Must We Die Quickly?

Don’t disrupt my nap now.

I’ve been re-reading a book that I haven’t read since it was first published in the early 1990’s. I find the stories by Tom Robbins quite interesting and thought provoking. Skinny Legs and All is just that—an interesting, thought provoking story that will challenge your beliefs, and might even cause your brain to hurt as you think about the ideas he puts forth. The story itself is quite entertaining, however the way he weaves in the challenges to everyday thought, and lifestyles, makes for interesting reading.

I’m going to reproduce a chapter here that I had to go back and read a couple of times. It not only made me stop and think about my life in Western culture, but life around the world. As you read this quote, keep in mind that it comes from a work of fiction which has been interwoven with snippets of fact. So, go ahead and read it, then, ask yourself, “How close to the truth did Mr. Robbins get?”

“In their desperate longing to transcend the disorderliness, friction, and unpredictability that pesters life; in their desire for a fresh start in a tidy habitat, germ-fee and secured by angels, religious multitudes are gambling the only life they may ever have on a dark horse in a race that has no finish line. Theirs is a death wish on a very grand scale, an eschatological extension of Kissinger’s perverse logic—’In order to live forever, we must die as quickly as possible’—and if time doesn’t run out soon, they’re going to form a posse and run it out. Fortunately for them, they see signs everywhere that the end is near. Unfortunately, they’re virtually the same signs that their ancestors saw millennia before them.”

Now, let me ask you to re-read the last sentence. Read it a couple of times if you must. And, then, think back to what you learned about history, if you can remember what you were once taught. Are the signs the same, just in a different context because of the historical times they were observed? Is the end really near, or is it still the same distance from us as it’s always been? Before you answer that, keep in mind that you’ll be using the same reference book, word for word, as was used centuries before us. Is it time we find new reference material?

What a thought to occupy the mind on such a beautiful day.

Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.

1 thought on “Must We Die Quickly?

  1. “Those who forget history are doomed to relive it.” Says it all, as far as I’m concerned.

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