Eschew Obfuscation - Espouse Elucidation

Freedom of Speech Doesn't Ensure Freedom After Speech
NOVEMBER 26, 2012 9:50PM

Seniors: "On Facing The End"

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One of the things which we, as seniors, know full well, is that we will certainly soon face the day when we will round that final bend in the road of life.  Some of us do our best to ignore our impending leave taking; some of us are terrified of it; and some of us just accept it with a fine degree of helpless fatalism. 

There is nothing, I think, so horrible as to see, in the eyes of one who is fully aware that he/she is not long for this world, that absolute fear which transcends all fears. 

Almost as bad is the facade of hopeful certainty on the faces of those who have not lived very good lives until the last few years. Then, with the realization that the end is coming sooner rather than later, they suddenly took up with some religion in the hope of redeeming themselves in the eyes of their God. Then, by way of an overt display of religious fervour, seek to acquire enough “good points” so as to outweigh the less than exemplary lives they have lived.  I doubt that God, if  there is one, is fooled by this by this pathetic stratagem. I doubt that these people, deep in their hearts, are themselves fooled by it.

So how then, are we to manage this rather disturbing awareness of mortality?  How are we to deal with the “judgement” which many believe is coming?  Can we really expect to put enough “brownie points” on the ‘good’ side of the ledger to out-weight the bad points already there and thus save ourselves from an eternal hotfoot?  I think not.  Nor do I think that we should even try.

Perhaps what we should be doing is just saying to ourselves, “what’s done is done”.  “Let me learn from these life experiences and resolve to live the way I should have done for what time I have left. Let me leave off  ‘sucking up’ to God and just behave myself for whatever time remains to me without asking for, or expecting, any favour or advantage for doing so.” 

Instead of trying to show God what a ‘saint’ one has become, on his behalf, why not simply do one’s best to live like a normal, healthy, decent person amongst our fellow man. 

Suddenly becoming fervently religious and totally pious isn’t likely to fool anyone, least of all God and ourselves.  It is obvious to both that this is a desperate, last ditch, attempt to ward off our natural fear of death and, if we believe in an afterlife, to try to position ourselves so as to avoid spending eternity in a pretty unpleasant place.  And it ain't gonna work!  Not for a New York minute.

So instead of being “last minute saints” why not use the knowledge and experience you have gathered during a long lifetime and live the life you know you can.  It’s the little things that count. 

I won't go into this at length but here are a few examples of what I mean.  Try as hard as you possibly can never to lie.  No little white lies; no big ol’ dirty lies; no lies of omission; no lies. Period.  Shut your doggone mouth rather than lie.  Just do it.  It will make you feel better about yourself and it will set an example for your children and grandchildren. 

Also: Treat your fellow man/woman the way you know is proper.  Never mind what they have done to piss you off; that is their problem and it is for them to figure out how to deal with.  Just you treat them right. All the time. Every time.  It won’t let you “pay them back” for whatever transgression they may have committed against you but then, paying them back would only have brought you down to their level anyhow.  And you know perfectly well that two wrongs never make a right.

Another: Leave off giving yourself a hard time over the sins and wrong-doings of the past.  That’s spilt milk, water under the bridge, over and done with.  You know that. Don’t make yourself look a fool in your own, and others, eyes.  All of us have done similar things. It is part of the human experience.  Try to take from that experience something of value; the knowledge that this was not a good way to behave.  Build on that knowledge by building a philosophy of life which encourages you to do better. 

All the moaning, wailing, weeping, gnashing of teeth, praying, donating to some church, pious worshiping, etc., etc., won't convince any deity that you have become a better person, worthy perhaps, of entry into heaven.  Living a better life may not either.  But then living a better life is not intended to ‘buy your way into heaven’.  It is intended to make use of your lifetime of experience for your own personal enhancement as a human being and it may, just maybe, set an example to those around you which would set them on the right path sooner than you found it.  

The great thing about this way of looking at things is that it is applicable no matter what your religious conviction may be or even if you are, like me, an atheist.  It recognizes the value of proper behaviour for its own sake, and yours too, rather than as an attempt to make points with some deity.   I would also be willing to bet, that if there is some deity out there, He/She would be inclined to look with favour on someone who has had the intestinal fortitude to learn from life’s experiences to improve their behaviour, just for the sake of being a better person, much more than He/She would on those who are trying to ‘brown nose’ their way into heaven. 

