Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kubler-Ross, Hope, and Human Extinction

“No matter the stage of illness or coping mechanisms used, all our patients maintained some form of hope until the last moment. Those patients who were told of their fatal diagnosis without a chance, without a sense of hope, reacted the worst and never quite reconciled themselves with the person who presented the news to them in this cruel manner. As far as our patients are concerned, all of them maintained some hope and it is well for us to remember this!”
  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying, p. 264

Hope tells us we are so clever,
There’ll always be human endeavor;
But with doom, we must guide
To what it’s applied,
‘Cause our species won’t live forever.

Human hope has always been spun
Into all kinds of jobs to be done;
Due to limited roles
When choosing our goals,
Never dying cannot be one.

People will always have hope:
We evolved it in order to cope;
But now where it’s attached
Must be thoughtfully matched
And be of more limited scope.

Our drama stirred much to enthrall,
But most roles were surprisingly small;
When we’ve finished our page,
We’ll exit the stage:
We're really just mortals, after all.

With no immortality bases,
We might find hope in other places:
Much more Here and Now,
More I-and-Thou Tao,
And probably lots more embraces.

Hope urges us to repress
Thoughts which will cause us distress;
But in truth, I confess,
Making do with much less
Will be just one big fucking mess.

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