The Fragility of Life

I remembered my grandma often told me and my sister in Cantonese that human beings are very fragile (in Cantonese, it sounds like yen-hai-hou-fa-hock). Anything could happen to them and they may just pass away. Over the years, my sister has told me stories of patients in her eye clinic who turned blind when they are just young lads and some who died suddenly (I remembered a story where a woman slipped and fell in the toilet and most unfortunately knocked her head against the water closet. She died because of a blood clot in her head). My sister inevitably ended her stories with the above saying that our grandma taught us, emphasizing the fragility of life. I tend to response in kind “amen, YOLO”.

Today, I was studying I Ching and came across the following diagram:

judgments cycle
Cycle of judgments/outcome

Starting from the right, the above diagram presents the idea that resentment of one’s situation or others may lead to misfortune which then typically leads to regret and usually repentance. Repentance leads to an improved situation and hence results in no calamity which may then lead to good fortune. However, the law of nature is such that a good situation does not last forever. The person, for example, a man who has won the lottery, may become disgruntled with his new lifestyle and become resentful of it, which kick starts the cycle again. More importantly, at any one stage in the above diagram, with the exception of “no calamity”, calamity could befall upon a person – even on someone who is experiencing good fortune. This kind of ties in with my experiences with the world. From the stories of my sisters where healthy patients suddenly die or become blind to the stories of the business world e.g. Steve Jobs being fired from the company that he co-founded and later on being diagnosed with cancer.  The morale of the story is the human fate can indeed be uncertain. This goes back to the words of my wisdom of my grandma – the human life can be fragile.

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