Anyone who writes about life must think about death. It is not being morbid to do so. As Steve Jobs said in an address at Stanford University in 2004 which has become famous since he himself died prematurely at the summit of his life as the greatest design and marketing genius of his age: “Death is very likely the single best intervention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” It serves no purpose to flinch from this simple fact of life.
Of course, that is true of death in general, death in the abstract. It is not easy to face up to one’s own personal extinction. “I like to think that something survives after you die,” Steve Jobs said. “But on the other hand, perhaps it’s like an on-off switch. Click! And you’re gone”. It is said it is as impossible to gaze at one’s own death as it is to gaze at the sun at high noon in a cloudless sky. And much of one’s life is spent in the desperate game and hurly-burly of averting one’s gaze – working and playing, planning and scheming, getting and spending, loving and hating, building and tearing down, filling every hour as much as possible with people to connect to and things to do. And this is as it should be. How dismal it would be to mope around considering the futility of everything since nothing lasts. Far better the frenzy of the too-busy life than the depressed stupor of continually thinking about the end for oneself…..