Life Is Death

“Death: the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism.”

-www.dictionary.com

I found myself discussing with people recently that “Life is death.” I really only said that because I didn’t like the situation in which I was. (Yes, I use proper grammar; deal with it.) I’m sure everyone has those moments in life where they decide that life is terrible and, basically, life is death. Maybe not everyone says it quite that way, but everyone experiences those times when life just seems as so. But as I have been contemplating the statement of “Life is death,” I have realized that, in a certain sense, it’s true.

As I look all around me, everything seems to look the same. No one wants to do anything. Throughout my whole life, in school, a teacher will ask a question, and I feel like we are in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The teacher asks a question, and we just sit there in awkward silence. No one moves; no one makes a sound. We’re just sitting there and avoiding the question. We don’t want to do anything. We’re in school, studying to earn a college degree, but we don’t want to do any work. A similar situation brought this topic to mind. My college campus has Perpetual Adoration (Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 24/7). In order to do that, people have to sign up for a weekly Adoration hour. Priests from campus have pointed out that, when they used to have a considerable smaller enrollment, the Adoration hours were filled up nearly twice as fast. Every Mass to which I go, I feel like no one has taken anymore hours. No one wants to do anything.

Lazy CollegeWe currently live in a society where we try to do as little as possible. It has become the universal goal in life to do as little as possible. There is a reason that unemployment is really high and not much is happening to it. People don’t have any motivation. They are served everything they would ever want and then some on a silver platter. No one wants to do anything because they don’t have to do anything. That desire to do nothing goes from situations that lack motivation to all situations. People wonder why the Economy sucks, why the younger generations are dumber than prior generations, why obesity is extremely prevalent throughout the United States. Nobody wants to do anything because nobody has to do anything. People don’t have the motivation to work, because they get paid to not work. People don’t have the motivation to do homework and learn in school, because they take in so much information everywhere else, with the Internet, TV, music, etc. People don’t have the motivation to eat healthy or exercise, because they prefer the stimulation of the media and prefer the taste of junk food. I can’t say that I don’t fall into these things sometimes, but I try to work on them.

As expressed in the definition of death listed above, it is when all vital functions of an organism cease to work, to function. Life is developing into just that. No one ever wants to do anything. The idea of a good day is just sitting in front of various screens, mindlessly absorbing the information we’re given. I’m sure that there are some people reading this who might disagree. Just take a minute to think about it: how often do you refuse to do something because you don’t have the proper motivation? How often is someone else’s reason for doing something not a good enough reason for you to do something? It’s not only that we lack motivation, but we are also getting picky with what motivation we will take. If something does not benefit ‘Numero Uno’ (oneself), then it’s not worth doing. If something does not instantly gratify my needs, why should I do it?

Instant gratification has become the defining characteristic of this generation. If something doesn’t fulfill my present desire for food, or drinking, or sex, or friends, or wealth, or power, it’s not worth my time. That is why the media is constantly filled with things that will make us cool or get us the girl (or the guy) or whatever crap someone wants RIGHT NOW. If something won’t fill MY needs, MY desires, it’s not worth a second glance. And that’s why life has become death. The vital functions of the human person ultimately boils down to reason and will. As a person gets saturated in this society of instant gratification, he/she loses both of those abilities. We lose our reason when we don’t actually take time to think about things; we just do. The “YOLO” mindset has led to people throwing reason out the window. And we lose our will when we our constantly influenced by our friends, or the media, or base desires. It’s no longer us choosing to do something, but rather it is the primitive part of ourselves (as Freud would refer to it, the Id) that is controlling our lives and our decisions.

Dictionary.com defines a slave as “a bond servant.” A slave is a person is bound to serve a master whether they desire it or not. Many people in society today have become slaves to their own base desires. [I will acknowledge that not everyone is like this. It’s just a frequent occurrence within society today.] It can become so easy for us to negate what we know and understand to be the right decision (because it’s either best for us or best for the society as a whole). The idea of internal motivation is beginning to die out. No one wants to do something because they are motivated from within. They are always motivated externally. Someone has something to give to them, or they have something to gain from it.

As I was sitting in my room earlier this evening, I heard from outside my window, “Free cookies! Come get a free cookie!” I think I heard that she was doing that to try and get people to vote for her for Freshman Senate of Student Government. People can’t get motivated to vote for someone just because they understand that they may be the better candidate. They need to be given something so that they will vote for that person. Society has become defined by “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” I’ll only do something for someone else if they do something for me. Otherwise, what’s the point?

The chief aim in life is now to get stuff for me, survive through life, and then I die. My life consists of nothing else. As long as I feel good, life is good. But at the point where I don’t have enough to get by, that is when I need to start doing something: so I can earn money to be alright again. It’s a vicious cycle. Our lives consistently revolve around our desires for food, sex, money, etc. If I can do something in order to get something that will profit ME, I will do so. If not, who cares about that? ‘Free’ is the word that turns everybody’s heads. People used to care about trying to help others. When they would hear about poverty or disease, they would want to do their part in trying to help those suffering from whatever it was. Now, people think: what can I do? How does that help me? It’s about time we worked to reorient society. I can’t expect perfection (I’m a realist, not an idealist). But we can constantly work at bringing life back to life. When life is death, death is life.

“Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
You’re a slave to money then you die.”

-Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

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Duc In Altum

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