As humanity pushes deeper into the technological bulge, it continues to obscure our reality of the world around us. Never before has figuring out “How to live?” or more importantly, “How to live meaningfully?” been so important.
Our world is becoming increasingly complicated despite humanity’s greatest efforts to create tools that would make it less so, yet, never before has it been so connected as a result of this seemingly singular goal. No Years Lost was created in the face of this paradox, to exploit this new world that now made its very existence achievable, not to make life less complicated, but to make life more meaningful.
It was our belief from the onset, that by building a community of young dreamers, or specifically, those who were following their true purpose in life, and by allowing them to do so through the aforementioned tools that they were already familiar with, but that were in fact making their lives more complicated, that we might uncover the answer to that all important question, “How do we live a meaningful life?”
The answer of course differs for everyone, though most live the entirety of their lives fearful of unreal things, things that never existed, like perception and failure, always asking the wrong questions, how will I be perceived, what if I fail, what will tomorrow bring, so forth and so on. These questions of course only ever getting in the way of the one question that truly matters.
Eternity is perhaps the problem in and of itself, and is in so many ways what most of us seek, though will never find. By observing, connecting and supporting the lives of the dreamers who are positively changing the world by living life and not questioning it, we knew that we would send less dreams to the grave, and ultimately, make the world a better place. At the minimum, we would make the lives of those individuals a better place.
As humans, we must live everyday as though it might be our last, because in doing so, we will never have a last, everyday will have been our first. Our hope is that your existence might continue on sometime after you expire, if only, in the memory of others, in a fleeting moment, in a triggered heartbeat, in the simplicity of a whisper, and that is our dream, our only dream, that by helping you live out and realize your own, that you might leave a beautiful and lasting impression in the wax of eternity.
The following is an excerpt from Glen O’Brien’s How to be a Man. He is perhaps one of the most interesting men still alive today, who has indeed witnessed much of this rampant change, in addition to having lived out many dreams throughout the course of his life. Sometimes looking to the lessons learned by the dreamers before us is the best approach to understanding how to live today. Here is what he has to say on the subjects of life and eternity:
According to a poll by ABC News, eighty-nine percent of Americans believe in Heaven think and that they are probably going to end up there. Most believe that Paradise will house their spirit only, although the resurrection of the body is old Christian doctrine and part of the Roman Catholic creed. Among Americans it is mostly very religious Protestants, the demographic that also tends to see Heaven as Christians only, who believe that their meat puppets will rejoin them in the future when Jesus makes his encore.
A smaller percentage of the populace believes in the existence of Hell, only fifty-nine percent according to a 2008 Pew Forum survey (down from seventy-one percent in a 2001 Gallup poll). The Catholic Church also preaches the existence of Purgatory, where those not sufficiently pure for Heaven will suffer temporal punishment until their sins are cleansed. For centuries this tenet was a tremendous source of revenue for the Church in the form of indulgence marketing. The Roman Catholic Church also posited the existence of a fourth state of afterlife known as Limbo, where the unbaptized reside until the Last Judgment. Actually there have been two Limbos. The Limbo of the Fathers was where Old Testament patriarchs resided until Christ “descended into Hell” and opened the gates of Heaven to them. Then there was the Limbo of Infants (which has been considerably de-emphasized in recent years), where the souls of dead, unbaptized infants are held; their ultimate fate remains unspecified.
The current pope, Benedict XVI, authorized the publication The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized. Authored by the Pope’s think tank, the International Theological Commission, it holds out some hope that the unbaptized will eventually enjoy the beatific vision. Church authorities have denied, however, that the current Pope has “closed Limbo.” Still, the specifics of even Heaven and Hell have become very sketchy.
Culturally we still seem to be living with a sort of Dante’s Inferno view of Hell, while Heaven remains a mix of Renaissance paintings of angelic aerial maneuvres around God’s throne and New Yorker cartoons with clouds, harps, and halos. With 3-D production taking over Hollywood, a new model of the afterlife is overdue. Heaven will probably look a lot like the saccharine 1998 Robin Williams vehicle What Dreams May Come, and Hell like the wretched John Cusack vehicle 2012.
But more and more of us are abandoning traditional Christian scenarios and going Far Eastern on the issue, taking up with enthusiasm the reincarnation beliefs of Buddhists and Hindus. I think its hard for hedonists to imagine bliss without a body. For some reason, Americans and Europeans who become interested in their cycles of incarnation generally find that they were Egyptian royals. But try as we might, we tend to wind up facing the facts that we just don’t remember past lives, do they really matter anyway?
Personally I’m hoping for reincarnation in a good-looking body, but I’m not holding my breath. There isn’t much one can do to prepare for a possible afterlife, aside from entering the void with an open mind and a cheerful disposition. Attachment to a world in which circumstances will not allow us to remain can only spoil our enjoyment of experiences to come, if any.
The best we can do is to make ourselves immortal the American way-incoporate. Our flesh may shrivel and die, but our corporate beings can last…well, forever-ish. We can’t all be Fords, or Edisons, or Jack Daniels, but hopefully we can leave something behind-a stack of books, a company, maybe a dynasty. And hopefully what we have left behind will continue to enrich the world and enrich our family, friends, and well-wishers. Who knows? Maybe we will ourselves move on to some reward or punishment and find amusing companionship among the blessed we encounter, or the damned, as the case may be. But if we are extinguished, at least, we have left behind something of a fan club of family, friends, and well-wishers and move on.
Should you find yourself floating above your prone body, hovering somewhere around the ceiling of your boudoir or hospital bed, you may be on the way out of this present sphere. This is no time to panic. It happens to everyone. We have all heard stories of “going toward the light,” and undoubtedly in such circumstances one has little to lose by following the conventional wisdom. However, perusal of the Egyptian and Tibetan books of the dead, as well as the traditions of Greek mystery cults, provides certain clues that might help. If the light happens to be accompanied by noxious smoke, its best not to go in that direction. You might wind up right back where you started. Or in Detroit.
Should you find yourself before the Halls of Judgment, the best policy is probably to follow the advice of Orpheus as channeled by Robert Graves: Avoid drinking from the black spring on the left, which is Forgetfulness; go to the clear, goldfish-stocked fountain on the right guarded by the big snake-that’s Memory-and tell them that you’re very thirsty and Persephone sent you.
And if that doesn’t work, tell them Groucho sent you.
Glenn O’Brien How to be a Man
Presumably, if you are here reading this, you have not yet had to face the Halls of Judgment, in the afterlife at least. So, in the meantime, we would suggest staying thirsty and taking a piss in fountain of Memory, let the others drink.
Oh, and tell them No Years Lost sent you.
No Years Lost,
A Young Giant