Death would be preferable to another year of this… are we preventing death by preventing life?

Tom McCann’s message is sure to be controversial but this articulate young man says he is speaking not just for himself but for friends and acquaintances unable to put their feelings in to words in quite the way that he can! What he says might shock you at times but might also make you stop and think. Have no doubt there are those who will simply see his message as ‘selfish’ but is it really?

Tom McCann

What is the point in living if this is the life we are forced to live?

What meaning is there in this? In sitting on a bed in a bedroom doing nothing except staring at a screen, existing merely to repeat a cycle of studying or working or nothing at all, eating then sleeping and seeing only the same few faces day in, day out – or nobody at all if you live alone!

All the while we wait for an end which never seems to come as definitions shift and requirements change, and different conditions are demanded today from those that were demanded yesterday. One scientist tells that by Easter we’ll be done, before another, the next day, says that no, no, we’ll be done by the end of the year, if even then—tell me, what meaning is there in this?

…how did we just accept that younger generations should not receive a proper education, that medical patients suffering any other kind of condition should not be properly treated…

And for whom is this fulfilling?

Some say this isn’t so bad, really. You have food to eat and a bed to sleep in. You can pass the days away sitting on the sofa watching the television. You’re safe inside, alone, or with your partner who has been among your few forms of human contact for nearly a year.

Seeing people is dangerous. Going outside is tantamount to murder or suicide. Safety over sanity, to these. Prevent death by preventing life.

But for whom is this fulfilling?

What purpose is there in this? To save lives? I’ve seen it said that ‘introverts are the heroes of the era’ but to whom? How is doing nothing but the bare minimum heroic? And who have I saved – and how?

I have barely left my home for nearly a year. Have we become so devoid of purpose and meaning that barely leaving home constitutes being a hero and saviour? I’m not a hero. Nobody is. I’ve not saved anyone. All we all have done is simply what we have had to do.

And at no point was it fulfilling.

What is the meaning of life except to live? What is the purpose of living except to be or become fulfilled? No one is born fulfilled. Fulfilment is a pursuit which lasts from birth until death, but it cannot be pursued in stasis. A baby in utero has a pulse and is by definition alive as are the braindead kept breathing by machines, but neither of them is living. They are not engaged with life. 

Nor anymore are we. Either prohibited from human contact and working entirely or permitted only to one-to-one two-metre walks and working and nothing else thereafter, we no longer have purpose.

…the longer I live like this, neglecting natural human needs such as physical, social contact and replacing them with pale technological imitations, the further I detach from nature and from myself.

That is not to say that life has lost or has no value. But that there is no tangible purpose in doing nothing – that life is too valuable to do nothing.

We all will die. But we all must live while we are alive. What good is a life spent hiding from death? Death is not a reason not to live. Life is too valuable and precious to lose to the possibility of death, especially when death is life’s only inevitability anyway.

Is technology an adequate replacement for real, lived experience? Is it just a coincidence that the further we are removed from reality and nature and stimulating our minds with conversation in face to face company with real people and using our bodies physically to work – as we replace all this with the pale imitation that is technology, that we become further and further removed from ourselves and fall more and more into physical and mental ill-health?

  • Why else has addiction in all its manifestations become so widespread across the  world?
  • Why else are we becoming overweight or obese from overconsumption, destroying our bodies in the process?
  • Why else has drug and alcohol abuse risen so much?
  • Why else are so many mentally ill?
  • Why else are so many children being diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD or Autism?
  • Why else are people on mass experiencing identity crises—not even knowing who or what they are?
  • Why else are we prohibiting ourselves of and from finding purpose?
  • Why else do so many people lose themselves all day in films or books or video games?
  • Why else are we so addicted to our phones? 

Because they all are easy escapes from suffering; because an alternate reality is more comfortable than reality – it is easier to ignore than to confront, something which us ‘tutting’ English specialise in; because we are prohibiting ourselves from our natural selves and need to fill the void with something so to function, but what we are filling the void with is contradictorily causing us to malfunction.

We no longer properly have the natural stimuli of physical company;… We no longer have the natural stimuli of nature itself; nature is replaced by a darkened room and with technology.

We no longer properly have the natural stimuli of physical company; we are replacing it via pixels with technology. We no longer have the natural stimuli of nature itself; nature is replaced by a darkened room and with technology. We simulate what we assume our natural needs are with technology or stimulants out of not even remembering what they are anymore – we cannot suffer through nothing and so we must have something, even if its anything. But what is kissing a mannequin compared to the real thing?

This is not to say that we should altogether abandon care and caution and all measure of preventing danger or death. Sacrifice is a good and needed thing of any society; if we all lived only for ourselves we would not be a society. I am not advocating for any form of response to the virus. I am not a scientist or a healthcare worker. I do not have an ideology. I know no more or less than anyone else.

…that it is fine entire industries and livelihoods are destroyed and on mass people fall into unemployment or bankruptcy, that human contact be criminalised, that protest be criminalised too…

But there is only so much of oneself one can sacrifice before we sacrifice ourselves completely.

I am unsure of there ever being a time in which so much has been sacrificed for a single goal – how did we just accept that younger generations should not receive a proper education, that medical patients suffering any other kind of condition should not be properly treated, that it is fine entire industries and livelihoods are destroyed and on mass people fall into unemployment or bankruptcy, that human contact be criminalised, that protest be criminalised too, all of in the name of  ‘getting the numbers down’. All this, for something with an average age of death higher than the country’s life expectancy.

