Over the course of the next few days, people from his life came from near and far to visit him in the hospital. After about 5 days, the flow petered out. The night he passed, he was in and out of lucidity, and in a clear moment we talked about all of the people that came to see him. He was clearly impressed and humble. At the end of the conversation, he exclaimed "Wow!" in a voice that was barely a whisper and then closed his eyes. Several hours later, hid body finally succumbed to the cancer and he exhaled his last breath.
The final decline took two weeks, and during that time so many people came to visit that it was almost the opposite of 'Wow', he was trying to stay alive to not disappoint. One morning when we awoke he had slipped into coma but it was later clear to me he was still listening. He died a few feet away from me while I did evening dishes and his wife was saying to him "It's okay, you don't have to hang on anymore." And so he left.
I've heard usually at that point (when the patient is ready) they just up the painkiller dose to the point it stops their breathing or heart.
Of course, it may have been something else, too.
Is it possible that the brain prepares us for a peaceful ending? Showing paradise or whatever we like as we breath one last time?
Think of it this way: a bear just ripped/slashed/whatever your arm off... which is more useful: 'arrgggghhh!' or for the brain to pump out endorphins so that you at least concentrate and have a chance of fighting back or running/limping away or hiding? I doubt the brain differentiates between serious injury and dying, it's just wired at a certain point to try to minimize the pain. That would seem to be a very useful evolutionary purpose.
That said, it could also just be an implementation quirk. There’s some interesting work out there on what exactly happens in the brain during the moments surrounding death, and it relates in an interesting way to the neural correlates of consciousness.
Also related to the state of being conscious without attentional content.
Personally, I am christian, and my faith is a huge source of relief when thinking about big questions and personal crisis.
Be aware that many painkillers at end of life are administered by infusion pump. These control the maximum rate and frequency over time, and changes to the parameters are under a PIN code. Many such pumps also log their activity. You will have to look for a way to bypass these safeties, and not make it apparent to an external observer you extracted more medication than allotted in a given time period. I won’t spell out how to do that, because US policy and case law over assisted suicide must be changed before I may safely do so.
When she passed, my wife, her sister and her husband, and my mother-in-law's ex-husband were with her. I was stroking her hair because I wanted the last thing she felt to be a human touch.
At one moment, she said quite clearly, "I'm ready to get on the train". Not a second or two later, we heard the train whistle (Palo Alto) as it passed the stop near her home. And then she stopped breathing.
Coincidence, of course, but nonetheless lovely.
Who: Johann Sebastian Bach, Baroque composer.
Now that is how you go out in style.
"All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the recreation of the soul."
Bach believed that all music, secular as well as sacred, had to be inspired by god or be written for his glory. Puts his last words into context :)
From Wikipedia’s entry about his last wife: “After Bach's death in 1750, his sons came into conflict and moved on in separate directions, going to live with other family members. While Bach did everything to educate his sons, his daughters never went to school. Anna Magdalena was left alone, with no financial support from family members, to care for herself and her two youngest daughters, plus her stepdaughter from Bach's first marriage. Anna Magdalena became increasingly dependent upon charity and handouts from the city council, ultimately relying on public begging to survive. Probably her only child or stepchild who provided any support to her was her stepson Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, whose letters show he provided regular financial assistance. She died on the street on February 27, 1760, with no money at all, and was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave at Leipzig's Johanniskirche [de] (St. John's Church). The church was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II.”
It’s all a stark contradiction to Bach’s music.
Of course, there is no absolute recording of the death of Bach, so no certitude. The witnesses were few, and the Cantor was not very famous at this time, so there was no reason for anyone to produce a detailed account of the episode. Even a single account by a family member would not prove much. So when JS Bach's popularity started to grew, a century later, there was room for imagination. There are many apocryphal texts around Bach, including the Little Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach… written in the 1920s.
