The Simple Ones.

“Why do we die?”

It’s the second week of school. It’s the first couple of weeks where you get all the orientations, all the introductions, and all the premonitions of future stress. [Yes, I can already see it coming. At least we can say that we were warned.]

In these first weeks, we get the “simple” questions.

“Why do diseases kill humans?”

Simple in construction, but perhaps not so simple in their answers.

I was struck, on the one hand, that this is what academia allows you to do – allows you to simply ask these questions, and take the time and resources to search for and understand the answers. Which is amazing. We aren’t pressed for time, worried about the next deliverable. Or rather, this is on our way to that next deliverable, even if we don’t know what that is yet. Academia allows you to ponder the world and its constructions and its tragedies and its physical wonders. It gives you the mind space.

And then on the other hand, me: THIS IS WHAT ACADEMIA ALLOWS YOU TO DO, in the alarmed, incredulous sense. Directly, there is no rationale for practicality. None. This is solely for my benefit, my luxury of thought. It’s a thought exercise. While many in the world can hardly make eight hours of sleep, while many are just trying to keep it together, while most just ain’t got time for that. We’re here asking each other,

“Why do we die?”

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