When did we a pass the point of all this being acceptable? 

Why is any questioning of all what we’ve done immediately curtailed? ‘Covidiot’ they’ll cry at anyone presenting a view at odds with the orthodoxy…  

Will losing all that we have, for as long as we have, really be worth it in the end?

What does the future for us hold after this?

A series of definitions for the word ‘living’:

  1. A: having life; B: active, functioning.
  2. A: exhibiting the life or motion of nature; B: exerting force or containing energy.
  3. A: full of life or vigour; B: true to life; C: suited for living.

I have life; it is neither active or functioning. I am not exhibiting the life or motion of nature; the longer I live like this, neglecting natural human needs such as physical, social contact and replacing them with pale technological imitations, the further I detach from nature and from myself. I do not exert force for force is exerted upon me to live like this. I do not contain energy, only lethargy.

I am not full of life – as a matter of fact, death would be preferable to another year of this. I am not of vigour; I feel weak and I’m of ill health. This is not true to life; this is not suited for living. 

Therefore: how is this living?

About the author

Twenty-one-year-old Tom McCann is Hastings born and bred as were his father and grandfather before him. Like many of his contemporaries he is struggling with a world that he sees is forcing its people to behave in ways that are at odds with our natural instincts.

What do you think about what Tom Has to say? What are your views on the effect lockdown is having on us as individuals? Tell us in the comment section below.

10 thoughts on “Death would be preferable to another year of this… are we preventing death by preventing life?

  1. Tom is very brave indeed, telling the truth even though he will be “roasted alive” for it. It’s true that we are all being told now that to want any kind of life is “selfish” but what can be more selfish – in reality – than to insist that everyone’s life should stop because less than 1% of the population will catch a virus and die of it?

  2. It is certainly a dramatic piece. I would like to answer a couple of points from this section “I am unsure of there ever being a time in which so much has been sacrificed for a single goal – how did we just accept that younger generations should not receive a proper education, that medical patients suffering any other kind of condition should not be properly treated, that it is fine entire industries and livelihoods are destroyed and on mass people fall into unemployment or bankruptcy, that human contact be criminalised, that protest be criminalised too, all of in the name of ‘getting the numbers down’. All this, for something with an average age of death higher than the country’s life expectancy.” First of all, I would say that probably a bit more was sacrificed in all of these categories in the second world war, or any war for the countries involved. But the reason that we are all staying away from each other is so that the hospitals do not become overrun. Currently the average age of death is so high because the NHS is doing a great job of keeping younger people alive. However if they didn’t do that the 300,000 + people who have been admitted to hospital so far, would be mostly dead. Which is not far off the number of uk military folk who were killed in world war 2. Also worth noting that civilian deaths in WW2 were less than the covid deaths so far in the uk. Maybe you can use this time to watch some box sets about history. You could start with the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

  3. What an intelligent emotive and true piece of writing from Tom. I think he’s said it for the whole of the younger generation. As an Oldie of 71 years I would like to throw something controversial into the mix. Why are people like myself and older being prioritised for vaccines. We’ve all had a life enjoyed all the things Tom is talking about. I myself don’t mind dying if it gives the young generation a chance of the life I have led. Give the youngsters who have their lives in front of them a chance of the life Tom talks about. I feel sad for the young generation. We’ll aid Tom

  4. Yes absolutely well said. And really a brilliant piece of writing and thought from him at his age. Not controversial for me, he says it as it is.
    Thanks for publishing this Stuart

  5. I feel your pain Tom, and it is valid. So much of importance has been taken from us to be replaced with – nothing!
    But for balance I wonder have you considered the extent to which we have always been forced to live our lives the way our system’ dictates. Get an education, get a job, a career, buy stuff, be trendy, be noticed, gain some status, take holidays, boast about them, fall in love, get married, spend a fortune on the best ever wedding, get a promotion, a pay rise, buy a house, buy a car – a cool one, buy more stuff, borrow, have kids, push for more money cos everything costs so much, work harder for longer hours – feed the machine, consider yourself, think about how well you’ve done, how much stuff you’ve got, compare yourself to others, pat yourself on the back for doing so much better, admonish yourself for not doing even better, make sure no one knows how hard you’re finding it, go to that little social event and listen to others boasting about their achievements – their car- their holiday – their house – their kids, wish you had what they’ve got or at least appear to have, get it, borrow for it, work even harder, feed the machine some more.
    I could go on and on and on.
    I’m glad you’re questioning Tom and I’m impressed with your eloquence but this situation, for me at least, has placed the failings of our method into stark relief. We are forced to compete, constantly. We must develop, and maintain, status. We must consider others as lower than ourselves and aspire to be more like those ‘above’ us. We must confuse needs with wants. We must want more. We must get more. We must feed the machine. And to whose advantage?
    Your questioning is brilliant, and this situation and it’s ‘management’ has caused untold suffering across the age divides. My hope is that you have begun something – something that causes us all to think, to consider what is truly important and what needs to be confined to the dustbin.
    May love, peace and joy go with you on your walk through life. May you continue to enquire, to question, and to uncover deep truths from your search.
    In the short- term, may this virus disappear from whence it came, and may the young go back to being loud, being opinionated and partying til they can party no more.

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