How do you get through your day knowing that you will die?
If you are looking for an answer from me, you will not find it here. The above question is part of a broader subject that encompasses the Human Condition. The Human Condition is basically how humans cope with being, well human. It covers many different fields such as philosophy, theology, basically anything that has an “ology” at the end.
From what I understand it is more or less the study of what it means to be human, and how certain things affect each and every one of us regardless of who we are. Like the question posed above, what is it that gets us through our days, and why are we so blindsided by death when it happens. I think for me, like most people, we are so ingrained in our daily lives that we never stop and think about these things, or the bigger picture for that matter. Which honestly is probably better or at least helps us cope with the fact that we are all going to die. Is that a good thing? Should we keep death bottled up and never speak about it. When you are young death seems so far off, as only old people die, right? That seems to be the mindset of a lot of young people, but youth is wasted on the young as you know.
There quite a few other aspects of the Human condition as well, the fact that we are all going to die is just a small part of it. All of the “ologies” listed above literally cover almost all aspects of human life. I often think about these ideas, mostly because I think it is interesting, but at the same time a lot of it is depressing. Another interesting point is that things we hold in high regard or things that seem important right now, really are quite pointless. Getting that new promotion or getting all your friends to not like the same person at school seem like big deals, but in the grand scheme of things neither matters. We as humans put a very big emphases on these things all the while putting issues like death, the meaning of life, or eternal happiness out of our minds. I do the same thing, I am working to get my comic published and almost all of my free time goes to making that a reality. Sometimes I look at all my efforts and think to myself, it does not really matter I am still going to die. It sounds like a grim outlook but it’s the truth. I do not sit around all day thinking that I am going to die or if I am happy, but sometimes it helps put things into perspective.
Irvin D. Yalom has identified what he refers to as the four “givens” or ultimate concerns of human existence – concerns with meaning, loneliness, freedom and mortality. Yalom argues with Sartre that man is “condemned to freedom”, and must face his ultimate aloneness, the lack of any unquestionable ground of meaning, and ultimate mortality.
I found this on Wikipedia and it reminded me of a what a grade school teacher told me when I was in 7th grade. His class was by no mean a conventional class and he promised to reveal to us his universal truth that he had found. Finally one day during class he told us what he had spent his life trying to figure out. His universal truth – Everyone dies alone. That’s it, that is all he told us. For some reason I have never forgot what he said, mainly because I was disappointed in what he told us. I did not understand what it meant nor if this “universal truth” was anything important or if it was even relevant.
When I read the above quote my teachers’ knowledge seemed to make more sense, as his truth seemed to encompass quite a lot of the human condition. Mainly as Yalom stated above that we are alone and that we will die. I go back and forth with understanding the truth my teacher told me. I think it depends on how you look at it. It is true in the sense that when you die you will have to go through it by yourself and you will be alone. On the other hand if you have your family with you on your death bed you are not alone, as they are all there, but you still have to go through death by yourself. No one else will get to experience it like you will. How weird is that?
Always looking at the bigger picture…