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
But we can control, at least to some degree, the way we view and think about things from
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
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
To live with the knowledge and angst of our impending mortality is undoubtedly the curse
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
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
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.