www.whyville.net Dec 6, 2009 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Bad Things

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I spent the last couple hours thinking, as I always do while I'm at work.

This time it came to something serious - as Morrissey put it, what's my life for?

I'm sure for as long as we've been able to ask the question, somebody's asked it, and yet we have no good answer. I slowly started seeing how sad and lonely the truth of humanity is when I realized that all we seem to live for is to keep our species going. This shouldn't seem strange when you look at any other animal. Some even keep the cycle of life going with the most basic act -- dying to give birth.

But why?

In truth, all that we perceive could be a fallacy. The world as we see it and the people we meet could be thoughtscapes and dreamt up lies. Being human is being lonely. Everything we experience can never be completely explained to someone else and we can never truly understand another but we try to find someone like us to solve this. Too many people seem to think they have and later find out they were wrong. I refuse to settle for that convenience.

Everything rides on happiness, happiness rides on everything else.

So, we seek love.

And what of everything else we do?

Here we are in all our self-proclaimed grandeur, in all our splendor, creating wonder after wonder.

We are man. We are greedy and don't care for consequence. We are constantly seeking more and more and more. We do so much and we consider it greatness, but as I let my mind wander over these things, I asked why we do anything at all.

I guess it's to distract ourselves from the simplicity and maybe even pointlessness of our own existence, because even when you think of someone who's died a thousand years ago, someone whose story we've passed down, what's the point? Is a memory of a ghost serving the person that was here once? And when we lose ourselves, what do we really lose? Our body may decay, but the atoms that make us up will spread on the wings of the wind. Every breath we take may hold a thousand nameless specters, lost relatives, or friends.

Yet we live in fear.

Instinct drives us from the core. Self-preservation, self-preservation, self-preservation. It's our unheard mantra and our most basic need. We DON'T know what comes next, and it is what we base so much on. There is heaven and hell to consider, and actions can be quelled and trains of thought derailed. But there is more to ask.

In a cubicle at work I see a magnet. There's a picture of a boy who, for reasons I don't know, has died before the age of eight. It makes me sad to see it. The caption underneath his image reads something like

Born: xx/xx/xxxx

Born to eternal life: xx/xx/xxxx.

I think of this, and I think of human nature. It leads me to a new point: Wouldn't heaven and hell be equal in eternity? Wouldn't our greed overcome everything in the end, and when we run out of distractions, what then?

Just as in life, everything we do becomes something else to focus on and forget that death could be right around the corner. The things that occupy us longest are the things we love to do. But in immortality, we would eventually find that all runs obsolete. Time always seems to win. We might eventually learn everything there is to learn and do everything there is to do, but what good would it do us? Where would that leave us?

That then connects me to "The Last Question", a short story by Isaac Asimov about man building a computer that answered all but one question and how all humanity melds into one finally supreme being who has the answer. Humanity becomes God. And as it realizes there is nothing left to learn, it turns, as man's concept of God now does, to creation. The cycle starts over.

So, I suppose then that I HAVE found two things after all this. Creation and love. When there is nothing left to do, nothing left to consume, we create something to do; or we simply create to have something to appreciate.

And love - that thing that can change instinct and let us die for someone else. Maybe it is in the unconscious hopes that they can live on to find a better answer to what life is. Maybe THAT'S our current goal, and why we want so much to continue our existence.

I'm only scared that I feel like my creativity is falling by the wayside, and largely due to a lack of emotion I haven't known in years, because without these things, I will have nothing. And though I try to think less and less about this it always comes up when I come back to reality.

Bad things always do.


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