Saturday, June 30, 2012

When Does Death Hurt?

You are going to die. Probably not today, possibly not for a long time, but you are still going to die. If death lies a long time out in the future, though, it would seem that the harm of death also lies in the future. This is not the case, though, after you die you no longer exist and therefore cannot be harmed by death. You might say that the harm of death lies in the moment of death, but that is just a single moment where you transition from existence to non-existence, any harm would be eliminated in the very moment that is claimed to be a harm.

Death is a harm right now. Death may occur some time in the future, but the harm of death – or rather the effect of death – takes place right now in the present moment. Because even if you do not die for seventy years, you are still a mortal right now. In this moment you lead an existence where death is both a possibility and a certainty, and this fact is written into every thing you do in your life, every plan you make, every choice on how you spend your time. The fact that time is running out is a fact that is true right now, not in the future.

If it were not for death, we would not be the particular individuals that we are. We could, given enough time, become general humans. We could sample everything in life, become familiar with everything, involve ourselves in every possible situation. The fact of death is what forces us to carve out our own particular identity, values, and journey because we have a limited time in which to exist. And the fact of that limited time is a fact right now.

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