Recently I got an email from someone who resonated with my take on death, not-existing for eternity, and the virtually certain unfortunate/fortunate fact that when we die, we're gone forever (aside from the atoms that make up our time-limited assemblage into a living entity).
I asked the guy, Yeager St. John, if I could share his thoughts. "Sure," he emailed back. Here they are.
I came across your website, "Church of the Churchless" and must say, bravo. I have only read a few of your posts, but have enjoyed every bit. I came across your "death and the primal fear of non-existence" post and what you said really resonates with experiences I have had. I have never seen someone explain exactly how I felt.
It's not so much the act of dying as much as, "what about everything that was before and will come after," thoughts on eternity and infinity, where the universe is, what it all means, etc. I too have had the experience of looking back into the void, as if a curtain was pulled away suddenly. I feel like so many people have not realized this both unfortunate and fortunate truth about ourselves.
Instead so many people seem to concern themselves with material things in order to feel happy and deny the fundamental nature of their existence and being, using other things (monetary goals, religion, material things...) to distract themselves from their own existence and coming to terms with it.
Sometimes I think it is only the smarter people who ever have this epiphany of life, and that we are also the only ones who are able to deal with it and actually "wake up" to ourselves. Just like yourself, I do not seem to have "beat" the feeling of....I don't even know how to describe it. There are no words for the emptiness and fear that comes to you when you realize non-existence, as I'm sure you know.
But, I have found that being "woken up" to this fact of life and death has made me appreciate all that I have, which is to say, all that I have in the here and now. I have begun the process of living and being aware of the current moment and just doing what I can to be happy, which is mostly controlling my outlook on life, as that is the only thing I am completely in control of.
I don't let petty things bother me, because I've seen behind the curtain and don't fall for the social distractions. It's not to say that I live a perfect happy life and wake up every day happy, smiling, etc.
I still have off days, I still dislike certain things, I still get angry, sad, and a whole range of emotions. But I remember to ground myself. To remain in this moment, the only moment I have - and enjoy every bit of the eternal here and now. I take bigger risks, my levels of anxiety and fear in every-day life have reduced, and continue to do so, because I realize it's all a big game and really there is nothing to lose.
Listening to Alan Watts, Carl Sagan and other philosophers and mystics has really helped as well. It seems that we are all in this together, and even if we don't really understand, it's ok. Whatever this is will keep on going. I might not understand my purpose and existence, but like chaos theory proves, every little thing seems to matter and influence everything.
I hope I've made myself somewhat clear, hahah. I tend to get jumbled when I think on this matter; my brain races and all the thoughts I have inside come gushing out.
Either way, I just wanted to let you know there are are other deep thinkers out there, curious and aware about ourselves. Keep living and enjoying the here and now, and may your life be thick with experience.
Yeager St. John
Since Yeager shared a link to his web site, I browsed around a bit. Checking out his videos, my eye was caught by the title "Dreams," and an image that said when did we forget our dreams? Great question.
For an answer, see below. I liked the video, in no small part because Fuck. That. Shit. is part of the answer.
Made in Adobe After Effects, the text is from an amazing comic - xkcd.com. The title of this particular comic is 'Dreams' and the number is 137 if you're up to read it, it's worth it.
"Does the routine destroy our creativity, or do we lose our creativity and fall into the routine?"