Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Friday, January 17, 2003  

I've been fighting a nasty little cold the past few days; unfortunately, with pressing deadlines at work (and with my boss on leave) I've been unable to take the time off to rest and recover properly.

With all the slings and arrows we have to deal with in the normal course of things, I sometimes can't help but wonder why on top of all of that we have to deal with infirmity too. Bina, quoting the philosopher, reminded me this morning that "To know illness is to know life." (Welcome back, Bina! As short as the absence was, you were missed.)

I recognise this irony; of illness, of injury, ultimately of death, defining and giving shape to this enigma that is life. Life could not have meaning if it weren't so. And at times like this we are made more aware of that fact, and come to a sharper understanding of what life, and our humanness means. Ultimately, whatever truths we may uncover, or realisations we come to, we must engage one inescapable fact: we are here, then we are not; what, if anything happens after that we do not know. We cannot know. And, as BC Pires says in his Guardian column today:

"[W]hich of us has the cojones to contemplate that? The Rastaman on a beach in Ocho Rios numbs his reality by pulling deep on a spliff.

"The monk draped in his robes and chants, the prime minister with his motorcycle escort, the CEO in his private jet, the rock star backstage with six naked women, they all use a different drug but the aim is the same: to escape the only reality we can’t take straight: we are here and we are gone.

"Understand that and you have no choice but to live as best you can — because you can’t be sure you have a single moment more coming when you check out....

"What can rescue us from slumber? A coup or kidnap attempt? A killer rhyme in a beautiful melody, Kitch pairing “north” with “fish broth”? The Moonlight Sonata? A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and cable? We are here now. And that is all that matters."

posted by Jonathan | 9:11 AM 0 comments


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