Throw away your life

Bill-newby L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

There likely isn’t anyone who would characterize life as expendable. Yet one has to wonder at those who treat life with diminutive esteem.  To condescend to life or to treat it as a disposable commodity is a mistaken and unworthy presumption. Even if particular circumstances were to lead one to adjudge life hard or unfair it never warrants our small-minded disdain.  Life is incalculably precious.

For those who have suffered or who continue to suffer extraordinary harm, deprivation or defeat, the thesis is less easily retailed. Loss of any description is never a philosophical nicety. Barring utter ruination, however, there is still generation in even the coolest of embers. The risk one takes in becoming misanthropic about life is the possibility of confusing disappointment with transformation.  At its extremes life is a beginning and an end; in between there are degrees of modification, some obviously more precipitous than others.  We can be assured that life will ultimately only get worse; what we choose to do until then is what makes all the difference.

Part of my gripe is with those who haven’t the foresight to see life as a diminishing source to be exhausted with utmost discretion.  This is such a patent truth as to border on being a mere platitude yet so many of us disregard it.  On the other hand the limitation of life shouldn’t be a governor to the point of restricting it to complete inertia.  Consumption of the fuel is inevitable.  There is a difference however between going up to the trough and getting into it.

It is not uncommonly observed that we can’t predict life’s fortune but we can nonetheless control our assessment of it.  This adage speaks to the element of attitude.  Once again there is a huge distinction between losing one’s bike and losing one’s limbs. I won’t trivialize the experience by suggesting each is similarly surmountable.  And while one such loss may with time evaporate and become meaningless the prejudice must in either case eventually be addressed.

There is for some people overwhelming evidence of perpetual misfortune. Even in catastrophic conditions however there equally persists the logical possibility that what exists today may be better than what is to follow.  Applying this rationale to any situation highlights the necessity to draw from life whatever nourishment and energy it currently provides. Granted it is in some state of affairs an unpleasant labour and drudge but even the mere seeds of life can blossom into something far more abundant than we might have imagined.

On a superficial literary level the transcription of life’s mundane frustrations can perhaps capture its grittiness.  At the other end of the spectrum is the capitulation to fabrication and design.  Accounting for life can involve as a compromise the imposition of manners, an effort to elevate life above the muck without being sterile.  This isn’t to diminish the value of directness or the avoidance of camouflage.  It is more a tactical decision about the direction one wishes to go.