Daily Prompt Finite Creatures.
At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?
There was no epic Moment of Discovery; I’ve always known I’d die someday. It’s part of childhood indoctrination. They start telling you you’re going to die as soon as you can perform recitations.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
It wasn’t hard to accept that my body would die. What was difficult, at first, was accepting oblivion, rather than an eternal afterlife. Even after rejecting the biblical narrative, I clung to the idea that somehow my consciousness would survive my physical death, float up through the cosmos and be part of an omniscient collective consciousness. My ego balked at the notion that when I die, I cease to exist. It took time and thought to accept that after death, there’s nothingness, just like before I was born.
Oh, how sad for you! say the believers. They think I must feel hopeless. Joyless. Purposeless. They think I fear death.
But the opposite is true. Facing oblivion is a relief, having spent more than half my life fretting about Judgment Day. I found no comfort in unbelievable Christian dogma. Faith, to me, is the same as pretending.
And, while I really like the collective consciousness idea, I have no reason to believe it’s anything more than another comforting story to soothe the savage ego.
I’ve accepted my mortality. I’ll savor this short life and be here, now. After that, I reckon I’m going to be stardust.
I reckon you are too.