Above the Belt

Atty. Dayot ‘wasn’t scared’ of death

By Alex P. Vidal


“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” — Friedrich Nietzsche


ONE of the most important messages the late lawyer-philosopher Ernesto “Ernie” Dayot, 86, had reiterated after his wife died in 2013 was, “death doesn’t scare me, at all!”


“When we have accepted that there is a higher God, nothing can scare us–not even death; we will soon realize nothing is permanent here on earth,” Dayot waxed poetic during our luncheon philosophical binge that year when I was in the Philippines.


He, too, believed that what makes us all human is not entirely our intellect or our brain.


Although he was an avid objectivist, he agreed that there are things that have no relation with the physical brain or man’s intelligence.


They are an expression of the spirit inside us, he explained.


Dayot believed that humanity lies in our power to experience many different facets of life, for example our sense of justice, our ability to love, our ability to understand free will and the responsibility that comes with it, to appreciate beauty, and to develop art and culture.


If we are convinced we will live beyond death, we will be much more aware of the responsibility that we bear both for ourselves and towards others within creation, Dayot whose body was cremated on May 22, 2019 and was brought to his hometown in Dingle, Iloilo.




We understand that our present life and the way we live it is closely connected with our continued existence after passing over, then we will have reason to fear the consequences of every single wrong and harmful deed we had committed.


We are still likely to suffer the consequences even if we no longer live on earth.


What Friedrich Nietzsche meant when he wrote that “God is dead” was not literally the physical death of God, Dayot reiterated.


Shakespeare did not say “To be, or not to be.” He wrote it, but Hamlet says it. Neither did Nietzsche say “God is dead”; a “madman” does. While it is true that Nietzsche himself went mad at 45, there is still a difference between life and literature, even when the latter is called philosophy, according to biographer Mike Macrone.


Not that there are “unbelievers” in the world, for that was always true; nor simply that God does not exist. For is “God is dead,” then He must have once been alive; but this is paradoxical, since if God were ever alive, He, being eternal, could never die.


The madman speaks not of the believer’s God, who always was and always will be, but rather of what God represented and meant to his culture.This God was a “shared belief” in God, and it is such belief that was expiring in 19th century Europe.




“Where once God stood–at the center of knowledge and meaning–there is now a void. Science and philosophy alike treat God as irrelevant, and once again man has become the measure of all things,”according to Macrone.


Westerners have “killed” the God of their ancestors in turning over more toward nature and away from the supernatural. The believers in Nietzsche’s tale think seeking God is rather funny; only the madman realizes the terrible gravity of God’s death.


“Not that he laments it; in fact, he calls it a ‘great deed,’ but a deed likely too great for us, the murderers, to bear,” added Macrone.


A religion such as Christianity, despite the teachings of Jesus, perpetuates intolerance and conformity, which Nietzsche found especially repugnant. Whatever is old, habitual, normative, or dogmatic, he thought, is contrary to life and to dignity; it manifests what he called a “slave mentality.” I


a sense, for a man and a woman to live, he or she must “kill” God–must overcome dogma, conformity, superstition, and fear.


(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)