Chapter 1: Cruelty
Chapter 2: The desire to acquire
Mirroring
Nucleotides
Competitiveness
Social Order
Death

Thinking about death

Death is not something in itself - it is a quality of life. Just as I don't think too much that I have to breathe air to live I shouldn't think too much that I have to die to live too.

Why death is a necessary condition for life

There are only two ways of things workng without you dying. The first is that you live forever while all around you dies. That would be awful. Ultimately not tenable either because all around you will die and if you depend on that then ultimately you will die too....anyway you get what I mean. The second is that everything lives for ever. The only way that this could happen would be if there was a general sense of everything being static. As long as two things interact there is the possibility of one destroying the other - so it would mean no or limited interactions between things. It would be a horrible frozen world. It wouldn't work.
So it's unfair to see death as being the brutal end of things. It is the starkest natural representation of the underlying engine of life - which is all change. Without that we simply wouldn't be here in the first instance.

Time and death
There are only two ways of looking at this I think. Either you believe in life after death in which case that life is eternal, or you don't in which case this life is eternal. Time loses relevance when it comes to death. For the person who is dead there was no time before their life and (if you believe a certain way) there is no time after their life. Their life is all that they will know. It is without a known beginning or a remembered end. Therefore as they live it, it has the qualities of eternity.
After death
The dead live on in the lives of those they leave behind. They leave memories, thoughts, skills, ideas and beliefs that live on in the minds of others.
Consider one aspect of that legacy - memory. Every time something is "remembered"- it is a "new" experience for the brain. If you remember the last time you enjoyed walking by the sea - it is a new experience for your brain. So even if somebody is dead they can still cause new experiences to happen in those left behind. The memories they trigger, the comforts that they can bring are all new living experiences. Those new things that the dead create through their legacies are as real as if they were alive. In that way we still cause change, we can still do good, even after we die. Sure there are things we cannot affect but there are things we cannot affect when we're alive too. In that way there is a life after death that holds true regardless of all your other beliefs.
So if you were to aim for a good afterlife it would be that you could continue to affect those people who matter to you in a positive way after you die. The legacy you leave will live on after you. Just because we may not be around to enjoy it does not mean that it is not happening.
That legacy is important.
It's often difficult to know how much joy versus suffering there is left. It's often difficult to know how much joy offsets how much suffering. My own experience has been that moments of joy undo all suffering. It's worth plodding on because of that. One joyous moment can make the rest wash away. Suffering we grow to tolerate - joy always exhilarates. It's always worth the joy!