Geek God Joss Whedon is no stranger to death. Whether it’s Marvel’s The Avengers or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, death (and killing off his characters) is always a recurring element of the “Whedonverse.”
Recently, Whedon delivered the commencement speech for Wesleyan University. The message he had for recent grads was, “You’re all going to die.”
Whedon expanded on this point by discussing the contradiction between the desires of one’s body versus their mind:
[Y]ou are at your physical peak. Your bodies have just gotten off the ski slope at the peak of growth and potential! And now comes the black diamond mogul run to the grave.
And the weird thing is… your body wants to die. On a cellular level that’s what it wants. And that’s—probably?—not what you want. I’m confronted by a great deal of grand and worthy ambition from this student body. You want to be politicians, social workers, you want to be artists. Your body’s ambition? Mulch. Your body wants to make some babies and then go in the ground and fertilize things. That’s it!
Whedon graduated Wesleyan University in 1987, when Bill Cosby was the commencement speaker. According to Whedon, the comedy legend had this nugget for his class, “You're not going to change the world, so don't try."
A video of Whedon's speech is embedded below, and the full text can be found here.