Analogy of the Highway

Close your eyes. Walk into traffic. Wear black. Until you can be comfortable in this moment, you are not alive. Your death comes for you on swift wings. Don’t run from it. There’s no time to waste. By embracing your imminent nonexistence, you affirm your existence. If you hide from it, you’ll spend the only moment of life you have hating your life.

You’ll still die. but not today. The remaining days of your life are a gift. You will never know when they may end; that is your gift. What bears down upon you? Doom, or a future? By closing your eyes you embrace both realities. Neither is any less true than the other for you. This moment is your last. This moment is not your last.

We are bound and blindfolded together on this highway. Many are shouting that they have gotten their blindfolds off and now see our fate coming for us through the night. Some are saying that the coast is clear, others that we are surely doomed. But being blindfolded yourself, you cannot see them to determine whether they have their blindfolds off, nor can you see down the road yourself to discover which ones are telling the truth. You may be able to escape your bonds, but you have not done it yet. And behold, a gunshot rings out. Then another, and another. Countless flashes of light like stars illuminate the roadside as tens of thousands fall dead, a meteor shower to mark a great mass suicide of the human race. The streets run red with blood and one thought passes through tens of thousands of minds in their only moment of existence: I might as well.

Even if I don’t do it myself, it can still just happen anyway. And to tell the truth, I can’t stand not knowing, so I’ll at least die on my own terms. Let me regain the basic dignity of self control, even if it is in self destruction. I will be the master of my fate. I will not be disappointed, for that is the one thing which I could never bear. The risk that it will have been for nothing is an impossible burden. The moment must never come when I hear the engines’ roar and know that all is lost, even after I had chosen to live. I must not allow myself to hope. Even if my death were sudden and unexpected, I could not commit to an endeavor which I knew to be as likely to fail as to succeed. Even admitting hope into my soul is like acid to me.

In one reality, the cars come in the next moment and strike down all the survivors. The one meets with instant death and the other alike, and it is not better to be the one or the other. The same fate comes for us all. The wise and the foolish lie side by side beneath the sky.

In another reality, the cars do not come. The survivors have time to free themselves and limp or crawl to the side of the road. They go home to all the remaining days of their lives. Not one person needed to die. Yet the streets remain red with the blood of those whose greatest fear has now been realized, the longing which they could never allow themselves to acknowledge: that things might turn out better than they expected. Both realities are real for you in this moment, as you stand on the road before the darkness waiting for life or death. The gun is in your hand. Will you pull the trigger? Dare you not?

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