Any death diminishes all of humanity and each of its members - there can be no doubt as to the truth of the statement: every person dead is potential of universal good irretrievably lost. Even another day of his life might have brought some invaluable benefit to humanity. Had Shakespeare not written his plays, many would fall into the role of Hamlet or Othello, but fail to realize their folly and to avoid the tragic end. Had Newton passed away without formulating the theory of gravity, science now might not have reached such heights, might not have made lives more comfortable, more fascinating. Had Fleming died before his discovery, millions of people, both his contemporaries and their descendants might have lost their lives without penicillin. Some may say that not all might-not-have-beens have brought good to humanity, but just as many have brought suffering. To this, I will answer that it is not so: the human condition has been steadily improving, in spite of such individuals who would have brought more good had they never been born. Therefore, when a person expires, with him perishes unrealized good; the benefits of every life so far have been greater than the hurts.
John Donne's bequest is self-evident and well known, yet people today care little about the relentless loss of human life. The media report only what will sell, the people therefore see only what they want. The people want little: they want to feel lucky and accomplished because they are alive, because they did not take the fateful airplane, because they were delayed in the traffic, or simply because they happened to live far from the path of the natural disaster. The people want to rejoice in life, not wallow in death. The wish is perfectly reasonable, for a day does not have hours enough to even read the names of the people who had died in the time. With that, they also rightly wish to be remembered at their passing away, to be remembered for their deeds and qualities; they would like to know that somebody cares. With their relatives often more than eager to get the inheritance, they also rightly doubt that their hope is possible. It is little wonder then, that with two conflicting desires people often turn to religion. God, then, is not the omnipotent sovereign of the universe, but the universal griever. Not all find in themselves faith enough for comfort; for those, the only solace is to become a memory of a group, if not an individual. Therefore, in this world of ceaseless demise, let us remember and praise all lives lost, the lives of individuals remembered only as countless crowds.