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Why Do We Die?

tantrumWhy must we die?!? Okay, I get it that living forever isn’t such a fabulous idea— but why such pitifully short lives? I mean, I’m just getting going! This morning I heard a radio program on “smart urbanization” that I found totally stimulating; I’d love to look into this and be part of creating future living situations that work. I have lots of ideas that mesh with the experts’, at least from what I heard. This happens a lot: I hear something new and interesting and feel a strong urge to get involved. But do I have time to develop a career in smart urbanization or any other field? Doubtful. Even if I live another 20 years (also doubtful, especially if I keep puffing on toxic tobacco sticks), I’d have to give up or at least cut back on writing, not to mention doing all my favorite essentials like puttering around the house, doing crossword puzzles, and watching rented movies.

Even if I didn’t want to try out some new kind of work or even play, dammit! I’m just beginning to learn how to do the one thing on which I’ve maintained a steady focus. I’m only just learning how to write halfway decent fiction, to create characters who sound and act believable, and to invent situations for them that might interest readers. My non-fiction too keeps improving, but I didn’t have quite as far to go in that department. I had, still have, an enormous amount to learn in the genre I prize above all others, i.e., novel writing, but it is happening, and at a quicker pace than when I was young and distracted. What they say about improving with age is absolutely true—but we benefit from our growing wisdom for such a brief period, I question its value. Besides which, nobody wants you when you’re old and gray, as the song goes, even in the field of literature, where the powers-that-be want youngsters they can trot out in front of the cameras. And don’t get me started on the new forms of publication and how I can promote my ebooks by branding myself. That shit makes me want to throw up.

I did not intend to go off on a personal rave about my own career or lack of same, but all roads seem to lead to regret. My intention was to rant in general against this stupid idiotic pathetic system called Life. Who created or  invented it? You people who believe in a Creator, don’t you think he or she is pathetically incompetent? Talk about lousy planning! Nothing about our brief lives makes sense. We’re born, we get a few carefree years to play and learn one or two things—that is if we’re lucky enough to have a decent set of parents who don’t beat or otherwise abuse us, and we’re not born with some illness or disability, nor into abject poverty or war; then we struggle through whatever educational system is available, again if we’re lucky; and meanwhile we’re utterly confused, trying to figure out how to navigate such minefields as romantic love, sex, friendship, and something meaningful to do with our time; we work like dogs trying to go forward but too frequently we’re like Alice and the Queen, running as fast as we can just to stay in place–and this is, again, the best case scenario. Then we start to lose things like beauty and hearing and friends, and soon we go feeble and sick—even if we’re lucky enough to have only minor ailments, they’re a pain in the ass; and then poof, it’s all over.  A real idiot, that Creator. Or evolution. Or whatever or whoever.  I gave up trying to figure that part out a long time ago. Now I just want to know: WHY? WHY DIE? AND WHY SO SOON?





3 responses »

  1. Thanks for linking back to my blog post – yes, indeed, you’re right, life seems way too short! But I’m not sure that once we’re able to live up to 150 years in perfect shape (that’s the promise of science and it could happen in about 200 years, at least that’s the premise of my sci fi novel Forever Young), I’m not sure at all that we’ll be happier! We humans always want more and more and are never satisfied with what we’ve got…

    Perhaps the wisest advice comes from philosophers like Stephen Cave, did you see his TED talk? Fascinating! I blogged about it and here’s the link to his talk: (you may have to paste that in your search box). It’s well worth watching. The upshot? Life, says Stephen Cave, is like a book – it goest from the cover to the last page – and the whole point of it is to try to make it as good a story as you can while the book is open…Quite an image!

  2. Claude: Thanks so much for the link. I love Cave’s quotation; and what writer wouldn’t? To clarify: I don’t think I’d be any happier if my life was longer, nor do I think happiness is the point of adding more time (or of life itself). What I think is that each of us would have more of a chance to find and fulfill our life purpose, to evolve mentally and spiritually, and to reach our full potential. Notice I say “more of a chance.” No guarantees; it depends on how we use the time. The way things are now, we’re so breathless trying to get something done, we fail more often than not.–MS

  3. Readers: I’ve just watched the video posted in the first comment, Stephen Cave’s 15-minute talk on death. I find it quite hopeful and comforting in its way, and I highly recommend it.
    Happy New Year!

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