Moral Certainty, the Fear of Death and heroes2 min read

Experience is a fucking awesome teacher. Often times it is best to have that teacher be the purview of someone else. Experience can suck. Learning from someone else instead of direct experience is the best thing to do.

The trouble comes in when you start questioning who has both the experience and the same temperament to interpret and internalize that experience as you might. I’d go so far as to state that there is no teacher that can (or maybe should) do this for you.

Experience isn’t the only teacher, but it is the one that will overrule all others.


It is impossible to know what the experience of death is. We can get close to it. The approximation can have deep and profound meaning and completely change people’s outlooks on life.

The fear of death is a normal thing. There is no teacher for what death will bring next. We don’t even know if it brings a next.

Morality and Death

The fear of death and the desire to control it drives much of what we do. It goes beyond pain. Many people will do things that they find painful. It should be self evident that the positive embrace of death doesn’t result in people to teach us about it afterwards.

When we think we can use pure reason to decide things about death, we should realize we have gone (most likely several steps) too far.

The Superhero

Can a superhero decide who is doing moral good and moral bad? Does the existence of this genre instill in us a lesson that we may not be aware of?

Even if the superhero doesn’t kill the villain, does the idea that there is a villain teach us a lesson that needs to be inspected on a deeper level than we are prepared to do?

Questions in Death

I have thought that taking justice into your own hands is a positive thing. I was hopeful that Chris Dorner was a hero, when that was in the news.

The finality of death raises a lot of questions on how you can be the bringer of death and be the hero. It may not be possible in today’s society. Death is a proper response to an existential threat. Having your current existence threatened is not the same as having all existence or any personal existence threatened.

My Conclusion

Find how to embrace that you will die. Make your death have meaning, if you can. Be the person you want to be in your life.

Even if someone is wrong and has harmed you and yours, it doesn’t mean you can pass final judgement on them. Morality doesn’t spawn from pure reason. You can’t discount that your emotions and biases are in the way of seeing how you are wrong.

Stories are important for our understanding and how we relate to the world. I think it is time I think about what the stories are teaching me without me realizing it.

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