—You? Who the hell are you?
You will never die because you were never here.
Living is a prerequisite to dying. The logic is simple. If you are not alive, you cannot die; you are essentially not qualified to participate in such an event.
So how is it that you are not alive? You feel alive, I'm sure. Do you not? You are reading this at this moment, are you not? So how could you do that and not be alive? There are no deceased people reading this right now, are there? Surely not.
So what exactly am I talking about when I suggest that you are not alive right now? Well, very simply, the emphasis is on the word you. I am not saying that you are not alive. I'm saying that you are not alive? You never have been.
The very concept of you is a fiction, a social fabrication, a virtual amalgam of thoughts, memories and sensations that you did not cause. You are the product of something that is not you.
Your own thoughts are not even yours. Yes, I am fully aware that this one sounds very strange. How is it possible, you surely ask, that your own thoughts are not yours?
It is possible because you are not making yourself think. In the same way that forces acting outside of you made you (what you think of as you), those forces are also making you think.
Notice that I say "making" you think. You do not make yourself think, and the only way you could keep yourself from thinking is to kill yourself. Thinking is involuntary, a matter in which you have no choice, except in the most extreme sense (suicide).
You are not responsible for your own consciousness; something else is.
What is that something? Who the hell knows? I certainly don't. I am fond of saying that it is the universe, but that's just me. And until somebody can point me in another direction, I'm sticking with it. As far as I am aware the universe is all there is.
I began this foray by saying that you were never here. Perhaps a more effective way of putting it would be to say that you were never born. You must be born before you can die. Death begins at birth.
An infant was born. At the time of its birth it was unequivocally not you. What you are so pleased to call yourself had to develop over time. It had to be tended and nurtured in a caldron of social interaction.
Infants are born. Identities are fabricated.
Therefore only infants will die, usually after 70 years or so. The identities they carried around with them, personas that were virtually fashioned and molded by other identities, are discarded and pretty much forgotten, like yesterday's news.
The question then is where exactly were you while all this was going on? Nowhere! There is no such thing (in the most natural sense) as you. You are a social contrivance, not a natural phenomenon. You are something that society makes up. Society did not invent the infant, but it most surely invented the you that became attached to it.
April 15, 2011