Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Immortals Among Us

The Immortals. 

“Never say die.” “Age is only a number.” “You have your whole life in front of you!” And my personal favorite: “50 is the new 30.”

Our cultural denial of our mortality is everywhere. We expend heroic efforts and resources on the elderly and terminally ill. We put off childbearing until our 30’s and 40’s as if it were uncommon for people in their 50’s to die—and shocked! Shocked I say!—when someone does just that, leaving young children without a mother or a father (and I say this as an older parent). We travel at high rates of speed wrapped in 2 tons of sheet metal and glass while texting. And why not? We can’t die! We are immortal!

And we are not merely immortal. We are forever youthful!!

Cosmetic surgery is nearly as common as hair dye, especially for women. There are no seasons in life! We are going to work at a wonderfully productive corporate career for at least 100 years! This belief, and the lack of provisioning this belief engenders, often requires competent people to re-enter "formal education" in midlife in order to “qualify” for another “job”! As if we will be bright eyed and bushy tailed as we hop out of bed in our 50’s or 60’s or even 70’s(!) for the long commute through rain and snow and cold to that joyful florescent-lit office/social network. Our “work family.”

When was the last time you read/saw/heard some great philosophy on aging in the media? Come on: other than here? Never. We wring our hands about how we are going to pay for “healthcare” for the elderly because when we deny our mortality we cannot come to accept that there is no cure for old age. So we deny its existence.

“The really frightening thing about middle age is the knowledge that you'll grow out of it.” - Doris Day

“Don’t fear old age. It doesn’t last very long.” – Unknown

This is a terrible evolution in our cultural thinking. WTH (H = heck) would the ancient Greeks think of us? What possible reason would one have to reflect if there was no end? And that’s just it. We DON’T reflect. We rage.

Every day I am confronted by rage-filled people—on the roads, in a check out line, and especially online. These very mortal human beings, all of whom will be pushing up daisies in the very near future—and the fortunate amongst them will have the high honor of watching everyone around them push up daisies first—are fuming mad. So why are they enraged?

Because Life is not fair.  

It doesn't seem to occur to them that death is perfectly fair—and that it will settle all scores—because we are Immortal! Death comes to you whether you are rich or poor, male or female, beautiful—or as plain as a tin pale. And once it comes we are no longer male or female, black or white, Christian, Jew, or Muslim. We are no more. We, and our sensibilities, no longer exist. We wasted the incredible moments of our existence unconcerned with Truth and Beauty and Liberty because we want life to be fair and we are willing to scorch the very earth, and in the process deny the beauty of our existence, in futile efforts to make it so.

It is not enough that we, as individuals, are angry; we want everyone around us to be angry, too. See an injustice amongst the 7.5 billion strangers sharing the world with us? Post it in on Facebook. Gather as much indignation as possible. Destroy another day of your beautiful existence with rage. After all, you are immortal—not limited to the 25,550 or so days of existence that Life, Truth, and Beauty apportioned to the rest of us.  You... are special!! 

“Share the Rage”, or perhaps “Feel the Rage”, could be catchy new slogans.

We are instructed by rage-filled special interest groups to seek control and position rather than passion and love (or sex) because there will always be plenty of time for passion! We are forever youthful!! We are immortal!! Pass the Viagra, hair dye, and Botox!

Who gave us this? Where did these ideas come from? These are the most self-destructive set of principles ever conceived of by man. So who did it? And why do so many us believe these evil people and their hate-filled lies?

It wasn’t the great religions. They loved scaring the people to death about death.

It wasn’t the great philosophers. The meaning of life in a world filled with death was their raison d'être.

It wasn’t the great poets and authors. Their work is devoted almost exclusively to (trying to) understand love and passion in the face of death.

It wasn’t the great painters and sculptors all of whom worshiped the beauty of passion and desire and Life.

I will leave the rest to you.

For myself, mortal man that I am, I am going to enjoy this beautiful spring day and fill my head with all manner of lustful, passionate, pleasurable, and joyful thoughts as the Creator intended, for tomorrow never comes. And it will never come. That is what it means to be mortal.

To Life!

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