June 20, 2009
Talking with Leah about death on a recent walk. She doesn't really think about it. "I guess I'm just at peace with my relative meaninglessness," she told me. Something like that. "Not in a personal, day-to-day way maybe, but in general."
Her mom told me a story of how at four years old Leah asked, "When we die we become compost, right?" Even at that age Leah wasn't bothered at all.
I'm bothered. I'd like to persist as an individual in some way. The feint hope of becoming one with some universal consciousness when I die is a cruel comfort.
Ingmar Bergman described feeling at peace about death after being knocked out before a surgery. He felt nothing, and then realized that's what death was. The thought doesn't give me any hope.
Even this blog is an attempt to beat death. Instead of keeping my thoughts to myself, I post them online. This way they continue.
A couple days ago I was out on the ocean in a boat, looking for humpback whales. The captain of the boat said, "This is how it's done. You look." We didn't see any. But we rocked around on the waves, with nothing to the East of us but Europe, and heard no sound but that of the engine and the water. The wind bit right into you. That was something. It put life in perspective a little. A very little.
That night Leah and I went to see some St. John's bands with friends of hers. One song by a band called The Fawks was called, "Date Rape All Your Problems Away." The lead singer said, "it's just a suggestion." Nobody reacted. This has nothing to do with anything.