Copied without the kind permission of Houghton Mifflin Company from
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, 1976, by Tom Robbins,
Part IV, Chapter 65:
Most of the harm inflicted by man upon his environment, his fellows and
himself is due to greed.
Most of the greed (whether it be for power, property, attention or affection)
is due to insecurity.
Most of the insecurity is due to fear.
And most of the fear is, at bottom, a fear of death.
Given time, all things are possible. But time may have a stop.
Why do people fear death so? Because they realize, unconsciously at least,
that their lives are mere parodies of what living should be. They ache to
quit playing at living and to really live, but, alas, it takes time and
trouble to piece the loose ends of their lives together and they are dogged
by the notion that time is running out.
Was that it, or was the pebble in the dancing slipper the phobia that time does
not have a stop? If we could live our average 70.4 years and know
for certain that that was that, we could readily manage. We might complain
that it was far too short, but what there was of life we could live freely,
doing exactly what we pleased insofar as our conscience and capabilities
allowed, accepting that when it was over it was over: easy come, easy go.
Ah, but we aren't allowed the luxury of finality. We dilute and hobble
our most genuinely felt impulses with the idea, whether fervently held or
naggingly suspected, that after death there is something else, and that that
something may be endless, and that the correctness of our behavior in "this"
life may determine how we fare in the "next" one (and for those poor souls
who believe in reincarnation, the ones after that).
Thus, whether it is in danger of stopping and catching us with our pants down,
or whether it runs on forever and demands that we busy ourselves preparing for
the next station on the long ride, either way, time prevents us from living