The difference death makes

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What harm does a bullet do to anyone or anything in it’s brief transit through flesh?

Pain?

What would that be? Nature’s way of alarming it’s subject of harm to it’s body? Why alarm for that? For protecting it from the inevitable? Pain would indeed be a harm in it’s absoluteness, yet be as absurd as everything fundamental in the universe: life, laws of physics, origin of universe etc because it can’t help at all in preserving life indefinitely, and is thus pointless in the greater picture of life and death.

Death?

Death of a man is the annihilation of the universe for him, something that adds great weight to this philosophically absurd event, but only for a while. As always, it gets exponentially absurder as we move out to the greater picture. In this case, the greater picture of one’s death, and thus of his entire universe, is the death of the actual universe at some point in distant future which, again, is absurd since what meaning would annihilation carry when creation carries none? What then makes death a mournable crisis, apart from the emotional connotations? If Absurdism, the philosophy, is the uneasy chronic belief in man’s inability to unravel the answer to the infamous question of “meaning”, death is it’s acute implementation in which you couldn’t procrastinate over the question anymore and finally receive the greatest blow you’ve always feared, even if you philosophically claimed not to give a damn.

Inconvenience?

If a dying man leaves behind a family which relied upon him for it’s food, there sure is some inconvenience in death, inconvenience to the dependents. Ironically, such harm is again in form of pain or death of the dependents. We’ve already seen how absurd such harms would be.

So?

So, all the bullet did is shout out loud to the world the inherent meaninglessness of the universe, only to be silenced soon by the psychobiological defenses of the listeners. It tried doing something, but failed. It did nothing.

Rebirth and the death of purposelessness

Last week I survived a fatal head-on car collision, owing to some random impulse that had made me fasten my seat belt. The person who had crashed into my car died. I had dropped into an altered state of consciousness and my recollection of those moments is pretty fuzzy and dream-like , something that makes me think that If I died it would have been an easy painless death. It’d be a lovely death too since my favorite philosopher, or more broadly my favorite man, Albert Camus, died in a car accident too.

The aftermath is interesting. It has two paradoxical aspects:

ONE that it has made me see life through a broader perspective, sharply reinforcing my already strong sense of absurdism. I’ve been feeling like walking dead and all of a sudden the ticking of my death clock has started being audible, too audible to let me live a normal life again.

TWO that I’ve realized that I don’t want to die since I was badly craving for life moments after the accident. Previously, I thought I’d embrace death whenever it came upon me with an absurdist’s courage. I was so wrong. The reason, however, for the urge for life was someone I loved. I couldn’t imagine them living a life anywhere near normal without me. I had to live for them. This has made me realize that my life isn’t meaningless anyway. I’m living for someone’s smiles and that someone is living for my smiles. This mutually perpetuating cycle of meaning is absurd too of course, but at individual levels these meanings are real, and worth giving up the obsession for meaning of life for.

The Glowing Blue Pearl

This story is of a  boy who tried to make sense of life rationally, as soon as he opened eyes into this world, but eventually gave up as nature intervened. The conclusion I draw from my life and this story is the same: You can not really make sense of the thing we call “life”, rationally or otherwise, unless you are entangled in one of those teleological philosophies.

Blunt gloom. No people. No emotions. No stories. No life. No Affliction. Only absolute blackness stretching all across the cosmos. Behroz didn’t know what to make of that limbo. He was even doubtful of his existence.

One day, though there were no days in that end of the Universe,  Behroz saw a girl approaching him. She was a fairy without wings, an embodiment of light, and the first thing Behroz had ever seen. She carried with her a basket with glowing pearls. The pearls were blue. Their light was immense and vanquished the darkness all around. In no time the girl was sitting next to Behroz.

“Lord Nature has chosen you for a visit to life.” Said the mysterious girl.

“Life?? What’s that ?” Asked Behroz. These were the first words he ever spoke and the girl the first physical thing he ever saw. It felt strange.

“I’m sorry. Enigma is the nucleus of what you’re going to experience. Lord’s creation is not supposed to know answers to these questions”. She affirmed and advanced a glowing blue pearl to Behroz, “Here, take this. This is called soul. Do not lose this, you’ll never get one again, ever… “

As soon as Behroz touched the pearl, the girl disappeared and the darkness all around started vanishing. As veils drew apart from the window of his sentience, he could see himself standing in a meadow, by a roaring creek, with myriads of creatures hoping and creeping and flying all around, some horrid, some adorable. Some shrieking, some barking, some mute. He looked at his hands, his feet and realized that none of the creatures he was looking at were like himself. So this is Lord Nature’s Life. Behroz wondered and smiled.

