Monday, September 05, 2005

Eat to Live, Do Not Live to Eat

A friend said this to me in an email, “I just don't like the idea of dying because there are things I don't want to leave undone.”

And so I thought, and I replied this:

Well, to confront your idea of leaving things undone, don't you really have to ask yourself just what exactly it is you're doing? How do youmean "undone"? In the worst case scenario life is incidental, and(I believe in God, but God's existence and the idea that people were"designed makes them less beautiful) when you think about that, everything that we do, in any way, is more than we would have done had we incidentally not existed. In the scenario where God does exist and we each have a purpose, there is nothing more to do than what we do, otherwise we'd be going against the plan. In every single case... death is ultimately rather meaningless. It's mostly about how and whatyou do while you're alive.

Sometimes you can give your death meaning, by accomplishing something significant, but in that case, it doesn't really do you any good, unless that accomplishment is in step with doing what you feel isimportant to do. In that way, dying becomes a sort of living...

Even I get lost in that. In life, the phrase it's the journey that's important, has more meaning than anywhere else. If in your life, as a decision about how to live, you set certain goals above others, and in the course of human events, circumstances arise in which the highest service you can do to the goals that you live by, and define yourself through, is to die in some way, then, in that way, you live better by dying. In that same way, to live for the sake of living alone, is a death of sorts. To live for the sake of living.. how can any other point of view be more blind to what makes life worth living.

In simple terms, you ask, "Why live?" And after asking that, the answer, "Why not?" just doesn't seem to answer it. Does life need meaning and definition? Does a wolf or a raven live for a purpose?Someone might argue that they're almost machines, and that they live to spread their genetic patern, in a way, like the old program "life".Take basil, the herb, it lives to procreate, it flowers, and seeds, and imediately dies. Given the right climate, you can keep a basil plant alive indefinitely if you cut off all its ends before they flower and seed.

Are people no more than animals and plants? That's not a rhetorical question. You have to really answer it for yourself. For my part, I think we are more than plants and animals. I understand that this may be mere arogance on my part, but humans are so much more dependant on what we learn from each other to determine who we are than anything else. You might argue that more than half of what we are, or what we become is due to the people around us. Some people are stronger, and they make themselves in part, but still, all people are more than partly defined by the people they came from. We live for joy, for feelings, for a lot of things. In every case, a person always needs a reason to live, even if it is simply that they have no reason to die. Sometimes it's deeper than that. Sometimes it's not.

In every case, the preservation of what's worth living for, is worth dying for, because without it, there is no reason to live. When life itself, when not dying, becomes your sole reason for living, then you are clinging to, and attatching yourself to something that you are destined to lose no matter what, unless you're me and immortal. That is the best case scenario. It's like being a zombie, in a way, like losing that piece that makes you human, losing that need for something that drives you to give your life value. Life, as beautiful and precious as it is, is beautiful and precious because of what it contains and it loses every bit of that when you cease to appreciate it for the sake of it. Like something beautiful that never gets used for the sake of preserving its value. Like an old woman who dies with a 90,000 dollar beanie baby collection in her closet that was never touched, or played with, or appreciated.

You live to die. Live well, and you will die well.

Any thoughts? Agree, disagree?

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