On mortality and magic

We know, as humans, that we are mortal. We learn this fact when we are young and we adjust to what it means for our entire lives. The knowledge can feel abstract and non-threatening at times, or quite the opposite at others. Regardless of what you believe happens to us when we cross that final bridge, we all know, as humans, that this time on earth is the only time we have available to us in our mortality. So, what comfort and information can we derive from knowing our time here is finite?

First, we can be aware of the fact that finality bestows a sense of preciousness to any experience. Past eras are made more important simply because they have ended. Whether of global importance like the Roman Empire, or individual resonance like a specific childhood holiday celebration, bygone eras are beautiful and rare because they are bygone and thus unattainable. Such are the years of our lives. We live inside the facets of the most precious diamond. Every life is unique, full of endless possibility, and yet finite. Our first conclusion is: each and every life is precious.

Building upon this theme, if every single life is valuable and precious, we can then determine that every life deserves to be lived as well, and thus as pain-free as possible. This means ensuring that all living creatures are healthy and cared for. At the very least, every human deserves clean water, plenty of food, access to proper healthcare, and a roof over their head. Many do not have one or all of these things, and it is important to remain aware of that fact so that we might advocate for change or be the agents of positive change ourselves. How heartbreaking it is to realize that many humans on this planet have their lives cut short due to starvation, dehydration, treatable disease, or exposure to the elements. The human that suffers this way also has a precious life and a finite amount of time on earth, yet much of their time has been spent suffering. What an injustice that is. Our second conclusion is: every life should be physically cared for via food, water, healthcare and housing.

Now we must imagine that every person on the planet is cared for in the way described in our second conclusion. Assuming all needs of survival have been met, the next conclusion we can draw from our decision that all life is rare and precious, is that all humans deserve to be happy. The crux of the issue being that happiness is something many strive for but not all attain. Aside from requiring treatment or medication in order to be happy, which is a quest in-and-of itself (as those that have depression understand well), we have many resources at our fingertips to allow us to grasp happiness in an authentic way. Other posts on this blog explore some of them, but I want to posit one final assumption in this philosophical treatise: we do justice to the special nature of our mortal lives by filling them with whimsy and magic.

Whimsy and magic in the sense of these philosophical musings are defined as: authentic, individual, intentional acts that bring joy to oneself and those in our lives. These acts are not performative, and instead serve the purpose of allowing the doer to fulfill a dream of any size and to personally experience that dream fulfillment to the fullest. These acts of magic and whimsy might be once-in-a-lifetime items you have on a “bucket list,” or they could be quotidian events like holding your child as they sleep or drinking tea on your porch with a dog at your feet. These are the luxuries a life can contain once basic needs have been met. Luxuries that fulfill secondary needs and are appreciated especially by your unique soul on your unique journey.

Would you like to sing in the rain? Do it! Have a movie marathon or sleep underneath the stars? Do it! Do you feel called to test your body’s physical strength, perform a specific creative task, or look and act a certain way? Do it. This life of yours is precious. If you have your health, the world is your oyster. Set your dreams in motion. 

Before I end these musings, I want to reinforce that if you have water, food, access to healthcare, and a home, then you are one of the lucky ones. We would be doing humanity a disservice if we took that gift and kept it to ourselves. What can you as an individual do to help those in your community? Get started on doing that as well, if you haven’t already. Help another precious life make the most of their time here by ensuring they too have the luxury of focusing on the magic life has to offer. 

I hope you are healthy and cared for. I hope you have the time and resources to find some magic in your own life. Start small, work with what you have. I hope to soon see the glow upon the world your joy bestows.

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