Jesus of Nazareth's final quote shows a similar situation. He became much more famous after his death, and most of the texts we have about him were written decades later. Yet the Gospel all describe the scene of his death. So what were his last words? It depends on the Gospel. There are 3 very different accounts, with only Mark and Matthew agreeing.
/everyone had a good laugh, he would have loved it.
It's actually comforting.
Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going —
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.
After he finished, Kozan gently put down his brush, and then died. He was still sitting upright.
“I hope to arrive to my death, late, in love, and a little drunk”
Though in this case people had tried to convince the victim not to swim, so it wasn't like he misread the sign.
These were his deeds :
But I thought it was interesting that part of the way I think she dealt with it was writing her Eulogy. She had been the organist at her church for many years until she became too ill to continue. She had a friendly little rivalry with her much younger replacement playing little practical jokes on her like leaving a funny cartoon in the hymn book to "throw her off timing", silly fun things like that.
My Mom had been placing this idea with the church goers for some time, claiming that our family had Native American Heritage (we do not).
When I attended her funeral, many members of the church mentioned this and my sister and I just assumed maybe she was confused towards the end. But she was not confused at all. It was all part of an elaborate, one last practical joke from the grave.
She had convinced the church to allow the organist to perform a "Native American Chant" in her honor. The Chant was "O-what-ajerkiam" over and over but in native sounding phonology she had devised. She had even provided the poor unsuspecting organist an "official native American drum". (this whole thing shamelessly stolen from Mel Brooks). The ruse went off perfectly and my sister and I were cracking up, Mel Brooks was her favorite.
I hope I have a great sense of humor like my Mom at the end like that. It was her completely. And everyone got a huge kick out of it afterwards including the organist who was in tears of laughter after she realized she had been had one last time.
"Mom send back Satoshi's private key."
Wow. Well played, Mom.
This sort of thing is addressed in the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16. An excerpt:
"'Then I beg you, father,' he [a rich man in hell] said, 'send Lazarus [a beggar in heaven] to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them so they will not also end up in this place of torment.'
But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let your brothers listen to them.'
'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone is sent to them from the dead, they will repent.'
Then Abraham said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'" (Luke 16:27-31)
IMO that passage only addresses it in so far as to make up an excuse to explain the silence. If even a modest amount of the supernatural claims in the Christian Bible are true then at least one of them should be reliably repeatable. And despite years wasted looking I'm not convinced.
The entire idea is that a conscious mind is controlling things. The only truly repeatable aspect of a conscious being is their reflexes, and you can't hammer God in the shins. There are no predictions that you can draw from theism, so it can't be falsified or supported. The idea that you should look for ideas that yield predictions, although it is obvious to us now, took thousands of years to develop.
Which eliminates any significant benefit besides some placebo effect. Therefore I won't be wasting another second fearing unprovable claims about eternal .
If it were reliably repeatable, it wouldn't be supernatural. That's tautological.
Here's an interesting paper on the subject: https://philpapers.org/archive/FROTNA-2.doc (Greg Frost-Arnold, 2010, "The No‐Miracles Argument for Realism: Inference to an Unacceptable Explanation", Philosophy of Science 77(1))
Logic, reason, critical thinking, ethics, these are all valuable things. But anti-realism? I challenge anyone to tell me something useful that has come from the study of "anti-realism".
Not that everything has to be useful. Far be it from me to try to control anyone's hobby. But I, for one, don't want any of my tax dollars to go toward supporting that fruitless pasttime.
Mathematical foundations were once very shaky, but real-world mathematicians didn't care in practice. Bertrand Russell showed that an early mathematical foundation attempt was inconsistent. At the time, to a working mathematician, this would have been about as airy-fairy as anti-realism seems to us today. A mathematician back then could well and rightly have said: "Proofs, equations, solutions, these are valuable things. But Russell's paradox? I challenge anyone to tell me something useful that has come from the study of Russell's paradox." Indeed, the paradox was actually known to Zermelo before Russell, and Zermelo didn't consider it important enough to make a fuss about!
