The Big Diversion (ft. Blaise Pascal)

The world’s second biggest fear is fear of death, misery, being helpless and sick. Just thinking about it is enough to make us feel bad at the very least. Therefore, we choose not to think about it. It is just easier this way. But French philosopher Pascal claims that never mind what we think about, our last thought is about death. The more we think about things and the longer our train of thoughts is, the final thought is eventually going to be death.

And since that is the case, we turn to diversion. We distract ourselves with other things, so we don’t have to be alone with our thoughts. In the past kings had their own entertainers and servants, there was always somebody to keep them distracted and worst case scenario, they started a war J The women had to take care of their house, children, cook, clean, keep the husband happy, or they read, went for walks, balls and pose for portraits. The peasants had to keep the family alive, growing enough food and working like crazy to make the ends meet.

Today we have no problems like that (at least most of the people in the Western world). So we came up with other kinds of distractions like the Internet, social media, movies, books, drugs, alcohol, video games, fashion and so on. There is always something to do and we don’t even have a chance to get bored as long as there is some Wi-Fi.

What does Pascal say about distractions?

The only thing, which consoles us from our miseries, is the diversion, and yet this is the greatest of our miseries. For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this, we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a more solid means of escaping from it. But diversion amuses us and leads us unconsciously to death.

Is there a solution? Sure, everything has a solution, but sadly, not the one we want. There is no immortality, at least not yet. Nevertheless, there is the possibility to accept death. Accept that we are all going to die eventually and not just that. Our friends, family, our partner, children, dog and even forest behind the house is going to die, disappear altogether.

It sounds horrible, but it doesn’t have to be. Dying is the worst thing that can happen to us. That is it. You die, end of the story. Therefore, any problems we are dealing with right now are not as scary as the thought of dying. And knowing this is kind of liberating, don’t you think?

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