Why do I keep waking up at 4:44 am? I set up my alarm for 5:40 am, but for at least three nights in the past week, I’ve been waking up at 4:44 am. My wife is kinda creeped out with the idea, with Koreans thinking that 4 is the number of death and 4:44 being the worst time to wake up in the morning. She seriously thinks that it’s the stuff of nightmares, that maybe it’s an evil omen of sorts. But I’m just annoyed that I’m not getting a proper night’s rest. Either that or I’m developing the bladder of an old man.
Talking about the Asian fear of the number 4 (You don’t see it in elevators here. The fourth floor is signified by F)… or really, the primal fear of death, I’m not sure if I’m quite there yet. I fear pain, sure. I’m a coward for pain. But I’m not so sure if basically not existing is something to fear about. Fearing not existing in the world, seems a tad selfish and narcissistic to me. Don’t get me wrong, being alive is great. It’s awesome. At the very least, it’s better than being smothered in earth. I’m also not saying I don’t fear death. But life can get tiresome sometimes. Routine living can be dreadful, and maybe the end isn’t so bad, you know… when you get to hang out with all the cool dead people, or maybe have angel sex or something… whatever floats your boat. It’s just that the gateway to eternal bliss, or whatever it may be, is often precluded by a tremendous amount of pain. The song “Old Man River” should go, “I’m tired of living, but scared of the horrible pain that precludes eternal peace.” That’s why horror movies are often all shrieks, blood, and gore. Dying is often portrayed as painful and horrific, and we’re all scared to watch it. We’re not conditioned to be scared to watch people dying, after all, Clint Eastwood murdered Hilary Swank in that film, and no one has nightmares about that and wakes up at 4:44 am, all scared and sweaty. But people are afraid of experiencing pain prior to dying. I’ve yet to see a horror movie with a villainous specter that gets its victims to die peacefully in their sleep.
Now some might say that the fear of death is basically the fear of the unknown. I don’t know about that. I’m not sure if people truly fear the unknown. That’s why people gamble, or get married, or have kids, or move to another country, job, etc. People don’t really fear the unknown so much. Humans are driven by curiosity, the curiosity for the unknown. It’s the horrible pain that people might potentially be subjected to (especially during death)… that’s the unknown people fear.
I’m rambling. But that’s what I got to thinking about at 4:44 am today.