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STOIC POETRY | Covering ears and eyes

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

October 27, 2019

Dear Eric,

Nice try, that... Though maybe you will have the last laugh. But I think you left us on the promise of wishful thinking... You wished to live on. You convinced yourself so completely of life after death, that you hastened to death to prove your point. Maybe now you are smiling and giggling from afterlife at my doubt and folly. Maybe you will get the last laugh. Though you sure did get a short life.


Sometimes, it seems we need an extra set of hands to use in covering not only our ears, but our eyes as well. Anything to not see death coming. Anything to quiet the sound of our footsteps on the way to the gallows. By some estimates, our species has had roughly one-hundred and fifty thousand years of sentience to prove the position of life after death; and so far the best we've come up with is faith, which is no better than wishful thinking. I think the case against such claims has therefore been made by the absurdity of the proposition in favor of forever; along with the evidence of our bodily dissolution; and the curious memory of our not being, which we can each easily recall when asked to think about our potential existence before birth - that utter, timeless empty we recall of the long past before we were here, which reason suggests is the same future we'll know after we're gone. There is no good reason to think otherwise. Oh, but there's faith, and there's tradition, and there are songs of hope, and a big building on Sunday, and a wise man in robes who shakes my hand as we leave the church. And then there is the solemn service beside the grave, and the hopeful faces of those who believe. But then, why do they cry if they believe? Surely, all this isn't just contrived for our comfort? Why...who would write such a big and impressive book if the story within the book were not true? Answer me that!?!

I will answer with what I know. That the universe is mute on the subject. That the stories and songs and speeches and tears are our own. That nothing in nature says otherwise. That the stars shine just as bright or dim over a baby as a dead man. That none have truly ever returned. That our stories are our own, and are in conflict with one another, and vary by culture, and with the context of various group consensus. That what is common and true is our near universal love of life and dread and fear of death. We wish to live on. We are desperate not to go. And so, we keep the stories. And we whisper prayers. And we cover our ears - wishing perhaps for an extra set of hands to cover our eyes as well. Won't you help me cover my eyes, too? Won't you whisper - or even SHOUT - forever into my ear???


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe...but not too safe.

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