But dying means not knowing the outcome of my own family stories: how my three grown children will develop and change, how my grandchildren will turn out as parents themselves, how their children might look... It means not knowing the outcome of political and global stories: how will the world look fifty years from now? Will our species survive its own excesses? Will we have learned to clean up some of our mess, and to live in greater peace and harmony with each other?
Tantalizing thoughts, brought on in part by a segment on CBS 60 Minutes last night about the space program. Now I have a good puritan liberal streak in me when it comes to the exploration of space: I bother a lot about the incredible expense, and about how that money could be better spent on schools and hospitals and roads. And yet, and yet... there's that other part that is fascinated with exploration, with the expansion of human knowledge, with daring the unimaginable.
This 60 Minutes piece was about the plan to return to the moon and use it as a base camp for the trip to Mars. Mars! Imagine that! What a trip, as we used to say. Human beings traveling hundreds of millions of miles through space and actually landing on another planet. What a story... and yet another that I'll never live to see the end of. I'll never know whether those brave astronauts will make it there... and make it safely back home to Earth.
So, yes, you can see the trouble I have with dying. No fair. Really. End of story.