Saturday, September 22, 2007

NPR - What would you say and do

I read 3-5 newspapers several days a week, usually one or more local papers - Seattle has a conservative and liberal newspaper with equally good reporting, the New York Times (NYT), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and USA Today - haven't figured out why the Washington Post doesn't have a national distribution, along with a few weekly papers. In this week's WSJ there is a story about Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch. During the summer of 2006 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a summary history.

On Tuesday of this week (9/18/2007) he gave his last lecture, similar to the "Last Lecture Series" at Stanford and other universities. The point of the lectures is the simple question, what wisdom would you impart to the world if you knew if was your last chance? So, my question is, what would you say, and then what would you do with your life?

While we can argue about life and life after death, and the different religious and philosophic views of it, in reality these are the two most important questions we are asked of our life. I subscribe to the view that we don't ask the meaning of our life, but we are asked the meaning of our life. We have the responsibility to answer with our words and life. While all the faith in the universe may effect our view of both, it won't change the fact we still have to say and do.

I've spent most of my life trying to be a good Taoist, but I know I never am. I've only read a few books beside the Tao Teo Ching, but mostly I just enjoy the idea of it than the practice, and have made it a personal practice in my life and photography. I use it in my daily life, but I'm not a consistent Taoist. And I don't have an answer to what would I say and do if faced with a life-ending condition.

We've all seen the movies, read the books, or even know someone who's been there. And we all know unless something suddenly happens in our life, we'll all face the moment we realize it's over. Hopefully we'll have some time to think and maybe do some things, but sometimes diseases and their treatments don't accommodate that except some time to be there in life, and the do isn't a choice anymore. It's been made for us.

And in the end I don't have answers, yet anyway. Until then I'll just go about my life as best I know, because it's the thought:

We all do
What we can,
When we can,
How we can,
And the rest,
Just is.

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