A thematically inspired post is very much called for in honour of the bittersweet end of 2011 and of the new, fresh beginnings that 2012 promises us… don’t you think? Have you noticed the huge apocalyptic theme shadowing the New Year? I sure have. With all these movies, books, and other such media all based on the impending doom and gloom, it’s kind of hard not to. It’s a pretty scary notion to think about, the fact that the world will just end one day and death will come on swift wings to all of us. Let me share one of my favourite paragraphs in Steve Jobs’ Biography. It’s Steve’s thoughts on dying… I promise that this is relevant:
“He admitted that, as he faced death, he might be overestimating the odds out of a desire to believe in an afterlife. “I’d like to think that something survives after you die,” he said. “It’s strange to think that you accumulate all this experience, and maybe a little wisdom, and it just goes away. So I really want to believe that something survives, that maybe your consciousness endures.” He fell silent for a very long time. “But on the other hand, perhaps it’s like an on-off switch,” he said. “Click! And you’re gone.” Then he paused again and smiled slightly. “Maybe that’s why I never liked to put on-off switches on Apple devices.” (© Isaacson: pg. 571)
Yes, this quote focuses more on death itself rather than the end of the world, but isn’t that what The End entails? The earth stops turning and we stop living? If we really think about it, our lives are just an accumulation of experiences. We either grow from them, or shrink because of them. Laugh, or cry. Forgive, or dwell… see the dichotomy I’m hinting at here? We know no other way of life, hence the fear of the unknown that The End will bring. However, instead of being consumed with the idea of The End, why not just live?
“If the world is ending and you’re planting a tree, finish planting the tree.” – Prophet Mohammed (sws)
It’s so simple, yet so hard when The End is all you think about. This quote was brought up in a recent conversation with a good friend of mine. Take one guess as to the subject of this conversation. Give up? The End. When he responded to my worrying about what 2012 will bring with this quote, it was like a slap in the face. Why not just finish planting my tree without worrying about what the future might bring? Water it, watch it grow and maybe, just maybe, it will bear fruits before The End.