Friday, 15 November 2013

I Want To Live Forever

A woman in the Facebook ALS forum for PALS only passed away today. This is not unusual, it happens almost every day. This is a disease where people die at a consistent and alarming rate. Yet somewere every day someone, and a great many someones, die from something. It is the nature of life that we will all leave it. As a woman I was speaking with at dinner last night said, "It's going to happen to all of us. You, those of you with ALS, just get a head start". Her husband could not make dinner; his head start had left him too tired to come out.

It's odd in a way. I can intellectualize my own death. I know that it is a fact, that I will die, almost certainly "before my time". That begs the question. Who decides when it is time? That very randomness, that none of us truly knows the number of our days, allows us to play a special kind of game in our head when it comes to contemplating the end of our life.

Here is an experiment. Say to yourself "Everybody dies". I will bet you a couple of things happened. First of all, I will bet that somewhere in your lizard brain, in the deep, dark recesses of your cranium, your brain actually said "Everybody dies, except me." Then I bet you had an intellectual argument with yourself where your rational brain said, "No, me too." For some of you I will bet your rational brain and your lizard brain got into quite a tussle.

No matter how old we are, no matter how infirm we are, we do not want to believe in our imminent demise. The thought of our own death is so antithetical to our life process, that we simply cannot believe that this reality applies to us as well as everyone else. I still believe I am not going to die, at least not today. I want to believe, and I am working hard to believe, that I will live a long, long life.

The worst days of this illness were the first days of this illness, after diagnosis. In those days the ability to deny fate was ripped away from me. It has taken many months to rebuild this logical fallacy, this brick fa├žade against death, and rebuild it I must. For without the belief in life, all I would have is the certainty of death. With that certainty so obvious, why wait?

It is this very ability to lie to ourselves that keeps each and every one of use alive. Without the belief in life, there would be only death. I, for one, don't want to live that way. I prefer to believe I am going to live forever.


  1. I prefer that you will live for a long time too Richard and in a reasonable condition.
    love Mom
    Mothers are always hoping for their children and I hope for you to live long.

  2. Although I am an atheist in most senses of the word, I find it increasingly diffiult to accept the oblivion of death, although I realize that could be an evolutionary defense. First of all, our understanding of time is so incomplete that I don't find it difficult at all to envision that although I am currently experiencing my 58th year, my 1st, 5th, 25th and all other years are still there, in a very real sense in a different position on the 4th dimension. Also, I know that like Grandpa's axe, I am not the same person I was 20 years ago, or yesterday, or 10^-43 seconds ago (Planck time) but I am still me. Our existence in our reality is totally beyond our comprehension. Death is just a change of state, a process within an ever moving universe.
    BTW, scientists now say that we can actually envision and create a test to see whether or not we are inhabit a giant computer simulation (a la The Matrix, only with more creativity).

    1. The more I see of this disease, the more convinced I become of my view that there is no such thing as a string-pulling God. I am not sure what death is, but I know that everyone I ever talk to is convinced that everyone else is going to die, except themselves.

      Of course my further question would be that if we are living in a giant computer simulation, who is running the computer?

  3. According to the theory "we" are, that is our descendants are. Our computer skills become so good (our technology so advanced) that we decide to recreate our past in a giant computer simulation).

  4. I read the article. Interesting but a little too much like religion for me. It seeks an explanation for that which we cannot yet explain.