Forget about saintliness; just be the best human being that you can be.  The reward for this might not be heaven, but it will be a knowledge of what it feels like to be a fully, gloriously, decent, fine  human being. 

Who can ask for more?

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Or, from a slightly different point of view, you can make wise use of your final days. You can look death straight in the face and know dying can be a very nasty business. A stroke is a very quick trip out if it's final but cancer, as I have seen with my wife and both parents, is just about the worst nightmare one can have.
So one can figure that the time left is a very special privilege. Freedom, as the song says, is another word for nothing more to lose. So, since you're going to die soon anyway, why not make good use of it? There are an nice collection of super bastards fucking up decent human civilization. You're going out anyway, why not take at least one of them with you. Not that it's easy. It takes clever planning and guts and even if you don't pull it off, you might get a quick and easy death anyway. Certainly better than cancer and a great gift to the rest of humanity to spare some young guy who wanted to do the necessary work but might have a full life ahead of him. Of course, all this is still very theoretical with me and I doubt I have the guts to pull it off. But it's a thought.

Just take a look at the world. It's obvious from the state of things you can't leave it to God. He's either incompetent or probably doesn't give a damn.

If I thought that there really were a "God", then when I look at this world and how "His finest creation", mankind, who is suppose to be "made in His image", behaves, I could only conclude that "He" is insane. And, by that, I mean a really, total, freakin' bat-shit crazy, lunatic.

I see the same sort of insanity in religious fanatics of EVERY religion or religious philosophy. I see that religious philosophies have permeated most human societies throughout history. To the great disadvantage of humanity as a whole. If there were some way that, by giving my one and only life, I could rid mankind of such evil , I'd do it in an instant.

But there is not. Or rather, there is not that I know of. To "take with me when I go" someone whom I consider harmful to others, is to assume that the person(s) whom I chose to rid the world of, are indeed ones who "should" be deleted. While I could gleefully select some who I think really ought to be in that category, I've made enough errors in my own lifetime so that I don't entirely trust my personal judgement in in this matter.

On top of which, I cannot know how the progeny of such a person might turn out. Perhaps I'd be taking with me the possible father or other progenitor of a world saviour. Do you recall the "butterfly effect?"

All I can do (and have done) is make preparations for me to make my exit in good order when I think it is appropriate for me to do so. Prior to that I might get taken out by an accident, or a heart attack, or a stroke, or any of a dozen quick ways. But I will NOT allow myself to suffer a long debilitating illness while holding on tightly to a last few worthless moments of life.

I have nothing whatsoever to do in a few pain-filled or vegetating days, months, or years, that is of sufficient worth, either to humanity or to myself, to make that a consideration.

Undoubtedly my ego could find a thousand reasons why I should hang on until the last possible instant, but I hope to have the courage to overcome that ego in the end. I want to, if at all possible, leave the stage in my own good time, by my own good method, for my own good reasons, and under my own control.

To doubt one's judgment totally, as you seem to be doing to opt out of a decisive act of defending humanity, is to totally defeat any motivation for positive action. One either trusts one's judgment or one does not. In the latter case one becomes completely defeated as a thinking human. Any action, sneezing, coughing. eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, is subject to the butterfly effect. People in power have no hesitation in making decisions that kill thousands of people. Even not making those decisions has a butterfly effect as well. Using that effect is a cop out of the worst order. President Obama with his kill list makes those decisions every day. He has amply demonstrated how erroneous a human can be. But each of us is equally empowered, if we choose to be, and take the consequences. Obama, by his office, escapes the consequences. I merely am suggesting that his decisive powers be democratized so every citizen be equally empowered. It is, of course, a formula for chaos if taken seriously. But I wonder if it might also encourage responsibility where, today, that is in little evidence.
Gee, I really worry more about the process than death itself. Studies show that seniors who take care of themselves (by eating properly and keeping) have a 50-50 chance of dying in their sleep. I kinda like those odds.
Well, like you, I'm well past my "best by" date, and don't have a whole lot of regrets about the life I've led. In fact, I've often said I'll die without having to say "I wish I had done...." or its equivalent.

Sure, I'd like a do-over on a couple of things -- who wouldn't? -- but in the main, people who take up an organised religion late in life some to me to be little different from those death row converts one hears about.

I don't think that I've ever heard you say something quite so odd.....

