Suffer the Living

“Is it better to be intelligent and aware of your own mortality or blissfully ignorant and believe you’ll live forever?”
–J, the interweb

Dear J,

This questions runs in the same vein as the age-old is it better to have loved and lost or to have never loved at all? I don’t know. It depends how much you like to suffer. However, I will posit that most of us of sound mind know we will die. At least, when asked, we will respond truthfully with that answer. It is dangerous to confuse consciousness with intelligence.

Thanks for writing,
SP

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One response to “Suffer the Living

  1. To add a little: Yes, most of us would truthfully admit our mortality, but that doesn’t mean they act on it. I suspect a lot of those folks (including yours truly) go on *as if* they didn’t see their own imminent death.

    If they *really* felt the press of the Reaper, they wouldn’t put things off so often; they wouldn’t put up with so much BS in their daily life; they wouldn’t be such shits to the people they love. Are they intelligent enough to know they’re going to die? Abstractly, yes. Are they conscious enough? That’s another matter.

    I’m not sure it’s entirely willful ignorance – more probably just the force of life asserting itself. Maybe also a lack of experience of death. We’re actually quite insulated from it now, compared to other places and times. Seeing a newscast on the diner’s wall-mounted TV is generally still too remote. Like mouthing the answer to the question, “Do you think you’re going to live forever?”

    My own death? Check, please! yeah, sure.

    You don’t *feel* it quite so much as if a friend told you that Dad blew Mom’s brains out in the kitchen last night. Nobody would ask for that, and I wouldn’t want them to have to go through it. I’m just saying people sometimes say one thing and act another, which makes me ask what it really means to know something.

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