Original Articles

Death Mirrors the Spirit of Life

Published in: Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology
Volume 5, issue 2, 2005 , pages: 1–11
DOI: 10.1080/20797222.2005.11433904


The aim of this paper is to further an understanding of how a soul comes to despair and how the spirit of life is wounded. This question is approached from the perspective of death – in the form of death defying acts and voluntary death – as the dialectic aspect of being and non-being. Death can be a reflection of the life lived and the experience of who I am. The relation between ego and Self determines who I am. Two forms of misrelating between ego and Self will be considered. One causes a sense of omnipotence as the ego identifies with Self, and the other causes a sense of alienation as the ego renounces the Self to establish an intellectual vacuum, which becomes a substitute for lived experience. In both instances, there is a growing despair of inauthenticiy and the experience of non-being, which voluntary death and death defying acts attempt to put an end to. Both manifestations of death are attempts to resolve the imbalance between the eternal and temporal dimensions of being – to put an end to the despair of being unconscious of Self – and to affirm being. It is only when there is a conscious dialectic between ego and Self that an authentic existence becomes possible. An authentic existence represents the ongoing commitment to incarnate the human reality that exists between the world of imagination and the world as it appears to our senses. This, I argue, amounts to a spirit with soul.

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