“We're living in primate heaven. We're warm, dry, we're not hungry, we don't have fleas and ticks and infections. So why are we so miserable?” – Steven Pinker, Born Sep. 18, 1954.
Why not, Steve? Because we are all damned with the inescapable knowledge of our own eventual demise.
It's a pants-shitting fear that constantly waits for us, and the longer we avoid it, the closer it gets to claiming us.
This continuous companion results in a long-term, low-grade, but ever-present existential dread.
And there is no limit to the amount of money and attention and time we will give to anything that proves to be an effective distraction from this ultimate question mark, punctuating a slowly escalating anxiety.
There is always something else to worry about. When our basic needs are pretty much covered, we go to consumerism, materialism, obsession over being fit or healthy or pretty or happy. If we aren't constantly in motion, that curse of knowledge can come creeping back.
Because our brains are wired to always be alert for danger. Predators. Tribal enemies. Bad weather. Obstacles. Roadblocks. Rivals. Panthers. Crocodiles. Competitors. Warning signs. Omens. Alarms.
And what bigger danger is there than the one that does you in for good? Is there something after? Does anything you do matter? Will anyone remember you? Will you leave anyone behind that would inspire them to bother remembering?
Oh it hurts! It hurts to remember this truth! For god's sake, shut your mouth! Stop talking about it! Stop thinking about it! What's for dinner? What's on TV? What can I buy to feel better?
Anything. Everything. Especially if you buy it from me. GUARANTEED to make the intervening interval between now and oblivion a little bit more pleasant. A little bit more fun. Give you a little bit more power and control over how you spend what little time you have left.
And isn't that what we all want? Isn't that why we want anything at all?
Don't delay, order today!
Here is a list of ways you can use this denial of our own extermination to sell people stuff…
1. It’s easy (so you won’t spend a living moment frustrated).
2. It’s fast (so you don’t waste a second of your remaining time.)
3. It’s safe (so you won’t accidentally die too soon.)
4. It’s cheap (so you can spend your money on other stuff before you die.)
5. It makes you prettier (so you can mate before you die.)
6. It increases status (so everyone knows you lived well before you died.)
7. It makes you healthier (so you can try and not die as long as possible.)
8. It will make you rich (so you won’t die poor.)
9. It will entertain you (so you don’t have to think about how you’ll die.)
10. It’s rare (so you know you got to enjoy the best things before you die.)
11. It says “you” (so you can hopefully be seen and remembered after you die.)
12. It’s a coffin (the one thing you can take with you.)
13. You NEED it (or else you will like, literally like, DIE.)
Today’s list is a little silly, but I thought we could use a chuckle after that harsh truth potion. Too much? Leave a comment and let me know.