It is both silent and loud. Tragic in its blackness and oblivion, death is, in the very same breath, as natural and pure as a sunrise or mountain stream. It is the bookend of everything physically tangible, a place where all human knowledge—scientific, spiritual or otherwise—meets an abrupt, wholly impassible terminus.
For all sentient beings—ants to whales to dogs to us—this is our one shared fear. Our ultimate fear. Its avoidance is the foundation of our instinctual topography, inciting instantaneous reactions that transform us into beasts of otherwordly strength or flight. It scatters deer from meadows, makes wasps swarm with kamikaze verve and causes fish to dart into the deep. How do you deal?