Monday, June 27, 2016

Two related topics

My latest read is When Breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi. It's not long, only 200 or so pages, but it is a thoughtful read. I paused any number of times to think about what he was saying, and how he was saying it.

He struggled to find meaning in his life cut tragically short. What makes life worth living in the face of death? His death was all too clear in front of him. He could read the medical test results for himself.

The point is that we are all facing death. Life itself is a terminal disease. The only difference is that most of us don't know when it will happen, just that it will. It could be tomorrow as a result of driver incompetence. It could be next year. It might not be for decades.

There are any number of possible causes, and we need not get into that. It doesn't matter. What does matter is what you make of living. Nobody can give you meaning. You have to come up with that yourself. If you can't come up with meaning, there is nobody but yourself to blame.

I think the very struggle to find meaning is what drives artistic creation, to have children, or to leave a legacy. People strive to create something beyond themselves that they might be remembered. The struggle itself is part of what defines us as human. His thoughts on this, and how he expresses himself make the book well worth reading. I've got a few spots marked I want to come back to.

Most people don't think about countries as living organisms, but they are. They live and die and change. This whole Brexit is just another example of change, and I'm pretty sure everybody will muddle through. United Kingdom itself is a bit of a cobbled together artificial entity and is of fairly recent construction, just over 300 years.

What's important to me is that all too often borders have been changed by men using swords, or more recently, guns and bigger weapons. What's happened here so far has involved a lot of words, a round of voting, and a murder. There's going to be a lot more talk, and probably more votes.

Historically speaking, this is remarkable. All too often situations like this have devolved into a civil war, or a war with neighbours trying to take unseemly advantage of the confusion. As long as people are talking and not shooting, I'm not fussed.

This is just another example of how the world keeps changing, and you're wise to plan and prepare for it by securing your own financial resources. With money, you have choices. No doubt some people are anxious about where they are going to live, and how it will all shake out. The rich and powerful will take care of themselves. Do as they do, not as they say.

1 comment:

  1. I've read that book as well and it made me stop and think so many times. I can't imagine what it would be like to be handed an (early) death sentence like that. Especially knowing as a doctor that you had no chances.


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