‘Death Be Not Proud’
By Tony Candela
John Donne, a poet and priest, wrote, “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so…”
I have been wondering what might be at the deepest roots of the different attitudes conservatives and liberals appear to have toward the precautions and remedies developed against the virus that has caused the pandemic the world has been mired in for two years. How will it end? For example, is there something inescapably human in the disparate reactions people in free societies have toward vaccination that portends our ultimate fate as a race? I think so. Perhaps it resides in a fundamental relationship we have toward death. While people fear suffering and the loss of loved-ones, no matter who they are, even the staunchest resistors to the very notion the pandemic should be feared express fear when they are so sick they think they are going to die. While we all fear death, I think some believe it is so much the natural order of things that they resist it less than others. Perhaps they believe as John Donne did that there is a more glorious after-life that conquers anything that mortal humans may fear about death. Therefore, although our basic survival instincts tell us to fear things that might harm or kill us in order to stay alive at least long enough to procreate, there may be a deeper belief among conservatives that ultimately death is something we should not fight against. More liberal thinking seems to include a greater fear-factor and at best, agnosticism about what happens after death. So what am I saying? I think that we should not be fooled by the veneer of anti-masking, anti-vaxing, and even anti-mandating that pops up all the time. We should try to understand that there are those among us who have a relationship to death that may be different from ours. This is a deep-seated and in my opinion, dangerous “instinct”. It bodes poorly for our survival in the long-term. For if we do not take care of ourselves and our environment, we Homo sapiens will die as a race much sooner than later. Some may say, “So what? The universe will go on even after we are gone.” I say, “How will members of a race which might visit a dead planet Earth – or God for that matter if that is your belief – judge us?” Will they say, “These people didn’t seem to have cared enough to preserve the gifts this beautiful world gave them, including their own existence? What a crying shame.”
Anthony R. Candela, Author
Saying aloud what should not remain silent.
Stand Up Or Sit Out: Memories and Musings Of a Blind Wrestler, Runner, and All-around Regular Guy
A memoir about life lessons learned, especially through sports
Vision Dreams: A Parable
A sci-fi novella about how a dysfunctional society forces people to go to extremes, including four blind people who seek out artificial vision.
Christian Faith Publishing, 2019
Tony Candela has worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor, supervisor, manager consultant and administrator for more than 40 years in the field of blindness and visual impairment. His work has included promoting literacy and employment of blind persons and a special interest in enhancing the career preparation of blind persons who wish to work in the computer science field. He is a “retired” athlete, loves movies, sports, reading, writing, and music, including dabbling in guitar. Read more at: https://www.anthonyrcandela.com/
*Poem reference: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44107/holy-sonnets-death-be-not-proud