Something strange began to happen to me at age 50. I had a wife who loved me, and whom I loved. I had a large estate, which, without much effort on my part, increased. My name was respected, I enjoyed physical strength, and yet I could not live, because of death. The question which brought me to the verge of suicide sought an answer without which one cannot live, "is there any meaning in life that my inevitable death does not destroy?"

Today or tomorrow death will come to those I love and then to me. Soon not only I will not exist, but eventually no one will exist who will remember anything I have written or done. Why then go on with the effort? What is it all for? What does it all lead to? What difference will it make whether I do this thing rather than that thing or nothing at all? So I could give no rational meaning to any single action or even to my whole life. But what was so surprising was how we can fail to see this. For a time its possible to live intoxicated with life, but as soon as one is sober, it is impossible not to see that life in the face of death is a fraud, and a stupid fraud.

How often I have been told, "Oh, you cannot understand the meaning of life, so don't think about it, just live."

But I no longer can do that.
Leo Tolstoy

1 comment:

witw said...

Cool quote. At first I totally thought that you were quoting from Ecclesiastes using some modernized paraphrase like The Message.