Friday, September 26, 2008

Perchance to Dream

"...surely, you will die."
-Genesis 2:17

So, I've been thinking about death. (Aren't I a happy fellow?) It's typically seen as a negative, as defeat, as suffering - and it can be, of course it can be! Various cultures offer differing views. Rabindranath Tagore - an early 20th century Bengali poet - said, "Death is extinguishing a candle because dawn has come." I like that.

Something I find problematic however, is that our culture views death and age as objective. Lots of folks say, "Relax, you have your whole life ahead of you," or "Don't worry, you have plenty of time - you're still young."


For the 23-year old who dies in a car accident, 21 was pretty old. Age and longevity are so subjective.

I'm not trying to be a fear-monger (Lord knows we have enough of all that) but I do wish to resist the notion that being young is about being shallow, callous, getting wasted, sleeping around, and not giving a damn. This idea is perpetuated across the age board - young and old alike.

Certainly youth should be enjoyed and used to its fullest extent - there's a joy and passion at each phase of life, a joy which ought to be sought out and reveled in. (Of course, as a whiskypalian I'm not at all averse to getting knockered off your rocker every now and then.)

I'm just saying that during a fast-paced time of cynicism and apathy, slowing down and building meaning relationships - trying to live with compassion (the opposite of apathy) and authenticity should have a place too.

(Easier said than done!)

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever."


Gail said...

Fascinating. I live each day with gratitude.
When my young nephew died it was quite untimely and not of any natural order. He lived fully though with a legacy of hope. His name is Clayton.

And your blog site is beautiful. Really beautiful Mine is, well, it is mine. :-)
Anyway - I just wanted to say 'hi' and I look forward to exploring more of your writings.


eric said...

Hello Gail, and thank you. (If I could remember where the base layout was, I'd send you there!) I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew, I can't even imagine losing mine. Peace.

Gail said...

Hi again -
thanks Eric for your kind words.
Clayton is my God son as well.

I just took a chance and checked to see if you might have commented back. Much to my delight, you did.

If you feel like it you can find your way to my blog, it is called "Know Your It's". Clicking on my name will show you the way to it. I am sure you knew that though.

I found your blog on Mad Priest's blog. I was attracted to the name of it.
I had a really rough start on Mad Priest's blog. I pretty much got "run out of Dodge"!! Phew. I am learning the rules of blog land - trial and error, so to speak.

Okay then, I have been lectured about writing too much so I will end here.


Gail said...

One more thing - as of late and for many reasons I have been pondering to death a quote by Emo Phillips. And here it is:


Powerful, huh?

And also, please don't read the following as anything other than the compliment intended.

Your photo? Gorgeous.

Too much? am I going to get 'run out of Dodge again'? Lecture away if needed.


eric said...

Well, thanks. Since getting a new camera, I've been thinking of replacing that photo, but maybe I'll keep it up for a bit longer.

People on the Internet can be so rude. It's unfortunate, but I suppose that's what happens when you combine aggression with anonymity!

Gail said...

A quick reply -

you probably think I sit at the computer, I don't. Clearly, timing is everything.

I just watched the presidential debate and came upstairs to get in to bed. Thought I would check on some emails etc. and took a peek at your site and Voila!!

Ya, keep the picture. Wow.

And I got to be honest, I came on strong on Mad Priest's blog. His loyal followers defended him and blasted me. Ouch! It's all good now - I apologised to everyone. I am very welcomed and well received for some time now. I think M P is amazing.

Maybe some time we can explore why I came on so strong. Whatever. It just feels safe here and okay to even suggest that. Go figure. :-) Lucky you. :-)

You can kinda get an idea about things if you look at my posts on my blog. The one titled James/Daniel/Jill is an eye opener. Hang on to your hat!! :-)

I read some more of your posts as well. I like how you write. I feel like you are talking. And you are funny too.

Well, time to say goodnight. For real. I wont look at my computer until the morning. Eesh.

I always try to reply, always, perhaps I have OCD about that. oh who cares. :-)


Gail said...

Hey Eric-

Rainy Saturday here on the East Coast.

I was wonderin' if you read the 'James/Daniel/Jill' post and if it scared you away. I guess you could say that post was me writing down part of my soul.

You wont be the first, nor the last I imagine that runs like hell, if that is the case.

okay then - moving right along.

Hope you are having a great day.


eric said...

Nah, I just read it. What an astonishing story, you're brave to share it.

Gail said...

Hey -

"Thank you Eric.

Phew. One never knows what will happen when one speaks/shares their truth. For me, it is worth the risk. Even if just one other person is freed or finds hope, it is worth it.

You are a gem.

"thank you"


JN1034 said...

Eric: Here's an odd FYI from the LXX on Gn 2:17:

"θανατω αποθανεισθε"
"you will die of/from death."

The Hebrew and the Greek do not just say "you'll die." As if God knew we can die of many things (emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and so on). Even body parts die. Cells slough off and die constantly. God warns we'll die of death, and that's the final, terminal, fatal, no way out death: the non-theosis state of being. I've always found it poor translation when English editions simply say "you will die." But to "die of death" has many other implications, especially in light of the inevitable Resurrection. For on THAT day we will surely live of life - THE Life. Some will resurrect and live as gods; other will resurrect and live as nothing. Just a thought. Great post on the ultimate and impending reality for us all ... compassion and authenticity as the true sign of life, as you say.

eric said...

Wow. That really puts an entirely different spin on it. Lots of layers there. Thanks for pointing that out :)