What of life but fleeting romance
with the sky and the grass and the daisies;
to roll around and to get up but once,
before too long and you’re set in stone.
And the wonder’s lustre is somewhat dulled
but the instinct’s muster is to keep abound;
for when there is no life there is nothing
and to err is human and to live, something;
but to hold onto anything and not let go.
For some, everything can feel like an uphill battle. It feels like so for me and I see it in others’ eyes when they too feel that way. So I know I’m not alone.
I have had a very difficult 40 years on this planet. No other planet but this. Yes there have been good times but overwhelmingly my time has been one of feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders rather than any sense of ease. So much so, in fact, that I secretly covet those who (apparently) have that sense of ease about them.
I try hard enough. I’m generally hard working, diligent; sometimes too much so. But I sense that I lack direction; that I’m easily swayed or just plain pushed around. And easily fatigued.
Maybe it’s time I took this pilgrimage seriously?
Maybe I have to stop being lukewarm?
For time is short – and it really is a matter of life and death.
I must act now.
An update of what’s been happening over the past—I don’t know—50 million years or so.
Primordial slime, the first terrestrial organic substance, remained lifeless for some 5 million years before the hitherto supernova we now call the sun came into existence.
In time, slime evolved into a jelly. The jelly, not inappropriately, in turn spawned Jellyfish.
From whence came the Great Sea Scorpions.
The first ever vertebrates were the backboned fish. These gradually developed limb buds, and finally legs, to exit the waters.
Reptiles were indeed the first land animals, albeit a physically and socially primitive kind; for once laid they abandoned their eggs. Nevertheless, thrived and grew they did in abundance (and size) and into the dinosaurs (Gk. literally “terrifyingly frightful lizard”) that dominated for 180 million years.
The sauros died out at the ice-age, 65 million years ago.
Birds were next, as scales gave way to feathers and smaller creatures that had adapted better to the lower temperature now inherited the earth. These guys hung around to keep their eggs warm.
Feathers evolve into fur, two legs into four: and animals develop the ability to retain the baby inside until it is matured. These primitive mammals preserved a social and educational relationship with their young such that, for the first time, useful information could be passed on and developed rather than each individual starting from an instinctual scratch.
Brazier, Chris. The No-Nonsense Guide to World History. New Edition. New Internationalist, 2011.
It seems clear enough to me that as a civilisation flourishes and “modernises” it becomes more ‘sanitised’.
And as it becomes more sanitised it appears to gradually also lose the ability to appreciate, understand and come to terms with death and dying.
Perhaps the more ‘advanced’ a society, the more distant it becomes to life’s fundamentals.
And one of life’s fundamentals is surely death.
Yet in modern societies, death is remote. It happens to someone else somewhere else. It happens on a screen.
And so the geographical and metaphorical distance of death and the sanitisation of society make the actuality of death more and more remote.
This then begs the question: How we define an “advanced” society or people?
Would not the way a society deals with and embraces (as it were) death go a long way to help define it as advanced or not?
Finally, that leaves one to ponder on just how advanced, ‘advanced’ societies really are.