I woke up this morning with a bad case of the blues. I’m not really sure what to write.
Depression has her way with me in my sleep and then clings to me like a caul when my eyes open and I have to pretend to be functional.
Things seem OK, then not OK. The tiny tragedies that make me crumble taper off, then return in a full-force gale. I can’t handle some of the basic pressures of being alive. There seems to be no end-game or goal – no purpose – to any of it. We are born. We become instruments of a machine far larger than our minds can comprehend. We reproduce. We die.
What an impossible burden to place on a species, the consciousness of death. And we, among all of our neighbors on this planet, are alone in our understanding of Death’s inevitability. I’m not sure the natural world would function so well if animals had the capacity to understand life’s inescapable impermanence. The ants would stop building hills. My dog would become listless and stop chewing his bone or wanting to play fetch. My cats would stop running and jumping around like possessed squirrels. That should have been an old Twilight Zone episode. “Death Spills the Beans.”
Why us? Why should we have to deal with this shit, and how could we possibly be equipped to?
It’s fucking scary. Animals are frightened of thunderstorms. Imagine if they knew the truth. It’s enough to make any sentient being immediately insane. This – staring down Death’s black mouth every day while we pretend everything will be just fine – this and opposable thumbs separate us from animals. And the divide is a chasm.
It’s hard to understand how anyone even gets out of bed knowing they could cease to exist at any moment. I envy religious people of their ignorance and blind confidence that when they die, they’re going somewhere better and will join all their lost loved ones in some celestial bliss factory. I imagine holding this firm, true belief makes you a much happier person. How could it not? But I can’t get myself there. It’s too symmetrical, too fair. Which spells…false. We aren’t going anywhere.
You can try to escape to any nook or cranny of the Earth, or even outer space, and it’ll find you.
We are just passengers along for this strange ride until we meet Death, that whimsical little asshole of a harbinger who wreaks havoc upon whatever he touches. No matter how many people we cherish and who cherish us back, we are alone on our rides toward reckoning.
I’m scared. Are you?
Juliet Naked springs from the forehead of Juliet ____ , a disillusioned, (early) 30-something, mentally ill mess living in Harlem, NYC, who has finally succumbed to her need for an outlet to semi-publicly rant against contemporary culture; the status quo; (most) people with babies; (most) people in general; and America’s revolting political landscape – as well as to tout good recipes involving cauliflower as a form of crust; shit she thinks about or creates involving art, music (jazz, blues, punk, rock, some folky shit), and literature; chasmic generational gaps; and the virtues of a well-placed semicolon.
Juliet realizes she’s not Che, Banksy, Noam Chomsky, Nate Silver, Rachel Maddow, or anyone truly qualified to be speaking with authority about anything…and she’s OK with that. After an arduous uphill battle, she’s also accepted the fact that she’ll never be Madonna.
I for one look at it differently. I have been visiting long forgotten, or even those places people try to pretend aren’t there, cemetery’s. I believe we support each other in body, and out of body. And as a human who wants very much to be a nice person, I practice doing what I think that is. And that is supporting those I see, even with only a smile, and visiting those who are gone, for hundreds of years, and bringing a sense of honor to their existence. For I love. But, like you , I certainly do have those moments. So, I go tell a long forgotten friend about it. Bring so.excited sweetgrass, burn a little, have a chat.get some air. My friend thinks i’m crazy …. I say no, i’m being called.
Well, I. Can’t edit so I’ll just say:
** bring some sweetgrass or incense
**the friend who thinks i’m crazy is still living. Poor guy, he doesn’the understand me
You put the situation well, with rationality and insight. You can be scared, if that’s here your mind tends, but the universe doesn’t much reward any particular understanding, so all that seems to be left to us is to live mightily amid the absurdity.
Rachel Maddow has never, in all of her MSNBC Democratic centrist shtick, uttered anything so vital as this post, and she never will.
Am I scared? Absolutely, yes. But then I think about sleep where I cease to exist and the world moves on without me quite well. Nothing really matters but yet everything does.If we are going to be passengers we might as well enjoy the ride as best we can.
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This reminds me of the words of the spiritual, “Lonesome Valley,” which I heard many time in my youth. It was used as the closing theme of a radio show on WFMT in Chicago, “The Midnight Special” (That song by Leadbelly was the opening theme (may still be, I’ve been away from there a long time.) The lines go: “You’ve got to cross that lonesome valley. You’ve got to cross it by yourself. No one else can cross it for you.” Then, there’s an other take. “Live as if you will die tomorrow, or, as if you will live forever. They workout to the same way of living.” Hmmm – Am I scared of death? I think not so much. I do not believe in an afterlife (nor can I disprove the notion), but I can’t imagine not existing. So, when I am dead I will not know it. Perhaps it is not our own death that frightens us, but that of those we love. We fear the pain of loss.
