Random thoughts

The so-called big questions in life include things like “Why are we alive?”, “Does life have a purpose?” and similar questions that get discussed when one is ones 20s and gathering with friends late at night after enjoying some, shall we say, mind-expanding substances. But I sometimes find myself pondering such things while out in the woods with my dog.

I am not religious; in fact quite the opposite — I believe in rationality, evidence, and science — but there are times I consider what else there is. What came before me, what comes after.

The other day, I listened to two medical ethicists who were discussing assisted suicide on the radio. It’s illegal in Norway, and neither of them was exactly arguing in favour of legalizing assisted suicide but it struck me when one of them talked about fear of death. In his mind, there is nothing to be afraid of in death, because there is nothing. When you are dead, you cease to exist just the way you didn’t exist before you were born.

I thought about this again last night, when I took the dog out and the sky was pitch black (there is very little light pollution around here) and full of stars — and whenever I am lucky enough to see — and almost feel — the universe around me in this way I feel part of something bigger, something eternal (not quite, I know, but so many billions of years it might as well be from a human perspective).

And I find it quite easy to accommodate both those things: we are finite, we exist for a time but have no existence before or after. And, we are connected, almost intimately so, to something (almost) infinitely larger and (nearly) eternal.

Perhaps sometime this week, I’ll be able to get back to reading about creativity and cognition and writing about what I’m supposed to be writing about!

2 thoughts on “Random thoughts”

  1. I wonder if you’ve read any Keirkegaard? IIRC he talks about the existential fear of death, and of dying.

    1. IIRC, I read Kierkegaard as part of a summer elective philosophy course I took sometime around…1988? Back then I was much more interested in social and political philosophy than in phenomenology or existentialism, so I don’t really remember what we read og his. It’s possible that it’s stuck with me subconciously all these years, I suppose.

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