Death: It Makes You Think by David Barrows, API

I have always been interested in how things work. When I started to study business management, I learned that this is called, amongst other things, the value proposition. As a result, I have never been bored. Whether in a donut shop or doing a training session in Sri Lanka, I always ask the same question: What is the value proposition, what makes this work/ or not work?

I understood Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons immediately. The usual list of key success factors includes strategic thinking, customer service, pricing, ingredients, advertising, etcetera.

With respect to Sri Lanka, I could see no discernible value proposition. Very nice, hard-working people. People are not the issue. The system is grotesque and does not permit the type of social and economic progress that Sri Lanka should experience. Many years ago, I was running a training session for senior public officials in Sri Lanka. I picked up the local newspaper; it said that after 5 months, IBM had been given permission to establish a facility. I was part of a team designed to streamline the business registration system in the province of Ontario. A 5-month wait was inconceivable.


On my next birthday, I will be 80 years of age. That is a big number. I am not sure how I got here, but here I am. In the United States, I am already stale dated. The average male life expectancy is 76.61. I have better luck in Canada and Israel,  81.15 and 81.98, respectively.

I asked myself what is the business model for Death. I can find no value-added proposition. Okay, the Earth has finite resources. People, animals, vegetables, and minerals would simply overwhelm the capacity of the Earth to function effectively; out with the old and in with the new. I guess that makes some sense. But the capricious nature of death is unfathomable. Here I am, washed up at age 80, and my grandchild miscarried in the first month. Does miscarriage equate to death or just bad luck? Does my grandchild's death amount to anything? It would seem that this is an important question for issues of Heaven and Hell and Reincarnation. Surely one month in the womb is insufficient time to consign my grandchild to heaven or hell for all eternity. Similarly, how can the recycling Gods determine what to do with my grandchild? Perhaps this was all part of a bigger plan. My grandchild will have gained something from the experience and will be reincarnated as WHAT and WHY.

Preliminary Thoughts

The only thing that I can possibly conclude is that we are animals that come and go like all the other animals. I cannot conclude from my analysis that there is something after death. Well, what if there is a heaven? Will I go? Highly unlikely, given the things that I have done.

But, let's give me the benefit of the doubt. In what form do I enter Heaven? As a washed-out 80-year-old, a neurotic 40-year-old, or an awkward and pathetic 16-year-old. As an 80 years old, I take a number of medicines including, antidepressants, anti-anxiety, and anti-psychotic prescription drugs. Surely, those will not be necessary. But then, who would I be? Certainly not the human animal that has existed on this planet for the last 80 years.

Years ago, we were invited to a dinner by a Doctor from Utah. He was studying at the world-renowned Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto. He performed children's Neurosurgery. I can't believe anybody could actually do such a thing, but of course, it is a blessing to have skilled people available; I certainly couldn't do it. He was a Mormon, and the purpose of the dinner was proselytization by two very nice young men dressed in black. They were explaining to us how we needed to convert in order to go to heaven. So, I asked them what it was like up there. They both said that they really hoped there would be competitive football; presumably with no injuries and no score.