“How to not fear your death”

Aeon editor Sam Dresser offers the Epicurean perspective on life in relation to mortality:

Key points – How to not fear your death

* The end of your existence is inevitable. The question is whether or not you should fear it.
* Epicurus, and many others besides, have argued that there are reasons not to fear death.
* His argument, essentially, is this: when you are alive, death is nothing. When you are dead, life is nothing.
* The argument is meant to relieve only some of the fear of death and to give you a new vista from which to enjoy your own fleeting time on Earth. Banishing all fear of death would turn you into something barely human, as fanatics the world over have amply demonstrated.
* Philosophy can be a useful meditation on what it is to live well. Thinking about one’s own death can focus one’s attention on what it is that makes life so valuable.

My Way of Life and Death has a good deal in common with Epicureanism, most especially regarding these key lessons, though I believe that the lessons should be ritualized and aestheticized to retain their potency.

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