“Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future,” reminds Oscar Wilde, in his play “A woman of no importance.”
Sheldon, and anyone else within eyeshot; edified by Wilde’s quotation, we yet reject respect for political myths about sin, concerning ourselves only with sins against ourselves — especially the sin of a life half-lived.
And life is never even halfway lived if we go gentle into that good night:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise souls at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning — they Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good souls, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild souls who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave souls, near death — who see, with blinding sight, Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay — Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my friend, there on the sad height, Cursed — bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray: Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
–Dylan Thomas (adjusted for gender-neutrality, relationship, and grammatical clarity)
We clarified “sin” in the Wilde quotation as “sin against self;” and, here with Thomas, we clarify, for the theme of suicide, “old age” as whatever age we have when death nears us, whether by our own aim or not — and in that old age, we rage against the dying of the “light,” our will to live.
We are not cowards towards death; and we know that, in the end, death is the end — of our bodies at least. Of our minds? We do not pretend to know, because we reject, if only quietly to ourselves, any political mythology that mandates a pretense of having knowledge which we do not possess.
And such rejection is among our core convictions: vigilant rejection, whether in quiet or quarrel, of any and all nonsense thrust upon us — no matter wherefrom; equally fervent is our reverent acceptance, whether openly else carefully, of that which to us seems sensible — regardless wherefrom. Above all, regarding these, the following certainty: truth affords time for deliberation, thus rush is only ever a tool of the treacherous.
Sheldon (et alii), various vain vampires of delicate, doomed death-cults are addicted to their efforts of distracting us from being amazed at the wonder that is the world, and our place in it. They cannot succeed in this, unless we sin against of ourselves — and go gently into that good night.