Reflections Following a Sad Event

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Interesting morning so far…in tragic way.  I got up a bit later than usual, planning on taking a slightly later train, since I ordinarily arrive far earlier at the office than anyone else.  However, while the train was going north, there was an accident (another train hit someone), so they had to reroute the passengers by running shuttles and so forth…and of course there were delays.  Most people tend initially to react to such events as if this is something happening to them, but of course, it’s something that already happened to the poor person who died, and to the people who are stuck on the train involved in the accident until the authorities finish their investigation.

It is a shame, and indeed a tragedy.  One wonders what the person killed was doing walking on the tracks in the first place.  If it was a suicide, I have some sympathy, having suffered from depression myself, but to kill oneself in a way that inconveniences so many is rather inconsiderate, and in poor taste in my opinion.  If it simply was an accident, it’s hard to draw conclusions, but it’s certainly an object lesson in why one shouldn’t walk on train tracks.  One would think such movies as “Stand By Me” and “Fried Green Tomatoes” would provide cautionary lessons for all, but people can be remarkably reckless.

This event can be an exercise in keeping a larger perspective with respect to our own lives.  We become dependent and fixed upon our expectations, focused on our daily plans, while all around us the universe turns, and the unexpected cannot help but happen to us all.  We can embrace implicit solipsism and narcissism, and simple withdrawal, as philosophical escapes, but as Tolkien said, the wide world is all about you.  You can fence yourself in, but you cannot forever fence it out.  Death, at the very least, will ultimately come for us all.

This is not a pessimistic point of view.  If you can accept reality as it is, warts and all, then you can be more capable of dealing with it.  If you expect that the unexpected and occasionally the tragic will in inevitably come into your life, then you will at least be spared a certain degree of shock as you go through your days.

Also, it can be a source of peace to recognize that one is a small part of a very large (possibly infinite) and majestic universe.  It can make one’s troubles a little bit less troublesome at times.  And embracing the fact of one’s own death can be liberating.  Shakespeare’s Caesar was right…death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.  In the meantime, try simply to live your life and to enjoy it.  Learn new things; create arts, crafts, technology, and fun.  Indulge yourself occasionally, but try to stay healthy…not so you can live longer, necessarily, (and certainly not forever),  but so you can feel better while you’re alive.

Well, those are the thoughts going through my head, triggered by events and abetted by the extra time on my hands.  Take them for whatever they’re worth to you, even if that’s nothing.


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