Existential Mortality = Joy

We have been reading dead Germans for longer than anyone should ever be forced to.  Whether or not Tuesday’s lecture/discussion/monologue was on the Heidegger reading we were required is beyond me, because I’m still on Nietzsche.  The discussion – which is really just Dr. P talking about what he thinks about the reading and anything possibly related in his life currently, with the occasional lewd joke thrown in – somehow ended up being about death.  According to Heidegger, man’s ultimate possibility is his impossibility.  In English: the only thing certain in life is death.
Philosophy lectures can be long and frustrating, because they are often a lot of jargon to no end.  Philosophers supposedly search for answers, but they seem to delight in coming roundabout 360 degrees.  That, combined with the cheery prospect of death, should have made it a particularly depressing lecture.
On the contrary, it made my day about 100% better.
Dr. P presented a few different reactions to our mortality: we can become nihilists, we can become hedonists, or we can relish each moment of joy with added value because of its scarcity and inevitable end.  Of these three, I agreed with the third.  To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, if not for shadows, we wouldn’t know what light means.  Dr. P continued with the the consequences of our mortality and our general insignificance on earth – in a hundred years, he said, nobody will think of us anymore.  Nobody will remember us, and even if we do something that goes in the history books, we’re still dead, and we’re not coming back.  This was the absolute highlight of my day, because – in two hundred years, when nobody remembers my name,
And who even cares about the history books then?


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