Life and death are our ideas. What if we got it all wrong? On death and the general purpose of life.
[ 3 min read ]
The essence of every faith consists in its giving life a meaning which death does not destroy, Leo Tolstoy once wrote.
I don’t need a religion by which I mean some dogma purpose of which is to convince me that life has a meaning which death does not destroy.
I don’t give a damn if life has a meaning which death does not destroy.
I think death destroys. That’s its purpose. That’s my experience. Those who’re dead are gone from the face of earth and will be gone from the memory of those who live eventually. It’s inevitable. How many ancestors who lived in 17th century can an average person name? Probably not even one. That’s my point.
Why should I fool myself? What for? The truth is that I will be destroyed and sooner or later forgotten. That’s how it is. That’s one of the of the iron laws of that game.
Our relevance and the relevance of our lives are like that of groceries. We have our shelf life and then it’s over.
We can, of course, argue that as decay we can be quite helpful too. Everything which decays helps something else grow. Fair enough, but once this job is done it’s all over. What happens next depends on the story we’ve bought into. It depends on the belief.
Some argue that we live on in those whom our decaying bodies help — those who wouldn’t otherwise exist, in other words, in that which our decaying bodies gave birth to. If that’s my belief I will never die. And as a result I could argue that whether life has meaning which death does not destroy ceases to matter.
Why? Because I eliminated death. So the only thing in which I should be interested now is the meaning of life understood as a perpetual existence in one form or another — the life of matter, not of an individual organism (there is no reason to be interested in the meaning of life beyond death anymore).
In such case I would say that the general meaning (role, purpose) of any life (life of any organism, any living thing, any thing which comes into existence, then grows and eventually decays, but lives on in one form or another) is to be something akin to fuel, or food which is being used to feed something (something which behaves like a living creature but not necessarily is one, or is one but does not fit our definition of a living creature). Like any food, we appear, grow, ripen, then get swallowed (disappear, but not really), then that what got swallowed is turned into energy (thus fuel), and during that process of digestion feces appears (now we exist in that form — a new stage of our perpetual existence), then the feces will be removed from the body and in nature it will be used as fertilizer (it will help the next thing grow), and so it goes on and on.
Death is just a definition after all. A definition which we created for our purposes (just as we did with any other word). So maybe we got it all wrong. Maybe our definition of death is broken? And if that’s the case it must mean that both definitions (of death and life) are broken.
At any rate, I still don’t need a religion by which I mean some dogma purpose of which is to convince me that life has a meaning which death does not destroy.