Who’s excited about death? No one, that’s who. It’s a major downer. No one likes to think about or really even discuss it, which now that I think about it, probably makes for a very poor blog post topic. Oh well, that’s never stopped us before.For me the big bummer about dying is all the stuff I’m going to be missing out on as the world continues on without me. Family and friends going on with their lives, amazing new technologies being invented, new variations of Aquafresh toothpaste being released. I could on and on.
A common philosophical questions that is asked is “If you could choose, how would choose to die?” For me it’s easy. I would choose to die from the Earth being destroyed by a runaway asteroid. Why? Because there is something comforting about knowing that everyone else would die too so not only do I not need to worry about all my love ones grieving over me, but I’m also not going to miss out on exciting new Aquafresh advancements. Win-win.
So Pat, is it selfish of me to want the entire world to be destroyed if I were to die?
Pat: Umm...yes. Entirely. Completely. You selfish son of a bitch.
Me? I was content to simply have a plaque placed in my honor near a vista somewhere atop a mountain.
You kinda’ obliterated that idea, yeah?
Christian: Oh don’t get me wrong. A plaque is nice. And if knowing you are going to get a plaque makes it easier for you to accept the end of your entire existence then more power to you.
But be honest. If you knew you were going to die in a year wouldn’t you find it a little more comforting and easier to accept if it was because the Earth was about to be obliterated?
Pat: Umm...still no. Because then it wouldn’t be about ME, it would be about US. And when I die, I want YOU to be sad because you are going to miss ME.
In your scenario, there is absolutely no room for self-serving sympathy. Instead we would all be fighting about who should have more sympathy directed towards them...a sort of sympathy battle royalé. And no one would win, ‘cause we’d all be dying.
So...given that my death is all about the sadness and distress everyone else will be in after my departure from earth, I have to say that I want all of the attention to myself, and I do not want to share it with an earth shattering asteroid.
Christian: OK, who's being selfish now? Sounds like you want all the attention and everyone else to feel bad while they fawn all over you because you are going to die. In my scenario everyone gets to feel terrible for everybody. Much better.
Plus to be honest, if I knew I only had a little bit of time left to live I think I would hate getting all that sympathy. Not to mention everyone walking on eggshells around you trying to not to discuss what’s going to happen on the next season of Mad Men or say something like “I’m dying for a cheeseburger” or speculate on what the next round of Aquafresh improvements are going to be. Who wants that?
In my scenario everyone is equal and in the same boat. The same sinking boat. So maybe choosing to have an asteroid from deep space on a collision course with Earth isn’t so selfish after all?
Pat: I hated that game. Once you used the thrusters you were screwed. Couldn’t stop moving. Damn anti-gravity! And in real life my spaceship would be way cooler than an arrow.
I’ll take the sympathy and eggshells. Hands down.
Christian: OK, how about this; If we go with the asteroid demolishing Earth scenario we’ll make sure everyone that wants it can have one weekend where everyone else mourns them and they don’t have to mourn anyone else. That way you can have a full weekend of nothing but people being sad for you and walking on eggshells. We’ll even make your’s a three-day weekend. How’s that sound?
Pat: Are you really going to try to organize that? Remember when we used to struggle to get six people to agree what to do on a Friday night, or even what to order on the pizza after we realized that we weren’t going to do ANYTHING?
Don’t forget the inhibiting power of human indecision. I’ll choose a sudden, untimely and unmourned death, thank you.
Christian: Fine. Have it your way, but if you think I’m not going to talk about future Aquafresh improvements just because you’re dying you are going to be bummed.