The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle supposedly argued that the death of the “body” means the end of the “soul” (what makes one human) but not necessarily the end of “pure thought.” I’d like to think that we shed the ego and join some sort of higher consciousness without any of the constraints that shackle us to daily existence.
I’d like to think that the dear friend I lost to a car crash, exactly one year ago, is in a realm that none of the minds in history have grasped. That he’s got better things to “do” than sit on a cloud or wander about trying to communicate with us. After all, hoping for the latter is a lot more about our ego than about the dead person.
My friend and LeipGlo contributor Felipe Cherubin was a writer and lifelong philosopher. He seemed to spend pretty much every waking moment either trying to figure out the meaning of life or trying to escape from thinking about it.
At the same time he pondered death. It may sound obvious now that I say it, but life and death cannot exist without each other.
Through the many ups and downs he had in his 34 years, his books were his most loyal companions. He read hundreds of them and his bedroom looked like a library.
Felipe’s death made me think of how a person’s life is a contradiction, impossibly fragile and resilient at once.
The mundane things we can die from, and the things we can survive by the skin of our teeth, just blow my mind.
I have spent the past year going down the rabbit hole of parallel universes and Westernized Eastern Philosophy and Bertrand Russell. I have tried to reason that we live in a time loop and that we can’t know how it began or ended because, well, it never did.
My mind sometimes goes back to when my friend and I met at age 11, and he still had 23 years ahead of him as Felipe. Perhaps those moments are playing somewhere in a loop and versions of us are reliving them. Perhaps other versions made different choices and our lives intersected longer.
But so far, all this has given me little comfort in my grief.
I’ve become desperate to simply go about my life without needing an explanation, to be fine realizing that it’s impossible to know what’s next. And that I can fear all I want, but it’s useless.
I so envy the kind of person who can just believe. Still can’t bear to think about the possibility of total obliteration. Still can’t stop questioning.
I hope that wherever Felipe is or is not, his own death has finally become immaterial to him.