“Meet me at the fork in the road, where the lost souls get indecisive; Meet me at the crossroads, so I can have someone to walk into the light with.” – Sage Francis, Crackpipes
As this adventure in blogging draws to a close, it’s time to look to other endings: death, while never exactly a pleasant topic, is a frequent one in art of all kinds. Music, visual art, and literature all try to explore what lies beyond the edges of our consciousness, what Shakespeare describes as “the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns” – the place no one has been and no one will come back from.
But what happens when we die? Does the essence of a person decay with his body? Our favorite artists and philosophers say no. Slug says that “a soul is a soul, and a shell is a shell – the border in between is full of everything you felt”: the body is mortal, but the soul persists after death. His thoughts are echoed by Plato’s idea that “the soul takes nothing with her to the next world but her education and her culture.” Material things, including the body, are worthless to us at the point of death. The answer, then, is not in how you die, but how you live.
Talib Kweli states that “Life without knowledge is death in disguise,” which is almost identical to the thought motivating Socrates’s declaration that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” In this light, then, truth is the highest aim of life – to know, to continually learn, is to fully experience the world around us.
So learn something every day. Listen to the people around you to see if they have something to teach you. Don’t be a lost soul when your time comes to walk into the light.