Summer Log: Day 12

I spent this morning reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, crying a bit, and contemplating a lot.  It’s a work of young adult fiction that delves into discussing why we are here and what will happen when we’re not here anymore: pure, utter, wretched oblivion.

We’ll surely be remembered when we die because, barring some catastrophe, there will still be people alive who remember and, hopefully, miss us.  But what about when they die and when those that loved and mourned for them die?  When our names are on headstones and we are only found in the databases of, will our lives matter?  John Green’s characters debate the necessity of leaving a legacy or leaving this earth quietly, hurting as few as possible with your departure from personhood.  But does it really matter?  The love ones will mourn then the loved one, too, will die.  And it’s a chain of screaming and gnashing of teeth that will carry from generation to generation.  Even those that leave legacies, good or bad, will some day be forgotten.  Someday, the human race will extinguish itself like a flame doused in water.  The birds and the beasts (or, perhaps, just the cockroaches) won’t remember Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, Hitler, Churchill.  Will it matter that we do now?

I end with a quote from Dead Poets’ Society:

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute.
We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.
And the human race is filled with passion.
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life.
But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!
…of the questions of these recurring;
of the endless trains of the faithless…
of cities filled with the foolish;
what good amid these, O me, O life?”
Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity;
that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.
That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse.
What will your verse be?

Further question: What happens when the play ends?


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