Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Knowledge or Life

The other day I was having a conversation with innommable, and iin the course of our conversation he said something like "If I tell you then I would have to kill you", to which I replied, "I'd rather dying knowing than live in ignorance." You know, it is very easy, I think, to say such things; to say things like "give me liberty or give me death" or "give me knowledge or give me death". But it is obviously very difficult to put that into practice when the situation arises. Very few people are truly willing to fight for their ideas, their values, their beliefs and then face death rather than live in abnegation of those values. Some values are truly so fundamental than one has a moral obligation to fight for them. However, what differentiates a mindless fanatic or suicide-militant from one who fights for fundamental values to the point of death is that the former (the mindless fanatic) infact seeks to die as an act of virtue and considers death a value in and of itself to be achieved. Martyrdom (as they so admiringly call it) is their HIGHEST achievement. Death and non-existence, as martrydom should rightly be called, is the value they aspire to reach. The goal of these fanatics (like mindless religious and patriotic idiots) is not to see the realization of their beliefs in the living world but to seek the negation of their existence in a world where their beliefs are not realized. The goal of the latter, the rational person of integrity, is to seek the realization of their beliefs, and fight, if necessary, for that to happen in this real and living world. If that fight leads to their own death, that is accepted as a consequence. But death is NOT the goal or the value that they seek. Death is NOT glorified as martrydom and aspired to as the highest value. Infact, they fight so they can LIVE, and keep on living and enjoying those values that they hold so dear. They aim is to live the way they want to, in the rational sense, and enjoy those values in this world. If those values are being denied to them, they will fight. They will NOT fight to die. But they will fight to want to LIVE, to have what they want from life, and they will fight even at the risk of losing their own life. Infact, it is so much harder to LIVE consistently in practice and defence of one's rational values than it is to die for them. Thus, if I consider liberty and knowledge such important values in my life, I will fight to protect and preserve these values in my life so I can enjoy them as I live. I will not seek to DIE, because seeking death is the negation of every one of my values. The acceptance of death as a consequence of my desire to live with the values I hold dear is not the negation of my values, but a vindication of those values. After having rejected religion and all other forms of mysticism, I find myself in such a perfect mental and psychological location of peace and confidence. I find death NOT as a fearful fact of uncertainty -- remaining in fear of the unknown, of some warped idea of death and possible suffering or punishment or torment. I see death now as a fact of life. Death is merely non-existence, and therefore worthy of no further thought or contemplation. Contemplating the non-existent is futile and pointless -- unless you are exercising your imagination skills. For example, contemplating the idea of a Unicorn is pointless, unless you're writing a fictional story. What rightly deserves serious contemplation is present life in this real world. "Living life is not the same thing as avoiding death" -- Rand


Blogger Semperviva said...

reminds me of the saying

you've never really lived until you've found something to die for

9/21/2005 02:46:00 PM  

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