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Friday, April 7, 2017

Life is like a nine day vacation

Ever notice how when you're on vacation, you start counting how many days you have left, and by Wednesday you're a little depressed that half of your week is over, and by Thursday a real pall has settled over you?

Of course, it's an incredible waste of your vacation to spend half of it depressed because it's coming to an end.

Life itself is not dissimilar. One thing everybody of my approximate vintage (1954) seems to agree on is that not a half hour of the day goes by where the thought of our age doesn't pass through our minds in some form or fashion.

If I could get someone to hypnotize me and make me believe I was 32, I'd be happy. I might die in 10 years, but it'd be okay: at least I wouldn't have wasted the final 10 years of my life being depressed that it was nearing its end.

And that really is a wasted life. But somehow, it also seems to be human nature to feel that way.


Unknown said...

I think that about my father, 71 and all. Came to visit me two weeks ago. We were going to see a movie, he slipped off the stairs at the theatre, broke his wrist, but didnt blink. Lucid. Got a split cast for his plane ride. Didnt let it get in the way of his photography, got my mum to press the shoot button. It must be hard as you say, but i admire his fortitude at that age

Unknown said...

Ohh and any thoughts on the trump air strike?

John Craig said...

Gambino --
Good for him. He sounds like a tough, hearty guy.

John Craig said...

Gambino --
I don't like it. First, Trump campaigned as a guy who was strongly considering allying with Russia against ISIS and al Qaeda, and possibly with Syria. Now all of a sudden after the latest chemical weapons attack (and Syria had done these things before) he does an about face. Israel has always considered the Shiite regimes (like Syria, and Iran) much more of a threat than the more primitive Sunni movements (like ISIS). So it seems Trump is doing Israel's bidding. My first thought upon hearing of this bombing was, what does Israel have on Trump? My second was, what does this do to our relationship with Russia?

It's possible that Trump is doing this partly because he wants to provide a contrast between himself and Obama, who famously talked about the "redline" of Syria using chemical weapons, and then, when they did, did nothing about it. It's also possible that part of his motivations to "prove" that he's not in cahoots with Russia in any nefarious way after all the recent efforts of the Democrats to prove that he is. But, I don' know any of these things, I'm just speculating, and, as always, we'll never know a President's real motivations.

I would have far preferred we ally with Russia to stamp out al Qaeda and ISIS, and then keep our subsequent involvement in the Middle East to a minimum.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Similar to getting hypnotized to thinking you were 32, I always tell people I'd rather be hypnotized to believe I was a billionaire than to actually win the lottery. Even if I suddenly had tons of actual money, I'd still have the ingrained mindsets from years of being a cubicle slave and the money would mostly be wasted. On the other hand, thinking wherever you go that you're the most important person in the room and that everyone is lucky to get to be around you is a great attitude to cultivate.

My dad is 82 and never complains about getting old but then again he is very lowercase "s" stoic so I'm sure some aspects bother him. Mainly that he slowly has to give up his favorite hobbies one by one as they become too taxing on his body.

I've noticed that all of my friends who take their kids to Disney World tell me that their favorite part of the vacation was the afternoon the kids got tired and everyone just hung out at the hotel pool. You'd think with all the unique spectacle of the amusement parks that something else would win out but no. (I think this is partly by design on Disney's part; they want the whole vacation experience to be enjoyable.) Anyways, maybe when it comes to your vacation metaphor, getting old is the afternoon at the hotel pool.

...or not. I'm too young to have an informed opinion anyways, right?

John Craig said...

Jokah --
Not sure I'd go with that metaphor: yes, getting old theoretically means getting tired and sitting by the pool, but it hasn't been the best part of my vacation/life.

But I agree with your metaphor about wanting to be hypnotized into believing I was a billionaire, other than the part about how I would shortly be bankrupt. But I know what you mean. Life is all about attitude.

High Arka said...

The attitude to which you referred correlates with the belief that life is a brief illusion of sensations preceded by and followed by nothingness, ergo being disappointed at the perceived inevitability of its termination is logical. Some people might argue that this is at least a utilitarian argument for religion. The solution you posit--being tricked into believing you are young--is similar to many religions, inasmuch as believers don't actually believe, but enjoy pretending to believe, because then they can distract themselves from contemplating their underlying belief in the cosmological perspective of the age, e.g., "brief illusion of sensations preceded by and followed by nothingness."

If you really throw yourself into some kind of religion, you might be able to fool yourself through your very own experiment. Most people who do so end up secretly dreading that their real beliefs conflict with their fantasy, but maybe you're good enough to actually fall for it.

(You could try learning about evolution to cheer yourself up in a more sustainable way. Not the local fake kind, but the real kind.)

Your perspective is privileged enough, incidentally, to use references to a "normal human lifespan" for your vacation. What about people who get incurable diseases young, and never get to experience the feeling of "youth" as you describe it--say, the feeling that death is still more than half of your time away? This one isn't saying that to condescend to you that you should "check your privilege," but rather, how does that change their perspective on the value, if any, of the vacation? In America, we're all sort of accustomed to the chance of dying in a car accident tomorrow (statistically very likely). Some professions or illnesses make the plausibility of death more likely. What is their secret to enjoying any of the vacation, particularly if they're not religious?

(In less important news, the years ahead will prove that (((Trump))) is just another warmongering neocon, ergo his tacit media support and subsequent failure to stop immigration and wars for Israel. There's still some wishful plausible deniability here, but twenty years later, you'll see that. We might not be able to get together then for me to say "Haha I told you I was right," but when the time comes, use Trump's legacy to reconsider the genetic mandate of Jewish connections. Like seemingly-random African violence, Jews do not marry powerful families and obtain political positions in goy societies without dissembling them through starting intra-gentile conflicts of some kind, be they urban or international.)

Enjoy your vacation. <3

John Craig said...

High Arka --
I can't argue with anything you say, least of all the "less important news."

I've often thought that I'd be a lot happier if I were the type who could believe in God. If I thought that my dead relatives had gone to "a better place," and that maybe even I was headed there myself, I could take great solace in that. But somehow, I can't. And I like most of the Christians I've known, they tend to be decent people; I"m just not one of them.

And yes, I should be grateful for having the opportunity to live a full life span; I guess I'm not the grateful type, at least in that regard.

And yes, at this point Trump looks like just another neocon. Congratulations, you were right about him. (That was said extreeeemely grudgingly.) I honestly think that Trump started off with good intentions, but somehow They got their hooks into him and pressured him into this bombing. (I also suspect that the gas attack on those children may have been a false flag operation: why would Assad invite international censure like that in a war he's already winning?)

If we're going to get involved in every war where children are killed, there's not a war on the planet we can abstain from.

Anonymous said...

I fear the opposite sometimes, I find myself because of some new science and tech living to 110 but old and senile.I would rather die at 50 with my wits intact than being a babbling mess twice that age.


John Craig said...

Ga --
How old are you now?

Anonymous said...

Early 20s


John Craig said...

Ga --
Ah, young. Lucky.