dying inside

"Dying Inside" is a sci-fi book about an underachieving guy in the 1970's with psychic powers who has to deal with the gradual loss of those powers as he enters middle age.

The novel ends with the quote from British poet Robert Browning: "Living, we fret. Dying, we live."

We like to talk about death in Buddhism, especially being aware of it without fearing it. But I don't think we're really talking about the actual act of death (will it be painful?), or even what comes after it (heaven? re-birth?).

Of course, those are things one can fear. But that's a little too obvious. I think this novel "Dying Inside" more accurately depicts a more subconscious fear regarding death: the loss of everything important to us.

We spend our whole lives grasping to hold on to things. Grasping at love, sex, money, employment, nice cars, clothes, youth, etc. But it's futile, because we cannot hold on to these things. We will lose them all.

In the novel the main character must come to terms with the gradual loss of his psychic powers, and he must decide anew what he values in himself, what he values in his life, and what he will fear.

"Living, we fret. Dying, we live."


raymoej said...

Very interesting and creative spin on the longevity of superheroes.

Reading that quote I am reminded that food is for keeping the body alive and not for our appetite.

I fail everyday: those Potbelly sugar cookies are just so delicious!

Clemente said...

"what comes after death (heaven? re-birth?)"

You forgot: "nothing"?

gene said...

clemente: ha, true... that's the one for me.