In the end what you don’t surrender, the world just strips away. – B. Springsteen
We’re flickering flames – here now, gone tomorrow. What of that? What to do with this idea of impermanence. Put it out of our heads? Is it immaterial on a daily basis? And what of purpose?
If the final outcome of living is death, how should we consider our accomplishments? What of our hopes and dreams? What of our legacy? What of our visions? What of our sown seed? What of our worth? If eighty years we have, what moves us, when we know that at eighty years end, we exist no more? With death on the horizon, with our destination known, what focal point do we choose in the middle distance? What difference does it make?
We, who are uncertain as to what, if anything, may lie after death – may not be able to say anything about the point of life. Can we say the point of life is living? To live? To be? To experience… what? To be what? And without a single signpost except our desires, our urges, our feelings, our fellow traveler. And how do we see the human panoply, spread about us in its splendor?
I can empathize with some who come to see this as a cosmic experiment, a universal joke, a giant simulation. What purpose in creating something completely without purpose, except to see what it does on its own? Of course, that last sentence speaks of a creator. What if these woods sprang from nothing, creating themselves, existing without any purpose but existence? In that case whatever perseveres would be the purpose.
And so, thinking of existence, experience, and ephemera, I come to consider eternal existence. If I were that existence, what would I do with myself? If the ephemeral creatures of the earth were my body, my eyes, my hands, my heart and my head, how would I consider them? Would I take part in their experiences individually, or collectively? Would I have fragmentary awareness, a gigantic consciousness, a combination of both, or nothing similar at all? Would the idea of interfering in the lives of men have any meaning if those men are me?
How would I endure? Would my consciousness divide itself, and move from one mind to the next, weaving exotic new networks of understanding and comprehension? Would I weave narratives from the fabric of lives within which I were ever entrenched? Would the pathways of my learning be the lives of children? Would I want to see my existence in another’s eyes? Or would I leave it largely to be?
For what of suffering? A tool to design? Vision manifest? An agony to remind us of what we are not? A creation to encourage forgiveness, divine intervention, relinquishment, atonement? Or self-created, self-fulfilling, self-correcting self-improvement? Chance?
For that’s the crux – in conceiving something greater than we, we conceive of it letting us be.