25,185 Days — That is 69 Years — What are we going to do?
Eat. Poop. DO SOMETHING. Worry. Sleep. Repeat.
Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. — Socrates
This blog is not about death
It is not about the ‘Denial of death’, although I borrowed an idea from Ernest Becker’s book.
It is not about the bitter awakening that people experience when they start measuring their life in days. I tell you, it is a terrible idea to measure your life in days, too broad to track the very thing and it is sad when you look at those records.
It is also not about ‘How to get the most out of this precious life? — The gift of God’ or ‘Do what you love’ kind of sh*t.’
It won’t motivate you to wake up at 04:30 next morning.
This article will be switching between topics, sporting irrelevant facts just to figure out at the end that it couldn’t figure out anything. The author will leave you with questions and his own half-baked answers. But, if you flaunt periodic existential crisis and the imagined reality looks unnecessarily complex to you, you may enjoy this piece as well.
Let’s start with this picture below —
That Little Circle Depicts One Life
That circle is my life.
You can imagine a circle too, for your own life.
In the (grand) scheme of things, there happens to have 7 Billion+ such circles at present. The count is still increasing, but let’s leave it to the ‘Melinda Gates Foundation’ to take care of.
The circles live for a fleeting moment, still, they do what seems beyond their mental and physical capacity.
Things like Farming, running a wireless communication Internet, launching space shuttles & satellites, building dams & bridges, constructing an 828m high rise, flying in machines and this list full of magical achievements will go on.
While these are just on the surface, the real inventions are complex yet look simple.
The real inventions are blended so perfectly that we do not even pay attention to them. To name one ‘The verbal and written languages’.
A sophisticated system to record data, share knowledge, tell stories, and communicate.
Over the time, we’ve developed processes to gather data, extract information, and find wisdom in it. Then we pass on the wisdom to the next generation and they are open to question it and change it as they feel justified.
All that work is a vicious funnel, the more we work the harder it becomes to get out of it. The more we hustle the more we are sucked into it. (more on this in the later part: The immortality project)
In spite of doing all that, the circles stay here for a relatively short time and vanish. That duration is pitiful on the scale of eons.
Deep down the mystery is the ‘Line’ on which the tiny circles rest.
Who knows the beginning and the end of that line? Sure, there are some findings AND some observations. The Big Bang theory and other alternative theories.
But, if we discover of another cosmological model (which justifies the universe without fail), it will leave the current model entirely obsolete.
Our efforts to discover that cosmological model will continue. With the pace faster than ever before, to figure out both the endpoints to that line.
I do not intend to find the answer, but I’m curious that why we humans are.
Maybe because we know that the ignorance is the mother of all evils, as Michel de Montaigne said.
“Can you comprehend the marvels of the stars,” asked God “the animals, the infinite wonders of existence? You, a worm that lives a few moments, and dies?” And thus, in their soaring argument, he concedes to Job that the missing piece is with him.
— Did an Outside Entity Create the Universe?
The 69 Years
Revised in 2015, 69 Years is our global average life expectancy. It is 67 years for male and 71.5 for female.
We collectively managed to achieve that number and it is bound to increase. At least, that is what we assume as of now.
I included the graph on purpose to sound smart and make it look factual. But hey, don’t get distracted. There are more important things here than that good looking graph.
If that number, around 25 thousand days is too much (or too little) for you — Good luck dealing with that.
A lot of things changed because of the higher life expectancy: The duration of education, the age of marriage, and the age of retirement are a few to state. We’ve stretched a few and pushed boundaries for a few, the change is small but significant on the global scale.
What are we gonna do? — The Immortality Project
What is the immortality project?
Ernest Becker in his Book ‘The Denial of Death’ says that the humans have dual nature, one is the objective-self who eats, poops, and walks around surviving, the other is subjective-self who is aware of his/her mortality, emotions, and intellect.
The subjective-self is scared with the idea of ceasing to exist that (s)he creates something to be remembered.
The Human civilization is ultimately an elaborate, symbolic defense mechanism against the knowledge of our mortality.
The arbitrariness of our human born immortality project is prone to conflict. The sufferings, problems, and all the solutions, while most of that is not real, it covers the majority of our life.
We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. — Seneca
At one extreme, people experience depression because they feel that their immortality project is failing. They deduce, it is either they are incapable of executing their immortality project or were stuck in a wrong thing all their life.
This is not a problem vs. solution kind of scenario, but just a reflection on the way humans choose to live their days.
To picture this,
Imagine an earthquake erupting in the deep trenches of an ocean and the waves coursing towards the coast. Each wave explaining a human generation, their immortality projects.
Every generation executes their part of pushing the wave forward and eventually, at the end one generation pushes it towards the land.
‘The end’ is the moment when the world will be in an equilibrium, just the way all those people pictured it while working on their immortality projects.
A little error in this analogy is that no one knows where the land is. But, we all are searching for the land for sure. A place to anchor this boat.
So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people, all those lives
Where are they now?
With loves, and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived
And then they died
It seems so unfair
I want to cry
- The Smiths — Cemetry Gates
The answer is that we could have chosen to never expand into a dominating species, but how the heck did this happen? We have no control over it. If everything is governed by the laws of the universe, why do we think that we are supreme and we can bend time and space at our wish?
Why do we value the idea of productivity and growth so much that we do not feel content with the food and a warm place to sleep.
Certainly, we are not utopic, but I’m talking the possibilities. Out of anything that we humans could have done, we chose doing immortality projects. The question is, why this? and why not anything else. Will there be a tipping point for this natural progression to stop and we’ll shift gears to do something else?
so, all that leaves us with only one question —
“What do I know?”
— Michel de Montaigne