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If you die within the next six months, it will not be from the Coronavirus. Caveats for septuagenarians with pre-existing respiratory problems and/or compromised immune systems.
I cannot top @cliffordbrown or @rodin at racking and stacking the statistics and infection data about this virus. Instead, I find the all-American freak-out worth remarking on. One can hardly blame the Great American Public for its trepidation. The reporting by our junk-bond, partisan, hysterical press is one more piece of evidence for the contention that we have a garbage media. I understand that “if it bleeds, it leads,” but the hair-on-fire, doomsday plague reportage impedes our citizens’ ability to perform a decent assessment of the situation.
All that, though, is not the source of my frustration. We’re Americans; a full-fledged freak-out over a rooty-poot virus is unseemly. As quantified on other Ricochet posts, the swine flu, the bird flu, and the M1A generic, seasonal flu reap lives in numbers that are orders of magnitude greater than the Coronavirus.
There is a profound lack of perspective evident in the freak-out. Every morning when you wake, and you haven’t died in your sleep is a gift. Every morning, as you prepare for your day, you should be cognizant of the myriad ways you could face an untimely requirement to shuffle off this mortal coil. Some of the risks can be mitigated. Many can come out of the blue, and whatever risk mitigation measures you’ve employed, you’re going to wind up deader than fried chicken.
Most people, I think, are intellectually aware of the fact that they will die. Too, most are aware that their ticket might be punched far earlier than they would wish. That is a myopic view of life. One needs to accept mortality on a visceral level.
Not accepting, and contemplating, the uncertainty of life prevents a full appreciation and celebration of the gift of life we’ve been given.
Every dawn we meet hale, whole, and hearty is a cause for profound gratitude, and every sunset should evoke the same. I don’t like the term carpe diem, because it hints at an excuse for wanton hedonism (now, carpe per diem is a whole different proposition). But, one should treat each day as a gift, love family and friends as much and as hard as we can, and be ready to meet our Maker.
There is some wisdom to be gained from the philosophy of the samurai of yore. That wisdom is limited, in that upon the initiation of the Tokugawa shogunate and the melding of Zen Buddhism and Shinto, the samurai became members of a pseudo death cult. Still, I found this quote to be relevant.
Every morning a warrior should recommit himself to death. In morning meditation, see yourself killed in various ways, such as being shredded by arrows, bullets, swords, and spears, being swept away by a tidal wave, burned by fire, struck by lightening, dying in a earthquake, falling from a great height, or succumbing to overwhelming sickness. An elder warrior said, “Once out of your front door you are surrounded by death. Once you leave your gate you are surrounded by enemies.” This saying is not merely a parable, but a way to prepare for your fate.
Don’t forget to put life into living.Published in