Deadly Perceptions

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The Viewpoints of Death

When I was six years old, my grandfather and I would play with Lego's and he would tell me about the amazing things he could do with a little help from chemistry. He was my family, my friend. I always saw him for the exact person he was ' sometimes getting mad at him, sometimes being impartial, sometimes loving him as much as a child can. On a December morning a year later, my parents told me he had died. A child doesn't understand death, only that he doesn't see his grandfather anymore. I cried because my parents cried. I was sad, but not devastated. As I got older, I began to see my grandfather, the man who had been my friend and was just a human, as an awe-inspiring ghost who had never done a single thing wrong.

While a person is living, people's viewpoints are usually personal, raw and clean from death's poison, demonstrating their true views of a person. One of the most intense is hate. Hate flows in an intense and continuous stream towards the accused, stemming from a passionate loathing for whatever this person may have done ' from cutting you in line to killing your loved one. Hate has no constraints, and can always seem like it comes from the depths of Hell itself. Hitler was one one of the single worst human beings to live on the face of this earth. During the Third Reich's reign the threat of Hitler compelled people to express a form of loathing, an uncontrollable revulsion so powerful, that it won a world war and lead to the creation of one of the most important countries on earth.
Some are hated for their personality, but most are despised for their actions. The respect one shows for the living is something that they have to earn, a reward they deserve, and should never have it given to them like a present. Most actions are often highly criticized and rarely earns the praise of another. People are always critical of the living, because they have a right to defend themselves and face their accuser, however ridiculous the claim. When closely examined, the actions of Julius Caesar when closely examined are absolutely terrible in their magnitude, and the sheer cruelty this man displayed while he was alive was appalling. He started a civil war in order to secure total power of the Roman Republic for himself, bringing about the deaths of thousands of his fellow Romans by pitching them into battle against a fellow Roman general and beloved consul, Gnaeus Pompey. Instituting proscriptions, the slaughtering of innocent people, Caesar threw the Roman Republic into utter chaos, resulting in several civil wars which tore the country apart for decades.

Although Caesar had done so many terrible things, the plebiens adored him, enabling him to commit these atrocities. Love has no boundaries, even in death it survives. When the loved one is alive, it takes on an adoring personal attachment that affects every action a person will make. Its effects can be mind-blowing and devastating ' from standing in line with you at the DMV to sacrificing a life in order to save another. Love knows no limits. After my first grandfather had died, I attached myself to my other grandfather, hoping that if I spent as much time with him and made the best of it, I wouldn't be so sad later on. It was worse, but I'm still glad I did it. I loved him as much as a grandson could love his grandpa; I felt an adoration for him that was almost as strong as I felt for my father, mother and sister. It was more than worth it.


Although people's deaths don't change what they did, the living view the deceased with a skewed viewpoint much different from the way they saw them when they were alive. Every emotion begins to fade after death, even hate. To compare the hatred of the living and dead would be absurd, because as the living die, our hatred of them, like everything else, soften. Our abhorrence of radicals and evil-doers grow fainter as their memories and actions affect us less and less, and the once Stalin-esque demagogues dim in our memories to mere pests who were defeated by the act of outliving them. Even the actions of the hated can be justified and turned over after death so that people can begin to respect a devil. With Hitler long dead and the threat of Holocaustic genocide a mere ghost, people feel an almost awed hate for a man who managed to bring about the death's of millions, a disgusted respect for a man who attempted to wipe a people off the face of the earth. Justifications such as insanity and economic downturn legitimize one of the worst acts in human history committed by someone who was just evil, not crazy, but just evil. The time it takes to change the course of history is so short that the history books must be constantly rewritten to make sure the viewpoints coincide with the current feelings of our fickle world.
People are more respected after death, but it is a ubiquitous feeling, with almost everyone earning the respect of the living for simply making it through life without screwing up too badly. The respect for the dead is too consistent and always inflated. The actions of the dead are always praised for the magnanimity of a simple kind gesture; their mistakes are often justified with nonexistent reasons, heightening the image of the common deceased to the status of an angel bearing a golden Kithara. Julius Caesar had died long before the total devastation of his empire was complete, but after Octavian had secured his victory over Antony at the battle of Actium and the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire, Caesar's memory was not damned as it should have been, but lauded and gilded among the populous. The now powerless senate even deified the man who had single-handedly ripped the eternal republic to shreds. The plebs were buying goods with his golden face and praising his statue at the temples, because after his death, his atrocious actions were legitimized by his adopted-son Octavian. The Old Republic was gone, its champions silent with death. It seems that after only a few turns of the hour glass, hardly any ticks of the clock, the once condemned living can become deceased gods in the eyes of indecisive mortals.

Our love for these false angels shifts away from the personal adoration to awed idolization of our new role models. This love is less personal and more detached, because of the obligated feeling people have to continue to love their adored ones as they pass out of this life. They believe that they have a duty to not forget the dead, which is a pious creed, but to compare the love after death to the living love we give to people would be ludicrous. After my grandpa's death, my love for him became more of an awed respect for one of my favorite teachers, I didn't lose my love, it simply changed its form. He was my role model, I idolized him and developed a caring respect for him that I will defend as long as I live. Although time heals all wounds, the price you must pay for the remedy is the loss of the immense and heart-felt love you once felt. The reason we don't give our uncommitted love away to many is the knowledge of death and the fear of losing your loved one, this fear of death is what truly keeps our world from loving to its fullest.

Jesus, my lord and savior, was once a mere prophet who was hated by his own people. However, the martyr's death he faced in order to save the same people who held him in such disgust, elevated him to the status of God ' his son, our savior. Death, although it means the extinguishment of our own flame, can bring about a wind that changes so many others.

Growing up, gossip was common. Girls would start rumors and guys would fight, but the one thing I hated most was being lied about. Although I had to put on a smiling face for it, I cringed from false praise and detested crude slander. As Cicero said to his scribe Tiro I will say to my children 'Just be honest about me.' Why would I want people to lie about me after I died, the ultimate way to talk about people behind their back? Do you want to be lied about after you die?





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