"We are mortal animals with an inevitable expiration date and we have the unenviable capacity to know it." Paul Pardi, Philosophy News.
How do animals live? Survive the best you can (eat, sleep, defecate, frolic...), raise the next generation, and when its time to go, leave this fleeting place with perhaps a precious few having a lingering memory or our existence. This is our essence and we must deal with it.
To be human is to be dissatisfied with this essence. To be human is to transcend the mere functions of the body and mind and to become something more. We are beings with the ability to make choices that shape what we can become. We believe we have choice, that our future is not predetermined, and that with enough will-power and effort we can bend our corner of the universe according to our hopes and dreams. To be human, is to fully embrace our chaotic reality and acknowledge that it is solitary, brutish and short. Ultimately, the universe wins but we strive to become and not merely be anyway.
We want life to mean something, however small, to the wider world. We want to be more than just having been. It’s to endeavor to expand beyond ourselves, if such a thing is possible, and become something more than common. The paradox is that the more we try, the harder and more demanding it becomes.