"""To doubt one's judgment totally, as you seem to be doing to opt out of a decisive act of defending humanity, is to totally defeat any motivation for positive action."""

-- I repeat......."I've made enough errors in my own lifetime so that I don't entirely trust my personal judgement in in this matter." .... There is not "total" doubt expressed by me. Merely the recognition that I'm not infallible - that my judgement of others is not, in my opinion, so good as I think it would need to be in order to "take someone with me."

Nor am I able to determine to any great degree, just what "defending humanity" is. I have a large ego, my friend, but not quite so large that I'll take on determining just exactly what it is humanity needs defending from. To a socialist it might be capitalists. To a capitalist, it might be socialists. But I fall in neither camp so I've no particular political set of beliefs, i.e. political religion.

"""People in power have no hesitation in making decisions that kill thousands of people. Even not making those decisions has a butterfly effect as well. Using that effect is a cop out of the worst order."""

--No Jan, it is not a "cop out" to recognize that my precognitive talents are lacking in effectiveness. I do not know what the future holds. I could only be "copping out" if I had determined that there was something effective that I positively KNEW would have good effect, that I could do, and had decided not to do that. I know of nothing I could do, in the way of "taking some others with me" that would be effective enough at producing a good result to cause me to do so.

I am horrified at others, such a Obama, doing this for what they see as "good reasons". I see no good reason to emulate their ways by doing the same.

"""I merely am suggesting that his decisive powers be democratized so every citizen be equally empowered. It is, of course, a formula for chaos if taken seriously. But I wonder if it might also encourage responsibility where, today, that is in little evidence."""

--Do you assume that what is or is not "responsibility" in others is yours to determine? Or mine? Everybody's? As you say, "a formula for chaos", indeed!

And how would you feel if I showed up at your door with a gun and, just before shooting you, I told you that I had determined that you were one of those I'd decided to "take with me"? If everyone followed your idea, you may be sure that, if it weren't me, then it would certainly be someone........

Dr. B,
As with you, I have no fear about death. It is the "process" that concerns me more. Because of stupid laws, that prevent me from getting proper medical assistance to make an exit once I can no longer do it for myself, I'm going to have to cut myself off sooner than should be necessary, while I still can do so. It irks me that stupid friggin' politicians have the power to do that.

Like you, I have few regrets and have no reason to ever say, "I wish I had..........."

Yeah. Death row conversions is exactly the right description.

This site is a bummer - I have a hell of a time just signing in to my own blog. I'm over at Our Salon which is an easier ride.

All I was saying is you are refusing to act on what you believe. I am well aware we all make mistakes but that is the price for being alive. T refuse to act on your conclusions is to opt out of being active at all. It is the ultimate cowardice. You might as well not live.

There is no guarantee you will not make mistakes. If I suffer because of that it's just a matter of tough luck.

This is so elementary I cannot believe you don't comprehend it.
Your lack of comprehension is amazing. I have repeatedly said you must act on your own comprehensions, not mine, if you have any faith in yourself at all. You complain that if there is the slightest chance you might be wrong, you must not act at all. (the butterfly wing argument). This is pure cowardice as there is never any perfect surety of being correct. We must do the best we can. This is perfectly obvious.

No sir, it is you who have it wrong. Y'see, my friend(?), you don't want me to act on my conclusions, you want me to act on your conclusions. Not only that, but you want me to act as you're implying you would/will act.

It's pretty obvious that you haven't the courage to do it yourself, or you'd not try to get someone else to do it. Or maybe you need someone to hold your hand there "Captain Courageous?"

I will "act" as I see fit - not as you dictate. And after reading that silly last comment of yours, the only thing that could possibly make me have second thoughts would be for you to agree with me.

You is one sick puppy.......!

Your latest offensive, sick comment has been deleted as will any others you care to make on ANY blog of mine from this time forward.

Get it through your thick head, you freakin' sicko. I am NOT going to go out and kill other people so as to "take them with me" when I go. There is no possible way in this world that you can insult me enough to even make me take you out.

You seem to equate "acting on one's convictions" with killing those who disagree with you. In your case it is tempting indeed to agree with you. But I'll leave that particular kind of cowardice to those who advocate it; not that you'll ever have what it takes but that's you.

Have you ever killed anyone Jan? Or do you just hide in the bushes and try to convince someone else to do so? You have no freakin' idea what it is you suggest! Your suggestion could only come from the lowest form of slime on this earth. You make politicians look like altar boys.