Thursday, August 03, 2006

the samurai medidates on it day and night

You know what's funny? What's funny is you would never guess from seeing me that I am obsessed with death. But of course, you would never guess from seeing you that you were obsessed with death either.

What!?! You're not obsessed with death?

I don't believe you. Not one jot, not one tiddle. Not even an iota.

See, you are. You are! I could argue that you are because it is part of the human condition and you are human. (right?) But that is kinda beside the point. Which is that YOU are obsessed with death. You are.

Look at it this way. Do you love horror movies? Books about serial killers? TV shows about Gangsters? About police car chases? Xtreme sports? CSI? CSI Miami?

Do you watch war movies? Listen to or tell war stories? Do you tell the stories about the soldiers who die? Or the children and women who are killed? Deforestation, pollution, species diversity, genetically modified crops, global warming?

Patricides? Infanticides? Child molester/murderers? Teenager killers inspired by ROCK **STARS**? Sharks attacks, killer dogs, iguanas infected with salmonella, armadillos with leprosy. Grackles and sparrows in the Whole Foods parking lot who might have bird flu?

How many stories do you know about people your age who have died of cancer, car wrecks, random diseases? How often do you tell them? How many links do you send out to your friends to articles about some seemingly harmless product or habit that might ruin your life?

It doesn't sound like hypochondria. It certainly doesn't sound like an unnatural fixation. It sounds normal right? You are normal. You are no different from anyone else. You are just talking about what's really happening in the world. You are just telling it like it really is.

Why is that? Because that's how we live. That's what we see, what we read about. Death surrounds us. Death consumes us. Literally -- of course -- someday. And figuratively, nearly all the time.

Selling your soul, selling out, getting married, having a baby, having an orgasm, sneezing. Making a choice. Think about that. Everytime you choose something, the alternative, the other path, dies off and withers away. That's how we tend to think of it. That option is gone. Forever. And we're doomed.

Sleeping. Sleeping is a little death. A Death Rollup, a tasy treat, a break from life. Alcohol, drugs, yoga -- all ways to shuffle off a coil or two for the time being. We NEED it. A little bit here and there and eventually ALOT. We need death. Very few people care to admit this. Alot of people would probably think I'm nuts for saying it.

This idea runs counter to the other strongest urge in us. The more surface one, the more socially acceptable. The struggle for life, of course! Don't think that I want to die. I absolutely positively do not. Or that I am suggesting you want too. I know you don't. I can feel you seething on the other end of this.

You want to live!!!!! We all want to live! We want to live so badly that we have forgotten that we also want to (and in fact, NEED to) die. In fact, the idea is considered unacceptable and even perverse by many people. So we push that urge down deep underneath everything else. We have forgotten that it is just as important as the other.

And we have practically managed to convince ourselves, through amazing advances in medical technology and new information about nutrition, santitation, and exercise, that we might actually live forever. So the impulse toward death seeps out in the form of scary (but TRUE!) stories, signs of the End Times, desperate and paranoid overprotectiveness of our children and cats.

On the winter wonderland morning of New Year's Day, 2001 in Denton, Tx, some of my friends heard a loud and ever louder quacking out front. It was a duck in the middle of the road, miles and miles from any pond. They corralled him, and while debating the next step, a stranger showed up to claim him. One of witness told me later, "It was a harbinger." "Of what?" I asked. "You know, doom."

An escaped pet duck waddling down the street on New Year's Day becomes a harbinger of Doom. What kind of Doom is it harbinging? That you are going to die. Someday, no matter what you do, you are going to die. Really.

Don't forget it.


Anonymous Mark said...

This reminds me of the Nas lyric : "I never sleep/cuz sleep is the cousin of death".

The song that follows the song that the above lyric is from is: "Life's A Bitch (And Then You Die)".

BUT...then the NEXT song is: "The World Is Yours"!! OK, this may be in the "Scarface" sense of the phrase, but I like the optimism.

I'm through with pessimism.

8:00 AM

Blogger ryan said...

so, funny how I keep bringing up Freud, but this is one area where I think he's right on. He said humans have 2 major drives, the "eros," and the "thanatos." The eros is the Life instinct, that side of us that wants to live, essentially, and nurture growth, and basically be productive, healthy human beings. But the thanatos is the Death instinct, which is the side of us that wants to give it all up, to lie down in the street and let a bus hit us. Alcohol, drugs, any kind of self-destructive behaviors (or even avoidance, like sleeping all the time), are manifestations of this drive. As we grow up, these two drives are constantly in conflict with one another, like the little angel and demon sitting on either shoulder, and that's where neuroses come from, from this ongoing battle between the 2 strongest drives that exist. Maybe you already knew this, and that's where this entry came from, but that's what this entry made me think of.

8:28 AM


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