we live our lives within the poetry of our own demise

While I am under no illusions that they would ever count it as a valid rejoinder, this from Nick Cave pretty much nails the pre-philosophical (which is to say poetic, I suppose) objection I’ve had to the immortalist dreams of the transhumanoids. Someone in the mailbag asks whether, were it possible, he would want to live forever. Quoth Cave:

[…] the answer must be no. I wouldn’t because, as far as I can see, the meaning of life is nested within the set terms of our own mortality. ‘Forever’ is both incomprehensible and utterly meaningless. I don’t believe we live just for the sake of it; rather we live our lives within the poetry of our own demise, within our own time, and our own limitations, and for that very reason alone we do so meaningfully. We work, we love, we care for each other, and we suffer together, knowing that one day we will die. The children in the schoolyard run headlong toward adulthood and their own disappearance, and we adults are the living breathing reminders of that. The man who waves at me as he walks his dog up the lane will die, as will the people filing into the church at the ringing of the bell, and the shop assistant hurrying to work, and the parking inspector, and the street sweeper, all will die in time — oh, and the squirrel (ah, there he is), he too will die (ouch), and the flowers, the swaying trees, and the earth itself. It is toward this temporal inconvenience — our finitude — that we move, with only a few precious moments to add value to this world. What can we do in this time that we are given, that is running through our fingers, even now? How can we lighten our mutual predicament that is drawing ever closer? Assaf, there lies the meaning in life — it is in the expansion of ourselves, in our benevolence, to fully occupy our allotted time.

Amen.

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