I’m going to die. So are you. As humans, we have the benefit of this knowledge. My stupid cat doesn’t know this and probably lives every day thinking this nap-taking, dry-cat food-eating-hummingbird-watching existence will last forever. If a person believes that after death, they will actually continue to live forever, does that make them just as stupid as my cat, or does it just make them wasteful? (or both?) I am an atheist, so I have no reason to believe in any sort of afterlife, or after death self awareness. It would be great to exist forever, but I see no reason to believe that is true. So knowing this makes me really appreciate life. I know I wont miss it when I’m gone, but I do want to fully enjoy it while I’m here. It is difficult not to feel sorry for the believers of the supernatural who think they will continue to exist after the death of their body. Surely they feel they must have lots of time to take this Earthly existence for granted.
My Father was a testicular cancer survivor in his 50’s. Even so, in his late 60s he smoked, and according to his autopsy, had acquired advanced pancreatic cancer. I have been told that he must have been in a lot of pain. It was that bad. He probably didn’t know for sure that he had a new cancer because he didn’t go to the Dr, but he must have known something was very wrong. He died, not from the cancer, but from a heart attack, surely from his smoking. His refrain was, “whatever God wills”. I understand not wanting to deal with cancer, smoking and doctors again, but if you knew you only get one life, maybe it would be worth it. If you think you’re going to paradise, ehh…why bother. Too much trouble. I can’t help but think that he could have lived, at least a little bit longer, if he had gone to the Dr.
Just before my Dad died, we connected when I informed him of my new interest in old timey music. Old bluegrass and honky tonk stuff. I recently found an amazing place that has incredibly talented live bands performing this stuff 7 nights a week. As I sit there sponging up the flow of wonderfully twangy Telecaster guitars, and Hank-esque vocals, I often wish I could take him there and share those moments. But I can’t because he decided to go to a paradise that doesn’t exist. He wanted to go to a place where he thought I could catch up with him later. I continue to exist, he doesn’t. I will never again catch up with him. I really don’t like religion.