This morning I was more or less awake around around 5 AM, fell asleep again and had the following dream:
I walked into this large hall with brick walls and relatively small but copious windows placed in the wall I was facing. To my left the hall opened into a bright market place, but I barely glanced at it as the spectacle directly in front of me, near the wall I could see best from where I entered the wall, had inevitably caught my eye. There, on top of a raised narrow platform a number of men and woman were placed on their knees with their hands apparently tied behind their backs. To my right were I think four men, to my left three women. They all looked young and attractive.
As I looked on - mesmerized - I caught the men standing behind the kneeling men on the right push them forward onto thick, sharp wooden stakes placed in an angled fashion towards their chests. One by one, the stakes pushed into their chests, just below their breastbones, until they were fully impaled. Bleeding and gasping for breath they were left like that. At that point my gaze was drawn to the left side were the women were still kneeled on the platform.
I could see the right-most one the most. She was pretty, with dark hair and a regular face. As the men behind them pushed them forward to similar wooden stakes, I could see her take a deep breath as though preparing herself, while her eyes went blank. It made me think of how odd it was to prepare for your own death that way, though not hard to imagine. As she got closer to the stake, suddenly all three women were inverted, wih their backs towards the stakes and facing their executioners. When the stakes pierced their bodies, blood gushed around. I could see the executioner of the right-most woman pull back and stare aghast at the sight in front of him.
That's when the dream ended. I woke up feeling quite tense and somewhat unsettled.
Executions and deaths have long fascinated me, much like they have every average person, but in my case I can not push away the details of what is happening at each point. The severing of nerves, of muscles and ligaments. Of nerve clusters ceasing their activity, and the cessation of conscious thought as the mind starts it inevitable slide towards decay. The abject fear of the victim as it realizes that it'll soon fade into nothing and that nothing can be done about it. One's own death is the most frightening prospect one can think of as it really is the end of everything, ripping control of our existence including our very existence itself from our hands.
Through it all, I have not managed to find comfort in what I consider to be delusional thoughts about things turning out fine because of some kind of 'next step', during which one's consciousness and memories will simply be transferred to something or other. While I do consider that a limited form of reincarnation is conceivable within the boundaries of quantum mechanics through the interconnected nature of the fundamental fabric of matter and energy, the collection of nerve cells and ganglia forming a human's brain is truly the only residence of that particular collection of memories and resulting 'personality'.
The frailty of an existence is both fascinating and terrifying. To me it makes the deaths of people in accidents and during executions so impossible to ignore. It's the moment when one realizes the strongest that one really, really doesn't want to die, that there's absolutely no reason to die as nothing can be worse than to cease existing. Call it survival instinct, or whatever you like. It's the basic tenet of existing, to not die.
My reaction to someone inching towards death in such a fashion and possibly dying is one of feeling sick. I can not even witness the execution of the average convicted criminal on death row, as something just isn't right about it. Maybe it's just my strong sense of empathy, which allows me to experience what that person is feeling and thinking. I have died in many ways already due to it. Every time I go through it it makes me just want to live more strongly.
Death in the end isn't part of life. It is the anti-thesis of life and existence. It's oblivion. Nothingness. Even a black hole is churning with life in comparison.
Still doesn't really tell me why I had to have this particular dream this morning, however. Brains are weird.