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How Often Should I Think about Death? Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Edwards


Video from Matthew Everhard


How Often Should I Think about Death? Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Edwards


We’re all going to die. Why is it so hard to talk about it?

Most of us don’t fear death so much as the process leading up to it.


"It’s not as if it’s a big secret that we’re all going to die. It’s just that for many of us, most of the time, it seems like an event that’s going to happen to someone else, some hypothetical me far in the future. Spiritual teachers in many traditions spend a lot of time trying to get people to see the foolishness of this perspective.

“To contemplate dying each day calls forth an instant reordering of priorities,” writes Kathleen Dowling Singh in The Grace in Aging: Awaken as You Grow Older. “Just like a quick and deliberate shake of a kaleidoscope, it creates a whole new patterning, a whole new view.”

I’ve seen that shake of the kaleidoscope happen many times in those who’ve received a terminal diagnosis. Even if they’ve managed to avoid any serious spiritual inquiry in the years leading up to that moment, death’s imminent arrival often focuses their attention. Most are able to let go of the pettiness, the anxieties, and the prickliness that may have plagued them for decades. Lifelong jerks get a little less obnoxious. Introverts start opening up. Extroverts shut up so that other people can speak without interruption. Almost everyone I’ve known near death becomes a little nicer, knowing they’re near the exit.

It’s a shock to see a body after its life force has departed, no matter how the end occurs or how emotionally close you were to the deceased. The corpse is like a piece of clothing left crumpled on the bedroom floor, fundamentally different than when it was animated by the person wearing it.

I’m grateful to have made the acquaintance of death in a variety of forms, peculiar as that may sound. In a society where dying is so removed from most people’s lives, we lose the chance to become familiar with its outlines and psychic shape. Familiarity can bring understanding, and maybe a little less fear of the inevitable..." from the article: We’re all going to die. Why is it so hard to talk about it?


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