Death & Taxes

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” -Benjamin Franklin

 

TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about death and taxes. Let me digress for a few sentences. This past week, on Thursday November 2nd, Republican lawmakers unveiled a sweeping revision of the tax code. Don’t worry, we are in no way going to get into the tax bill here on the Sunday Surgical Scrub. However, as I reviewed the proposal, it reminded me about the famous Benjamin Franklin quote above and the search for absolutes.

Today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub is about absolutes and our longing to grasp onto these as a means to reduce the anxiety of life and its transitions. We look for absolutes to reduce the inherent entropy of life. There is an overwhelming desire to find order and sense in the events that shape our days. But – and this should be apparent to anyone one of us who have attempted to exert control over extraneous circumstances that we cannot dictate – this is an anxious futile state. Instead, as we discussed on last week’s Sunday Surgical Scrub (you can find it here)you are not in control! As you master your ability to let go of this need for control, you find the peace it brings.

What does this have to do with death and taxes?

You can use death and taxes as reminders of absolutes. Everyone will die. Everyone has to pay taxes. If you are looking to grab onto absolutes, here are two that should make you relaxed that everything else is transient and you need not worry about it. In fact, you can argue that the paying of taxes is a somewhat negotiable and varied, albeit with consequences. I like this rationalization because it means that there is only one absolute.

Death is guaranteed.

This is not simply for macabre effect. This is actually a wonderful liberation that we should use our talents and energy to effect genuine meaning in our lives and those we come in contact with. The anxiety and worry surrounding most items is not necessary and often hinders our duty in the latter regard.

 

MEDICINE & MACULA: Here is a color fundus photograph of a patient with intraocular inflammation secondary to sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis is a chronic systemic granulomatous disease from an exaggerated cellular immune response to a variety of self antigens or non-self antigens.

Characteristic funduscopic findings in posterior segment involvement include periphlebitis, sheathing of vessels, perivenous exudates and multiple small round chorioretinal lesions.

 

GRATIS: “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” -Will Rogers

 

My best to you,

David Almeida

david@davidalmeidamd.com

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