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Enchanted 02-23-2013 09:32 AM

Life as it is
 
A death.

There are a lot of religions in this world. It is interesting to me that whenever someone dies regardless of religion grief, sorrow, emotions are alike. Depending on the culture the expressions are different. Every culture, every religion, every political ideology believes it. Death is a very mysterious event to me... I was told if one is born one will die someday. Death is the only event in life which is guaranteed to happen.

Across the street an elderly gentleman died this morning. I haven’t seen him for awhile. I don’t know him very well. Still when I heard the news it made me stop doing what I was doing. A lot of questions came to my mind. Some are about him and his death. But most are about me and my life.

Death completes a life. The question came to my mind: how my life is. I don’t know. I wanted to be lots of things. Now I know most of those things are unachievable. I don’t have any regret. I have new sets of targets.

A lot of people are coming in to that house. The angel of death has come on weekend. I suspect more people will show up. It is making me think who will come to my funeral. I know people. I have good friends. I helped people. But who will come?

Last year I met a married couple. They are very warm and wonderful couple. Since September I, she and he have become we. It is going very well. No hierarchy. They have invited me to live with them but I declined. They are financially, I say, above average. I’m just a student with few extra bucks. Government pretty much pays for my education. The rest I take care of myself. I don’t believe I’ll be able to put anything on the table, financially that is, if I move in with them. I don’t want to be an extra baggage.

We do things together. We do things one-on-one as well. I become her consultant and companion when it comes to shopping and redecoration. Other day I had lunch with him. He was very depressed and angry. We were planning how he would kill his boss and a client with zapping gun. We were giggling and laughing so much that others were staring at us at the restaurant. It was fun. When they were looking for a new place they asked my advice. I had no idea what couple/family look for when they wanted to rent/own a property.

I like them. I like their touch. I like the crowdy bed. I like the dirty talks there. I like the pinching, kicking, biting there. I like them very much. I like when she shares her feelings. I like when she meets me when she is hurt. I like when he complains about her and wanted to talk about our relationship with me. I like when I become the mediator/negotiator. Actually I don’t have to do anything. They talk I just sit there. At the end… group hug. :)

Death has brought me a simple question: what is the future? The couple doesn’t have any kid. Someday they will. What will be my role? Will I be satisfied there? What if my expectations and/or theirs change with time? Ha… its true death is the only event of life which is guaranteed to happen…

Few days ago I met a very skilled man. He is very good with ropes. The way he does his tie-up thing an orgasm is guaranteed. He is also good with words… good in bed. :o But I don’t see future there either. He lacks ambition. He is happy where he is at the moment. The most important part is he and I don’t see the world, life in general from same point of view. I may not win Noble prize but I have high hopes.

I spent a lot of time with computers. I have four computers and another one is on the way. :cool: Most people, including my relatives, don’t know what I really am. They see I’m the asexual weird one who lives with books and computers. No relationship. I kinda like it. Nobody bothers me. Most weekends, I love spending my time with books and computers. No human interaction.

What they will say in my funeral? Unsocial? Introvert? Emotionally handicap? "Yeah… she used to do things with the things… did things… tried to do that thing… I don’t know what thing was that…" Most computer users know Steve Jobs, the Apple guy. How many know about Dennis Ritchie? He died the same year. Not many know what kind of "fruit" Dennis Ritchie was. Dennis Ritchie was good in things… he did a thing with a thing…

The deceased have lots of grandchildren. This is probably their first death. Unlike other time children are not making much noise. Probably they are trying to understand what "your grandfather will never come back" means… Probably he was a loving grandfather. Probably he used to bring chocolate with him… Probably he was a treasure of stories… He was always there. Now he’ll never come back. … He is there but he is not there anymore…

While growing up I really didn’t have anyone. My father was busy. My mother was also busy. I had pain. I was there left alone. I didn’t have that many friends then. I had lots of imaginary friends. :p Then one day she had appeared like an angel. We became friends and then more than friends. Then one day she called me her girlfriend.

She is trying to have a child of her own. Alas! Lady luck has a different idea… She likes to make fun of her own sorrow. According to her, its better that she doesn’t have a child, because she is unhappy in her marriage. I don’t like her husband either. Good thing is I don’t need to. But I am really sorry for her. In my heart I want her to leave her marriage and come to me for forever. In reality, I know that will never happen.

