which is the greatest wonder?


each day death strikes and we live as if we are immortal

from the Mahabharata

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

22 thoughts on “which is the greatest wonder?

  1. john zande says:

    There does exist a tremendous amount of waste in the average human life.

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  2. tildeb says:

    If we understand life to be rare and temporary, then it is a marvel to be alive at all. Framing that marvel to be equivalent to a terminal illness seems rather petty and a shame to me because it shifts the focus away from what is, now, and places it somewhere else. And that’s rather foolish I think because in this moment we really are immortal.

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    • makagutu says:

      I agree with you; to be alive is a marvel, great one at that.
      To say it is a wonder how we behave in the face of death I think isn’t silly. Everyone walks around as if only their next door neighbour dies. In my view, this statement is to make us aware of our mortality and to live fuller lives.

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      • tildeb says:

        Maybe it’s my hospice work and understanding a thousand times over that death is what we call the end of life. It’s a just a word. It’s not a thing, not a state, not a condition, but the absence of everything.

        This oft-repeated lesson has shifted my focus so entirely away from pondering death as a waste of time and effort except as a base understanding that life is temporary and therefore precious beyond measure means that I understand life is all about life, all about living, all about using life in exchange for value. And that means we have to be present in the here and now fully (and not imagining some future non-state)… which includes a very necessary ingredient called suffering. Suffering grants us the means to experience compassion and joy fully. And these are necessary ingredients to grow love and enrich existence into living with and then beyond this fear of the non state we call death.

        None of this is silly. What is silly is to allow our fear of death to pollute and detract from our love of life, our living in love.

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        • makagutu says:

          I don’t advocate a fear of death. To be aware of our mortality is to be aware of the inevitable and whereas very few meet it with courage, we should not fear to think of it.
          As long as we are, death is not, it is of no concern to us. There are those, some have called them cowards, who die a thousand deaths before their actual death.

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          • tildeb says:

            It’s easy to die and that’s one reason why we fear it. What’s not so readily understood is that It’s really hard to live well… right up to the moment we cannot continue to gain value from it.

            And that value component is absolutely essential to appreciate because that – and not the biological component of functioning – determines living. And many of us are members of the walking dead – for many reasons – in that we can gain no further value from our own lives. If we don’t have the power to gain value from our lives, then we don’t have the responsibility for our lives. And if we don’t have that responsibility, then we aren’t living even if we continue to exist. That’s the kind of death I think most of us truly fear.

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          • makagutu says:

            Of course you are right. It is easy to die. And this thought can be paralysing.

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        • tildeb says:

          And when I think about it, I understand that religious belief in some after-life, religious belief that we are owned by another, that we are granted purpose and direction and guidance in exchange for giving up our lives to some imaginary agency of Oogity Boogity directly detracts from ever achieving this understanding about the here and now which then reduces and belittles our lives in a fundamental way. Damaging children with this artificial and life-denying religiously inspired death cult belief I think is a kind of moral infection very difficult to treat and almost impossible to ever fully heal. It’s the kind of subtle abuse that continues to do great if somewhat hidden harm by damaging the ability of people to understand their personal responsibility for achieving their own well being.

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          • makagutu says:

            I don’t think I have insinuated anything to do with a life in the netherworld. If my comment makes it appear so, then I apologize.

            It is not my intention to cheapen this life. And I think by being aware that it is short doesn’t cheapen it but on the contrary makes us want to make each moment count.

            Now, the author of the Mahabharata may have a different view from mine. And it is no oogity boogity to meditate about life/ death especially given that once born one must eventually come to the end of life.

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          • tildeb says:

            No, you haven’t insinuated anything about an afterlife. But I wanted to take the opportunity to criticize the urge we all have to assume life should be this way or that, that we should spend time pondering our non state. Thought of differently, of what use is it to ponder our non state before birth? It seems to me just as much a waste of time as is pondering our non state after we die. I think what you’re really trying to say is that our lives – and not just our neighbour’s – are temporary and we should remember that. But I wanted to point out that the here and now is the only time when we’re actually living and in that sense we are all immortal when we spend time only there.

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          • makagutu says:

            To tell a person or groups of people life should be this or that way is to be, in my view, presumptuous. It is to pretend to having a knowledge that we don’t posses.
            We must live each moment as if it were the last. That way each moment as they say, would count

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  3. What? I’m not immortal?

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  4. My dear Brother Noel, I’ve been saying it for too long, and I don’t mind repeating myself: mankind’s existence is way too complicated, and the gap between the biological and the mental so unfathomable, that from my philosophical ivory tower I can’t but find no better explanation to our infinite mind’s mortal confinement, but Francis Crick’s desperately ultimate theory of our ET origins. Religions call our star-far ancestors, gods, and I could care less how one would want to explain the unacceptable presence of death within souls displaying immortality even through the less bright of us.
    What offends me are all these futile attempts to make the by-products of our yearning for eternity into moral and ethical harnesses causing havoc to a very fine tuned commonsense compass present in all humans. And as a proof of our collective consciousness, we have a pool of commonsense very active if individual members go wrong, something called Commonsense Law, which was still valid until political pragmatism changed into Nonsense Law…
    Humans have always been escapists when it comes to oblivion, and they shall remain so until we will know our true origins, instead of believing whatever comfortable about them…

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  5. Arkenaten says:

    If I press my finger against the second hand on the clock in the kitchen I can imagine I have gained a few extra seconds. 😉

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