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Part IV

The old man returns his gaze to the dying flames. "We are one and the same, you and I," he says with a sorrowful gleam in his eye. "Adrift in a world full of madness, grief, joy, peace, and sorrow. So long as a man is connected to the living, there is hope. Hope. Hope for an otherwise hopeless existence. But the living, the living are slaves to their existence. They are subject to their bellies, to the sex-drive, to mother nature's umbilical cord. But what hope is there for the man who simply follows the dead man before him? And so I disembarked from my journey, and started down a different course. Now, don't be mislead," he said. "The outcome is the same for any man. It is appointed to each man once to die. The question is, if we cannot comprehend the first death, how much less the second death? So let me die, that I might live. And may the living suffer death with their eyes, and not with their bellies." The old man takes to his feet, pushing me away when I offer my hand. "I've struggled to stand many a year. Then when I learned to stand, I turned to run. Run from what? The master. The inevitable. The truth. Life, and death."

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