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I was feeling rather metaphysical last night

David Graeber died. At 59.

Tomorrow, you or I might die. At any moment. Meanwhile, we pretend life has meaning.

Eventually, we will die. A whole life—poof, gone, here one minute and gone the next, millions of memories and thoughts and accumulated experiences, personal quirks, secret jokes, loves and hates and struggles. Here then, gone now. Fifty-nine years. An entire lifetime, from conception to birth and infancy, childhood, youth, high school, college, on and on and on year after year after year into your thirties and forties, career, day after day of looking out at this world and seeing people talking smiling crying taking it all in and then I don’t feel so good and wham you’re dead.

Did any of it happen? It seemed to last eons and yet was vanishingly quick. Was it a dream? Do I exist or am I some sort of illusion? I’m almost 40 and my life has passed in a flash yet lasted centuries—I feel 400 even as I feel 4. What are my memories? From past lives—did they happen to me or to someone else? I exist only right now, and every second of my life, millions, I exist only right now until suddenly I’m 90—or I’m 59—and the dark seizes me and the world goes on without me.

There is no value in it. We live to no end but to live, until the end. Impassioned commitment to ideologies—anarchism, Marxism, socialism—and then the great joke, the great laugh, that nothing really matters because death erases. Time erases each moment—this moment, erased, and this one too, erased the next moment, smudged out before this following moment, momentary erasures preserved perhaps in memory until memory is smudged and final moments erased. Casting your glance backward and then poof none of it happened.

It is, surely, a sham. To die in infancy or to die in your dotage—you die either way, you live to die. Joyous moments vanish through time, and as I look back I wonder if they happened because right now I’m simply here, mere consciousness fused with the specious present. That is life, that steady state of self-staring beneath the momentary irruptions of emotions only to pass away into self-staring until the self itself dissolves. The experience is gone even as it is being experienced, it is passing away into the next experience, erased at the moment it is consummated. To live is to die.

David Graeber died. At 59.



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