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Thank you, Bob. Food for thought…
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No, I am not scared. I can’t prove what I feel is true, and I can’t and wouldn’t try to persuade anyone to think as I do. All I know is that I am sure that death is only a transition, that our magnificent and unique spirits live on. Ever since I was old enough to think, I’ve believed this, and also believe that we all will meet again.
Of course we feel the loss of those we love! How can we not? I lost my mother to cancer on December 16, 2015, and miss her deeply. But I feel her presence so often and I know I will see her again.
I respect anyone’s beliefs and can’t prove what I believe is true. My feeling is that here on Earth is “school,” but our real home is elsewhere. Again, call it Heaven or whatever you choose.
Since this life is all I know, of course I wonder how it will be to die and ‘cross over.’ I have always felt that, once I do cross over, everything will become clear to me and all questions will be answered.
This is just my own two cents.
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Thank you for sharing. Words of wisdom.
Forget about the reasons or explanations. Life can not be reasoned or explained. And it is ok to feel blue sometimes. It is part of the human experience. Before you know it, it will be gone. ❤
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Yeah, a philosopher! “Thought on death is the beginning of philosophy.” The reason? Maybe philosophy begins just beyond the false priorities of our mortal nature, or something like that. Our difficulty dealing with our knowing we will die forgets to be grateful that we are here at all, which is maybe a far greater wonder than that we die. Why is there something rather than nothing? We assume the half full glass is half empty, or that life is not a gift, and we complain that the gift have any limit! And what difference does the question of immortality make to any action or choice? Would your kindness on your kindness blog be somehow less worthwhile, if it only lasted for its time? But oh, I will tell you a mystery, that of the Book of Life: The life in life that touches the life of the soul is said to be as if written in the Book of Life (Revelation 20-21?). St. Augustine says the Book is like our remembering our deeds, as that memory said to occur before one dies, looking over one’s whole life in an instant.
Some Plato for you, because I like you, Ms. Juliet:
In the center of Plato’s Apology, the fear of death is synonymous with thinking we know what we do not know. But the Phaedo is the book for you, in the Eva Brann translation. The presumption of knowledge that makes most people incapable of conversation or philosophy is dissolved through the penance that is the same as that leading to the death before rebirth, and this child new born is the philosopher in the soul (I guess I do like you!). We think it is the same mystery as John 3 and Paul Romans 6.
Death is really not much, as the body by itself does not really fear to die: Does the over-ripe apple want to stay even longer in the tree? Perhaps for a few years of useless medical treatments, at the cost of food for the poor? For our body, it is such a pain in the ass to keep the dang thing afloat, it is neutral one way or the other, and the unexamined life maybe not worth living. What makes life worth living is helping others, like in the Creed song “I hope it wasn’t except / That you might live.” It is our service to the divine, our care to till and keep the garden of the Lord. “Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friend” (John 14?). “…Pride / In the name of Love” (Bono). “One man come on a barbed wire fence.”
In the Apology, Socrates says he does not know whether there is an afterlife or a dreamless sleep, and I believe him. We do not have certain knowledge of whether the dreams of immortality and the experiences of the near death experiences are some strange unconsciously devised poetry or an illusion we give ourselves to help us get to sleep. But to the thief, He (You know who) said, “This day you will be with me in paradise.” There we eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life, having seen the bread of life, the water and the wine. “Before Abraham was, I am,” and “My food is to do the will of him who sent me.”
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Interesting and honest. Thank you for sharing what I know many people think about for a long time. I do not fear death. I believe one does not have to be religious to conquer that fear, if one opens the mind enough to consider death as a transition, into another state of consciousness, conscious awareness etc. Death of the physical body will occur. Yet even then, our bodies (assuming a burial, for example) will literally become one with the Earth, which is filled with all kinds of living things we cannot see with the naked eye – and so the matter in our bodies can get incorporated into and sustain new life. Our conscious awareness will be… I have no idea, as I am still in my physical body. I do not fret over death to my physical body because I know it will come at sometime, and that’s unavoidable. I have also struggled with depression and anxiety of this sort in the past. When I grounded myself with healthy self-care habits, eventually I was able to gain clarity on what I want to do with my life while I am still alive in my physical body. And that helps heal these worries for me!