As a resident of lower Manhattan, I am surrounded by the spirit(s) of those who gave their lives on that defining day. Like all New Yorkers, the awful sights, sounds and smells of that day are seared into my mind. I flew back to New York from London on September 10th, 2001, casually admiring the majestic towers on the drive into Manhattan. The fact that those twin icons would vanish 24 hours later was unthinkable.
On that crisp and beautiful morning, I was leaving for a meeting at 7 World Trade Center, when a family member called and told me to turn on the television. I did. And everything changed, forever.
Death is ever-present and life is ever-shrinking. For some, death is an obsession, for others, barely an afterthought. To most who contemplate it, the concept of eternal non-existence, of life book-ended by nothingness, is unfathomable and horrifying. We are programmed to rage against oblivion. That’s what the vast majority of us do.
Death is life’s greatest motivator, for good and evil, fueling our futile quest to ‘matter’ – futile, because the people we seek to matter to are themselves reaching out to us to give them meaning. It’s like two jumpers hurtling to earth, each reaching for the other, but neither with a foothold and both doomed to the same end. Some try to matter by helping others, some by hurting others, all with the desire to be remembered, to bridge an unbridgeable gap, to leave some kind of a mark, to prove that they existed.
Humans are impossibly lonely creatures, staring forlornly into time and space, without an anchor or a reference point, probing the depths of physics, philosophy, psychology, poetry, but forever bumping up against the unknowable.
- The Essential Guide to Anti-Hillary Themes
- The pervasive oppression of women and girls
- Threats to justice everywhere
- The torture of disabled children in American schools
- Patton Oswalt, I’m sorry you’re so wrong about Boston
- “No more hurting people”
- Tobacco kills: grim stats on smoking
- The top ten list you shouldn’t be reading
- Climate change compendium: tracking our planetary calamity [UPDATED]
- Is the progressive blogosphere dead?
- Fearing death and facing death
- Climate change is here
- The Global War on Women
- The black curtain
- The silence of the left: Obama, Bush and extrajudicial killing
- DealBook: Bank of America Swings to Quarterly Loss on Legal Costs
- State of the Art: The Future of Facebook May Not Say ‘Facebook’
- India Ink: Candidates Exploit Loopholes to Skirt Spending Limits
- DealBook: Yahoo Earnings Offer a Peek at Alibaba’s Big Growth Ahead of Its I.P.O.
- Ukraine Is Said to Suffer a Setback in Bid to Confront Pro-Russian Militias
- Mortgage-related legal costs sock BofA with $276-million loss - Los Angeles Times
- Domino's introduces new chicken 'crust' (kind of) - Chicago Tribune
- Yellen stresses employment, inflation in Fed's coming tightening decision - Fox Business
- Yahoo surges on solid first quarter, Alibaba growth - CNNMoney
- Miliband under pressure over cost of living - Yorkshire Post
- Apple-highlighted iOS toy Anki Drive gains new cars, tracks & race mode - Apple Insider
- Facebook to keep building products; Zuckerberg urges patience on results - SiliconBeat
- Ford Celebrates the Old Mustang With a New Pony - New York Times
- Red Hat Touts Linux Containers For Cloud - InformationWeek
- Google Glass Wearer Robbed at Taser Point - Vanity Fair
- Doctor Salaries: What They Earned in 2013 - WebMD
- Study Links Casual Pot Use With Brain Abnormalities - WBUR
- Once-conjoined twins leave Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas - Dallas Morning News
- Crunchy or Smooth? Food's Texture May Sway Perception of Calories - Doctors Lounge
- Could PET Imaging Help Determine If Comatose Patients Will Wake Up? - Healthline
- Letter to Pope Francis calling for fossil fuel divestment
- Pope Francis urged to back fossil fuel divestment campaign
- Keystone XL cops incompetent at all levels
- It has a record of opportunism, but is the red kite flying into danger?
- One-third of Beijing pollution comes from outside the city, figures show
- UNAIDS teams up with Brazilian footballer David Luiz ahead of World Cup
- INTERVIEW: WFP chief declares ‘the time is now' for Central African Republic
- Providing West African communities with sound information crucial to curbing spread of Ebola - UN
- With millions facing hunger in Sudan, UN urges support to prevent further crisis
- UN health agency issues first hepatitis C treatment guidelines
- Rwandan genocide: Security Council told failure of political will led to ‘cascade of human tragedy'
- Argentine jail conditions violated rights of prisoner with disabilities, UN panel finds
- UN rights expert urges United Kingdom to step up response to violence against women
- Pepsi joins Coke in support of UN-backed guidelines on local peoples' right to land, livelihoods
- UN rights expert urges Israel to prevent takeover of West Bank building by settlers
- UN calls for immediate release of abducted school girls in north-eastern Nigeria
- Challenges facing world population take centre stage at annual UN forum
- FEATURE: 'The ballot is the best weapon Afghan women have,' says UN
- On World Day, Ban urges renewed efforts to help persons affected by autism realize full potential
- Senior UN official hails outcome of forum devoted to empowering women and girls