All life goes downhill so let us do our very best

Young OldThose who are young and beautiful today will grow old tomorrow and eventually die

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 Source: Dr. Samuel Adjei Sarfo

Those who are wise enough will always think of life as an inevitable rise and fall, of growth and degeneracy, and of eventual death and decay. In other words, all life is comprised of initial rise to power and eventual fall from grace to grass. Those who are young and beautiful today will grow old tomorrow, become ugly and eventually die. Those who are rich today could fall into poverty and die in misery. Those who are today powerful could lose all their power and become weak. Those who are strong could be emasculated and become feeble.

Even if none of the above misfortunes occurs to any of us in life, there is still the natural growth and decay that come about as a result of the very passage of time. After all, none of us can go beyond a hundred years with all our beauty and strength intact without physically going downhill in our beauty, or in our health and intellectual capacity. Thus, all of us are inevitably headed on a one-way street to degeneracy and decay, and none of us can escape the final ugliness, weakness and neediness of the future. Thus, we can say that life is a journey toward spoliation, wherein our knowledge, beauty, strength and power are all headed for extinction. The inevitability of the demise of those things we hold dear must, therefore, humble us all and make us reflect deeply on exactly what is the purpose of life.

King Solomon, wise, rich, powerful, glorious, had it all, and yet fell into depression and described life as vanity upon vanity. If that man who had conceivably every desirable thing on earth could write a book of complaints like the Ecclesiastes, then what hope do we puny men and women have in finding true meaning in life?

No matter what we do, we cannot reverse the inevitability of our wrinkles. We cannot reverse the degeneracy of our strength, the decrepitude of our bones, the growing loss of power over everybody and everything, the loss of taste for our favourite foods, and the loss of vim and vigour in the last stages of our lives.

And in those days, those we have controlled will control us; and those we have offended will offend us, and those we have berated will berate us. And unless the vicious cycle of retribution is mitigated at some good fortune, we will account for every single one of our deeds, whether good or bad, and we will wish that death takes us quickly from our misery when the dark days finally arrive. Behold! Everything is leading to this dark destination!

But we can reverse our own fortunes heading to these dark places if we have properly invested in the treasures of friendship, and goodwill, and charity, and honesty and kindness. If we have done the right things and encouraged the little ones amongst us to do so; and have been consistent in being fair and just to all, the dark days will come all right, but they will be far less sorrowful. And in our time of great depression, we will be surrounded by love and affection and even devotion and sacrifice.

But if we have lived our lives in selfishness, vindictiveness, hatred and revenge, we will suffer the karmic weight of our actions thereof, and nothing can save us from our eventual misery.

So in the brighter states of our lives, let us always think of the dark journey ahead wherein everything will degenerate and all things fall apart. And if we do this, we will invest our life and time in doing the most good, and we will live comfortably throughout the coming dark days.

When I think of the life of our forefathers and foremothers, I feel very sorry for them. These were people who could not read and write and had no information about the things going on around them. They lived their lives gazing into the skies and thinking unsophisticated thoughts about the natural phenomena which they could not properly explain. They were bedevilled by the scourge of superstition and arrant ignorance and saw things in a very skewed manner. They spent their time worshipping the god of revenge and casting spells on their enemies.

That is why they made so many mistakes and committed so many offences. They might have insulted us and berated us and even cursed us out when they were stronger than us and thought that they were going to stay stronger forever. In their time of old age and weakness, we cannot pay them back; if we do so, others will also pay us back in our time of weakness, and the cycle of evil will continue unabated. Instead, we should do what we can to make their lives better. This way, we will reap the positive karma of our actions. We will break the cycle of evil!

All life is going downhill, and no matter where we think we are, we are bound to fall, either by the contretemps of life or by the whirligigs of nature. All we can do therefore is to lay up a storehouse of good deeds in the hope that these dark days will be bearable for us.

Columnist: Dr. Samuel Adjei Sarfo