Life and Living

Every once in a while, I like to wax philosophic.

Today, I am trying to figure out what it means to live.

Humans have an innate sense of survival. Humans don't just roll over and die. We fight for life. We fight for existence. Even they who do not live for this world still live in this world. We wake up daily, breath daily, ingest and defecate daily. We don't just die unless there is an outside influence over them whether it be old age, a weak heart, incidents and accidents, or the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."

Humanity has shown a propensity for living regardless of what may challenge it. Despite desperate living conditions, humanity has survived in the harshest of climates, environmental or otherwise. The permafrosted layers of land devoid of fauna did not hinder the development of Moscow or St. Petersburg. Despite oppressively despotic heat, Lybia and Algeria were established. The cradle of life is in the middle of a desert. The Jews fled Egypt. The Greeks fled Rome. The Pilgrims fled England and fought back the same in 1778.

What is it that prevents humanity from throwing in the proverbial towel? I would like to steer away from hifalutin language and ideas like 'hope' and 'change.' These terms hold no water and are highly subjective. I believe the true reason is uncertainty.

Humans see, hear, feel, taste, and experience living. We go to bed and wake up. The sun shines down on our faces or the clouds offer shade. The wind rustles the leaves in the trees, a soft scraping of plant on air. We can taste the rain on the horizon. We know what to expect day to day to some extent. We know that the sun will rise every day despite the clouds or that there will be oxygen to breathe. When plans change, we become uncomfortable. I'm not referring to small changes like where to lunch and what to do when snow piles up on the road. I'm speaking of life and death change of plans. When there is a gun barrel resting on your brow the last thing you are thinking is just how cold that barrel is. Life takes on a new perspective when your personal liberties are infringed upon. The reason is that people inherently like what they know. We do not know what, for certain, is awaiting for us on the other side.

Death is the Schrodinger's Cat. It is the closed door leading to a lightless room. Death is no more real than the cloaked entity that bears its name. That frightens us. If death is not real than neither can life be real. For life without a terminus is continued life. And we have seen that life here has a terminus; we are just ignorant about what that terminus means. We cease to exist on Earth. For this, we have found that there must be something on the other side. We fight for comfort. We fight for knowledge. We fight for certainty in life not uncertainty in death.

There are a few cases where this theory falls by the wayside. What of the people who cease to fight? What of the people who willingly allow the box to be opened or the closed door to be unlocked and unhinged? Why have they determined that life is a candle without a wick?

Suicide has been called the depth of depression, where an individual has stopped inviting the challenge of the day to day. I think suicide can be seen as a means to an end. A human has no longer the will or elan for life. The joie d' vivre has expired and the only way out is to force the body out of existence. However, some times I believe suicide has a deeper meaning. Curiosity is a powerful motivator. Remember back in elementary school, Halloween, when you were dared to stick your hand in a dark box and touch whatever lies therein? Some of your classmates hesitated, some didn't do it all together. And yet, there were the peers that shoved their hands straight in. Some suicides, I believe, are the direct result of boredom. Life is on the surface. You know there will always be a sun and a moon and stars. There will always be a breeze and the oceans will continue to make waves. But what is on the other side?

I do not want someone to read this and infer that I am in support of suicide. I am a man of faith who believes that the life we were granted was granted to us to live. There are times, however, when I cannot but think about the reasons behind desperation when humans have for so long shown a skill in surviving. It is illogical to believe that through self-inflicted death one can escape life for we do not know what death is. I don't figure we ever will know what death is. I would rather live here and be content than end my life here only to find that eternal life is awaiting me. What a greater hell than to end life from disgust only to live eternally on?


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