One thing that used to make me despair, nearly: A person will spend a lifetime — months, years, finally accumulated decades of time — learning a subject, going into detail, absorbing unsuspected connections and nuances, penetrating deeper and deeper into the meaning that the subject represents as a metaphor for the whole of life — and then he or she will die, and all that labor of building and holding mental connections ends in collapse and dissolution. So what’s the use?
When we realize that we do not cease to exist, that the mind that we shape continues to function and may be used more surely and accurately and accessibly than ever, then not only was nothing lost, much was gained. Truly, as Henry Thoreau said, you can’t kill time without injuring eternity. It is literally true.