Monday, June 25, 2012

Memento mori

Remember you will die.

We don't live forever. Our time on Earth will eventually come to an end. It's an obvious fact, but one that's easily forgotten and taken for granted as we go through the daily motions of our lives, only striving to get through the drudgery of each day in the futile hope that some respite will come the next.

Countless days of grey, punctuated with fleeting moments of happiness. We waver from wishing things would last forever, to wishing they would just end right then and there, or perhaps had never happened at all.

But things never happen as we want them to. The things that bring us joy are ripped from us at the moment when we least expect or want it, and those that darken our days seemingly invite themselves into our lives without warning or reason.

In those moments, mortality seems like such far-off issue that isn't worth thinking about.

It's what makes us human; it's one of the defining parameters of our existence that stays with us always, blending into the background either like a malignant shadow or a benign presence, depending on your individual view of death as something to be either feared like the plague, or embraced as part of the natural order of things, no matter the circumstances surrounding your leaving the material world.

Perhaps the decisions we make and the actions we undertake everyday are all subconsciously influenced by our awareness of our own mortality; that one day, we will all die.

"I still have so much more in life that I want to achieve. What's death like? Just thinking about it is scary."

"Bring it on. I'm not scared. We'll all die anyway."

The two schools of thought that surround the idea of death. The very fact that life itself is defined by death.

But, what if we could live forever? What if, by some scientific or medical marvel, we could be immortal?

If offered the choice, would we take it?

We could watch civilisation and society evolve before our very eyes, and watch as all our hopes, dreams and fears for the future either come true or dissipate into thin air. If our loved ones also chose the path of immortality, we would be with them forever. "Till death do us part" would no longer matter; getting sick of one another would do you part.

What would be the meaning in our lives then, if we lived forever? We would have no purpose to fulfil before our time is up, because it never will be. Those of us who believe in fate and the deterministic forces that shape each and every one of our lives without our knowledge would start to question why we were even born into this world, if it was to be that we would ultimately choose the path of immortality. We would have true free will, in every sense of the words, as time and age are no object. But at what price?

Come what may, bring on my death day.