Unto Death: The Folly of a Naturalistic Legacy | #39

It is unbelievable that you’re still here, still working, striving, persevering, resisting and most importantly, and the least surprisingly, still degrading physically; dying. Day by day, moment by moment, from the first line of this piece to the last, you have gotten closer to your demise. Every year you pass the date of your death without even realising, it is there in the vicinity, it is the other half of Ben Franklin’s famed quote.

“Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes”

Be it for yourself, your pets, your parents, or the community around you, there is a point to living that is derived and on any basis sanctified at an individual level. The idea of a “point of living” will continue, even on a nihilistic ground, although it will be foundationally hedonistic and cardinal, but the point will guide. Nevertheless, the idea of working towards something greater than yourself, something that will create a difference to the world, prevails. Scientists working on a new medicine, engineers creating their next technological marvel to further the mechanical progress, there is an aim, something detached from their own life, something to affirm a sense of immortality and remembrance; legacy. Idiotic is what the notion of a legacy is on a naturalistic onset of existence. Shattering is what is it going to be as I drown you in the boiling pot of your (assumed) acclaimed position on life. 

An ending of life we have all witnessed from third-person perspective, for the “experience” of it to be first-person, you would have to substantiate your view on life itself. Who knows, maybe you are one of the Dennetts of the world, claiming consciousness to be an illusion. Keeping naturalism as a philosophy aside, it is nevertheless one of the most prominently adopted views on life i.e. we are matter and we go by as matter, there’s nothing of us before us, nor is there anything of us after. Fine view as it may be, but I will be tackling a very peculiar and paradoxical relationship many of this-view-holders have with the idea of a legacy. 

Nihilism goes hand-in-hand, in many ways, with naturalism, given the coming of life is based on “blind natural processes” as Dawkins would say. The end point of life, is the end of life itself, everything in between is a “selfish gene” pool table, that which we are all forced to play. I shall not be going over naturalism and nihilism any further than assuming their popular narrative as valid but the populaces ideals of ‘legacy’, ‘impact on the world’ and ‘immortality’ as a folly in light of the narrative.

Legacy in sleep

Have you ever “experienced” sleep? What does it feel like to be asleep? I am not talking about having medical examiners note your hormone levels, sleep cycles or physical functionality while you are asleep, rather the “experience” of being asleep, of being conscious of being asleep. It simply does not happen, you’re no longer aware of yourself, you are the purest version of a naturalist paradigm; matter and matter only, you’re as alive in experience as a rock. You’re no longer the person who was bullied at school, no longer the one who was sexually abused, no longer the one who won a fiery debate during the day, no longer the one who raped another, you’re just like a rock. In those few hours, you’re not you, you don’t know you, all you know of sleep, is prior and later of the interval of sleep. It’s not about the world knowing that you’re a rapist or victim or leader or failure, in the time you’re asleep, it’s about you not knowing yourself – not to be confused with having forgotten yourself – not beingthere anymore, all you know of the ‘impact’ or the ‘legacy’ is before you sleep, and after you wake up. But one day you simply don’t get to wake up. You’re in that matter-to-matter state forever, you aren’t even there, there’s nothing to look back to, not your kids, not your bully, not your medals, not your friends and all the laughs and tears, there’s nothing there for you, because you, as a conscious entity no longer exists.

I really want you to think about idea of feeling nostalgic of your legacy and the view (assumed) of naturalism that you adhere to as a paradigm. We tend to think of death, in terms of third-person, we think of what will happen when we die, who will cry and who will tend the goodbye. Many think of suicide in those terms, of ending their life and looking ontothe changes it puts into the world the person belonged to; the reaction of their lover, parents, siblings, friends and foes. There is nothing there, you’re asleep, and there’s no waking up (assumed), so there’s no realising what happened, its wishful thinking, its idiotic to think on matters after death as you turn to matter itself, its blinding, it’s not even desperate, its neither hopeful, its nothing, it’s a folly. 

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