The now well known and widely read speech from Roger Ebert regarding not fearing death is something that I think we should all take a moment to read and then spend some time digesting the words. I’ll highlight a couple of excerpts that stood out for me and made me pause and think:
I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.
“Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.
And this quote which was supposedly attributed to Vincent Van Gogh:
Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map.
Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France?
Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. We cannot get to a star while we are alive any more than we can take the train when we are dead. So to me it seems possible that cholera, tuberculosis and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. Just as steamboats, buses and railways are the terrestrial means.
Photo of the Day – Breaking Day in the Badlands
The ‘kindness’ quote above is the one that means the most to me personally – I could not agree more. There are so many people in the world that are ‘fake’ good people. They do their religious ceremonies on the weekends and believe that doing that makes them somehow superior to all. However, in their day-to-day life they treat people like crap or stand in the way of people’s happiness. We all deserve to be happy – heck its embedded in to the ultimate authority of the US Constitution so the founding fathers in the US found it important enough to make sure it stood the test of time. Yet some feel they know what will make others happy and thus stand in the way of their ultimate pursuit of it. To me (and to Roger Ebert) that is and should be criminal. If we all strive to do what he tried to do ‘Contribute to the Joy of the World’ we would all be in a better place.
Below is another inspirational speech at a TED conference from Roger Ebert on how he remade his voice following all of his surgeries for cancer which led to the removing of his lower jaw.