Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Birth & Death

"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism." [Einstein]

"I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul.... No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life – our desire to go on living … our dread of coming to an end." [Edison]

I have realized something. Being born and dying are NOT special. Why? Because every single person on the planet right now or who ever was alive was born and died or will die. Why do people see the birth of a baby as something special, even miraculous? I would define a miracle as something that is SO rare that it hardly ever happens normally. Being born is definately not rare because everyone has done it. Why does society say that this event that happens to everyone is somehow special? Because it happened to you? Because it happened to someone who you care about? Think about it: it has happened to everyone, whether you have met them, you hate them, or will never see them ever. Yet people still see it as a miracle. I don't get that. You know what another birth means to me? It means another consumer in this world. It means another being that populates this already crowded planet. It means another not special human being was brought into this world. Despite being not special, this being will be told that they are special for some reason. That even their birth was a miracle. I just don't get it. It doesn't make sense to me. Then all we have is entire planet full of people who think they are special even though everyone in the entire world is in the same place and is equally special ~ meaning not at all.

I have a similar view of death. Why is death special or even something to be feared? It is something that has or will happen to everyone. It is not miraculous or rare at all and thus should not be seen as special. Think about the animal kingdom for a minute. When an older beast knows that they will die soon, they are not sad or scared. They say goodbye and leave where their family is to die away from the camp to not spread disease to their living relatives. In their last moments they think of the well being of their family. They don't ponder what death will be like or if there is something after. They will be dead so it doesn't matter. They know that dead things rot and rotten things aren't good. So to help their family they wander away and die alone. How do they know to do this? I think it is something inside all of us. Human beings though must always make things that are NOT special or rare very special. So instead of allowing the elders of our communities to die away from the group, we bury them all together in a fancy coffin or burn them in a special way. We also hold a special party in their honor. Does any of that make sense? It doesn't to me.

As you are reading this sentence there are probably hundreds of people being born or dying at this very instant. Birth and death are not special because it happens to everyone. It is not more special if it happens to you because you are as special as everyone else ~ meaning not at all. And yes, to most people this view is coarse or harsh, but I don't really care. Just wait until I get started!

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