I know the difference between blessings and worldly possessions
Like my ex girl getting pregnant and her becoming my everything
At war with my wrongs, I’m writing four different songs
I never forced you to forfeit it, I’m a force to be reconciled
~ Chance the Rapper
The other day, I was part of an interesting discussion.
I’m sure all of you must’ve heard of this Italian doctor/surgeon/person – Sergio Canvero – attempting to undertake and complete the world’s first head transplant.
The patient undergoing this treatment is Valery Spiridonov – who suffers from a genetic muscle wasting disease.
Yes, head transplant.
Like a full on head.
Onto a different body.
Ignoring the scientific impossibilities and ethical issues, I find the human obsession with mortality incredibly interesting.
This obsession is laced throughout popular culture:
~ those floating heads in jars popularized by Futurama
~ the notion of the undead; best embodied by zombies, vampires etc
~ the idea of advanced technology that can cure us of any ailments at the click of a button (like in any of those movies)
Without a doubt, we have been conditioned to fear death.
And for obvious reasons – dying is a scary thing.
But, that fear has been allowed to cripple us.
Our every decision.
Our every action.
Don’t walk at night – especially if you’re a lady.
Don’t talk to strangers.
Don’t fly Malaysian Airlines (seriously don’t or you’ll disappear).
To the point where it seems perfectly okay to remove one head and place it on another’s body.
Before I get labeled anti progression and anti science – I have a couple things to add.
I love science.
I have many friends who are science.
But really, this boils down to one thing.
Our unhealthy obsession with the concept of mortality, means that every action is focused on survival rather than embracing the plethora of blessings that we have.
But shifting that mindset, and understanding that we have ONE life – can change everything.
Yes, the concept of #YOLO has become trivialized – with nuance removed – a term adopted by the tweens and teeny boppers to legitimize fringy behaviour and smug arrogance.
But the meaning remains ever important.
Understanding that we are incredibly lucky to be alive.
Not only that – to have an abundance of opportunity that others may not – should guilt us into action.
To make the most of our gifts and talents.
Now I’m not saying people who are sick or less able don’t deserve our sympathy.
Because they do.
But we shouldn’t enable them – making them think they are worthless to the point where they’d much rather cut their own head off and stick it on another body.
A human life is worth more than its physical capabilities.
Life is so much more than that.
And when we realise that – what a beautiful world this could be.
Ryan Cheng is the founder of The 88, and is passionate about telling stories surrounding travel, culture and identity.
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