By Rado Gatchalian, The FILOsopher
First published in the author’s Facebook blog: The FILOsopher
The cliché “as you age, you become wise” only fits in a context where maturity is synonymous with supreme omniscient knowledge. But behold — when we accept this saddest (yet glorifying) truth that we shall all succumb to deterioration — and death — we become a free spirit. One way or another, every one of us will come to a demented stage when our minds can no longer recognize our own offspring or remember our last sip of coffee. This omniscient mind returns to infancy where decay becomes a new habit. Everything is a cycle of life in a journey from here to there and from beginning to end, end to beginning.
Life becomes empty.
But such emptiness reminds us of man’s great contribution to humanity — we only live once, and it is short, but we shall still make it beautiful.
Everything that we have achieved in our prime lives and everything that we have known as facts and truth during our rebellious and adventurous years — becomes an empty vessel when we are about to face our own death.
We realize that life is more than what we see. It is elusive that even the meaning of life itself suddenly changes the moment our feet can no longer move or our eyes become blurry. Man is both a product of power — and losing… And we only retain such power when we find the meaning of losing it.
When we learn from the elders who are at the twilight of their lives: every morning is a state of happiness; the smell of a flower, a paradise; one flickering star is a constellation of billions; a touch of a child is a sweet embrace of all great people combined; and a swim on an afternoon sea, a playtime for the remaining hours.
We pity those elders who continue to live, in the remaining fragile years of their lives — full of bitterness and hate. They sit in a cold, sad chair looking at everyone’s lives, only to compare, criticize, and complain. They should exert their last energy to a life worth remembering: not for themselves but for the people they will leave behind.
Because one day when we can no longer move our body or remember our own names, there is no turning back but only “memories.” We will be remembered by our families and friends not on the basis of how rich we are or of what we have achieved in life but of how kind and humane we were to people.
The only precious thing that people will cherish is our values.
With all the victories and medals in our lives — it is the defeat that makes us a man. And we learn to submit ourselves to a higher duty: it doesn’t matter if we fail.
Thus, this intellectual arrogance in our midst shall soon be defeated by an intellectual honesty and humility. When we accept our own ignorance we open a wisdom that is called empty.
And this emptiness will fill all the voids and discontents in our lives. Life, then, becomes a wonder, every minute and every day. Life, then, becomes beautiful — no matter who we are and where we are.
Because that wisdom which is called empty will take us to a place where everything becomes beautiful — complete and full.