You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think. — Marcus Aurelius
That’s deep Marcus.
So, I could die at any moment, what should I do then? How should I act given what could happen at any moment?
How do I know I’m not wasting my life?
Marcus is right when he speaks about thinking about death to figure out how we should live. In fact, you are doing it right now, you’re doing it all the time, at least unconsciously, and you’re acting on it. You see, death is our primordial fear and according to Ernest Becker, it defines entirely the ways in which we live our lives.
“We are gods with anuses.”
― Ernest Becker
Take an amoeba and put it on the microscope. Now, pour a drop of a chloride solution on the amoeba’s environment and watch how it shrinks and flees away from it. Just like that, we fear death. Instinctually, we are constantly trying to avoid it. Not only physically, but subjectively as well.
We, the humans, inherited a consciousness that lets us ponder about ourselves, and even ponder about ourselves after we’re dead. We are subjective beings. We are creators. We are gods, with anuses.
Why the hell do we need to be reminded of our anuses? Because we die. It’s astonishing for a human being to be conscious of being alive, and able to create and imagine in a god-like way, and yet, still die.
Pulitzer award winner The Denial Of Death by Ernest Becker: “ … it reflects the dualism of man’s condition — his self and his body. The anus and its incomprehensible repulsive product represents not only physical determinism and boundness, but the fate as well of all that is physical: decay and death.” Later he states, “To say someone is ‘anal’ means someone is trying extra-hard to protect himself against the accidents of life and danger of death, trying to use the symbols of culture as a sure means of triumph over natural mystery, trying to pass himself off as anything but an animal.”
Trying to pass ourselves as anything but animals?
Given our fear of death and our constant race from it, we develop a response, immortality projects. An immortality…