Now in hindsight, we know that foundational work DID pay off in practical ways. It was a crucial step toward the development of, for example, automated proof verification software like COQ, which has extremely important real-world applications and whose importance will only grow in the future.
Here's my speculation: things like anti-realism are equivalent to Russell's Paradoxes which seem like navel-gazing today. In a hundred years' time, they might have proven to be a crucial step toward formal science verification software. Just like fixing mathematical foundations was a crucial step toward formal mathematical verification software.
Then let me rephrase,
If even a modest amount of the unusual claims in the Bible are true then at least one of them should be reliably repeatable.
Maybe three thousand years ago, priests invoked aspects of Yahweh in the usual way. Burning incense and lamb's blood in charcoal braziers, chanting, wards for protection, and so on. If you were pure, he'd smite your enemies. If not, your people would suffer.
As someone who read the Bible as an atheist, I strongly believe that faith is not required to appreciate, and even be guided by, the Bible. Much in the same way one does not need to believe in orcs to appreciate and learn from Lord of the Rings.
He characterizes Yahweh as fundamentally unknowable. Too complex, multidimensional, etc, etc. The whole beyond good and evil thing. That's not at all an unusual perspective. But what is unusual is his argument that how Yahweh shows up is determined by what his believers expect him to be.
His Caine series explores similar ideas. But in a far more complex plot. And with much better writing.
Reverse anthropomorphism—sounds okay until you realise that even we humans recognise how utterly rubbish we are at most things and strive to be better than our true selves. Our puny minds have recognised countless limitations of our humanity and we struggle to barely rise above them. Whereas these proposed gods suffer all the same pathetic failings while declaring themselves perfect.
"The name Alex was an acronym for avian language experiment, or avian learning experiment."
Anyway, fascinating article even though we all seem to want to talk about famous last words instead.
— Frederic Chopin
This one is my favourite.
she was the always happy type of person. super socialite knows everyone and everyone loves her always a kind word for everyone.
The last time I saw her was the only time I ever heard her have a negative attitude about anything.
She said "getting old sucks!"
And OK, those weren't his last words. They were the last words in his last book, The Western Lands. Maybe they were more about being ready for death.
His final journal entries were published as Last Words: The Final Journals. My favorite:
> Here I sit with my three old cats, getting closer to eternity all the time, on a twine chair—(Van Gogh) and me too—and it gets very depressing. What can I do? I had high hopes. We all did. Remember just outside the Tangier Consulate: “Have you met the Skipper yet?” Later I did. And now no skipping, no transport anywhere, except to a cut-rate mortuary. Where were you when I wasn’t there? “Hound of Hell!!” screamed the Pop Star, and kicked the fink dog in the nuts. “Only decent thing I done.” “Forget the whole thing. I have.” Great gasp at this point. How much time? have I left? Not much it seems.”
The section about his death is surprising. I was an atheist at the time I first encountered the story.
The day after we got there, he woke up. He wasn’t able to see, and he asked my grandmother, “is everyone here, Mother?”
“Yes, George, they are.”
“So I can go now?”
Through tears, she said, “yes, you can go now.”
He took one more breath.
Grandpa "I am sorry for all the things I did (as a Nazi)we where just fighting for our rights and lives."
Grandpa 2 "Y'all talk to much." joking
Cousin 1 "I fought as long as I can don't cry it's all cool"
Cousin 2 "Fuck this world and fuck you're gods" heard over the internet
old age 102/stopped breathing
Great grandma "(I have seen a lot of stuff) I'll tell you more tomorrow right now I'm tired."
There is nothing romantic about it, just incoherence that can only sometimes be applied out of context to conform to a blissful end.
So logically the next thing you have to do is to question whether I’ve sat with enough and kept a spreadsheet to elevate my experience away from an anecdotal outlier