He wandered across the meadow, tried communicating with random animals and plants, and enjoyed watching the stream water flow with and without patterns until he started feeling very tired and hungry. Feeling tired and hungry was something new to him and having those feelings take him over made him very perturbed, partially because he didn’t know how to deal with those. He cried to the top of his voice in anguish. If only he knew how colossal were the sufferings that stood ahead compared to mere hunger and fatigue, he might have wished to perish.  After getting exhausted of the fruitless endeavor of crying for help, he fell asleep.

Plain darkness. No people. No emotions. No stories. No life. No Affliction. Again. Behroz, apparently, was back in the black universe and he was glad for that. Life was painless once again. Colorless too. But who cared ?

Then, all of a sudden in the black viewport in front of his eyes, a river started flowing. A heron appeared at its bank and started gobbling fishes laid symmetrically along the bank. It was looking at Behroz. Then, patches of green started appearing, interspersed all around the jet black viewport. Behroz immediately realized that those were Lord Nature’s creations but couldn’t figure out their purpose in the black universe. He stood up from the shallow muddy trench he was laid in to approach the heron. This wasn’t the original black universe, Behroz started feeling, because in the black universe he couldn’t  get out of the trench, nor see anything other than perpetual darkness.

Behroz walked briskly to the proud white heron. He wanted to talk to it. When he reached the river bank and tried communicating with it, to his dismay, the heron didn’t respond as if it was too proud to answer him or too dumb to comprehend his words. Then, to his surprise, the heron walked through his body and vanished. So this isn’t physical. It’s all a delusion. He was quick to educe.

Behroz was now craving to touch something. Anything. He was longing to talk to someone. He was longing to see something more than sporadic patches of green and a flowing river, both of which appeared and disappeared randomly. He realized that, all of a sudden, he was addicted to the life he had just experienced. He was ready to take the pain that came with that life but couldn’t bear the meaningless darkness of the black universe anymore.

“Son. Wake up.” said someone from somewhere. Behroz looked all around but found nothing. The voice echoed again. And again. And again. Then, once again, curtains drew apart from the window of his consciousness and once again, he could see himself lying in the meadows surrounded by life. “Son. Wakeup.” someone said again. But this time he could see that “someone” as he moved his head to the side. It was an old woman.

“Oh great. I thought you’ll not wake up. Alright listen carefully; I do not have much time.” said the old woman as she moved her hand over Behroz’s cheeks, “You’ve been endowed with what they call life and you have to take care of it no matter how unbearable it gets because you’ll never get it again, ever! “

“Oh. Thanks. But what do I make of it?” Asked Behroz.

“Son. That remains a cipher to all of Lord Nature’s creation. There, in fact, are people all around who claim to have deciphered these mysteries. Never fall for such rogues. Buying a purpose-of-life from anyone around here will only make your life wretched rather than meaningful” Replied the old lady while combing Behroz’s hair with her ageing fingers.

“But there must be something I’m expected to do. For Lord Nature. After all, he blessed us with such a beautiful life” Inquired confused Behroz.

“As I said son, we do not really know. Because it’s a one time opportunity, just have fun with it and avoid getting into situations which take this fun from it. And do not forget helping others having fun with it too.” Said the old lady.

The idea of the whole thing being just for fun was very fascinating. Behroz couldn’t stop questioning, “And will this last forever?”

“No”, the old lady said with a sigh, “We all have to return to the black universe we all came from, no matter how much we dislike going back. And we are not allowed to carry back any recollections or experiences. The good news, however, is that we will exist there forever”.

“No? Really? If we’re all to return and that too empty handed and empty headed, what’s the point of having fun here or even keeping this ‘life’ thing you’re talking about?” Inquired Behroz. He was much too upset now.

“I’m going Son. I can see banshees arriving from across that horizon. They’ll be taking my blue pearl back. And Son, stop being obsessed of these questions. Answers to these do not exist.” She said.

The next moment she was gone.

Behroz looked at his right hand. It had the glowing blue pearl. He caressed it and pledged to take care of it. Mysterious forces, which Lord Nature had commissioned to prevent its creation from unraveling the dark secret of worthlessness of life, had eventually overcome the last drop of rationality in Behroz’s blood.

The Life thing had started making sense now.