I know her for a long time. She is my first human friend, she is my first girlfriend. When I wanted to gave up she was the one who grabbed me and told me that I could do that. She is different… If it were a movie I’d probably have said she completes me. She is a source of lots of good memories. Growing up she and I did lots of first time things together. When she got married I was very angry and upset. I felt someone just ripped something from me. Good for me she came back.

This morning when I heard the angel of death has visited the neighborhood I was making breakfast for her. I don’t make breakfast. Not for the couple, not for the hung rope guy, not even for me. Most days I drink fruit juice or coffee… Some morning if I am hungry I shove whatever I find in the fridge in my mouth hole. She’s the only one I make breakfast. When I first heard the news of death I went to check on her. She was still asleep. I felt something that she is with me.

I want her by my side for rest of my life. Can it happen? For how long? Future?

What am I doing in my life? Am I just collecting relationships? Relationships which don’t have future? Am I using these relationships to fill the hours when I’m not in classes, with books or computers?

I thought I had most of the answers… This morning angel of death has informed me that I don’t have most of the answers. HA…

Helo 02-23-2013 11:07 AM

I've always found that thinking about death is like throwing bricks in the Grand Canyon; it does nobody any good and it ultimately serves no purpose. It takes away from what you have in the now to worry about something that you ultimately can do nothing about.

When I was younger, I thought I was going to die at about 21. I could form an idea of my life until I hit 21/22 and then it was pure static. I interpreted that as death. I spent about six months absolutely falling to pieces. I was so young, why should I have to die? How would I die? Would it hurt? Would it be fast? Slow? After that six months, I sat down and decided that this was doing absolutely nothing to help me, this was an event that was GOING to happen, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. If I couldn't fight it, prevent it, or change it, the only thing left to do was accept it.

There were two ideas, or maxims I guess, that got me through to that period and I've made them a pretty core part of my approach for daily life ever since.

The first is from the Hagakure, a primer written to teach young samurai how they should act:
"There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed though you will still receive the same soaking. This understanding extends to all things."

The second is from a (very abridged) version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh goes to Siduri, a drinking hall keeper, when told she may know of the secret to eternal life (his entire quest was based around trying to find immortality because of a fear of death). He pounds on her door (in kingly fashion) and demands she tell him. Through the door, she answers:

"Gilgamesh, where are you roaming?
The life that you are seeking you will not find.
When the gods created human beings, they kept everlasting life for themselves and gave us death

So Gilgamesh, accept your fate.
Each day, bathe in warm water and wear clean clothes.
Fill your stomach with delicious food.
Play, sing, dance, and be happy both day and night.

Delight in the pleasures your wife brings you and cherish the little child that holds your hand
Make every day a feast of rejoicing!
This is the task that the gods have set before all human beings.
This is the life you should seek, for this is the best life a mortal can hope to achieve."

hyperskeptic 02-23-2013 01:43 PM

It seems to me that obsessing about death in particular won't do anyone any good - the when and the how of it - but being always mindful of death in general - the "that" of it - is just part of being human; the existentialists might say it is a vital part of what makes us human, what makes humanity something distinctive.

The philosopher Heidegger talks about "being-toward-death" as the basis of an authentic awareness of the world, the abiding awareness that this window I have into the world will someday close and is, in the mean time, always vulnerable. [EDIT: Actually, it's not that I have a window opening on the world, but that I am a window opening on the world.]

The trick, as you have begun to expect, is to use that awareness of death to focus your attention on living a rich and meaningful life, which may involve commitments and ambitions, and music and dance, poetry and song, affectionate cuddling and mind-blowing orgasms, getting to know and love people and places in all their fine-grained particularity, even with the foreknowledge of losing all of it, perhaps sooner, perhaps later.

Your life doesn't have to be rich and meaningful in some universal sense, or even in the eyes of the hypothetical people attending your funeral. It needs to be meaningful in your own eyes. Nietzsche's myth of the eternal return - often misunderstood - is really about just that: Are you living the kind of life you would be willing to live, over and over again, without changing anything, for all eternity? How would you have to live so that you would long for such an affirmation, an eternal return of the same?

(Some people read the eternal return as a metaphysical doctrine, when really it's meant as a heuristic, a practical guide for discovering things: Here's how you can make a meaningful life, in the presence of death, in the absence of God. It's in his work, oddly translated The Gay Science, just after he tells the story of a madman who announces the death of God.)

