Why do we have to die?
Why do we have to die?
Now, while this question is seldom articulated out loud, it is often found in the guise of other questions people ask: questions such as:
Why doesn’t God start over and create a better world without things that harm humanity?
Of course, at their root of these questions is our own discontent at the limited longevity of human life. A life that may be further shortened through war, famine, natural disaster, illness or some other danger.
Interestingly, questions regarding the necessity of why we have to die suggests that humans actually appreciate being alive and their overriding desire is for this to continue. Indeed, without this desire and inbuilt drive in every living creature or organism to live and survive, it is questionable whether any species would exist on earth. That said, it seems that many creatures and organisms in order to survive are often able to sacrifice themselves in some way so that the next generation may advance and have the best chance of survival. A few examples of this are –
- the returning salmon who mates and dies leaving a dead carcass for their young to feed on
- ants that absorb poison and in the process give rise to the next generation of ant who may prove resistant to it in years to come
- a virus that is cured by antibiotics but which later mutates into a more virulent and/or deadlier strain that might be resistant to drugs next time round.
Likewise, humans have also adapted and learnt how to ensure the continuance of life through a greater understanding and management of those things that would otherwise prove detrimental to health and existence. Now, while they have been hugely successful at survival and technological advancement, three problems are pertinent.
- The limited resources of earth that – with increasing human population size – may not be able to meet the needs of everyone on the planet.
- The limitations of the human body that causes it to grow weaker and less productive the longer it lives after its hiatus of productivity.
- The limitations of space in disposing of human feaces from people who live longer that will surpass what can be adequately managed.
In summary, one answer to the question ‘Why do we have to die?’ might be that there is not enough physical space or resources on earth for humans to exist forever. Indeed, it is questionable whether young could survive or grow without the passing on of a generation, particularly where it ‘frees up’ resources for growth and development. Finally, it seems that unlike humans, organisms, insects, animal kingdom etc are intuitively aware of the need to pass on the baton and provide for the next generation. How much they are cognisant and self aware of existence and what comes after death: that is another question?