One of the super shitty things about life is that you will lose everything that you have ever loved. It doesn’t matter what it is either, you’re going to wind up losing it. Either you die or they die, and one of you is now lost, forever gone. Never to be seen or heard again. All you will ever have left is the memories, and even these memories will fade out over time.
This is then the ultimate fate of everyone and every thing that you ever loved – a fading memory as time passes, drifting away bit by bit until only a little still remains. And then this too is gone with your own passing. What you remembered and everything you held dear vaporizes, it will be as if it had never happened.
A new generation of memories is born with each new generation of life, and the entire process repeats itself, endlessly over and over again, never ending until at some future time, all life ends. All memories will have then be forever erased, our passing on this planet not even forgotten. It will be as if it never happened.
I’ve mentioned Thomas Ligotti several times before. Ligotti’s book “The Conspiracy against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror” is profound in its examination of the malignancy of life. Before you discount such a disturbing topic, consider the ultimate fate of us all, and of everyone and everything that you have ever loved and cared for. We all get but a brief moment in time to experience this life, to cherish our existence and to revel in our conscious awareness of simply being alive. Along the way, we make and meet friends, family, and loved ones, all who are traveling through this time only along with us, on the same exact journey as we, experiencing the same struggles and events, and going to the same exact destination that awaits all life.
We all die, all life dies.
We don’t truly consider our contemporaries as being our fellow travelers in time, not unless you have put aside all the dross of this world and pondered the questions of life itself. All those people that you went to school with, those that you met, dated, befriended and even hated, are fellow travelers through this same time as you. And then they’re not, they’re lost to time one by one until your turn too comes up and you join the endless march from life to death.
The value that we put on life, on our existence, and upon those living things – those other beings, human and the non-humans that share life and time with us are all too often taken for granted. But then we are shockingly reminded of how fleeting existence truly is when there is one who is lost, suddenly and without warning. Then we stop and wonder and ponder and grieve over what has happened, always wondering if there was something we could have done, or anything that we might do to remove the heart felt pain that rips through our heart and makes us question the very sanity and purpose of it all.
Regret is a emotion that cannot be appeased. It can only be accepted. But it serves to remind us that we have but one life to live and the moments that we have to experience what being alive truly is are the moments that we should fully embrace, for a deep appreciation of being able, even allowed to share our existence with other lives. We are not alone as we travel through time, from birth until death, we are surrounded by life itself. And we all know where all life winds up, the actual horror of what it ultimately means to be alive. It means that we must also accept death, and the cold harsh reality of what life and existence really means.
Biological life means death, it cannot be any other way. It is the only path forward and there is no turning back. Everything that life has contained, everything that life has experienced, desired, aspired to and performed, all the dreams, agonies and ecstasies experienced, the triumphs and failures, the accomplishments and setbacks, the struggle and exhaustion, the very essence of what it means to be alive – it all comes to an end, inevitably, inexorably and without any possibility of reprieve or pardon. We die, they die, all life dies. We can only enjoy what is still alive, and what remains alive, but it will all be taken away in the end, ultimately to be forever lost in time.
For all things non-human, life nourishes life, replacing life through the process of nature. It’s brutal, unforgiving and just as inexorable as death. Humans generally don’t nourish anything except other humans. We don’t create other life, and we don’t nourish it. We take our existence from the predatory but natural practice of consuming other life. But our deaths are just as inexorable as the deaths of all living things are. Our lives and memories become just as meaningless in time. It’s all lost in the end. When we die, it all dies with us, whatever we had, whatever we were, whatever we dreamed and whatever we’ve remembered, everything that we have ever loved, it all comes to an end.
What then, is the purpose to it all? Many philosophers and religions have attempted to answer that question with as many different “answers” as can be imagined. Nobody knows the answer except for the parts that we do know without a doubt. It all ends. Every single bit of it. This is the malignancy of life – the knowledge that our lives are ultimately meaningless and without purpose. Once life developed consciousness that permits itself to understand the ultimate horror of itself and what fate awaits, Ligotti writes “it would have been better to never be alive”. To comprehend the horror is to ponder the abyss – and the uselessness of it all.
The only meaning that we can imagine, is the meaning which we create for ourselves while we are still alive. Life then, has value to the living during its existence, but when a life dies, only the memory remains. This too, will die with us. It’s all ultimately lost, forever – as if none of this had ever happened.
It’s up to us, with conscious thought, with practice and applied appreciation, to find meaning and value in life – while we and they still have it. It will soon be all gone. We’re far too busy and distracted to appreciate what existence and life really means – until we suffer the loss of someone, or something that we deeply loved. We need to slow down and take notice while they are still alive. The moments by moments by which we live are best spent appreciating what we have while we have them are all that really counts in this existence. Almost everything else we wind up doing in life is malignantly useless and counts for absolutely nothing at all.