On Death And The Unexamined Life

Today I have nothing to write, but I will write on anyway. Finding the right words is like diving headlong into an unknown ocean and surrendering to the whim of the waves. I have danced in the ocean. Flailing my arms and looking upwards at the blinding light of the sun, I am unsure if I am in need of a saviour or not. The desperation that comes with the knowledge of being abandoned, forgotten in the open waters has left my soul intoxicated and wanting more.

Man lives to suffer, short of being a masochist — perhaps because it is only through suffering that he is able to validate the depth of his existence. It would not be too far-fetched to say that should suffering be annihilated from the daily order of things, Man would end up committing felo-de-se if only for the sheer boredom that would result from it.

All men and women are the same even the most unconventional ones; we are swimming in the same ocean of existence and we’d rather drown than get back safely on the shore where no adventure awaits us.

We do not need a destination to embark on a journey — all is a constant flux and it is in man’s teleological bearing to move. Choosing to stay rooted in one spot would result in an atrophy of the soul and a loss of authenticity as a human being.

Though each of us may have been born tabula rasa, in the long run we will acquire the necessary knowledge we need on how to go about life. The choices we make are what makes us unique. We have not a destiny except for the one we ourselves prepared for us.

The ocean is blue, or is it merely the reflection of the skies? Unsure as we may be, we journey on towards the place we can call our destiny; unafraid of the dangers for we have seen the bigger picture — and loud and clear it tells us that risks are a huge part of a life worth living.

The ocean is vast but the will is iron. Sea monsters may lurk beneath us but that is exactly where they place — beneath us — I believe that man is still different from animals not only in his power to reason but also because man has in him the capacity for resilience.

However there are quite a few things to consider in this journey. The mighty waves are themselves a mystery: either they goad us to reach our goals or serve as a force which pulls us away from our path. The winds too are nebulous with their real intention.

What do you do now, oh traveler?

Do you let the waves dictate your course, helpless against the currents and long given up on the prospect of a destination? Or do you, against the odds, battle with the waters? After all when some say we have no power over nature, it is wise to remind them that man himself is part of nature, which means the balance is not tipped to one side only: we have a chance to conquer nature only if we focus on the untapped strength we have within us.

The waters are too deep and it’s down to the strength of the will. How far can one go? Death is a breathing, living entity and it feeds on our souls. The possibility of facing death is not the place where the weak test the waters, it is where the strong brave the storm. To encounter death face to face, to look it straight in the eye, is probably the most important human purpose. It is the reason why we strive to live at all.

Every single day we face the possibility of death. The clock is ticking and we may not know when we’ll heave our last sigh. Furthermore, it is not at all absurd to say that death breathes down our necks each second of the day. Everybody has got a sword of Damocles on his back and we are all subconsciously aware of it regardless of our efforts to deny such thing.

A man builds a house for his family, is he not aware of his impending death? Surely he is or he shall not be as determined to make his wife’s and children’s lives better knowing fully well that the possibility of death lurks. It is suffice to conclude that he is doing all he can so that should the time come, his family will be left secured with cash or property.

Although in the midst of it all he suffers; let not the carefree laugh deceive anyone, for underneath that is a being nervously anticipating his demise. The suffering, albeit, is bittersweet. The challenge of the waters is welcome to man no matter how unprepared he is.

The shore lures us back with promises of comfort but the brave dare not look back — he is complacent with his nature as a moving entity and if death be the one which await him at the end of his journey, he shall remain calm, rather pleased that he had the courage to set sail or swim in the first place.

Death, to put it simply, defines us.

Death is the impetus which makes us strive towards our dreams, for if we do not attempt at all to pursue our dreams, the possibility of having an unfulfilled life to take to the grave is all too terrifying.

If death is not a possibility, life itself would be empty and tiresome. Was it not said by wise men that in order to appreciate light, we must know darkness? It is the same with life and death, we would not hold life so dearly if we are not aware that it is something fleeting and may be taken away at the snap of a finger. Man as a teleological being that moves by nature is moved by death: the knowledge that someday all will be over gives us the strength to do what we must in order for us not to end up not having lived at all.



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Aiko Lactaotao

Aiko Lactaotao


Writer whose heart is in the avant-garde, in dire need of therapy for Logolepsy, while being a lifelong hesher living the br00tal lyfe in her parent’s basement.