Contemplating cognizance - or, more accuretly, its absence.
I don't believe in an afterlife or a next one, so, if you wanna take this journey with me, we should start on that same page.
With that in mind, I see death as a loss of cognizance.
Where once there was a person with thoughts, feelings, emotions, experiences, there is now... a stinky meat suit.
Not exactly "uplifting," I know... but not such a tragedy either.
After all, in my version of events, things - as far as you know anyway - go back to the way they were before you were born. Just... nothing. And that wasn't so bad, right?
Especially when a large percentage of the human population believes that folks who don't think like they do will roast for all eternity in a lake of fire (Yikes!).
Oblivion is starting to sound pretty good, yeah?
Anyway, it's not the absence of cognizance that scares me (You'll be dead, so you won't be aware of it anyway).
ABSENCE DOESN'T SCARE ME.
But the LOSS? DOES.
Put succinctly, I don't want to lose the thoughts, feelings, emotions, experiences I've had.
I don't want those to disappear into the ether, and not mean anything.
What the fuck is the point in that?
What was all this fighting and striving and suffering for if "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."?
The absence of cognizance from before I ever existed will mimic that which will occur after I am gone... but with one glaring exception: prior to birth, I had no life. Prior to death, I had a full one.
Death is a loss that, by its very definition, no one lives long enough to rectify.
That's very hard for me to contemplate. And yet, I must contemplate it now, while I am able...because there will come the day when I cannot.
And that day is coming for you, too.
For all of us.
They say the memory of every person, with the exception of the famed, is gone within 3 generations.
Which means every problem you have or have had, every triumph, and everything in between, will be lost to time and living memory in a blink of the universe's eye.
I am cognizant of this now. And that cognizance, and the contemplation it inspires, is something I will miss, if I were able to miss anything - which I won't be - once I am gone.
And that's just it - I? WILL BE GONE.
And so will you. And everyone you love.
Speaking of love - love can live on, I guess, if you count your children and grandchildren. I guess those folks are a living legacy that you were once here. But even then, 3 generations out (4 if you live to be unusually old), and you, as a person, will be forgoteen.
Maybe the best immortality we can claim resides in our gut, as we pass our microbes on to our offspring...
Maybe that's all we are - bacterial blueprints of those who have gone before.
The older I get, the more I realize I don't know that much.
And there will come a day when I know nothing - absolutely nothing - anymore.