We might as well try: what’s life?

22 07 2012

Is life good?

Is it something to be desired, a good in and of itself, something to be drawn out as long as possible?

I don’t know.

Yes, yesterday I noted that every killing lead to a smaller world, which, given my world-centric views, could reasonably be taken to be a bad thing. And it is. But I don’t think death itself is a bad thing, and if death itself isn’t a bad thing, then life itself may not be a good thing.

Not that life is a bad thing; it’s simply life and death are neither good nor bad, but part of the necessary conditions (biology, mortality) of our existence—conditions which themselves are, well, to repurpose a quote from a mad German, beyond good and evil. We enter the world through birth and exit through death, and neither the entrance nor the exit is a moral issue. We have no say in our births and that we die is inevitable; it is difficult to argue the morality of matters utterly beyond one’s control.

I didn’t always think this way; I once thought that my life was bad, and my ongoing existence both a symbol of my moral failure to and proof of the need to end it. I purchased days against weeks, weeks against months, months against years—until the years piled up and the credit ran out and spent from the running and loathing I lay myself out and whispered, finally, enough.

Funnily enough, the ending wasn’t the end. I claim no mastery over the moment; it was, simply, a moment, a leaf blown this way rather than that, life, not death. I picked the leaf up, that’s all; I would have picked that leaf up, regardless.

Did I “choose” life? No. I recognized it, recognized it as mine, and said, Well then. Enough.

Would killing myself have been a lessening? I didn’t see it that way, then, but, yes, I guess it would have been—not for me, but for those around me, who cared about me. My world prior to the turning had already been lessened; my suicide would simply have capped off the decades-long hollowing out of my world.

So now I live. I don’t think it’s good that I live or bad that I would have died, but I also don’t think that it’s bad that I live or good that I would have died. I take my life as a given—not a gift, but something simply there—and recognizing it as such, try to do something more with it.

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4 responses

23 07 2012
dmf

yes, the il y a is what it is, but my world is richer for your being in it and for this I’m grateful.
http://www.veteransunplugged.com/theshow/archive/102-2-26-2012

23 07 2012
23 07 2012
BJ

I’m glad for your failure in this area. I’ve always meant to say that. Just never put it out there.

You revere KB as a performer. Imagine the hole you’d feel if she were to choose her end. Now, you may be considered a thinker. For others who fancy themselves as thinkers, your early exit would have created an equal hole. Just saying.

Great post. Keep them coming for a long, long time.

24 07 2012
absurdbeats

Thanks for the thoughts, dmf, BJ. Y’all would have been fine without me, but it’s nice to know you’re fine with me.

And I’m quite happy with whatever leaf blew you (back) this way.

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