Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Let death be your wisest advisor

Today before dinner I was as usual engrossed in LSAT studying, letting the stories of the local news enter my ear periodically. I heard the words "Hit-and-run" and welcomed this particular story in its entirety.

Normally I don't pay much mind to whatever's on the local news. It's the same thing everyday: a rape, a robbery, a murder, some outrageous new claim about what's healthy for our bodies, and the weather. Unfortunately, while a lot of these stories are sad and exemplify the current state of our world, it appears I've become immune to them.

But this particular hit-and-run occurred only 3 min away from where I lived. It's funny, isn't it? How because this story literally hit close to home (literally) I paid more attention to it? It reminds me of my philosophy class when we were discussing Peter Singer, who says:

"The fact that a person is physically near to us, so that we have personal contact with him, may make it more likely that we shall assist him, but this does not show that we ought to help him rather than another who happens to be further away. If we accept any principle of impartiality, universability, equality or whatever, we cannot discriminate against someone merely because he is too far away from us (or we are far away from him)."

Not exactly the same thing as I'm discussing here, so I digress.

Anyway, I open up my facebook and scrolling through the statuses on my home page I'm surprised at all of the RIP statuses attributed to a teacher who taught at my high school--a tall skinny man with white and gray hair with a matching large mustache. He wore large frames and I always saw him with his long white lab coat. I frowned and wondered how he had died--though I never had him as a teacher myself, he had always seemed like the most energetic, healthy man. Once in the hallway he had stopped me and exclaimed "HEY! I had a long, black ponytail like you did when I was younger." The first word that came to mind when I saw him was "goofy."

Mr. P had died in a hit-and-run only 3 min away from my house. I couldn't believe it. I was deeply saddened and surely in disbelief. I feel like death is something that will always affect people if it's even someone that you knew of remotely. Even Patrick Swayze's death had somewhat of an effect on me--I've never even seen any of his movies. I don't know why. Maybe it's because you know the world is just a little bit, even a teeny-tiny bit different with that person gone.

As I was thinking of Mr. P, I looked back and realized at how many deaths occurred in this past year. Of course, duh, people are dying all the time in countries across the world, but really we don't pay attention to this. As I'm typing right at this moment, there are several individuals who are dying. But when we look simply look at the statistics, we don't see the characters behind those deaths. They're just numbers. It's so dehumanizing. But everywhere there is a story to be told. Unfortunately, we don't know of them.

I remember a quote that my yoga teacher once told the class. She was a crazy woman and I wasn't too fond of her, but I will always remember this seemingly morbid, but uplifting quote:

"Let death be your wisest advisor."

Death is something a lot of people are scared of, but with so many people dying, let it help you. Let it remind you what life is for.

RIP, Mr. P.

1 comment:

  1. Your Yoga instructor most likely got this quote from Carlos Castaneda's book "Journey to Ixtlan." There's an entire chapter called "Death as an Advisor" and the theme comes up repeatedly throughout the book. Plus, Castaneda's the kind of author lots of Yoga types would be really into.