Something to Ponder!

Azadeh Azmoudeh
by Azadeh Azmoudeh

Have you read The Death of Ivan Ilyich, by Tolstoy? Ivan Ilyich is mean-spirited bureaucrat dying in agony, stumbles upon a stunning insight at the very end of his life: He realizes he's dying so badly because he has lived so badly. His insight begets a great personal change, and in his last days his life is flooded with a peace and meaningfulness that he had never achieved previously! Many other great works of literature contain a similar message. For example in TheWar and Peace Piere, the protagonist is transformed after a last-second reprieve from a firing squad. Scrooge in A Christmas Carol does not suddenly become a good man because of Yuletide cheer; rather because the spirit of future allows him to see his own death and the strangers squabbling over his possessions.

While riding my bike today, I came upon this matter that the message in all these works is simple and profound: Though the physicality of death destroys us, the idea of death might save us. This is what I absolutely agree with existentialists.

We human beings appear to be meaning-seeking creatures that have had the misfortune of being thrown in to the world devoid of intrinsic meaning. One of our major tasks in life is to find a meaning sturdy enough to support a life, moreover, to perform the tricky maneuver of our denying our personal authorship of this meaning! Interesting, huh? Thus we conclude it was "out there" waiting for us. Our ongoing search for substantial meaning systems often throws us into crises of meaning-hence more individuals seek therapy. What do you think? How do you picture meaning in your life? How do you perceive death?

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Did I say “atheist”?!

by FN (not verified) on

Last night, by mistake, I took my blood pressure medicine twice, before I went to bed and afterward. I must have been hallucinating this morning. I meant to say at the end of his life he died. What was I thinking, or was I pondering too much? You know, like what if he became an atheist?


Did I say “atheist”?!

by FN (not verified) on

Last night, by mistake, I took my blood pressure medicine twice before I went to bed, and afterward. I must have been hallucinating this morning. I meant to say at the end of his life he died. What was I thinking, or was I pondering too much? You know, like what if he became an atheist at the end of his life?

Azadeh Azmoudeh


by Azadeh Azmoudeh on

Again I have to appologize. If you have read my earlier blog I explained that I had a notebook, inwhich I wrote poetry and literary pieces. However, I did not put the book or the source. Today, I was wondering about life and death mostly because in my previous blog FN wrote something about crash and I was thinking what is it about death, then suddenly I remembered this piece. Having said that, I wholeheartedly appreciate your input. Please do not call me shameless, never in my life I pretended to be a great thinker or a philosopher. If there is not a source take for my carelessness rather than shamelessness.


Azarin Sadegh

Something to ponder

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear Azadeh,

I really liked your question. But this one seems to be the essential question of Philosophy. I think the best answer is given by Albert Camus!

One of the first books I read and had a big imapct on the way I ratioanlized life and its meaning was "The myth of Sisyphus".

I cannot tell you how many times I read and re-read this essay, and each time I discovered something new out of it. It really helped me to accept my own mortality and not to jump into any conclusion just because of the feeling of absurdity and seperation of the crowd I was feeling at that time (I read it first at 17 when the whole world around me was starting a revolution!)

It made me to accept living without a particular purpose or mission! 

Voila parts of it and sorry for this copy/paste, but it does worth it:

“There’s but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy....I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others  paradoxically getting killed  for ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying.) I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.”

Then Camus talks about the relationship between the absurdity of life and the suicide, and this feeling of exile as a consequence of the seperation we feel between our meaninglessness and this idea that life is supposed to have a meaning and a purpose. But does it justify the suicide? 

Camus uses the example of Sysiphus, or as he calls him the hero of Absurd:

"...He is, as much through his passions as through his torture. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is
exerted toward accomplishing nothing. This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth. Nothing is told us about Sisyphus in the underworld. Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them. As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it, and push it up a slope a hundred times over; one sees the face screwed up, the cheek tight against the stone, the shoulder bracing the clay-covered mass, the foot wedging it, the fresh start with arms outstretched, the wholly human security of two earth-clotted hands. At the very end of
his long effort measured by skyless space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved. Then Sisyphus watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world whence he will have to push it up again toward the summit. He goes back down to the plain.

It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see
that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That
hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those
moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is
stronger than his rock...."

And the last sentence: "Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux." or "We have to imagin Sysiphus being happy."

Dear Azadeh,

I think this biking business of yours sounds like an excellent stimulator for the brain! 

Many years have passed since the last time I read this piece. And still it throws me back from my safe place in the world, from ordinary and from routines. 






by Size6 (not verified) on

Re: Your 'pondering' of the day!

You forgot to mention your source again,didn't you?

You are simply shameless.


Azadeh Azmoudeh


by Azadeh Azmoudeh on

Hmmmmmmm? It's getting interesting. Elaborate!



I've heard

by FN (not verified) on the last minute of his life Khomeini became an atheist. Is that right? Do you know anything else about it?