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“Flight from Death” by Patrick Shen


In human beings, death causes anxiousness, fear, depression, and sorrow even at its mention. Even with the knowledge that death is inevitable for living, people can never be prepared for it, and that explains why sorrow and grief accompany death. Although man has invented ways and means of stopping death, nothing has ever succeeded in ceasing the occurrence of death simply because death takes away life.

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According to Brandon, “while there are both obsolete methods of ‘fighting’ death (Elaborate cultural ceremonies) and new age approaches (pharmaceutical interventions) it’s impossible to defeat death” (Para.6). Death calls for the cessation of one’s life and sorrow to those affected. Therefore, maybe to understand death, one has to understand life: what is the meaning of life?

Meaning of life

Through the knowledge of mortality, man develops civilized systems to sustain life by avoiding the causes of death, which robes away life. According to Shen the director of the film Flight from Death, life is delicate, fragile, and easily breakable and that is why Shen uses the faces of children at the opening of the film. The tenderness of the children’s faces is a symbol of the feeling of life; in life, there is love, happiness, and joy hence pleasure.

On the contrary, death results in sorrow and sadness, because life brings gladness. In my opinion, life involves the expression of heroism in our daily activities other than the reflection of xenophobic behaviors brought about by the imagination of death. As Becker puts it, “…since man has a dualistic nature consisting of a physical self and symbolic self, man can transcend the dilemma of mortality through heroism” (35).

The conceptualization of the symbolic self, which in essence is life, enables one to feel that he/she is heroic and worthy to live eternally other than the physical self that dies. In this context, life is, therefore, the expression of heroic behavior with confidence and no fear of death.

Moreover, life is a course through which living things transcend from birth to death and therefore, death is a reality to those living and an accomplishment to the dead. The film takes the audience to a scene of cemeteries and horrors of the street and political violence simply to show the reality of death and to assert the fact that life is a course normally ending in death, therefore, no need of anxiety and worry.

To some cultures and communities, life loses meaning and significance at the mention or remembrance of death, and they can cause violence to those around them who do not have the same beliefs as them. This argument is evident with the Palestinians; reminding the Palestinians of their death inspires them to think towards becoming suicide bombers (Becker 56).

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To these communities, death gives no meaning to life and knowing that death is inevitable makes the Palestinians lose hope in living and opt to take away their lives in a suicide bombing.


The knowledge of death is an inevitable event that sets behavioral changes to the lives of many people across different cultures. Death takes away life setting sadness and sorrow, which leads to anxiety. The understanding of death as a course of passage by all should not bar anyone from living a positive life with happiness.

The imagination of one’s death should not cause agitation or violence to others. Life has its values including joy, happiness, and pleasure while on the other hand death has sadness, sorrow, and lamentation.

Works cited

Becker, Ernest. Denial of death. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973.

Brandon, Valentine. Movie review – Flight from death: the quest for immortality, 2009. Web.

Shen, Patrick, dir. Flight from death: the Quest for Immortality. Transcendental Media, 2003. Film.

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