Andrew Sullivan has what at first seems like an alarming reaction to the death of his friend David Kuo, following a ten-year-long battle with brain cancer. Watch:
I feel a revulsion to this line of thinking, that someone has gone “to a better place,” or as Sullivan calls it, “home.” It obviously comes from the ridiculous idea that we all go to a warm, soft, fuzzy afterlife once we drop dead, a state that is allegedly better than the best of mortal life on Earth.
But I also find some of Sullivan’s position, apart from the theological stuff, refreshing, in that he casts a skeptical eye on life-for-life’s sake, the idea that it might just be okay to let go when all you know is pain. (And that there is a heavy dose of hypocrisy in many Christians’ maniacal avoidance of their beloved afterlife.)
As for me, however, I just want to live. I know it’s all I’ve got — this life — and it’s literally all I’ll ever have. So if it’s a choice between the pain, nausea, boredom, tedium, etc., and not existing at all, I will err on the side of staying alive.
So I guess that while I like Sullivan’s allowance for nuance and variation in how a human being deals with his or her own death, I part with him on both fronts for myself: Yes, life-for-life’s sake, because there’s no home but here.