We’re all gonna die!

What do you think causes the majority of our existential angst?

A. Knowing we’re going to die (and not wanting to)

B. Not knowing exactly when we will die

C. Not knowing exactly how we will die

D. All of the above?

I struggle with all of the above.

But today I was having a conversation with myself that went like this:

Let’s say we are somehow able to accept we will die.

Not just understand it intellectually, but actually accept it.

And let’s say, by some magical twist, we are able to learn exactly when and how we will die…

Would we really live our life any differently than we do today?

And, what would World Order look like then?

(I don’t really talk to myself in the third person, by the way.)

There is a phrase:

live_each_day_

But the essential problem with that advice is that gleefully dancing as if nobody’s watching is not really an option if the machine is to keep running.

Quite the contrary, living each day as if it’s not our last is what allows us to pack the school lunches and separate the laundry and spend an hour with the accountant without feeling as if our life is completely pathetic.

We count on tomorrow being better.

= = = =

Most of us live –because we must — as if we have an endless supply of days.

And, yet, we’re terrified each and every day because we know that we don’t.

That is quite a quandary.

No one wants to be a machine.

Yet no one feels comfortable abandoning everything and everyone so they may live their last day every day.

This is the majority of our existential angst:

Finding the absolute perfect balance between living your last day and living as if you have an endless supply.

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5 thoughts on “We’re all gonna die!

  1. I’m kind of grateful to have been raised by people who had a surprisingly stoic, WASP-y ethic about existential angst, considering they were first generation Americans from Eastern Europe Ashkenazi stock. Actually, now that I type that, maybe it’s not so surprising after all.

    My patients die, and fight not to, and live as if they will at any moment, or as if they never will. I think you have the answer- balance. Enough anxiety to appreciate where we are and what we have, and enough denial to avoid the level of anxiety that would cripple.

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    • Really? I think a lot of us spend a lot of time thinking about dying but don’t recognize it as such. When we are sick — even with the flu — what are we so afraid of? We will NEVER feel better? The pain would be too much? I think that fear is basically about death. What about those of us so eager to fall in love? And those of us afraid we’ll never find it? I suggest it’s really about dying: Dying or passing through this life without having felt or given love. What about career-wise? Finding our “purpose?” I say that too is all about dying (and living.) Living the right way so that when we die, we feel as if our life was worth it. Basically, I think more people are thinking about dying and just don’t know it — and this is the root of a lot of their fears.

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