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Death may be overrated

We all walk down different paths in life from birth till old age and death. Some of us don't even make it to old age. Our destinies swing wildly in various directions. They say you're lucky if you can live to be 80 or 90 years old. People pray to their gods for good health and longevity, but if they believed in those gods, they should also believe that there's something more to life than death. If that's true, why do we care if we die at 20 or 30 or 80 or 100?

Maybe our instinct to fear death ensures the universe gets to experience life. Every living thing on this planet fears death. It is the common instinct that connects us all from tree to sea anemone. The only time I ever went bungee jumping, I stood at the top of the platform, 15 - 30 meters above a river, looking over the edge. I felt like I was on top of a skyscraper, ready to commit suicide. Although my feet were bound in bungee cord, and I knew I wouldn't die, I felt a powerful force pulling me backward away from the edge. It was almost as if there was a hand on my shoulder trying to keep me from ending it all. It took all my power to overcome this urge and take the leap.

Could you imagine the chaos if we knew for certain there was life after death? So many people would reset as if they were playing a video game. Maybe in the earlier versions of the universe, that's exactly what happened before the instinct for survival was created. That brings me to the question of why it's so important to nature that living things survive. Some say the meaning of life is so the universe can know itself. Just like the notion of God, I can't really know if that's true.

This year we are facing so much death as people succumb to the coronavirus. I have the misfortune of knowing one person who died. There were also three others related to my workplace who I did not know but were in my general vicinity. Last year, my grandmother passed away. I was thinking about her as I was playing her guitar just a few minutes before writing this. I cannot believe in a nihilist's notion that everything is meaningless. Nor do I believe in the chaos theory of order emerging from chaos as a random happening. There is a grand design. Even if order appears from chaos, I believe the laws of nature were designed that way. If you ask me whether that's proof of a God, I would have to say no. For all we know, there's a whole village of gods or a family of gods or God passed away long ago. God could be the universe itself longing to experience itself through our lives. We could be the gods bringing forth the universe from the power of our thoughts and imagination. Or science is correct, and order really does spring spontaneously from chaos. The nihilists could be right in thinking nothing matters. I will never know, so I can never answer the question of God's existence with confidence

There's an African short story called looking for the rain God by Bessie Head. In this story, she tells of a family that travels from a draught stricken village in search of water. The family's parents grow so desperate they decide to sacrifice their children to some god to bring the rain. Of course, the water never fell from the sky. All that came was their shame.

Dear reader, please don't worry about me. I love life, and I hope to experience as much of it as I can. I hope to get another 40 years or so to enjoy good food, nice conversations, and a warm body to hold at night.


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