BOSTON (SatireWire.com) — Interviews with more than 1,000 people moments before they died revealed that contrary to popular wisdom, life is actually about the destination, not the journey, and the destination sucks,
“I’m 87, I’ve been a lot of places and seen a lot of things in my life, but right here, now, in the hospital, at the end, I can tell you it bites the big one,” Cincinnati resident Richard Breen told researchers from Boston College. “I’ve got tubes coming out of me everywhere, I haven’t eaten in days, and my kids are going to sell my house the moment I’m gone.
“So don’t tell me it’s about the journey,” he added. “For me it’s all about the destination, and it sucks.”
Breen reinforced his point by dying of kidney failure moments later.
Researchers at Boston College who conducted the study said they were initially surprised that the aphorism, attributed to 19th Century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, had proven to be untrue after all this time. However, after conducting the interviews, they soon recognized their perspective had blinded them.
“When Emerson wrote ‘Life’s a journey, not a destination,’ he was still alive, and what we realized was that all the people who tell you life is about the journey are still on that journey, so of course they’re going to say that,” said Philosophy Prof. Anders Pehrson. “But it’s the people at the end, who have reached the destination, who really have the sense of what life is about, and, by and large, they’re not pleased.”
The study immediately drew criticism from poets and theologians who argued that the moment before death is still part of the journey. But Pehrson disagreed, pointing out that poets and theologians didn’t fund his study.
Joel Kantz, a 66-year-old emphysema sufferer in London, agreed. “They tell you the destination is the after-life, but the truth is the journey is over when you can no longer stand or dress yourself or go to the toilet,” said Kantz. “But they don’t want you to know about that, ‘cause if you did know you’d go and top yourself during the journey.”
Asked who “they” were, Kantz did not respond, as he had died.
The death of interview subjects like Kantz was a constant irritant to researchers, said lead investigator Prof. Nicholas Joyce. To offset this, his team also spoke with surviving passengers of auto accidents in which the driver died instantly during head-on collisions. Eyewitnesses were asked what the drivers’ last words were moments before impact — when each driver had, in that sense, reached his or her destination and could share their impression of it. In 68 percent of accidents, Joyce said, the driver’s final observation was reported to be, “Oh shit.”
It was Joyce in fact who initiated the study five years ago while standing at the hospital bedside of his father, who was on life support. Several grandchildren were in the room as well, and Joyce felt he should console them.
“Dad had a tremendous life, a tremendous journey,” Joyce recalled saying. “And I know he’s at peace now that he’s at the end.”
“Dadddy that sounds nice. Can I go too?” his daughter asked.
“God no, don’t be stupid,” Joyce snapped. “You want to end up like this?”
It was then Joyce realized that no matter how much it is dressed up, man knows instinctively that the destination should be avoided. “The after-life may be a golden palace, but the stop before that is a Motel 6 in Jersey City,” he said.
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