of reactions to stimuli.
- Call an ambulance.
- Lay the person on a flat firm surface and check the airway.
- If the patient does not breathe on his own, give mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration: two slow full breaths.
- Check for a pulse.
- If there is no pulse, do a heart massage, alternating it with ventilation of the lungs.
Continue in this spirit until the resuscitation team arrives at the call. Qualified doctors will carry out all necessary rescue measures. Knowing in practice what a person’s death is, they diagnose it only when all the methods are powerless and the patient does not breathe for a certain number of minutes. After their expiration, it is believed that brain cells began to die. And since this organ is actually the only irreplaceable in the body, doctors record the time of death.
Death in the eyes of a child
The theme of death has always been interesting to children. Kids begin to be afraid of this phenomenon at 4–5 years old, when they are slowly realizing what it is. The baby is worried that his parents and other close people do not die. If the tragedy happened, then how to explain to the child what death is? First of all, do not withhold this fact. No need to lie that a person went on a long business trip or went to hospital for treatment. The kid feels that the answers are untrue, and his sense of fear is further enhanced. In the future, when the lie comes up, the baby can be very offended, hate you, get serious psychological trauma.
Secondly, you can take the baby to the church for the funeral service. But for the time being, he’d better not attend. Psychologists say that the procedure will be difficult to perceive in the fragile children's psyche and lead to stress. If one of the relatives very close to the baby died, he must do something for the deceased: put a candle, write a farewell note.
How to explain to a child what is the death of a loved one? Say that now he went to God in heaven, where he turned into an angel, and from now on will protect the baby. Alternatively, a story is possible about the transformation of the soul of the deceased into a butterfly, dog or newborn baby. Should I take the crumbs to the cemetery after the funeral? Protect him from such visits for some time: this place is very gloomy, and his visit will negatively affect the psyche of the child. If he wants to "talk" with the deceased, take him to church. Say that this is exactly the place where you can mentally or aloud communicate with someone who is no longer with us.
How to stop being afraid of death?
Not only children, but also adults are often interested in what death is and how not to be afraid of it. Psychologists give many useful recommendations that will help reduce unnecessary fears and make you more courageous inevitability:
- Do what you love. You simply will not have time for bad thoughts. It is proved that one who has a fun activity is much happier. Indeed, 99% of diseases are caused precisely by stressful situations, neurosis and negative thoughts.
- Remember: no one knows what death is. Why then do you think that she is scary? Perhaps everything happens painlessly: the body is most likely in a state of shock, therefore it automatically deprives itself of sensitivity.
- Pay attention to the dream. After all, he is called a small death. A person is in an unconscious state, nothing hurts him. When you die, you will fall asleep in peace and sweetness. So you should not be afraid.
And just live and enjoy this wonderful feeling. Are you still worried about what death is and how to relate to it? In a philosophical way. It is inevitable, but you should not get hung up on thoughts about it. We need to value every moment that was given to us by fate, to be able to see happiness and joy even in the most negative moments of life. Think about how good it is that the morning of a new day has arrived: make sure that there is not even a shadow of sorrow in it. Remember: we are born to live, not die.