Lesson 113: Understanding death
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 2/2 ('Where Silence has Lease')


A totally unknown alien life form queries Capt. Picard on the human condition and understanding of what is death. Capt. Picard replies that some humans see it as the changing of themselves into an indestructible form which lasts forever, while others see it as just simply blinking themselves into nothingness, finding out that all of their hopes and dreams were nothing but illusions.

Capt. Picard postulates that given the clockwork perfection of the universe, the truth about death must be more than either of these philosophies and that death is un-measureable, un-definable and not understandable by our current standards of thought.


Defining and understanding what death is has been one of the most sought after quests of mankind for all ages.

Yet, to this day, with all of our super high technology, mathematically configured universe, and philosophical considerations of past sages, we are still no closer to comprehending death than the first cave man that saw his fellow cave man fall down dead to never rise again.

Outside of religion, which can claim to explain death sans evidence or logic, based solely on belief, we have predicted, perhaps rightly so, that even in the 24th century with interstellar faster than light speed technology, we will still be no closer to quantifying and qualifying death any better.

Arguments disfavoring this conclusion might point to the fact that humans built machines to 'see' beyond our experiential senses of the visible spectrum and discovering Infra-red, Ultra violet, Gamma rays and X-rays. These bands of radiation have always existed alongside us, just not discernable to us without technology.

This example postulates, therefore, that the post-death state is in existence with us, just not registering within our ordinary senses or technology.

Another simple observation in this life tells us that we know nothing of the whence from which we came and nothing of the post-death henceforth, to where we shall go.

If we came from nothingness and end up in nothingness, does that mean we return to the same condition after death as we were in before life? Does that make birth and death nothing more than just two points on a step function, or even more elementary, the two sides of the same coin?

In this line of conjecture, death becomes nothing more than a point of exchange, from life to post-life.

Unfortunately, from our life-side view, this point of exchange is still a one way door, allowing us to travel to the other side, however, never letting us communicate in either direction.

Bottom line - whatever idea, understanding or belief we may personally have of death today - we are each just as right and just as wrong as everyone else.

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