Thursday, June 11, 2009

You'll Never Know Who You Are Until You Know How You Will Die.

Of all the things to have overlooked. The question "Who Am I?" leads directly to the simpler question "How Will I Die?" Here's what it looks like for me.

I plan -- and I know that other entities, persons, events, or forces will or might have a hand in this -- I plan to die when I'm one hundred seventeen (117) years of age. I plan to start smoking cigarettes again when I'm one hundred ten (110). I smoke the odd and infrequent cigar right now. I stopped smoking cigarettes in 1986, when I was forty-five. I had smoked them for thirty years.

So much for the facts.

How will I die? From my personality it is possible to suggest the following. My wife and I will be having a cup of coffee together over breakfast. It will be high summer, hot, I hope, and not too humid. Sunny. My wife will excuse herself to use the toilet. When she returns she will find a modest pile of ashes, right there in the very chair where I had been sitting.

To put it a slightly different way, I will be healthy and active very late into this new century (the twenty-second, that is), showing no sign whatsoever of mortality, and then reduce suddenly to a dusty mound.

Now that sounds terrible, I know, but look at it this way. No long, drawn-out decline, complete with a debilitating disease, expensive doctors, nurses, drugs, equipment, bed clothing, rotten smells, bad tempers, revolting faked cheerfulness, and then, finally, coughing, gasping, bug-eyed, retching -- the final calm.

I quit going to doctors back in 2004, January. I've been consulting with a quack ever since. We get my body in balance. A body in balance gets rid of Bad Stuff and the symptoms go away. Notice I say nothing about treatments or cures. Consulting with a quack leads to remedies, which bring the body into balance. No promises of any kind are made. Coming up with remedies by consulting with a quack is explicitly not a medical procedure in any sense of the word. The remedy is not directed at the symptoms or called upon in any way to improve what is called "health." The remedies are for You, to bring your out-of-balance body back into balance. It does not work for everyone. But no harm is done, ever. Some people are so out of balance that they have no choice but to endure their suffering quietly and wait for the final calm.

Okay. Here are some of the symptoms that have gone away. All of them are frequently thought of as "incurable conditions:" gerd, excematic splits, bursitis, chronic muscle pain, fidgeting, low energy, and some other things which I will have to go look up, just not right this moment. So I'm feeling immortal. I have no concrete evidence that this mortality thing is going to apply to me, though when looking back over the stretch of history, way back, like far back into the mists of time, I cannot entertain any fictions -- the odds are not on the side of immortality. Caesar -- gone! Brutus -- gone! Peter, Paul, and Mary -- gone! And, yet, I think it accurate to say that, all heads present and accounted for, the vast majority of those who have ever lived are alive and well this very day. Just think of the billions who walk the earth today. Just think of the centuries it has taken to gather such a force? How much seed, how many eggs, have had to come together to put such a grand schieramento of souls "on the hoof," so to speak? And, still, there is no end.

There is, you see, strictly speaking, no such thing as death. Your soul, spirit, essence leaves the body it's in now, the body returns to dust, and the soul, spirit, essence returns to the Fifth Density, where the Great Wholeness Spirit Essence resides, and you go out and around once again looking for whom to inhabit. This might be someone slightly better than you had the last time around. On the other hand it might be something "humbling." You do it again, or you move up, and one day you have no further need for the material and you become content. But "death," death as we know it now, does not exist. (You can find this elsewhere, expressed more fully, accurately, and plausibly.)

When I was young my parents sent me to the parish school where the nuns told us that if we ate meat on Friday and died without confessing we would spend eternity, afire, in Hell. How's that for a pornographic exercise? What could I possibly learn about life and death after that? I remember the day I realized that no one had ever burned in Hell for eating meat on Friday. I was in Belluno, just sixty miles north of Venice, nestled up against the Dolomites. I was walking in the old part of town, the rinascimento part of town, trying to decide which language I wanted to do my Easter Duty in, English or Italian. A force, a wind, came at me from the front and pushed me back several feet. From my mouth burst forth the word, "What?!"

Italy is actually not a good place to go if you're in any way uncertain about "the faith." The number of priests -- this is 1965 -- was large, inexplicable. Schools of them, always, always in motion, in full skittle, in and out of buildings, up and down staircases. Long tunics, flying-saucer hats. Hearty smiles, knowing looks, eyes down, heads up, discreet greetings finally. Sometimes you would see a priest eating in a public restaurant with lay persons. This had to be done carefully. He had to know the Laugh. Its verbal equivalent goes something like this: I have just squeezed out a perfect, round turd. I tried to prevent this, of course. I was fortunate, however, and knew exactly how to harden my cheeks and avoided crushing the turd and therefore causing a stink. I will treat the turd as if it were an egg. And, who knows, it has the shape of an egg, so maybe it will hatch. Perhaps we are all together now to witness the appearance of the next step in my career.

Do you know how to laugh?

So, since there is no such thing -- really -- as death, how can I possibly die? And if I cannot possibly die, how can I possibly know myself at all? Making fun of others has done nothing more than give me, myself, something to think about.

Here's something slightly enigmatic, because taken slightly out of context, from Joseph Conrad:

Whatever my native modesty may be it will never condescend so low as to seek help for my imagination within those vain imaginings common to all ages and that in themselves are enough to fill all lovers of mankind with unutterable sadness.

This is the man I aspire to be (like). Click on the picture to enlarge it.