Rest in peace.
...I suddenly got a glimpse of how disassembled and undirected and simply bereft I would feel if I were to learn suddenly through the Associated Press of Updike's death. All I wanted, all I counted on, was Updike's immortality: his open-ended stream of books, reviews, even poems, and especially responses to pert queries from Mademoiselle and The New York Times Book Review.... I wanted more of these monocellular living appearances. More awards-acceptance speeches! He was, I felt, the model of the twentieth-century American man of letters: for him to die would be for my generation's personal connection with literature to die, and for us all to be confronted at last with the terrifying unmediated enormity of the cast-concrete university library, whose antitheft gates go click-click-click-click as we leave, dry laughter at how few books we can carry home with us.
-- Nicholson Baker, U and I
Do I really want it, this self, these scattered fingerprints on the air, to persist forever, to outlast the atomic universe? Those who scoff at the Christian hope of an afterlife have on their side not only a mass of biological evidence knitting the self-conscious mind tight to the perishing body but a certain moral superiority as well: isn't it terribly, well, selfish, and grotesquely egocentric, to hope for more than our animal walk in the sun, from eager blind infancy through the productive and procreative years into a senescence that, by the laws of biological instinct as well as by the premeditated precepts of stoic virtue, will submit to eternal sleep gracefully? Where, indeed, in the vast spaces disclosed by modern astronomy, would our disembodied spirit go, and, once there, what would it do?
-- John Updike, "On Being a Self Forever", Self-Consciousness