Saturday, August 09, 2003

After all this time..

After all this time..

You'd think I'd have something brilliant to say. Or perhaps I should discreetly ignore my bad habit of avoiding the time sucking void that is the internet and jump right in with some political rant or whimsical and charming observation.

But no--I want to talk about death again. Some of you might say: Miel, why are you so obsessed with death? But this is what people tend to say when anyone talks about death more than once in their life. We are supposed to ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist.

It was just that I was reading about hypochondria in the New Yorker. They said there was no cure. But it was clear that a major problem for these people was their fear of death. If they could simply accept their mortality then they would be less plagued by the fear of physical symptoms of illness. (Unless, of course, they fear being disabled--I'm not sure what to do about that one).

Now some weird Greeks (Stoics? Cynics? Skeptics? Can't remember) had this 'cure' for the fear of death. They simply pointed out that if you fear death because you fear non-existence then your fear is absurd. For you did not exist for millennia before you were born. Do you mourn or fear the fact that you were not alive in 1603? No? What is the real substantive difference between not being alive in 1603 and not being alive in 2103? Clearly, there isn't one.

In other words--if death is non-existence then there is no reason to fear death.

I think that's how it goes, basically.

There's something wrong with that argument, though. I can't think of what right now. Of course there is the fact that death will be an interruption. I didn't get to finish that novel! I dropped dead right in the middle of sex/a hot fudge sundae/the Yankees game, etc.

Of course--a main problem is that many fear death not as non-existence but as eternal damnation and punishment. And don't blame the Christians for this. This was a notion--punishment after death--the Greeks, Romans and many others--have had.

My problem with death is not that I fear it but that it seems to make life insignificant. If life is simply a blip and then over--Why do I have to pay my bills? Why do I bother? What's the point?

I might as well sit around killing time.

This I regard as a strange neurosis. Similar to Bartleby the Scrivener syndrome. These are my syndromes, I'm afraid.

However, I discovered that there is a form of temporary psychosis where one begins to believe that one's spouse has been replaced by an imposter. And yet this is curable through cognitive behavior therapy.

So my syndromes should also be curable, I believe. I'm looking for a cure even as we speak. I try to say. Yes! It all matters! Yes--somehow something is important....What is it? I don't know. Merely because something is transitory and ephemeral does not make it not worth worrying about. You should still try. The problem of course for those who suffer my particular delusion is that we wonder why bother with this re-vamping of attitude either. What's the point of that also?

I wish I'd gone into business! This kind of thing never seems to happen to people who like to become richer and richer. Somehow the very act of making oneself richer distracts one from the total futility thing. Or that's how it looks. My landlord never seems disoriented or tormented. These businessmen....They're just so happy.

Too late for that, I'm afraid. Once the creeping mold of malaise sets in it's all over--you'd never work up the energy to make money.


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