Isn’t life absurd? This is the kind of question that keeps me wide awake at night. Eat, work, sleep – there seems to be no end to it. We wake up everyday and do it all over again. There’s an end to it, of course. In the middle of this Living Business, there is dying that happens in between. First your grandparents, your parents, then your brother or sister, neighbour, acquaintance, in the end – you.
I do not count the times I’ve been to a funeral. Those were few. But being in close proximity to death always makes me panic. My response to this Divine Panic has always been to reflect upon The Subject. The Subject – Death, Final Annihilation – where everything crumbles. I remember reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead. They tell of Stages of Dying where physical deterioration is accompanied by fearful visions. While your body dies and your consciousness leaves your body, you experience drowning, world shattering quakes, being eaten by the earth, nightmarish twilight, seeing fireflies, candlelight being snuffed. I accept this because I find that it’s the most beautiful description. Angels and tunnels seem stupid.
Life, yes. Where were we? I don’t have appetite for excitement. I’m mediocre like that. I’m fine just worrying about deadlines. I work hard. Whether I accept it or not, I know that I define myself by the work I do. I’m Kokay – The Writer, The Producer, The Reader. I’m worried that I’m limiting myself, but being aware of it doesn’t engage me to action. I’d rather browse for hours on the internet for the next tv series to binge. I’d rather read about adventures than engage with them. I am not foolish enough to have highfaluting ideologies and I’m mediocre enough not to change the status quo. I realise though that I’m not the only one. Most of my friends do it too. Most of the people I know would rather watch their late night soap opera or finish that anime series overnight and that gives us The High by Living Vicariously. I know I’m never going to amount to anything. In my lifetime I expect only a few people would come to my funeral. I wouldn’t leave legacies. I’m not even sure I can leave behind inheritors, not even a grieving spouse. I would be nothing, just like Julius Caesar or Rico Yan, or that man in the news who was run over by a bus some years ago. They all lived and then died- suddenly. I think that’s how I’ll die too, suddenly.
*She was living her life, until she died, suddenly*. That’s basically it. So what’s the point?
The Chinese see no point in dying either, that’s what I figure from reading their philosophy. It’s all about preserving life, to live long and prosper. Tai Chi, the ‘Chinese’ exercise I flirt with most mornings, tells of heroes who mastered The Art. They achieve immortality, their vitality never leaving their bodies. It is said that the True Master lives in the mountains where they observe the clouds, the valleys and the lakes.
I’ve long ago refused to believe in any god or religion. If you believe in a higher power it means everything happens for a reason, the reason being – to teach you to be a good person and if you become a good person you would be rewarded. Which is an absurd reason to award cancer to a blameless mother, or to kill a homosexual person by tornado. Most things happen randomly. Some things happen mostly and we call that a trend. If you ask me why I don’t believe in god, it’s because I refuse to believe in conspiracy theories or alien abductions or any book that tells me it has all the answer. I would rather believe that I’m going to be nothing when I die. It terrifies me, my Divine Panic. Someday, I would be so scared by death that I would do the same things that my favorite characters do – go on incredible journeys, give up 24 hour internet, give up alcohol, never have the time to read books, wear the same underwear for days.
I know, absurd, right?
Reposted with permission. First appeared here: themanilareader.com