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Eternity

Yesterday I saw two unknown people walking up my road. They were dressed in fine clothes, so I thought that they are not going into the woods to pick berries or mushroom. They looked more like they were salespersons from a bit old-fashioned company. Jehovah's Witnesses, actually. They came into my yard and I went to greet them. It was a sunny day, I wasn't hurried, and I felt like having a philosophical conversation with them.

They introduced themselves with their real names, and we warmly shook hands. There was some casual small talk about the age of my dog, and about the oak in my yard. Apparently, they were bit surprised when they realized that I live here all year round, instead of this being just my summer cottage. Well, but they weren't so much interested in my way of life; they wanted to know my opinion about why do humans die so early, when trees grow so old and some animals can reach so high ages. I looked back at them, softly telling that my opinion is that each and every moment is beautiful as such - and some creatures just get to experience more moments than the others. Well, they saw it like waste of resources; we humans are capable of so many things, we are so intelligent and so creative, and it feels pity that such a talent has to be lost because we die. To be honest, I don't feel like that - I managed to say that much, they didn't stop to listen to the rest of my thoughts, but just went on with their pre-written script.

They said that there is eternal life one can get - with certain conditions. Then they handed me their booklet, being proud that their magazine is one of the most wide-spread in the world. With that they left. Well, at least they didn't threaten me with going to Hell; they just wanted to tell me that they believe in eternal life and I can get it too. But it all came with the attitude that they hold the true faith, so they don't need to stop to listen to my thoughts. Like, I mean, they kind of a supposed me to change my beliefs because of what they tell me, but they weren't prepared to critically review their own beliefs. Not that I had intention of challenging their faith - but it certainly would have been nice to have a proper discussion with them.

First, a minor point. I found it strange that for them the mere fact that their magazine is so wide-spread was an indication that there must be some truth in their message. With this same logic should I believe in Ronald McDonald, too?

Then the major point. They kind of a supposed that every person if afraid of death, and wants to live as long as possible. The science is trying to make people live longer. But religious faith is better, as it offers eternal life, and then there is no need to be afraid of death. Well, but personally I'm not so interested to know what will happen after my death. And, there were times when my life felt so miserable that I wasn't so sure if I really want to live any longer. I mean, for me the question has not been the amount of moments I'll get to experience - for me the question has been the quality of those moments. Or, to be more precise, the quality of this very moment which is here and now.

I was actively working with these thoughts when I was 18 years old. The winter was already turning towards spring. Sunny days made the snow to thaw a little, and then in the night tempreatures fell well below freezing, creating a layer of solid ice on top of the snow. In such conditions it is possible to easily walk on the snow, in early morning before the temperature rises again. One such morning I was on a long walk, lost in my thoughts. Then, for the first time in my life, I realized that thawing snow forms tiny icicles on tree branches. Looking closely, I could watch a drop of water forming at the tip of the icicle, and for a brief moment the waterdrop was carrying a tiny upside-down image of the sunny landscape. Then the waterdrop fell down, splashing on top of the snow. And a new watedrop becan to form at the tip of the icicle. It was breathtakingly beautiful, I spent a good while watching that happen over and over again. As a physical phenomenon it is such a small thing - temperature rises, snow turns to flowing water, which then acts as a lens, until gravity makes the drop to fall and splash. No magic involved, it is plain pure physics. But I was amazed to find that in nature even such a tiny details are so beautiful. (No, for me this doesn't lead to a belief about an intelligent designer behind the show. For me the beauty is value in itself, and doesn't need to borrow it's awesomeness from some supposed designer.)

Later on that very same spring I sat at the stairs of our home. I was extremely sad and depressed, and all of my life felt just miserable and worthless. I felt like giving up the struggle - one day the whole planet is going to die anyway. And as a physical human being I will die at some age, so does it make a difference if I die at the age of 18 or at the age of 98? Or, at the very least, why to put effort in anything, as everything will ultimately get destroyed? With these thoughts I saw waterdrops falling down from icicles on the edge of the porch roof. And once again, I could see the waterdrops shining with the full glory of sun light, and very briefly there was the image of the whole world reflected in a tiny image. Each waterdrop lasted for a less than a second. They all vere doomed to splash and merge into the pool of water on the ground. But nevertheless, they used all of their existence to shine with beauty. They were not just borrowing the sunlight, they were not just reflecting the beauty of the landscape outside them, but for their own part they were actively contributing in creating the very beauty of the moment. That was all I needed to feel my life meaninfull. I could feel my heart beating, and inside me there was this same beauty I could witness in all of nature. The experience was so strong that for a moment it was able to wipe out all the bad energies left of years of suffering domestic violence.

So, I know that some day we will all die. And of course I like to spend time with my loved ones and to see and to experience this world as it is. It is just that I'm not so worried about death - I'm more interested in life in itself. Life, as it is, in this very moment. Each and every day I'd like to seek and maintain contact with the inner feeling of beauty, love and life. And, ultimately, the eternity is when you stop counting the amount of moments, and let yourself just settle with the very moment of now and here.

This is my answer to their question of what I think about human life being so short. This is the answer they didn't have time to listen to, as they were so concerned about goind on with their own script, getting their business done, handing me the booklet and going to the next house. That is what they do, and I wish them well.

a picture I took when I was 18 years old
a picture I took when I was 18 years old
tags: 
depression
diary
philosophy
spirituality
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Comments

Just awesome...again.

You Finns... even your Jehovah's Witnesses are tougher. How else to explain proselytizing in the wilderness?

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