Death and the Rapture of Life

While we are talking, jealous time has fled. So seize the day, and put no trust in tomorrow.


“Seize the Day.” What does that mean? Does it mean we take each day as if it were the only gift we are ever to receive? Does it mean that we eschew all responsibility? Or does it mean that we relish the wonder of every moment of consciousness, of sadness, of indelible pain?

A very close friend, someone whom I love with great sadness these days, has lost her mother to the inevitability of our mortality. The funeral was yesterday. I feel a pain for her great loss, and I also feel a sympathetic wrenching of the pain that will never end until death brings its inevitability to all of us. And yet we move on. We move on because we must, the continuing of life demands it to happen somehow. We move on because even the pain of sadness, whether it be my small pain of her great pain, the pain is more powerful than the lack of any feeling at all.

We are mortal, this is clear. What is not clear is what will be done before that moment comes. How will we celebrate life, and how will we even enjoy its pain? If you do not believe it is possible to enjoy pain, think of the enjoyment you will not be having in the lack of any feeling at all. Imagine oblivion. You cannot. The thought brings about an awe within me that I cannot penetrate. It enthralls me and freezes me in a moment of existential terror.

And yet…and yet….

Despite this I am glad for every moment of this meaningless existence. I love it and so I lend it meaning, just so long as I am able to care in order to cover it with this meaning. I spread meaning over life like a plastic sheet over some irreplaceable work of art in a rain storm. It will not quite cover it, but I stretch it and pull it in the unquenchable desire to preserve it, and yet I know that the work will ultimately be destroyed. Knowing this, I do not quit. I cannot quit.

I will not quit.

And so until I can no longer draw breath, until my consciousness fades into the oblivion from which it climbed into as my life formed, I will lend this life meaning. I will love it and I will hate it, but I will live it.

My deepest condolences to your loss, my love of days gone. And to all the rest of you, carpe diem et noctis.

I hope that we all will find awe in the beauty of this ultimate meaninglessness. It is only in finding beauty in the lack of any meaning that we can understand its power. It is because of the absurdity of it that it becomes beautiful. It pains me to think of it. It is wonderful.

To life!

5 thoughts on “Death and the Rapture of Life

  1. Ok, so I just started reading some of your blog, and I’m finding myself wanting to comment/ramble away a bit, hope that’s ok. I suppose if it’s not ok you can ignore or delete my comments as I make them and I’ll wander away eventually.

    Anyway. Ok, see, I am vaguely religious. Or even worse, one of those “spiritual but not really religious” people. Even WORSE, I’m one of those wacky neo-pagans, but with vague underpinnings of agnosticism.

    That said, I have actually come to the same conclusion you have regarding life’s meaning or lack thereof. After some initial angst once I reached that conclusion, I actually found it to be a very soothing way to look at life and I much prefer it to any idea of meaning I assigned to it before. The only meaning is that which I give it, no more and no less. And that is wonderful.

    (if you want to be even more horrified by me, my spiritual beliefs actually played a major role in my getting to this point)

  2. Great blog Shaun. I really liked this one a lot. I too would like to extend my condolences to our friend.

    “To day is a day to celebrate, for tomorrow we all may die.”
    -Klingon Battle Cry

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