Death Wish

Roy Masters

The urge for liberation, or release, is so prevalent in our devolving society that psychologists had to give it a name. They call it the "death wish" or "death instinct." Unfortunately, they have never come up with a satisfactory explanation for it. Why should people will their own death?

The death wish--the will to be liberated from the prison of the body--begins with a desire to be liberated from the inhibition of conscience.

Near the end of life's journey, or even not too far from the beginning if it has been a bad trip, the guilt of the way we have been existing becomes so unbearable that many of us develop a need to be liberated from the body itself.

That leaning toward death is a phenomenon so widespread that it is familiar to most of us. How often have you heard someone ask "Who wants to life forever?" as though eternal life would be an unbearable burden

And of course it would be to the soul that insists on playing God. Sooner or later, he is bound to make mistakes, and as the evidence of his having done so piles up around him he longs to get away from it all. To him, losing face is worse than facing death.

If, at any point, we could be arrested in our headlong plunge toward death and made aware of the fact that we have been running from the best friend we ever had, the conscience that bonds us to our Creator, we might actually experience the liberation of the soul that is known to the religious community as salvation.

Yes, salvation, that favorite word of the ministers and sidewalk preachers. Even though you might be a regular churchgoer, have you ever taken that word seriously? Have you considered how it might affect your real life, your daily comings and goings?

Have you even seen the connection between conscience and salvation?

"We all have a choice to make, to grow in pride and become a mortal beast, or to grow as a real person."

If you have thought about salvation at all, haven't you relegated the realization of it to some remote future time, after you have had ample opportunity to enjoy the delights of the world and stuff yourself on its goodies?

You may even have associated it with death--mother Death, tucking the comforter around your well-filled tummy as you nod off from a world that you will never have to face again.

Oh, salvation from the world might have seemed a good idea to you, but you certainly didn't want it before its "time"--that is, before you had lived it up (experienced the world) so thoroughly that you had lost all interest in looking back on the shambles.

We all have a choice to make--to grow in pride and become a mortal beast, or to grow (in some yet unknown way) as a real person.

The way we choose will take us through stages of development and changes of personality so opposite and foreign, one to the other, that in time we will totally forget the other way and how we happened to choose the path we are now on.

While I might not be able to prove it scientifically, I am convinced that the choice was made for us by our prideful reaction to the shock of trauma, and a steady diet of trauma has sustained our growth in the "chosen" direction.

Unfortunately, because we have all inherited the "choice" of pride from Adam, we all elect to take the downward, sinful way of pride with its willful rationalizations and compensations until the sheer pain of living with the results either drives us back to conscience and the hope of salvation, or makes us yearn for death, the last ray of hope for the damned.