Slander and Character Assassination – Oh Boy…
After reviewing the plaintiff’s evidence, I think it’s a valid grievance. I mean, did the Egyptian Queen of Death really have to be naked? Then, as Anubis, we gave Death a jackal head, and a demotion to judge of the dead and relegated to weighing the newly dead hearts. Among the Mayans the costume was a blood stained skeleton wearing a “charming necklace of human eyeballs hanging from nerve cords.” OK, but these are just costumes. Everybody knows that physical appearance is the least important aspect of a persona. No?
It’s more the Character You Say?
I’m beginning to get the picture. Death did not appreciate the depiction of The Lord of Death as one who places a noose around one’s neck, drags him around, then cuts off the head, extracts the intestines, licks up the brains, drinks the blood, and blah, blah, blah. Death suggests turning down the gruesome. Hollywood does just fine without involving him anyway. But, even this was not the final straw. In fact, Death claims to have been quite resigned to the job he’d been given. Not happy, but resigned. However, the line in the landscape of justice was crossed, he said. It was with the addition of one title to the litany of titles Death already held that really got his goat. ‘Goddess of War’, and it’s not the goddess part. Death claims that it is our own perversities that we blame on him and that we have pretended it was Death who savored war and even joined in the battle fury. And Death will tolerate it no more.
The Letter From Death
Yes, we do have a Letter from Death. It has been skillfully interpreted by Lillian Moats . And it is quite a list of grievances against humankind. Yet, Death spends more time telling us who he is rather than disclaiming the distortions of his detractors. I won’t tell you the end but here is how Death begins to explain what he is rather than what he is not.
So much for what I am not. Now I’ll attempt the harder work – to define myself for the first time. Given the endless ways humanity has maligned me, why do I even bother? I’ll get to that later.
In the scheme of things, we all have a part to play. It falls to me to absorb your last breath. I don’t determine which breath it will be. In fact, my role is anything but aggressive. But when your life can no longer sustain itself, I have one moment with you, one moment in which to take in your final exhalation.
You can’t imagine all that I assimilate in that instant – the sentient remains of a life, the sum of remembrance. If there is suffering near the end, I am your release from that suffering. Contrary to entrenched belief, you have nothing to fear from me. Nevertheless, how unsettling it may be for you to read this letter. I don’t delude myself; few of you will even pick it up for fear of being seen as “morbidly inclined.”
If you’ve read this far, at least you’ve shown a trace of independence. I have many things to say to you. If you can tolerate the provocation, you’re unlikely to see me the same way again.”
Our Images and Beliefs
Through Death’s eyes Lillian Moat looks at some of the most profound questions that confront us. It is also a journey through history that illustrates how culture creates images and perceptions and beliefs. It is, believe it or not, a fun and surprisingly short and well illustrated read. The above quote is from barely 15 pages into the ‘Letter’ so there’s plenty to follow. But I became captivated with the image of Death absorbing our last breath. Death who is entrusted with that last vestige of this life. I’m beginning to really think that we can change the Bad Rap Death has gotten for all these years.