As you have probably surmised, the prospect of death and mortality is something that frequently comes to mind for me. This is not because I am terrified of it, quite contrarily I simply recognize that it is inevitable and as far as human affairs are concerned it can be quite unexpected. Indeed, Death waits for no one to get their affairs in order, unless it happens that you have a long illness, or whatnot. But unlike many people seem to think, it is not something that happens to you in the future. Death always arrives in the Present.
As such, and upon mortality contemplations (part of a regiment of meditations I indulge in) I realized that, since Death occurs in the Present, and never in the Future, that it would be most regretful if I died without saying anything with Death in mind. One can hope that their Death would approach them visibly, over a long period of time so that one could get their things in order, but this is not always the case. Therefor, I have decided that before my Death, I will at least endeavor to say the things that I would say should I have found out that I had some illness (which I have not discovered, in truth) and that I should say so in a public manner, which is how I would wish it to be in some aspects. The individual things I would say to intimates will of course, remain outside of the scope of this post but I think people would find overlaps, without specifics.
As such, I will be writing the below in the style as if I were facing immanent Death.
But aren’t we all?
Friends, allies, family, peers, acquaintances, antagonists, enemies and neutral unknowns, I say all of these things to you equally, and none of the things I say are withheld from you equally. I would want my harshest critics and deepest adversaries to hear them as much as my closest friends. Death is upon me, no one knows the hour or time.
Firstly, death does not come to you in the future. It always comes to you in the present. Understanding this, learn to accept that at all times death will (at least very, very likely) come upon you while you are in the midst of things. Things will always be interrupted, and sacrifices you made for future gains may very well be for naught. This is not a reason to forgo sacrifice of the present for a better present. It is simply a gamble, and knowing this take the time to consider if you are acting as a wise gambler, or a poor one.
Secondly, while you may not agree, consider that any belief you have held, no matter how much evidence you have seen to infer the existence and ‘rightness’ of such a belief, consider that you have seen what you have been looking for in the world. Also consider you are not wholly in control of what you look for; that is, what you expect to see.
Thirdly, consider the fact that we cannot attest to the objective existence of anything outside of human perception, but more specifically consider the fact that most things we have opinions on would not exist without a perceiver. Ugliness, beauty, stupidity, genius, artful, disgusting acts of depravity, charitable acts, good acts, evil acts, etc, have no proof of existence beyond the scope of human perception. Likewise, consider that it is not a “thing” or a ‘person” that is evil, good, disgusting, beautiful, intelligent or stupid in any objective sense, but that rather we each have a criteria of valuation, a system that we use constantly to weight and measure the things which we experience. Consider that it may be more accurate to say “That disgust me!” or “That seems stupid to me!” rather than “That is disgusting!” or “That is stupid!”, because these things are more accurate.
Fourthly, consider that contentment with a way of thinking or satisfaction (whether practical, sentimental or intellectual) with any belief system, even a ‘meta’ system, is always going to be lacking. Consider that any beliefs, even ‘meta’ beliefs, will always have some “truth” and some ‘falsity’, and that contentment with them means you are accepting them both. Consider that it is okay for people to be content with their beliefs, consider that beliefs are to serve humanity and not humanity to serve beliefs. Consider that what you have to offer others in rhetoric may not be useful to them, even if it is more accurate and empirical. Consider that it may indeed be useful to them, and that perhaps there are ways of gauging what beliefs may be useful to what people. Consider that the attempt towards ‘purity’ of belief, whether scientific, philosophical or religious is an ultimately unwinnable battle, and consider that perhaps this is perfectly okay, and perhaps even beneficial that we will never reach ‘purity of truth’.
Fifthly, consider that you are not the equivalent to anything you cannot keep against all attempt at seizure from outside forces or calamity.
Sixthly, consider that you cannot keep from being taken away from you by external forces anything you identify with, whether objects, ideals, memories, family, friends, projects, personality or anything else.
Seventhly, consider that there are things you have never questioned, no matter how much of a seeker of knowledge you are, because you have never noticed them to ask questions about them.
Eightly, consider that if you actually were other people, you would do everything that they themselves did. Whether violent, mean spirited, kindly or fairly.
Ninthly, consider these words and their value; Fairness of judgement and opinion, Sincerity of thoughts and words that you speak unto yourself, and Moderation (which is simply another word of control, not specifically ascetic) of actions.