Anyway, what I said about death-in-particular versus death-in-general is neatly encapsulated in the words of that great sage, Woody Allen: "I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

fuchka 02-28-2013 12:35 AM

Enchanted, please write more <3

Enchanted 03-03-2013 06:09 AM

Thank you Helo for your inputs. Those are really thought provoking.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helo (Post 186267)
I've always found that thinking about death is like throwing bricks in the Grand Canyon; it does nobody any good and it ultimately serves no purpose. It takes away from what you have in the now to worry about something that you ultimately can do nothing about.



I believe thinking about death is not pointless. It tells us our time is limited. It gives us a perspective.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and thankfully I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.


This (between 8:48 and 12:45) is a part of 14 minutes speech. Entire speech is here


www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA


Quote:

Originally Posted by Helo (Post 186267)
The second is from a (very abridged) version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh goes to Siduri, a drinking hall keeper, when told she may know of the secret to eternal life (his entire quest was based around trying to find immortality because of a fear of death). He pounds on her door (in kingly fashion) and demands she tell him. Through the door, she answers:

"Gilgamesh, where are you roaming?
The life that you are seeking you will not find.
When the gods created human beings, they kept everlasting life for themselves and gave us death

So Gilgamesh, accept your fate.
Each day, bathe in warm water and wear clean clothes.
Fill your stomach with delicious food.
Play, sing, dance, and be happy both day and night.

Delight in the pleasures your wife brings you and cherish the little child that holds your hand
Make every day a feast of rejoicing!
This is the task that the gods have set before all human beings.
This is the life you should seek, for this is the best life a mortal can hope to achieve."


I admire Gilgamesh for his quest (may be in his case quest is not the right word). :) It seems to me he was arrogant. Still… he wanted to improve his situation. There was also a group of people similar to Gilgamesh known as Alchemy. I’m not sure whether they were arrogant or not. One version of story of Alchemy was they were also seeking immortality like Gilgamesh. Thanks to their quest today we have a wonderful world of Chemistry.

I’m not interested in immortality. But I do want to have a meaningful life. Am I moving forward or circling around like a boat without radar? This is the very question bugging me since the death of the gentleman.

My mother’s policy was(is) if we wanted a pet we had to be responsible for a pair instead of one. That way those pets would have someone to talk and play when they were by themselves otherwise it would be cruel. I think it was a good policy. No one should be left alone.

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/pictu...pictureid=2243

They were my roommates. :) They had wonderful time with us. When they grew up they had wonderful, cute puppies. But... unlike them we, human, are cruel animal. We took their kids away from them and gave those to other families. Apart from that, they lived happy and healthy lives. They were always well fed, had routine vet visits… they were well taken care of always.

It was good to have them around. It was also painful to have them. It seemed to me that this breed was not that interested in happy and loving life. This breed had explorer gene in it… They were notorious escape artists. I and my sisters were well known to the neighbors who lived several blocks away from us because of this pair. They wanted to explore. They seek something more…

Any creature can born, live, reproduce and then die just like how Siduri advised Gilgamesh to live. I always believe my life is better than the pets. Why should I settle for only good food and joyous moments when my pets won’t? Why can’t I have more?

There is more than what I see and have in my life and I have a very limited time to seek, no? My bag of achievement is very small… almost empty. This is because I’m still at the training phase. I am a student. The seeking, my quest, my life in general… am I doing those correctly? This was one of the questions brought by the angle of death last weekend. May be I’ll not reach the destination in time. But I’d like to know that I’m not in a stationary position but moving forward before someone tells me "time's up".


Enchanted 03-03-2013 06:11 AM

Thank you hyperskeptic for your wonderful words.

Quote:

Originally Posted by hyperskeptic (Post 186280)
It seems to me that obsessing about death in particular won't do anyone any good - the when and the how of it - but being always mindful of death in general - the "that" of it - is just part of being human; the existentialists might say it is a vital part of what makes us human, what makes humanity something distinctive.

I agree. I guess that makes me existentialist. :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by hyperskeptic (Post 186280)
Your life doesn't have to be rich and meaningful in some universal sense, or even in the eyes of the hypothetical people attending your funeral. It needs to be meaningful in your own eyes.

Very true. I think everyone in this forum has broken the "norm" defined by the universal sense. Like most here, I don’t seek others' approval. We live our lives by different sets of rules. Like others here, I do what makes me feel… me. :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by hyperskeptic (Post 186280)
Nietzsche's myth of the eternal return - often misunderstood - is really about just that: Are you living the kind of life you would be willing to live, over and over again, without changing anything, for all eternity? How would you have to live so that you would long for such an affirmation, an eternal return of the same?

