Wednesday, January 03, 2007


These colourful Indian holy men called Sadhus are, thanks to Reuters, seen by the sacred River Ganges one cloudless day. The one in the front is blowing his trumpet perhaps in a duet with the elephant who is listening carefully to every sound.

The eyes of the trumpeter are lifted towards the heavens perhaps in hope that, if he blows hard enough or plays beautifully enough, one of the many Indian Gods will hear and appear and whisk him and his companions away to a better life or perhaps reincarnate him as a Maharajah!

All over the earth, every day, people by the billions are carrying out a variety of religious rituals which they hope will eventuate in a blissful life on the other side of the dark veil of death, an impenetrable veil that, to our scientific knowledge, has allowed no one to return. Yet, generation by generation, people believe, people pray, people visit holy places, people hope, then people die and their bodies turn to dust.

But what about those who don't believe, who know that what you see is what you get, that when it's over, it's over, that ideas of Heaven and Paradise are no more than wishful thinking? How do they manage to get through their lives without the promise of the big Lotto win in the sky?

Is it because they have unusual courage? Is it because they were born realists? Or are they simply Stoics, people who enjoy as much as they can of the here and now because, intellectually, they know that life is quickly over and that death brings nothing more than freedom from the bitter-sweet tumult of life? Who knows the answer.

But surely the saddest people on earth are the ones who waste most of this life preparing for a non-existent life after they die!


openminded said...

How do you explain the person who has never done any wrong or hurtanyone being mugged or raped, while another person who rapes, pillages and is 'merry' is never caught and punished for his activities?

Daniel said...

Trying to explain human behaviour and the strange ways of human society is beyond me, I'm afraid!