How do you face imminent death, either yourself or in a family member, when given a prognosis that measures your remaining days better in weeks than years? I realise this is a morbid hypothetical, but consider what you do if you’re certain that your afterlife is safe and that death holds no intrinsic fear, only reward? This is the situation to be faced by one of my extended family at the moment, and its proximity unsettles.
How should we live our lives – so often filled with great struggle and little positive change – to make best use of whatever time we have left? What legacy can and should we leave?
I can’t help but think that so much of human activity takes place for no other reason than to keep our well-fed sleep-deprived consumerist Western selves as comfortable as possible. If you can find employment which is not totally trivial but which imparts a sense of meaning and fulfilment, it seems that you have reached the upper societal limit of meaningfulness. Congratulations, you have arrived. How does it feel to have done better than everyone else holding down a banal 9-to-5?
Of course, even the boring day job that pays well enough will keep you well fed and sleep deprived. And you’ll still be able – even encouraged – to consume like scarce resources are going out of fashion. Scarcity is the new emo: you wish it were just a fad, that it’d just melt away…but if you have to have it, well, just purport to be disenchanted enough to seem refreshingly forward-thinking and anti-status-quo. And then keep consuming, or else we’ll all have nothing to do.
Still we’re no better off for having reached this level of disenchantment…
What use an existence, without true meaning?