Sunday, November 29, 2015

Endgame …

 And Death Shall Have Its Dominion ; Theodore Dalrymple. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Death will, of course, release us all of the obligation to fill our time somehow or other. But the notion of oblivion is a difficult one. Some philosophers have argued that there should be nothing difficult about it because future oblivion will only be the same as that before we were born (or had some semblance of continuous memory), and with that we have no problem. But I do not think this is quite right. The fact that we have existed and do still exist alters everything for us. The only oblivion of which we have actual experience is that of sleep, and we have experience of it only because we wake afterwards: in other words, all our oblivions hitherto have been temporary and capable of being experienced.
The brings to Larkin's "Aubade."

Catholics of my generation were taught, starting in grade school, to think one's eventual every day. And I doubt if any day has passed without some thought of mine flitting through my mind. Like Dalrymple, though, I find I think I think about it now differently than before. For now it grows ever nearer. As a person of faith, it is a greater cause for anxiety than it would be did I think it mere oblivion. That would be bad enough, of course. For "in that sleep of death what dreams may come … must give us pause."

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