GD-Zone Archives Logo

GD-Zone Archives Logo
Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I am reading through the book by Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. I have enjoyed the story and it does put into perspective many things that as human beings we take far too seriously. But then, part of the opening involves the destruction of planet Earth which opens up an important question. Or the one that asks whether what we have now or today will one day disappear or be forgotten. And on a far more personal note, this idea of becoming ‘nothing’ reminds me of the actuality of death – an event scheduled in our future.

I don’t mean to be negative or morbid here. The fact is as a child I was preoccupied by the question of death and was aware of my own mortality when I was told that my eldest brother David had died a month after I was born. The questions relating to who he was, and the fact that I had a brother I had never known, prompted me to question everything and everyone.

And even if I would joke about things, I knew that the possibility of becoming ‘nothing’ or just a trace was not merely a potential but it was a fact of life. There would be times when I was close to giving up on life, especially in my late teens, but the unknown that stood beyond life was a frightening. And as a kid who was not a foreigner to hospitals, I was also aware of the realities of disease and thus uncertainty.

All these memories and thoughts were triggered during my best friend’s birthday... which is really not a nice thing to think about on such an occasion. Or is it? If I look at my life right now, I know that I miss that something that I may call ‘companionship’. But no friendship or mate, I realized, can ever remove me from facing death. As the philosopher Jacques Derrida states in his work “The Gift of Death”, death is a trip we must take ourselves. Nobody can die in my place!

And even if we may wish to escape it, death will find us in the end. The fable recounting a merchant’s attempt to escape death called “The Appointment at Samarra” makes this point clear. Inasmuch as we may wish to avoid the issue, neither death chooses us or we choose death. It is something that must and will happen.


But besides that deep thought, I still feel the need to be connected with others. And many of us, many of us in secret, wish that we had a significant other in our life to share in the experience. This loneliness that I personally feel sometimes is partly because I realize that we are unaware of who we are until someone points it out to us.


The very idea of ‘reflection’ does not simply imply looking at something from a distance but it implies looking at it from another angle. And perhaps the point in my life when I feel lonely I the point I feel nothing. I don’t know whether this can be explained but it seems to me the possibility of a significant other offers the hope in something beyond me. Hence, a person who is eternal and capable of extending beyond me.

Of course, I may play with words as much as I can and people may be nodding off here. But as death is just a point in a continuum, so is nothing another point. And where does this lead me?


I feel that the truth must be in fearing ‘nothing’, I am perhaps fearing being forgotten. Or rather, forgetting myself. Now I can try different things and describe myself in different ways but the identity society ascribes to me – first as a man and second as a disabled person – is problematic. But it remains present. I can only say that a consolation is that death may be terrifying and ugly but at least it does not discriminate.

We do not often talk about the reality of loneliness or the fear of our mortality, but we persist in repressing them. In so doing, we create divisions between ourselves that are based on differences that we think are negative or inconvenient. Thus, we speak of ‘mercy killing’, the tragedy of impairment, the global ‘problem’ of poverty, etc.

Yet, we fail to see each time that the problem may not be so much in the world or in us but in the way we relate to each other. As I type the last few paragraphs of this blog, I notice that the feeling that I started with originally have taken a life of their own. But putting these words in the context of the universe, what will they mean? Can words of love and poetry ever replace the words touch of another human being? Can they ever really describe the person named Gordon writing this? How much is it the product of my time and of myself? And more pressingly, will it change my world for the better? Or is it that what I seek is really already out there for me to embrace?


Kathleen McCoy Grover said...

Hi Gordon,
I stumbled by your Blog and thought I'd say hello. I am also disabled. My grandfather was Maltese, a Busuttil. I lived in Malta when I was 14 for a year and have some of my best memories of your beautiful island. My mom just returned from 2 weeks there where she visited my Aunt.