Tenthly, consider that everything you think, own, or do is completely dependent on the universe, its laws, and its catalystic, causal and external impacts. You have stood on the shoulders of giants for everything you have accomplished. You have driven on roads built by other people. You eat the food others grow. Your shit and piss is processed by others, so that you do not have deathly disease. You have gained the majority of your knowledge from the hard work of millions upon millions of other people. You have gained the abilities to exercise power through use of technology that has a direct lineage back unto the first people of the Earth, and you have not accomplished anything alone, and because of this you can do more than any of them ever have. Consider gratitude. Consider that they too had to observe the laws of the cosmos, had to stand on the shoulders of giants, and had to rely upon external catalystic environments to spur their philosophies, their sciences, and their arts. Consider that nothing is disconnected from the chain of history and nothing we do will be outside of this chain unto the infinite future and that will impact and act as catalysts for generations to come.
Eleventhly, consider that humans are rational beings, but that like any computing machine, when bad information is put in, bad results occur. Consider the cyclical nature of this problem, when glitches are passed on from parent to child over generations. Consider that logically this does not mean allowing them to continue to do so, but that they cannot be blamed objectively. Consider that one can rehabilitate, and discipline, without hating or blaming it on someones ‘free will’. Consider that all abilities to cope with stress, to deal with actions, to react to situations, to contemplate, are mental, psychic technologies that are not equally accessible to all humans if they have not been taught them.
Twelfthly, consider that time is subjective, and that time is not ‘stuff’. If it is not stuff, and if it is the perception of frequency of change, that it is subjective, because one person does not see as much change as others. Consider that the things you do are burning your finite vitality up far faster than you could ever imagine, because you are not seeing the intricacy of changes. Consider that you can live ten lifetimes in one life, if you only slowed down your perception so that you notice the information rich world.
Thirteenthly, consider that communication is a carefully trained skill that is not inherently accessible to people. Consider the fact that you may have deluded yourself about the majority of intentions behind peoples words, and that you have often not had the means or the desire to check or verify if what you interpreted was correctly matched with their intention.
Fourteenthly, consider that all people are somewhat right, somewhat wrong, and that to deny any group of people even the smallest speck of ‘rightness’ will only ensure that you will have enemies until the day you die, and that no communication will be had between you and them.
Fifteenthly, consider that the power of words is such that you could change the opinions of most humanity, if only you were skilled enough, and that you could convince them of “bad/false/stupidity” just as sure as you could convince them of “good/truth/intelligence”. As such, consider that when someone does not agree with you, it is no inherent mark of evil or stupidity on their part, but rather that it is you yourself that lack the necessary faculties.
Sixteenthly, consider the words you speak to others, especially those you value. Consider that everything has an effect on a person, that they experience. If you value a person, watch your tongue always. Always.
Seventeenthly, consider that it is okay to fail, only insomuch as you use this failure to fuel your advancement towards self-oriented goals. If you simply wait to feel better, and then do nothing afterwards, the same problem will most likely arise.
Eighteenthly, consider that Nothing is Free, Everything has a Toll. Consider that every single thought you think, opinions you say, action you take, food you eat, drugs you take, books you read, movies you see, and in short, everything you do, has a price. It will affect you. It will change you. Nothing is free, and everything has a toll.
Ninteenthly, consider that things of scarcity you want stand less chance of actualization should you take avenues that necessitate competition with multitudes of others. Consider the merit of doing things without safety nets, safety nets which will bring far more people to compete with than other avenues of actualization.
Finally, I have to say that it has been a wonderful experience. I cannot hate or regret a single second of my life, even if I should feel guilty about not doing the right thing at all times, simply because everything that exists, in my mind, must exist for everything else to exist. It must all exist exactly the way it does, or nothing would. There is no ‘could be’ in my mind. There is what is, and I am happy to say that I am a being that has the power of choice, and options, even if these choices and options are inherently limited by myself and my environment.
I am glad to have had my beliefs shattered time and time again, because it has shown me that there is no end to it all. The world never gets objectively boring. If it gets boring, it is the fault of the perciever, not the world. There is always more, over the proverbial horizon.
I am thankful for the external catalysts, be they people or situations, that have prompted me to move forwards to where I am today. I am thankful for human beings in general. I consider you all inherently capable of magic, beauty, awfulness and numinousity. You are in short, awe-inspiring.
And so, it is my sadness to depart from this world. I do so knowing that it was inevitable, and necessary for the perpetual novelty of the world.
Do your best.