Thread: Life as it is
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:07 AM
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Helo Helo is offline
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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."
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