The fear of death is nothing new. While many philosophies and religions try to prepare us for it, to teach us how to embrace and see beyond it, fathoming life as we know it coming to an end can be a difficult mental undertaking. There are so many questions and feelings involved, from how it will happen to where we will go, that it’s enough to make you want to turn off your mind and forget about it altogether.
But this video from Alan Watts, a British-born American philosopher, writer, and speaker who is best known for implementing an Eastern mindset into the Western world, will change the way you view death.
“Who said you’re supposed to survive?” is one of his beginning questions. It’s a question I, for one, never quite put into perspective. “If we enable everybody to go on living, we overcrowd ourselves. So therefore, one person who dies in a way that is honorable is because he’s making room for others,” he continues.
He also brings up the point that, even if our death could be delayed, we wouldn’t go on doing this, because we would come to realize that after a given amount of time, we didn’t even actually want that.
His thoughts on children are also interesting. He says that we have them because they change the way we live. And it’s true. While society prepares us for our inevitable passing, we, too, comply, by creating new life; our purpose in life shifts. And why would it shift if we thought life would never change? We pass on the torch, because we find that it gets too much to carry ourselves all the time.
He concludes the video with an astute point that takes the power out of the death. “We live in a culture where it’s been rubbed into us in every conceivable way that to die is a terrible thing, and that is a tremendous disease from which our culture in particular suffers.”
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