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12/13/03

Brueghel: The Triumph of Death

Home______Remembrance of A Death Foretold

Several years ago I received a letter from an old navy buddy. . . "By the time you read this, my last letter, I'll be gone and my ashes will be scattered in the North Atlantic Ocean.". . . . We commute to work, resolved to get the promotion, finish the project, become a better parent, not cheat on the spouse. We look at the buildings we pass, edifices of public authority, proclaiming that this is the world, that it is right and fitting to bend our lives to the edict. Sometimes we stop to ask if the lie doesn't penetrate deeper, but then we shake our heads as if caught dreaming, and we scurry to the elevator to get off at the ninth or tenth or eleventh floor.

At home, the question of the lie returns before we fall asleep. We glimpse the lie of authority; listening to the nightly news, watching the commercials, we ask Is this the Good Life? But we nod off in our easy chairs, dreaming that when we retire things will get better. Better always means when. When wealthy, healthy, happy. Better always allows us to postpone the questions, Who am I? , What is the lie? Am I just John Doe, husband, father, entrepreneur; am I only dedicated, loving, ambitious, methodical, rational, or impulsive? Is it merely the lie of authority, conformity, normality, or sanity?; of capitalism or communism or democracy or autocracy?

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