You won't be surprised to learn that I'm not just anti-death, I'm pro-living. That is, I'm desperate for life to continue, even when I don't like it so much.
There are two big mistakes people make when they think about life and death and other people.
The first one is to think that people who dread death are naturally risk-averse. This thought is not only false, but is really, deeply, the opposite of true. Here's why. To be risk-averse, you have to really be thinking about the fact that something could be a risk. Which means you have to think about the fact that you are not only fragile, but breakable. You could die. But if you dread death, you really really don't want to think about that fact.
And if you don't think about that fact, pretty soon there you are riding motorcycles, smoking, taking drugs, and — you can fill in the blanks.
The second big mistake is to think that people who are anti-death are that way because they are really happy. This is also totally false. Because if you're not happy, your dread of death doesn't change or go away. Not at all. It's when you're most unhappy that it seems cruelest to top off an unhappy time with no time at all.
Indeed, I would say it's happy people who tend to be most at peace with death.
On the subject of the monotony of everyday life and the dread of death, we may again consult the master, Don Delillo, in his canonical text on the subject, White Noise. Jack has been asking his wife, Babette, whether she is taking a mysterious drug.
"Either I'm taking something and I don't remember or I'm not taking something and I don't remember. My life is either/or. Either I chew regular gum or I chew sugarless gum. Either I chew gum or I smoke. Either I smoke or gain weight. Either I gain weight or a run up the stadium steps."I couldn't agree more.
"Sounds like a boring life.'
"I hope it lasts forever."