By painting a picture of life with God in it as more colourful and exciting than the mundane existence of a god-less life Yann Martel’s book “Life of Pi” attempts to convince us that, as we cannot definitively prove or disprove God’s existence, we are better off with the version of life where God exists. After all who wouldn’t want a life that was full of angels, heaven and the promise of everlasting life, compared with rotting for all eternity? Me.
Do you really want to live forever? All that is good about life is connected to the fact that it is finite and fleeting. We love our friends and family as fiercely as we do because we know that they will not be there forever. The prospect of death lurking around every corner governs the way we live. While we certainly do not welcome death and try to delay its inevitable approach to actually defeat death would be disaster. The constant spectre of death forces us to sharpen our focus and live in the moment, although some of us appear to live as if death does not exist. Without death life would lose its poignancy. Things that are transient are appreciated so much more than the perennial things we take for granted.
In the Dark Knight Rises batman is unable to complete the final leap that delivers freedom from the pit because he no longer fears death:
“Blind Prisoner: You do not fear death. You think this makes you strong. It makes you weak.
Blind Prisoner: How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death?
Batman: I do fear death. I fear dying in here, while my city burns, and there’s no one there to save it.
Blind Prisoner: Then make the climb.
Blind Prisoner: As the child did. Without the rope. Then fear will find you again.”
Needless to say he succeeds and saves the day, but the point is made that the fear of death is what has driven us to some of our greatest accomplishments and moments of outstanding heroism.
Eternal life? Eternal ennui. You can have it. I would rather fall to my final rest knowing a life well lived lay behind me and that, even if I could, I was too damn tired to live forever.
Dr. F. Bunny