Hi readers. Thanks for coming by.
A guy I usually stop and have a cup of coffee with when I’m in Kerrville was exchanging pontifications with me lately. Seemed everything we could think of to talk about led to a similar ‘where’, and that where didn’t invite any street dances. At least unless a person could rotate it on the axis enough to recognize all the ‘wheres’ are the same place as they always were.
Problem was we kept switching around looking at things too collectively. Individually he and the other old codgers who hang around there talking with him, including me, aren’t doing too badly. Some of us have health issues, and all of us are a lot nearer death [by appearances] than we were ten years, or ten minutes ago. Same as everyone else, though an argument might be made we’re nearer than them.
Nearer, by appearances, only. Those people driving by out there on the pavement all are operating under the illusion they’re going to live as long as us, which one-hell-of-a-lot of them won’t. They’ll get terminal illness, car smashups, all manner of unexpected ways to exit the vehicle while some of us old guys are still stopping by visiting one another.
And by far the greatest likelihood is that we ain’t all, including the ones driving by, ain’t going to all die the same week, the same day, even the same decade. Which is the difference between individual, and collective doomsday.
But when you come right down to it, what-the-hell is the difference? If we all pick the same day to die we’ll each still have had our day in the sun. Same as we would have otherwise.
Thinking about this during the times I’m not in the company of other people it seems to me there’s a lot more emphasis put on the collective side of things than contributes to uppidyness at an individual level. If I happened to care a lot whether and when I die, I can see how the prospect of all sorts of risk-taking might seem something to be avoided. Might be able to influence one-way-or-another [though not nearly as much as I might imagine] whether I kicked sooner, or later.
But looking around me and seeing all manner of cumulonimbus signs of doom coming up on the horizon and concluding it’s worse than just my own personal demise, that it’s something humanity ought to avoid, just doesn’t make any sense at all. It requires the assumption that there’s something better after I’m dead, about lots of human beings running around watching television, driving to the grocery store, playing games on the computer, and having romances.
Fact is if they all die the same week as I do the great bulk of them will have been spared a lot of pain and worry, and looking around me I’m not certain the happiness and satisfaction they might have experienced is enough to offset it for most of them. At least not enough to be worth interrupting the happiness and satisfaction of now on an individual level to devote thought to it.
One of the things comes up in those conversations is what a shame it was we waited so long to figure out we could have been living right back then, instead of waiting around to do it. We’d have gotten a lot more living done, on the one hand. And on the other, if doomsday had come along and interfered, we’d have still gotten something for our money.