Enjoy It While It Lasts
by: Dan Shanefield
Although I'm pretty old, I used to get some comfort from the concept that after I die, at least there will be long-term memories of me among relatives and friends, and among people who read things that I have written. That won't do me any good when I'm dead, but it gave me some pleasure to think about it while still alive.
Now, however, with so much knowledge available about astronomy and things like black holes, and the knowledge about earthly global warming (regardless of the true cause), we are all more conscious of the fact that it will entirely disappear, maybe sooner than expected. All our grandchildren, heirlooms, personal writings – all will be washed away by floods, or sheared to smithereens by sliding glaciers, or otherwise destroyed by huge natural forces.
And if nature doesn't get us pretty soon, maybe the religious extremists will. We can't just blame the non-Christians for the present chaos in the world, because Christians had the Crusades, the Hundred Years War, the Albigensian slaughter, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Nazi atrocities, and so on. However, what's new and more dangerous is the Middle Eastern people having almost unlimited oil money. They didn't invent the means to discover it or drill the wells, or to refine it. But they do have the enormous profit, and they are using that to buy long range rockets and nuclear warheads. And suicide is a way for them to get to heaven. For a little while, maybe they'll kill each other more than us, but eventually they'll get to killing us, as they started to do in the 9/11 atrocity.
Here we are in the vast universe, which is mostly vacuum, and there are no gods or goddesses to save us. It will all be obliterated. Without a deity to pray to for help. This is a sad (and maybe depressing) thought.
What I do, whenever I can, is intensify my consciousness of the many little pleasures in eating, music, reading, flowers, and friendship.
Speaking of music, don't miss the opportunity for getting a great variety of that via the internet. You can click on my link http://shanefield.blogspot.com and go one third of the way down the page to "WebRadio," which explains how to get access. A station that I recommend is at http://kusc.org and click on the "Listen Now" button at the left side. Perhaps that will take your mind off our helpless condition in space, with nobody to whom we can sensibly pray.