IT occurred to me the other night that the normal state of human beings is to be dead.
Consider. How much time will you spend alive? The traditional 'three score and ten' is a little longer nowadays in developed countries, but unlikely to get significantly longer in the near future. Three score and ten. Seventy years.
And how much time will you spend dead? The rest of eternity. Even if you don't count past the end of the universe, even if the missing neutrinos turn up ("Sorry, we partied late last night and stayed over at a friend's. What's up?") and the universe turns out to have enough mass to start contracting into the primal monobloc, a single point source of being in which natural law is up for grabs again, and 'everything', space, time, mass, energy, suns, planets, galaxies, blue whales, Chartres cathedral, 'Friends' re-runs, Domo-kun, and everything else in the universe suddenly become undefined1, even, as I say, even if you don't count past that point -- that's still several billion years of being dead.
To say nothing of the billions of years of being, well, not dead exactly, but certainly not alive, not existing, that you were before you were born.
The span of a human life, then, is a tiny flash of light in an immense, all-encompassing darkness. We spend by far, the greater amount of our time dead. We go through our lives expecting to be alive the next moment as we were the last, we are startled when our bodies develop problems, even more startled when people we know and love drop dead in front of us (I've had the unhappiness of seeing several people shocked in that manner in the past week...), but it's all an illusion. Life is a gift, an accident, a glorious unlikelihood. By all means, let us enjoy it while we can, but always remember that the exit is up there ahead somewhere, we heading for it at a speed of one second per second, and we don't know exactly where it it is, it might be fifty years away, or it might only be five minutes. Because this is a very unusual state we are in, being alive. Our normal state as human beings, throughout virtually all time, from the beginning of the universe to its end, is to be dead.
Just a cheery thought for you today.
1I've always found that word, and the concept underlying it, to be really, really scary. 'Undefined'. Like y = x+((x-2)/(x-2)). Nice straight line until x = 2 and then Eeeek! If I were a superhero, I would want the power to undefine things.
Undefined is what happens when the irresistible force meets the immobile object. Undefined is the answer to the question of whether an omnipotent God can tie a knot that He cannot untie.
Imagine a person who somehow managed to get out of Plato's Cave, and enter the realm of ideal objects and Platonic archetypes, and while he was bumbling around there, accidentally broke the CHAIR. On returning to our world, he would find that not only all the chairs were gone, but that none could be made, or even conceived of. If you even mentioned the idea of a 'chair', people would giggle, and look at you funny. 'Chairs' would be undefined. Scary idea. On the other hand, it would be cool to eat dinner while sitting on couches, sort of like the Romans.
Yep, I want to be Undefining Man. I would only have to point to an Evil Doer, and he would become undefined. Not only would he cease to exist, and cease ever to have existed, but he could never have existed by the laws of Nature. The very possibility of him, or anyone like him, would be erased from the structure of reality. I strongly suspect this would cause any insurance policies on his life to become void, as well.
And that's what I call Real Ultimate Power.
meaning: mouth, opening
出口 == deguchi == exit
人口 == jinkou == population
|A pictograph of an open mouth. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Open mouth.'|
三月 == sangatsu == March
三角 == sankaku == triangle
|A pictograph of three extended fingers. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Three fingers.'|
富士山 == fujisan == Mt. Fuji
沢山 == takusan == a lot
|A pictograph of a range of mountains with a high central peak. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Triple-peaked mountain.'|