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The Beauty Of Death - How To Think About Your Mortality



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Arguably, the primary source of all fear, sorrow, and existential conflict is the self-awareness

and foresight of our mortality.

The fact that we can live a life that feels so real, so important, and so incredible,

that we are compelled to want it to go on forever.

The fact that we can speculate and comprehend the possibility of the infinite yet be forced

to live with the realization that we are finite, and everything we do and care about is subject

to the short timeline of our life.

At some point, everything will evaporate away into nothingness.

As humans, this is our curse.

We are the seam between the infinite and the finite, able to ponder and long for the eternal,

yet be bound to the impermanence of our deteriorating body.

But perhaps in some strange puzzling way, this is also our blessing.

Currently, we cannot control the biology of our human organism.

We cannot control the fact that we live inside of a decomposing carbon-based body destine

for expiration.

But we can control, at least to some degree, the way we view and think about things from

within it.

And so we can control how we think about the idea of our death and rationalize with it

in a way that reduces some of its torment and allows us to make the best of our life

before it arrives.

In order to do so, consider a video game, board game, or sports game that you have played

in the past.

What was the driving force of playing said game?

Certainly you enjoyed playing the game for itself, but you were ultimately playing towards

something.

You were playing the game towards an endpoint.

And arguably, you only played the game because you knew there would be an endpoint.

The human mind is seemingly fixed on requiring an endpoint to derive meaning and motivation

for doing things.

What would a game be without an end?

Would we even play?

What would a story be without a conclusion?

Everything we construct and do in life, whether intentional or not, has an endpoint.

Death is life’s endpoint.

It is our motivation to play the game of life and to create our narrative within it.

Without it, we would not care to leave legacies through our careers, passions, and families.

We would not want to positively impact the world around us.

We would not be inspired to create fascinating art, develop exciting technology, and incite

innovative ways of thinking.

And we would not work to make the best out of life and find wonder in all its simple

pleasures.

To live with the knowledge and angst of our impending mortality is undoubtedly the curse

of humankind.

But it is paradoxically our blessing in disguise.

Perhaps our brains cannot discern meaningful existence without an endpoint, and because

our experience of life is subjective and transient, we are able to find great value and meaningfulness

within it.

Ironically, death is the reason why we cherish life so deeply.

And it is because we cherish life so deeply that we fear death with such great intensity.

Together, life and death function in a feedback loop, creating the highly unique and expressive

human experience of reality.

This is not to suggest that we should be fearless of death and look forward to its arrival.

I would be a liar if did not admit that I too yearn to live on into eternity with full

self-awareness.

But as long as humans are still humans, forced to live with the looming anticipation of an

ever-approaching endpoint, I am merely suggesting that we try our best to create and understand

death’s practical purpose and value in life itself.

They say that it is not the destination that counts, but the journey.

And this is certainly true.

But I would argue that a journey needs some sort of destination for it to even be a journey

in the first place.