Friday, May 18, 2018

The Delusion of Immortality

A human being begins to die the moment they’re born, but along the way this salient fact of human existence is almost completely forgotten. It’s a little like free trade greasing the wheels of commerce. The reminder of death acts like a tariff that can dull the trading in life experience. This is one reason why people are shocked when they’re lives are brought to a stand still because of illness and disease. It’s as if the powers on high were in violation of the heavenly contract. Day after day humans are given hints about  the fragility of life. The leaves die in autumn, tiny insects are stepped on and spider’s webs and their inhabitants are neatly extinguished with dust busters. Yet no degree of warning seems to do the job. People have built-in forgetters when it comes to death and it’s something which curiously also makes them less prone to appreciate life when they have it. If you know that life is short by any standards and that any life is but a footnote in the history of the universe, you’re more likely to relish each hour of every day. It’s unfortunate that the nature of human defense mechanisms are such that they allow denial to triumph over consciousness. You of course don’t want to greet a baby with a morose funeral dirge. However, isn’t there something more life affirming about acknowledging transience than allowing the kind of delusory feelings that ultimately lead people to squander the gift of existence?

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