The Inevitability of the Inevitable

Everyone knows the Benjamin Franklin quote:

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
In truth, as a few famous people and companies have tried, it is possible to at least delay the paying of taxes but death certainly is inevitable.
Things being inevitable sucks.  We rarely speak about good things being inevitable and the word itself is probably more regularly seen preceded by “delaying the”, which one would not normally do to something that they’re looking forward to, except maybe Sting!
While we all know that particular situations are inevitable, one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with recently is someone knowing that something detrimental to me is definitely going to happen while continuing as normal, giving me precisely know indication of its certainty (indeed, even suggesting the opposite).  Not knowing that something is inevitable when it is is even worse than knowing in the first place.  As Terry Eagleton said:
After all, if you if you do not resist the apparently inevitable, you will never know how inevitable the inevitable was.
However, is the inevitability of death actually a bad thing?  Steve Jobs once quoted thusly (love that word, shame it’s pointless):
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
With some of that, I would disagree.  (Yes, I disagree with Steve Jobs! I’m not as big a fanboi as everyone thought!)  There is plenty of reason not to follow your heart sometimes and we do have things to lose, it’s just that somethings are bigger than others.  If I’d have known that particular inevitability I alluded to earlier, I would have done some different things that I didn’t do previously.
While the Bible describes death as “the last enemy”, Sir Terry Pratchett’s character who rides a horse called Binky is efficient rather than ruthless.  He provides a public service of recycling old souls so they don’t get up to mischief, as is seen with poltergeist.  He is not a killer, but a collector.  It’s the idea of death as a service that Steve Jobs is getting at.
There’s a running joke in my family, in the farming side of the family, that runs along the lines of “Why do something today that could be done tomorrow?”  If  Steve Jobs had have decided not to get up one day I might be using a ****ing Samsung!
In Missing Things, I wrote that having a glimmer of hope offers that chance that something isn’t final and that something can be done.  We can struggle and fight as much as we want with some things, but the fight against death is one we’re always going to lose.  Death, certainly in conventional biological thinking, provides that finality which acts as a driver for us to get up in the morning and achieve great things.  Well, unless it’s a Sunday.
Civilisation dreams of the end of death, delaying the inevitable, but without death would we have a civilisation at all?
I always put lyrics at the end of my posts (as regular readers know).  This song is so amazing I think you should listen to it too.

Save me from the movies and someone else’s dreams
While angels make their music and give my spirit wings
I just concertina and wrap around the world
Staying out till six o’clock and singing like a foolI’ve only got this morning to live
Look at all the colors at my fingertips

I don’t want to stand still
I just want to freewheel
I don’t want to lose this

I don’t want to stand still
I just want to freewheel
I don’t want to lose this

Save my feet from dancing with just anyone at all
Worn out shoes cause lotus blue keeps hanging in the hall
And you’re this face in the distance I hope to recognize
But it’s like running through deep water trying to look into your eyes

I’ve only got this morning to live
Look at all the colors at my fingertips

I don’t want to stand still
I just want to freewheel
I don’t want to lose this

I don’t want to stand still
I just want to freewheel
I don’t want to lose this

Come on, come on, come on
Come on, come on, come on
Come on, come on, come on
Come on, come on, come on
Come on my soul

I don’t want to stand still

I just want to freewheel
I don’t want to lose this
Freewheel by Duke Special

Comments 1

  1. Petitewise

    Nonsense! “Thusly” is as relevant as you make it.
    Also, lovely song, thanks for sharing it!
    Steve Jobs’ lines totally put things into perspective.

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