Sign up FAST! Login

How Long Have I Got Left?

Stashed in: Best PandaWhale Posts, Decisions, Hope, Brain, Awesome, Meaning of Life, Books!, The Internet is my religion., Poetry!, Real Age

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Chief neurosurgery resident at Stanford -- basically the same role as my main doctor when I was in there with a brain aneurym -- gets metastatic cancer and confronts the basic existential question. If you knew you had 10 days of life left, you'd pursue one course; if you knew you had 10 years of life, you'd pursue another -- but even those of us with life-threatening diseases do not know if it's the former or the latter. And of course for presumptively healthy young people the gulf can be far wider...

Then pursue the same course regardless of time and problem solved. 

If I pursue the 10 year course but I only have 10 days, I die with regret.

If I pursue the 10 day course but I have 10 years, I waste resources I might need.

I would not do anything different in my life based on anything I was told by a physician or anyone about my life. 

Therefore I have no problems. 

Therefore I am on the ONLY course, therefore there are no incorrect decisions.  If I worry about something that doesn't happen, I wasted my time and energy.   If it is going to happen there is nothing I can do about it. 

Nothing you do matters, there is nothing to do.   In fact every time to try to do something you create more problems for you or someone else.  The only course is to allow everyone else to Do and you sit and experience without doing.   

Be like the stone. Let water flow over you.

Yes the stone does not care that it is getting wet and the water doesn't care the stone is in its path. The light doesn't pick either to illuminate, the wind stays above both and earth water light air all fill the empty space. 

Still, I believe kindness matters.

Is it kind to give a heroin addict heroin? A needle, methadone, ....

Until one understands the nature of reality, all decisions a biased random walk based on conceptual habits.  

A great teacher told me recently, "you" have a mind that is making decisions for you and others and you do not know who that mind is. You ask some to make decisions for you and would never allow some others to decide but you really don't know any of them. 

Glad you're so totally enlightened and at one with the motherfucking universe dude!!! ROCK ON WITCHA BAD BUDDHIST STONE SELF! Not too clear on some of your grammar, but I'm sure you're like mentally translating from the Sanskrit or some shit like that.


This is the younger brother of one of my Stanford classmates.  I always thought that Suman was one of the most incredible human beings alive--clearly it runs in the family.

I like his point that people will always choose the procedure with 70% chance of survival over the procedure with 30% chance of death, even though they have the same odds.

I was heartened to read this:

<I remember the moment when my overwhelming uneasiness yielded. Seven words from Samuel Beckett, a writer I’ve not even read that well, learned long ago as an undergraduate, began to repeat in my head, and the seemingly impassable sea of uncertainty parted: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” I took a step forward, repeating the phrase over and over: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” And then, at some point, I was through.>

Yes, that's very poetic.

And beautiful.

You May Also Like: