I was watching comedian Louie CK the other day, and he stated this incredibly true and unsettling fact:
“Most people are dead. Did you know that? It’s true, out of all the people that ever were, almost all of them are dead. There are way more dead people, and you’re all going to die. And then you’re going to be dead for way longer than you’re alive, like, that’s mostly what you’re ever going to be… You’re just dead people that didn’t die yet.”
Now the audience is laughing during this routine as folks do, but the amazing thing about the statement is the sheer factness of it. Stone-cold, undeniable truth. It’s irrefutable, and amazing…and terrible.
Unlike other animals, we humans are distinctly aware of our inevitable deaths, whereas other species are afraid of it, but not philosophically (then again, who knows what elephants are really thinking).
When we gain this understanding however, it seems life is spent distancing ourselves from it as much as possible. It is too chasmic, too true and unfathomable.
I’m not about to say I understand it…that a random blogger would outshine all the greatest minds of history? And then again, why not? If I defeat every academic mind in recorded history, I’ll be dead enough too someday to not give half a crap!
Mankind developed a collective blindness around the subject, disrupted at times by the deaths of family members or acquaintances.
It is impossible for us to truly understand the magnitude of death, and can only be consoled (or tortured) by the memories. But it is also something we will all experience.
I do think about all the people snuffed out long before myself, and find myself wondering at the randomness of it all. They say to take every day as a gift…but do we really?
I have already lived further than Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison for example. Obviously I have far less to show for it, but the fact is a little weird. To know I have currently been alive for longer than so many others, in the scheme of things.
Maybe life is merely a competition to be the person most distracted from inevitability. For that is a life ‘lived’, as if all of us aren’t living our lives equally already by virtue of actually being alive.
How is it we praise the lives of certain people? It is for their experiences. But I find this unfair to those that don’t get any celebration. Did they not live? As much as anybody ever has or will? I believe they did. But there’s just so many people, isn’t there?
Compartmentalization and disassociation from these facts are the only tools the human mind possesses to counter it. It all lies in ‘a life well lived’.
Nobody is actually living a life superior to anybody else’s. That’s just a fact. There’s only what we think is true, and if enough people think it we say that’s fact, but what value can really be based on a life?
If it’s just a popularity contest, in the end that doesn’t really make a difference. It seems to come down to satisfaction. A satisfied life is the best! An accomplished life!
But the names of notable people are shuffled as if on a cosmic rollerdex, and will last only as long as memory and history allows. And yet, they didn’t last really, did they?
The fact is we are all just life constantly exhausting itself. DNA throws in the chips of existence, and they fall wherever they may, then released to chance.
Anomalies, successes and failures, freak deaths and accidents. There’s no rhyme nor reason, and we’re all so small.
So what’s my point? They say it’s morbid to even consider the subject.
It’s that life is just a flash in the pan. So why is it taken so for granted? How are murders and the wars not seen as threats to all mankind and anathema to our very existence? Like introducing an invasive species against life.
Yet further, we are confined to our roles. From unrewarding jobs, to poverty and social problems that leave people in varying states of disarray.
The length of brief time a person gets to live is sometimes so amazingly random, too. No matter what they get the chance to do
If life is the one chance we get, in this vast nothing, is this all it offers? I find that tragic beyond words. We are trained since birth it’s the way of things.
Society has to function.
Life should be a magical experience, if we only have one chance to try it. It really should. For all lives. Every life.
But if that’s too high a standard, then at least we should respect each other just a little more, and acknowledge with a tip of the hat (if you are wearing one) our fellow travellers through this brief temporal existence.
And I think, you should start something today. Anything…and do it. Because if you die before it goes anywhere, you’re none the wiser, and if it goes somewhere, that’s perfectly nice!
I for one am keen to live much longer. But you really never know, and that is another fact that astounds me.
(PS. Ok ok! It’s a little morbid! Still, I can only follow my brain down the avenues of thought it leads me! I promise, I’ll bring my writing back to the ‘real’ world.)Here's my social media! Support and follow. 🙂