There is a psychological phenomenon known as “Delayed Life Syndrome,” which happens when we perceive our lives as a rehearsal for something bigger and more meaningful that will come later on, as if we are going to live forever.
All of a sudden, however, life can take a 180-degree turn. There is a story about a senator who suddenly lost his desire for prestige and political success, wanting instead to enjoy life’s simple pleasures—to have breakfast with a friend, to be in his wife’s company, to read a book, and so on.
What happened to him? He was diagnosed with cancer.
It shows that when an end appears, the surplus goals and pleasures in life vanish from the horizon, losing their importance.
This phenomenon raises the question: Why do we have brains that can calculate paying with a present amount of pain for the sake of reaching various pleasures and goals in the future?
It is for us to realize that this is how we live, and as soon as we know that the end is near, we lose interest in those pleasures.
What, then, can we find if the end is near? The senator found flavor in some simple pleasures like dining with his friends and his wife after a reevaluation of these events and life’s meaning. Everything else lost its flavor. There was nothing left but to live every moment in order to feel less pain.
However, such a life is definitely not optimal. Life should ideally consist of moments where we rise above our animal nature, entering into the higher nature of love, bestowal and connection, where from one moment to the next, we shift our intention away from self-benefit to benefiting others and nature.
It will then be possible to understand why any end might appear to us, for instance, through cancer or a terminal disease, and how we should live through it, what we should leave behind, and what we should do with ourselves.
If we use every moment to rise above our inborn animal-like natures and focus on benefiting others, then we enter into the most effective use of our world and the life we have been given—that we make life the best it can possibly be for people around us, and for the generations to come.
That is precisely why we are given such diseases as cancer. Likewise, we need to prepare the caretakers of those who get hit with such diseases. I do not, however, consider such people unfortunate. I rather see that they have been given a great opportunity to undergo meaningful changes and corrections, which ultimately serve to elevate them to the higher spiritual world of love and bestowal. Moreover, they can do so peacefully. It then turns out that those who remain in this world are more unfortunate, as they waste it on fleeting pleasures, while the others can rise to a higher reality sooner.
In our inborn egoistic modus operandi, we fail to see how we live in a grand deception by thinking that something will come out of our lives through chasing after this world’s smorgasbord of pleasures. Since we live in such a deception, I am thus in favor of using deception as a tactic to help us exit the false picture of reality and enter into the real one, solving our deepest existential questions.
For instance, if a person was set on simply making millions of dollars for himself and getting famous, considering only his personal benefit the whole time without any regard for others, then I would support such a person undergoing a game of sorts, with doctors, friends and family members all in on the game, giving him a false diagnosis of a terminal illness that only he thinks is real. If it would serve to snap him out of fake sense of self-grandeur as being most important in life, and start focusing him on what is indeed most important, then it would be worthwhile. Afterward, the people behind the game would reveal to him that it was all a game, and how happy they are to see him wake up from his self-contained cocoon, becoming a warmer, more considerate and loving person, opening himself up to a much wider, more harmonious and peaceful reality of embracing others more and more.