Rather Ashes Than Dust


“I would rather be ashes than dust!

So would I, if those were the only two choices.  But they’re not.

“I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.”

Yep.  With you on that.

“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.”

There ain’t nuthin’ wrong with planets, Jack.  Try seeing how long you can get along without one; let me know how that goes.

“The function of man is to live, not to exist.”

I think you left out “merely” in front of “exist.”  And judging man in relation to his “function” presupposes all kinds of things.  Like his even having any objective function that man in his present state is capable of understanding.  Let’s just table “function” for a while, okay?

“I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”

Oh, I know what you’re getting at, Jack.  Really I do.  There was a time when I might have said something like that myself – I sure acted like it.  But really, you’re forcing a dichotomy where none exists.  It is not necessary to burn out in order to avoid fading away, and to insist that it is might be regarded as a childish. And unjustifiably dangerous, which is right adjacent to stupid.

With a little care and regard for – not worship of; just regard for – one’s favorite skin a person can keep their fires burning for a very long time; can become white-haired and wrinkly while still being vital and creative and involved and alive and not altogether trustworthy around temptation. 

And I mean to prove it.  Someday someone is going to ask who’s the ancient geezer with the attitude and someone else is going to stare at that person in disbelief and say,

“Do you really not know? 
That’s Darren Raleigh, you idiot.”

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