Reflections at 65

Mon, 22/03/2010 - 19:02 -- Heward Wilkinson

I feel fit and well and able to function - and I am now an Old Age Pensioner!

I guess what I primarily am aware of is the proximity of death. I feel I have much in me yet, creatively, but the hour glass is sifting through!

I am soft sift
In an hourglass — at the wall
Fast, but mined with a motion, a drift,
And it crowds and it combs to the fall;
I steady as a water in a well, to a poise, to a pane,
But roped with, always, all the way down from the tall
Fells or flanks of the voel, a vein
Of the gospel proffer, a pressure, a principle, Christ's gift.

http://www.gerardmanleyhopkins.net/songs/209_the_wreck_of_the_deutschland_-_part_the_first.html

Fear of death, which used to be profound, is diminishing. For me, as for the Cambridge Philosopher CD Broad

http://www.acampbell.ukfsn.org/bookreviews/r/broad-1.html

the jury remains out on what happens to our identity after death. But one of the great puzzles of life, of course, is precisely that we do actually NOT know - that the jury does remain out! This takes us into philosophical territory to be sure.

As the default scenario, I imagine - what cannot be imagined! - annihilation. The world ceases to exist for my subjectivity - that means that from MY being there is no world. If this is the case then the sustainable meaning of life can only exist in what I can do while I am alive, and secondly in my sense of a living reality, which will continue to be when I am no more, and which has intrinsic value in its own right, the tapestry of human life, which Elijah Baley speaks of in his dying words to Daneel Olivaw in Robots and Empire, from which the thread of the individual trails off.

Things may be otherwise! I do not think the scientific world view is quite the final word. We shall come back to this.

But meantime I have a moral obligation to eat birthday cake!