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Meaning of Life

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We are afraid of death and will do anything to avoid the subject; one of the great gifts of spiritual individuals is that they are able to die gracefully, with a minimum of fear or anger. We grew up with Dylan Thomas's poem that advises, "Do not go gentle into that good light. . . . Rage, rage against the dying of the light."(www.poets.org) and that is certainly a familiar approach. However, there is another one. Think of a quote by Peter Matthiessen, a Buddhist: "My ambition is to die the way a ripe fruit lets go of a tree."

Every day people are looking for ways to extend life or feel younger, the desire to live forever is deep in our culture. Just look at the popularity of shows like 'Extreme Makeover' or 'the biggest loser.' People pray to be young and deny that death is a part of life. Hospitals spend huge sums of money trying to keep people alive. We as a society have become so preoccupied with sustaining the physical that we often forget to nurture the spirit. So that's one of the central themes I wanted to deal with in the film: Does death make us human, and if we could live forever, would we lose our humanity?"

In the movie "The Fountain", the main character, Tom, tries to find the Tree of Life in three different periods. Throughout all of the scenes, he tries to beat death, so his wife Izzi could live forever. In his three roles -- scientist, warrior, explorer -- Thomas refuses to see death as anything but an enemy that must be conquered. In each period, he misses the love of his wife that is right in front of him by trying to push the envelope and to achieve a miracle cure for his wife tumour. Izzy his wife is at peace with her dying, she embraces it as showed in the movie when she told him she was not afraid. This movie also relates to "Stage Theory" by Kübler-Ross and "Grief, Religion, and Spirituality" by Dennis Klass. Both of these talk about stages of grief and how to cope with grief that people experience when they lose a loved one. In the movie, Tom was going through two of the stages of grief by Kübler-Ross. One of the stages that he was going through was the stage of Denial. Tommy refused to accept the fact that his wife was going to pass away and no longer be there with him. Another stage portrayed in the movie was Anger. Tom was angry at everything and everyone; he tried so hard to find a cure for the brain tumor that his wife had, but nothing seemed to work. His wife Izzi was going though the stage of Acceptance. She accepted the fact that she was going to die no matter what and there was no cure for her disease. In order to cope with her sickness, she began to write a book about Queen Isabel that was sent out on a mission to travel to Spain and bring sap from a tree of life.

Dennis Klass explains in his work that in order for the bereaved parents to cope with their children's death they need to interact with their child is linking object, (Klass, 2007). One of the objects that Tom drew on in order to stay close to his wife was their wedding ring. The



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