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To be read at my funeral

March 9, 2007

“We are going to die and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they’re never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place, but who will, in fact, never see the light of day, outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. …In the face of these stupefying odds, it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. Here’s another respect in which we are lucky. The universe is older than a hundred million centuries. Within a comparable time, the sun will swell to a red giant and engulf the earth. Every century of hundreds of millions has been in its time, or will be when its time comes, the present century. The present moves from the past to the future like a tiny spotlight inching its way along a gigantic ruler of time. Everything behind the spotlight is in darkness, the darkness of the dead past. Everything ahead of the spotlight is in the darkness of the unknown future. The odds of your century being the one in the spotlight are the same as the odds that a penny, tossed down at random, will land on a particular ant crawling somewhere on the road from New York to San Francisco. You are lucky to be alive and so am I.”

We are lucky to be alive and therefore we should value life. Life is precious. We’re never going to get another one. This is it. Don’t waste it. Open your eyes. Open your ears. Treasure the experiences that you have and don’t waste your time fussing about a non-existent future life after you’re dead. Try to do as much good as you can now to others. Try to live life as richly as possible during the time that you have left available to you.”

-Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow

I just hope I will have lived up to it.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    March 9, 2007 5:05 pm

    I’ve heard that sentiment expressed before, but never so well.

  2. March 9, 2007 5:45 pm

    Very, very true. Dawkins definitely has a poet in him.

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