How many times do we discuss the topic of death with our friends? The idea of death terrifies a significant section of world population. This has made discussions on death a taboo in many societies, that one can easily be considered inconsiderate for attempting to talk about the topic. As a result, people have not been able to fulfill their potential as they postpone things that they would rather pursue at the moment. This because consider death to be a remote subject, something far away from them. Scholars like Robert Kastenbaum have discussed the topic in depth even discussing the anxiety itself. We all consider ourselves to be alive, but do we use any framework to prove that we are actually alive? In this paper, I will be using Kastenbaum’s notion of life and death to prove that I am actually alive.
The first characteristic about dead people is that they are non-responsive. They cannot respond to both internal and external stimuli. The body of a dead person cannot express pain when pinched and it cannot even respond to someone trying to pierce the eye. The same cannot be said of me, as I can respond to the same stimuli as well as react when a certain stimulus is causing damage to my body. The fact that I am responsive, which is an attribute that cannot be found in dead persons, is a proof that I am alive. This also includes awareness of what is around someone and perception of events and experiences that take place. In this line, I would not be able to perceive what is required of me had I been dead. The fact that I could read and synthesize the subject matter is further proof that I am alive.
The other proof concerns my heartbeat and respiration. These activities are controlled by the brain; if the brain is dead, the heart does not know that it should beat and neither do the lungs know that they should function to take in air. The fact that my heart is currently beating means my brain is functioning, something that is reminiscent of life. Kastenbaum talks about brain death as being the prolonged nonreversible cessation of brain activity, with complete absence of voluntary movements, reflexes of the brain stem as well as spontaneous respirations (Kastenbaum, 2011). This thus means respiration is an indication of the absence of brain death and a proof of life. Therefore, the fact that I am able to respire means that I am alive. People in a permanent vegetative state are also able to respire, but they can also not be considered as dead people.
Kastenbaum (2011) also alludes to low body temperature and stiffness as a characteristic of death, or rather, a dead person. He said that it was a way used even in the traditional society to ascertain whether someone was still alive or had given up the fight. The body of a dead person has the same body temperature as the environment; it takes up the room temperature under normal circumstances. My case is...