“Will I Go Gentle?”

Dale McGowan writes for OnlySky, the new secular/Humanist multimedia platform, on the vexing question of “what is it like to die?”: There are ways to diminish the fear of death and dying. Epicurus may have been the first to formally note that our existence is bounded by symmetrical eternities. We fear the eternity of nonexistence … Read more“Will I Go Gentle?”

“Befriending Death, Embracing Life”

Hospice worker James Jarrett writes for the Spiritual Naturalist Society: For Spiritual Naturalists, spirit is not something apart from Nature. In fact, the origins of the English word “spirit” have to do with breath. We see this connection in the word “inspiration”. When a new baby is born their first task is in fact a … Read more“Befriending Death, Embracing Life”

“Carnival Cosmology” by Gary Warne (1977)

The world is a midway; cities are its sideshows. The only difference between children and adults is that there is no one to take care of us. When we left home it meant we were lost on the midway and, unlike God, the carny boss will only let us ride as long as we pay. … Read more“Carnival Cosmology” by Gary Warne (1977)

The Monk, the Disciple and the Temple Gates at Midnight

I read this story sometime in the 1980s and I haven’t been able to recall, nor trace its provenance. I’m retelling it here as best as I remember it, because I think that it contains a seed of wisdom regarding the Way of Life and Death. There was once a wise and aged monk who … Read moreThe Monk, the Disciple and the Temple Gates at Midnight

Professor Shelly Kagan on “How to Live Given the Certainty of Death”

Yale University has made Professor of Philosophy Shelly Kagan’s 26-part lecture series on the topic of death available through their Open Yale program. The lecture How to Live Given the Certainty of Death is perhaps the most germane to my theme on this website, but the entire series offers much of value, especially to people … Read moreProfessor Shelly Kagan on “How to Live Given the Certainty of Death”

“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 … Read more“How to not fear your death”

“Why Epicureanism, not Stoicism, is the philosophy we need right now”

Professor Catherine Wilson offers a concise argument in favor of the Epicurean perspective: Rightly understood, philosophical Epicureanism is a politically and personally powerful world-view that belies its caricatures. Its key elements are an unflinching refusal to believe that spiritual entities designed, created or control the world combined with the conviction that death and irreversible decomposition … Read more“Why Epicureanism, not Stoicism, is the philosophy we need right now”

“A Neuroscientist Prepares for Death”

Neuroscientist David J. Linden writes in his new piece for The Atlantic: And because our brains are organized to predict the near future, it presupposes that there will, in fact, be a near future. In this way, our brains are hardwired to prevent us from imagining the totality of death. If I am allowed to speculate—and I hold … Read more“A Neuroscientist Prepares for Death”