On January 13, 2007, my very good friend Alexey Pilipenko died of an enlarged heart muscle. He was only 44 years old. It was the first time I was truly confronted with irreversible loss. Our mental synergy, and I don't know how else to put it than using the word synergy, had been so deep that we had even ventured to form a company together. Our friendship was not always smooth. What friendship is? We did not always agree. Our friendship was, in part, based on a rigorous and heartfelt honesty.
He was one of the most intelligent human beings I have ever met. I occasionally accused him, only half in jest, of having a God Complex. But his timidness thankfully tempered his spirit. I am grateful to be one of the few who had the honor of being subjected to his ruthless but predominantly kindly delivered critique.
It was not the first time someone close to me had died. My grandfather had passed away when I was 19. But it was the first time a peer so close had suddenly vanished. I have always had only a few very close friends at any given time. Alexey was, without any doubt, one of the closest.
Recently, I found myself yet again confronted with the inevitable possibility of our death at any given moment. This time I was confronted with my own mortality. What eventually emerged after that confrontation, while contemplating evolutionism, was a realization that in order to live we must be prepared to die.
When my good friend Jonathan Graves of Corbu heard about my realization through the grape vine, he of course pointed me to a musical rendition expressing something similar: the song War on War by Wilco. And music is so much better than mere words and images at synchronizing our understanding of something with an emotional component.