a bright and shining tomorrow (ubahn) wrote,
a bright and shining tomorrow

Recently I had to read the play "Everyman" and write a short essay about what it means to me. What follows is what I pulled out of my ass at 3 AM, and I'm actually quite pleased with the result.

"Everyman", in a way, strikes me as a product of its time. It was written during the Middle Ages, a period dominated by religious (read: Christian) thoughts and ideals. Naturally as one who is nonreligious, these underpinnings don't resonate well with my belief system. Nevertheless, I do feel that there is a lesson that can be gleaned from this play, and that would be that most of one's qualities, both extrinsic (beauty, strength, and wealth) and intrinsic (knowledge and wits), really don't matter in the grand scheme of things. Given a long enough time span our good looks fade, our strength ebbs, our knowledge base and wits become faulty, and our wealth becomes dispersed. At such a point we are dead, or well on the way to becoming so. As I learned in Physical Chemistry, the entropy of the universe is always increasing; such is life. So, with that said, one encounters the existentialist's dilemma: just what is the point of living, what can be ascribed to the meaning of life if all of the above is going to happen sooner or later? The answer, as pointed out in the play, is that one's good deeds live on after the person who performed said deeds is long gone.

As I see it, there is no Heaven or Hell to worry about when I'm dead; there's no one up in the sky who keeps track of what I'm doing. There's only me and the now. "Being and Nothingness" is how the philosopher John Paul Sartre might describe it. Since I'm only here once, I have to make the best of it, and make things as enjoyable for myself and for those around me as I can while we're still around to experiene life.

When I die, I don't want there to be a funeral service, and a burial plot, and a tombstone, and all that nonsense. If I have my way, I would like for someone to dig a hole, put me in it, and plant a Japanese Maple tree and perhaps some species of poppies on it, so that I may be "reincarnated" in a sense, and live on in these organisms. To me, the former situation is just a pathetic way of clinging on after death; it's like saying, "Remember me" not "Remember what I was about". By removing all the listed trappings, I feel that I can better express this point; that when all is said and done, who you were and what you had doesn't matter. All that matters is what good you did and what kind of legacy you left behind. This, I feel is the take-home message from "Everyman".
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