Hey Copper D.W. here,
So I had an interesting thought the other day and I thought you may want to hear about it. I remember a long while aback someone told me that “The thing that makes human kind more superior is not our mental prowess but our understanding that we will eventually die. Humans are the only animal that knows that they are going to eventually die.”
I found this thought quite interesting, because though, I don’t necessarily agree that we are the only species that has an understanding of death, it is interesting to ponder on this idea.
Just the other day I was lying in bed (overthinking in bed, again) and I was thinking about life and death. I have been really into the Broadway Musical Hamilton and I listen to the entire soundtrack over and over again, being on repeat for weeks since my friend introduced it to me. There is a line, well more of a song lyric from Hamilton, the song being ‘Wait for It,’ and the lyrics had got the hamster wheel spinning again, but the lyrics I am most particularly referring to go something like this:
Life doesn’t discriminate,
It takes the Sinners and the Saints,
It takes, and it takes and it takes,
Yet we keep living anyways,
We laugh and we fall and we break and we make out mistakes
And if there’s a reason I’m still alive and all those around me have died,
I’m going to wait for it.
This song, ‘Wait for It’ in Hamilton is such an interesting piece, for in the musical there is this conscience knowing that the main character, Alexander Hamilton will die, yet the story is told anyways, and even a little bit after through his legacy. I find that these ideas, both the song and the quote that someone told me, tie nicely together. I don’t want to dwell on death in itself, the fear of dying or really things like that, but what I do want to focus on is that we do know that eventually, we will die. All the living things around us will die. Everything will eventually die. And I’m not saying that animals don’t have this ability of comprehension for I really have no evidence to prove otherwise, but I do know that humans know this. This is what counts.
I think our knowledge of death, can both make and break us. It can send us in a worried or worse state of fear and anxiety, or it can be something that will push us to make every day count. Of course there is Aways an in-between, a middle ground to say the least but still. This knowledge that death will come to all of us, is a scary thought, but I know many people who have been terminally ill who never take a day for granted for they know that this day may be their last.
I just learned my mother’s good friend has cancer. She was a young mother, healthy, fit, and would put up lemonade stands on her lawn to raise money for cancer. She really was a giver and did her best to do her share in the community. She now has cancer. I used to wonder, “Why do bad things always seem to happen to good people?” and then I realized, these kinds of things happen to everyone, at random. Like in the Lyrics of ‘Wait for It,’ “Life doesn’t discriminate it takes the Sinners and the Saints,” and this is so unbelievable true. There is no discrimination when it comes to things in life you can’t control, be it genes, illnesses, and so forth.
The thing that I find interesting, is this idea of death. Death can seem scary, a large hole of dark abyss and nothingness, but I personally think that it is our awareness of death that makes us want to enjoy life at every moment. If animals truly don’t know they are going to die, they always live life in the moment and enjoy it. As humans who our biggest problems these days are overthinking, maybe this is natures way of having a ‘reset’ button, a ‘reality check’ button, which can bring our heads back down to the Earth to tell us, ‘Just enjoy the moment, for anyway could be your last.’