I'm saying you've already done plenty of things to regret, you just don't know what they are. It's when you discover them, when you see the folly in something you've done, and you wish that you had it do over, but you know you can't, because it's too late. So you pick that thing up, and carry it with you to remind you that life goes on, the world will spin without you, you really don't matter in the end. Then you will gain character, because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself across your face.
~ Phil Cooper (Danny DeVito), from the motion picture The Big Kahuna.

If I have the power and multiple lives OR eternal life, I’ll change my life every single time. I don’t want to have the same thing over and over again. It’ll be monotonous. Even 100% successful life will be boring then.

Enchanted 03-03-2013 06:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fuchka (Post 187381)
Enchanted, please write more <3

I'm too lazy. :p

Enchanted 03-03-2013 06:14 AM

I’m not worried about my death... at least not at the moment. It’ll happen. I don’t want to die. But I won’t be able to avoid it. I have accepted it long ago. I have no problem with death. My worry is the life I have and work I do… Are those meaningful? Are those going anywhere?

Most people I know are serial monogamist. Few of them are happy in their perfect monogamy relationships. Good for them. I have three separate relationships apart from family and friends. My long-term girlfriend is married. I am involved with a married couple. I am exploring a new side of me with a man with whom I don’t see any future. I also have casual sex time to time. But most of my times are spent in classrooms, labs, library and with my computers. I’m not that very active in my romantic life.

Most evenings/late nights when I come home I drop myself on the couch and watch TV programs I don’t like. I don’t have cable… I spend most of my money on books and hardware. These are the moments I want someone there… to watch those awful TV programs with me.

I won’t change myself. I like who I am. Most people I know have no clue that I’m involved in multiple romantic relationships. It’s complicated... But when I start a relationship I don’t lie. I’ll be always with my girlfriend… unless something changes. In all my other relationships everyone has to except that.

In all three relationships even though I am equal, I don’t believe I can be really equal... My girlfriend and the other couple have their families and in-laws. I try to avoid most of their "normal" social gatherings since I have to play the role of "a friend" there. There are some very good reasons for us to live in a closet. Is this how I am going to live for rest of my life?

The gentleman who died last weekend was surrounded by loved ones. Makes me wonder… if the music stops, will I be the one without a chair? I was going with the flow… I have never thought about this part of life… Angel of death tossed me this question.

Quote:

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

At this stage… I’m confused. Actually I’m not sure whether I am confused or not. I’d very much like to know that my dots will connect ... My time is finite, isn’t it?

Helo 03-03-2013 07:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Enchanted (Post 187931)
I believe thinking about death is not pointless. It tells us our time is limited. It gives us a perspective.

Perhaps, but to me it makes me wonder how valuable that perspective is to our daily lives.

I can spend hours trying to get into the mindset of a squirrel, trying to understand the nuances of his existence. At the end of the day, I am no further to any goal that will help my life any for that understanding.

Death is an inevitability (for most of us) and whatever perspective there is to be gained by perceverating on it will not help us change that.

Quote:

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and thankfully I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Perhaps it sounds flippant, but I dont plan on dying. An iteration of that quote that I'm partial to is "live as though you'll never die" and its definitely an undercurrent in my thinking.

I'm used to facing the idea of dying in a much more visceral way. I have no experience with disease but I've had a life-long habit of doing stupid things that could have very easily ended in death, in no small part due to my own assurances that I wouldn't live to see 25.

Death itself is not frightening, rather the manner of death is what unsettles me. Maybe I've read the Hagakure one time too many, but the idea of dying a sedentary death disturbs me the most. I think were I to face the idea of something like cancer, I would do something to make my own end rather than wait for some last final, slow breath laying in a bed in some sterile room somewhere with bright lights and beeping ushering you out.

If I meet my end, it will be fucking glorious.

Quote:

I admire Gilgamesh for his quest (may be in his case quest is not the right word). :) It seems to me he was arrogant. Still… he wanted to improve his situation. There was also a group of people similar to Gilgamesh known as Alchemy. I’m not sure whether they were arrogant or not. One version of story of Alchemy was they were also seeking immortality like Gilgamesh. Thanks to their quest today we have a wonderful world of Chemistry.
Oh he was hugely arrogant but he was also terrified as well. The idea of death really scared the hell out of him.

Quote:

I’m not interested in immortality. But I do want to have a meaningful life. Am I moving forward or circling around like a boat without radar? This is the very question bugging me since the death of the gentleman.
The very fact that you're asking that question suggests you're in a better position to fulfill that than you would otherwise be.


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