Thursday, May 17, 2007

Crux of the Matter

I've been thinking a lot about death lately, because I guess I'm always thinking about death. Most people think this is grim, or morbid, but I disagree. It makes life more vital to constantly know it will end. Sometimes I think everything we do, everything society has us wrapped up with (full-time jobs, kids, shopping til we're dropping) is all just one big, convoluted conspiracy to keep us from remembering we are mortal. Noone can escape it, but noone contemplates it. There are always two dates on every tombstone. What's your other one?

Religion is the ultimate distraction from thinking about our ultimate demise. If you believe in god, or life after death, then death is no big deal--even something to look forward to. But for me, religion today is the same as believing there really was a woman named Medusa who had snakes for hair.

What if this is it? Are we living it to the max? There are two books now on the bestseller list dealing with aethism "The God Delusion" and "God is Not Great" and though there are no aetheist terrorists (apart from Leopold & Loeb, it's the religious that kill) it still makes you wonder: if you believe in nothing, then why bother with anything?

It's so easy to turn to religion, to a god, to something or someone to make sense of life. It's hard to believe in nothing--because if there is no supreme being, no pearly gates of heaven, then what is the point to going to work, having a family, being a good person, making the world a better place. What is the point of working on creative projects, making movies, writing books?

I've just published You Can Run a travel book which I hope inspires readers to make the most out of their lives and experience. It took five years of my heart and soul to create, and I'm left wondering, what's next? And why? Life is just going to end into a big black hole of dust to dust and that's it--I may as well sit back and be a bum, or just end it all now. I have difficulty accepting that I can't live forever, that all of this has to end. I wish it didn't have to. Bam Bam listens to my grievance and asks, "Could you have written the book and thrown it away?"

What? "Before you got it published--could you have spent all that time writing the book you loved writing, finished it, and gratefully put it in the garbage can when you finished?" No, I told him. Of course not. I spent years and years working on that project, and other projects that I love, projects that bring me joy. How could I toss them away, let them disappear? Bam Bam just says, "Until you can do that, it's the crux of the matter, isn't it?"

And that's the best analogy for living life (and accepting death) that I've ever yet heard.

7 comments:

Alexander said...

I think a lot of us think of about death, at least I do. I would be waiting for the light to change and suddenly I would think "What if i got hit right now?" which has almost happened a few times. Besides most people want to leave their mark before they die and in a sense thats immortality, or have a bunch of kids and leave their mark through them.
Also, whether you believe in God, The Easter bunny, or even medusa I really don't see the harm. Those radicals would be fighting no matter what; people just need shit to fight about. If it wasn't religion it would be race, government, fuck it could be that they wear tube socks with sandles. People fight its how we are.

Anonymous said...

i tend to lean towards the presents i have in my life, and not focus on the "end" or the what "next". Yes i know it's a very live in the now bullshit way of thinking but think about the past 5 years of your life. Think about the people you have moved by your writing to change and explore life. Enjoy the presents you have with your friends and family, and try not to think about the end of it all. Sparkle on HOTTIE

Eddie said...

What are you searching for, Jesse? I know one person who actually knows you. He says you're an angel on Earth. With the kind of spirit very few have. Like moths to a flame, people are attracted to you.

I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Jesse, You will live on forever via your movies, book, etc. Just think, when your gone, somebody will read your book and decide to take a vacation. Somebody else will see "Slutty Summer" or "A Four Letter Word" and feel better about who they are! Your friend Jimmy

Tim said...

Do you think recent world events feed into your preoccupation with death? I think it has for me. It’s been quite some time since I’ve felt inspired by life, like there is any kind of meaning to it that could propel me forward with passion when I think it’s all going to go up in smoke sooner or later. I’m not suicidal, but I don’t feel very alive. I got the existential blues….

And don’t even get me started on religion. I simply can’t get past the brutal, psychotic history (and present) of the major religions, and I can’t understand how all the believers can just ignore that history like it has no meaning, like all those lives taken had no meaning. (Maybe they didn't, the existentialist says, but they are not existentialists, are they?) All that history of getting it wrong, of doing wrong, but by golly they got it right this time, and the work they are doing now is certainly God’s work! Whatever. Never allowing for man’s (read: their own) flaws until its way too late. It’s so hypocritical, delusional and self-aggrandizing as to drive me crazy.

Anyway…thanks for letting me rant a little. I feel better… Maybe I’ll start writing again myself. It’s been so long since I’ve been motivated to do so. Take care.

Ulysses said...

Hey Jesse,
Just read your blog and wanted to thank you for writing that piece. You really spoke and said many of the things that run through our unanalyzed hyperconnected and hyperactive minds. I really needed to realize that, as the cliche' goes, life is short- and in the end all that really matters is how one decided to live it. after reading your piece i feel motivated and inspired to live my life to the fullest and really let the small nuances in life just go by. Death really is a frightening matter and a constant reminder to ourselves to remember who we really are and what kind of life do we really want to live. Bam Bam is a very wise man. thanks for making my day.

take care, Ulysses

Anonymous said...

Jesse.. you know I love your writings,,,I am certain we all live life to the fullest if we want to..we take great chances and that is what life is about..and what makes it so rewarding at the end.As my Grandfather used to say "if you do not go for your dreams and do not accomplish them,, it is ok.. because at the end of your life,, you could be a minute away from accomplishing them" .( argue?) .. steve, scottsdale