At my age birthdays can bring to mind only one thing – imminent death. I’m now seven years on from my biblically allotted ‘threescore years and ten’, so it’s bound to come soon. Have you noticed – from obituary columns – how many men die in their mid-late 70s? Not that I’m particularly bothered about that – one of the advantages of being a manic depressive is that extinction doesn’t seem to be the worst thing that can happen to one; but I do occasionally wonder about what will follow. Utter extinction is of course – by definition – unimaginable. But I have two alternative scenarios I rather like to play with. One is of my being wafted uncorporeally around our amazing universe to see close up the constellations and planets that have intrigued me since I was a boy. (Dan Dare had a lot to do with this.) I presently have a phone App – ‘Apod’, from NASA – that is giving me a daily and far-off glimpse into this. That’s my idea of Heaven. The other alternative is going back to my beginning, and living the same life over again (and again, and again), but without knowing that this is a repeat, and so unable to correct anything. For a depressive that will be Hell. Maybe it’s where all of us are now? Anyway, as the atheist Emmanuel Barthélemy coolly said on the scaffold in 1853 – see below, https://bernardjporter.com/2018/01/31/emmanuel-barthelemy/ – ‘soon I’ll know if I’m right’. Or not, if extinction is my fate.

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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4 Responses to 77

  1. You have done incredibly well in life Bernard given what you have had to fight against. Worth a few chapters in that memoir of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Death will release your inner astronaut, Bernard, which is imprisoned in your body while you live.

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  3. “Utter extinction is of course – by definition – unimaginable.” Epicurus had no trouble imagining our utter extinction. Think, he said, of the infinite stretch of time before our birth when we did not exist; that gives us a pretty clear and comprehensible picture of what not existing would be like. Why fear death, he maintained, when we will never experience it?

    Happy birthday, Bernard!

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    • Well. Not remembering anything about my pre-birth (non-) existence means that it will be the more difficult – impossible, I’d say – to ‘imagine’ post-death. What Epicurus probably meant was that it should be easy for us to accept that there will be a non-existence.

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