I am not the first to point out that, since the announcement of Prince’s untimely death, the usual feeding frenzy has been underway. Part cult of celebrity, part denial of death, it seems that when any high-profile person dies much before having reached their eightieth birthday the public becomes obsessed with discovering some behavioral flaw that led to the [perceived] untimely demise of the person in question. Was it a suicide? Was it a drug overdose? Was it a murder? Did they choke to death on a sandwich? Did a physician over-prescribe medication? Question after question reveals that we would rather impugn the character of the recently deceased rather than face this important truth: people die.
I believe that we are obsessed with finding a cause of death because we want to reassure ourselves that, while Elvis, Jim Morrison, Mama Cass, James Dean, Richie Valens, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, B.B. King, Prince, and a host of others known and unknown die every day, we will be the exception and live forever. We simply cannot face that, no matter how many “procedures” we have or how hard we search for the fountain of youth, we will die. No matter how much Viagra we take, one day we will be little more than a corpse with an erection. Rather than make peace with that truth and start really living right this moment, we frantically search for “reasons” to continue to engage in what might be the ultimate self-deception.
Prince is dead, and it doesn’t matter why. One day we all will join him, no matter what we do. Let that sink in, and then ponder how you will live.