Shall I add that this might not really apply to those creating said less-than-pretty sight? Say, murderers. Also, I presume, it may have no effect on the very religious types, as they usually hope for the best once they’re off to Walhalla.
Since this is a personal experience, let me first say that I am not trying to generalise my subjective point of view. My intention is only to suggest a new outer symbol to support you – if that is the case – in the process of learning about how you can learn about your own self. And develop. It is your own business how you perceive what I convey, and whether you want to internalise it or not.
In case you wonder… no, I do not condone the idea of snuff films, recorded executions, or anything that even suggests torment and sufferance. Actually, I find it mentally impossible to assimilate this sort of depictions – my memory just cuts off (as it did a while ago, for a few days, after unintentionally seeing the video of an execution in Afghanistan). Now, what I am talking about is just … dead bodies. Let’s say, people that have died due to – at least apparently – natural causes.
After losing my faith, long ago, during my rebellious teenage years, I kept on struggling to find a reason for being a good human being. The fact that what I have learned along the way with regard to altruism as a concept was, at least from a humanistic perspective, all but encouraging, was not meant to alleviate that struggle either.
Last year I paid a visit to one of my friends in Dublin. Coincidentally, BODIES… The Exhibition was in town. Artistically dissected and preserved human bodies, arranged in different postures, staring through acrylic eyeballs, and looking extremely dynamic despite their static positions. A must see, in my opinion.
However, the key point in my case is that, after seeing all that display of naked human flesh, fat tissue, disentangled intestines and blood vessels, I gained such a good picture of our day to day nothingness. As species we might seem special (to whom, I wonder? but that is a different story), but as individuals we are prone to be just little walking bits of obscurity if we don’t do something about it.
The hope for a next ‘something’ in our life (or after it) waiting to happen, deeply ingrained in our nature, is nothing but otiose clowning. We spend every single moment of our existence wishing and – worst of all, seemingly knowing – that ‘something is going to happen’.
Like this is not already enough, we instinctively don’t accept death as an end to everything. Unless you are the next Camus, van Gogh or Henry VIII, it is very unlikely that you’ll be surviving in the collective memory of any group – in case that you endeavour that idea. If you are lucky enough to be religious, at least you’ve got a painkiller.
That dead body over there, over time, is clearly not you; you will have gone by then. If it is to be more than just a forgotten pile of bones, or ashes (as per your choice) and a pathetic handful of short-lived memories, you have to live less for yourself. Whenever you can, whatever you can, to whomever you can – give. Give a part of what you are and even of what you own if you can afford that.
Give help, ideas, hopes, kisses, smiles, food, shelter. Only then your ego will be so fulfilled that it is going to force you up the hill with the speed of light. Up there you will push yourself even more, in order to gain as much as you possibly can, in all respects, and then share again. Then up the hill once more, to the next peak. That might just be a good way to achieve success in your present life.
Does it mean that you have to be the next Mother Theresa or Saint Francis? Pretty much no; perhaps you would even look fairly stupid if you don’t love and treat yourself well. But you nevertheless have to give away a big part of you. If you don’t believe in loving-kindness (for instance, I don’t), you will do it for the sake of what you are, of what you can become in the process, and for the fact that you may value others’ future memories about you.