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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Death and the Engineer

My Father is on his deathbed. I am up early to catch a plane to NW Pennsylvania to be with him, he is not expected to live out the week. This is hard.

He is 76. Born in England, he lived there until at age 45, following the death of my younger sister Elizabeth at age 13, he and my Mother sold everything and moved to Erie PA. They have been there ever since. His passion in life was always trains. He became an Engineer, and has spent his life designing locomotives and rolling stock. It's nice to be paid for your hobby. Perhaps someday, someone will pay me for flying, which is mine.

What is Death? I am thinking more and more that as the creators of the universe we see, we must ourselves be somehow external to it. This could mean that we become something else and go somewhere else ( a kind of heaven/afterlife), or that we are part of an overall universal consciousness (Nirvana) into which we are reabsorbed after death. I talked with my dead sister in a dream a few weeks ago - was it just a dream, an illusion created by my subconscious to make me feel better, or a connection to another reality? I wish I could remember what we talked about. The location was interesting - kind of like an airport or train terminal - lot's of people coming and going, but no sense of urgency - like sitting at a restaurant at San Francisco airport on a 4 hour layover.

Or Death could just be the end. The machine wears out, or is damaged. Consciousness is just an illusion formed by the mechanical, chemical, electrical and quantum processes in the 2lbs of brain matter in my skull. If so, what a waste. We come into this world knowing nothing, do things in our youth with no experience, and by the time we get wisdom, it's time to go.

My Dad is about to find out.

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