Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two deaths

I thought I would take a hiatus from blogging, despite the urge to talk about the latest developments in the censorship review committee 2010 report and the government's reaction.

But before I do so. There are more important things to talk about.

Today, I learned about how mortality manifests itself.

In Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, she led a long and I believe fulfilling life, fighting very ill health towards the end of it, and fought no more. She passed away early this evening.

In Mingwei, a stranger to me, but daughter of a man whom I recently got to know, we have an example of how a life can be cruelly and unfairly robbed.

For a non-religious person like myself, there is no further rationalisation. Death means cessation of life.

But what makes death difficult is the emotional bonds and investments we have in one another, forged through relations and interactions. Along the way, sometimes, we empathise.

For me, death is the cessation of suffering. But it is death itself that causes the suffering of others, as each begin his/her respective journey of "dealing with it".

It is our awareness of mortality and the occasional unexpected death(s) that shape our social world. And we rationalise and ritualise accordingly.

Mortality holds ransom the meaning-seeking and meaning-creating human world, but it does not stop most people from being selfish, self-serving, fighting and killing - acts that render an already unequal world even more meaningless.

There is no actually no need to rationalise and ascribe more meanings to connect the dots. But meaning-seeking humans that we all are, cannot help but see dots that require connection - maybe that is how we deal with mortality.

It's times like these that makes me wonder what life is all about. Then again, "life" is the rationalised incarnation of a fact that is mortality and transience.

The problem with life is that it is often defined by its function (e.g. "life goes on") because it is void of form. Even if it did have a form, it would have been saturated with ascriptions of human sense and meaning-making, which in turn serve their humanly functions. But somehow, we feel strongly about defending this.

We fear the eventuality of death and also its unpredictability. All meaning-making gravitate towards these known certainties (eventuality and unpredictability).

It is the certainty of death that we make sense of our mortality. Some of us feel worthless, some of us feel we are holier than others. But what is the point?

I think there is a no point. There is no bottomline. Just a series of priorities we have created for ourselves, from which rules are created for "appropriate" sets of behaviour, sensitivities and opinions.

Isn't it ironic when I speak of rationalising and prioritising for the sake of sense and meaning-making, when I believe that "there are more important things in life" - it constituting the process of prioritisation?

Isn't it ironic when I speak of human beings seeing the world in dots in need of connecting, when I myself rationalise mortality as a common denominator of human beings?

What is real to me, is the emotional investment we have. There is some trust. There is some love. Or a little bit of friendship.

I do not know how you feel as a father. But I feel sad to learn of the tragic news. I hope you and your family will be strong.

As for the Lee family, they are perhaps more prepared for Mrs Lee's passing (but I might be wrong). I feel sad for her husband's and children's loss.

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