For the second time in less than nine months I have met someone who told me that they do not believe in death. Taken aback I asked them what they exactly meant when they said that they do not believe in death? And they replied that they did not believe that anyone had to die. And when I pressed them again they just replied that if you do not believe in it that it simply would not happen. And that was the end of the discussion.
These were both in their thirties.
And I thought to myself that I really wish I could be around in fifty years to see them grapple with what comes next. Unfortunately, I’ll be dead!
In seminary was when I first started paying attention to how pop culture thought. Without being able to name the manner in which my own thinking is contextualized I would forever be victim to others’ reasoning. Anything worth knowing is worth knowing from the inside out.
But most people have not figured out how much they are at the mercy of others who do not do so.
There are few things more contested today than genuine family, community, and God. Many if not most live with their total absence. Supposedly emancipated from family, unresponsive to the enquiry from friends, they have become wards of capital, a system where work is designed to create profit, and workers own neither the means of production nor the fruit of their labour. In spite of themselves being ego driven they perceive themselves to be an absolutely unbounded culture. And certainly, in their minds at least, to be bound by anything means to be limited. And now the greatest limitation of all, death, is finally being thrown off.
But to be born is by definition to belong. And to belong is by definition to be limited. And to be limited in this life as humans is by definition to be limited by unchosen others – country, parents, children.
And so in rank and file step with what people are being sold by pop culture the next logical proclamation needs to be the off throwing of the greatest limiter of all, death.
And I find myself reflecting today as I go out to pick hazelnuts…
What do you miss when you raise yourself?
There is no such thing as being free from obligation.
The irony is that in serving others you find the greatest freedom. The way out of limitation is attachment. We have souls. And our souls are connected to one another.
In the words of tomorrow’s liturgy, Sell your possessions, give alms, and in so doing you will find treasure, and you will rejoice together.
Indeed, Our soul waits for the Lord. (Psalm 33)
In a world that does not know that it is psychologically trying to live on starvation rations are we beyond recovery?