My imagination was fired up by the discovery that Thomas Edison saw humans as swarms of life energy units that persist for awhile then disperse and eventually join other energy units to form something else. As an image for death it’s more comforting than the image of a body decaying. It also puts emphasis on consciousness as opposed to the material form. A similar dynamic occurs with a class. For a time we are a swarm of minds that each influence the other and bring out different qualities and ideas that none of us might have arrived at alone. It’s a mental organism that grows and matures over time. When it’s time frame ends, I feel the loss as the energy units that were accustomed to being part of the organism made of the patterns of the class were left with no place to go. Until they get caught up in new currents they bounce around an empty place where something valuable used to be.
The disintegration of any strange attractor (pattern of energy that holds its form) is a kind of death, but the word shifts meaning with the understanding it was always part of a sea of energy flow that is constantly reorganizing. At every level from cells and systems, to societal groups and the larger fields of consciousness that organize the physical realm like a semester organizes a class, the patterns of collaborating elements of consciousness repeat at every scale.