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Etermnity 03

Do not long for immortality, but perhaps contemplate eternity

It can come as something of a surprise to learn that western religions are not much interested in immortality. Take ancient Judaism, the Judaism of the Hebrew Bible. Immortality is hardly mentioned. Humans are said to go to ‘sheol’, a shadowy subterranean abode, or...
Posted by Mark Vernon
Immortality Therapy

Dear Bibliotherapist

Dear Bibliotherapist, I wish I could live forever. Though maybe in a different body, with a new nose. Do great authors of the past and present have any wisdom to impart on this theme? Which are the best ones to read? Dear Immortalist, This is a...
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Stephen Caves Guide to the Time of Your Life

Stephen Cave's Guide to the Time of Your Life

One of the greatest preoccupations of humanity is how to resist our mortality. But does our fantasy of living forever in fact stop us living fully? Author of Immortality Stephen Cave thinks so. Here he explores our desire to outwit death, and gives us...
Posted by Stephen Cave's
Francois Broussais on his deathbed by Charles Blanc

Deathbed tweet sent to memory cloud

Consider the following situation: a patient in a hospital ward posts ‘Dead’ in her/his online microblog status update. She/he is in the final stages of a terminal illness. She/he, or a relative/friend, posted this message using a smart phone device from her/his hospital bed....
Posted by Dr Mark Taubert
Havi Carel on the Philosophy of Illness

How philosophy can help us think about illness and death

When meeting new people I often get asked what I do. ‘Philosophy?’, people sometimes say in response, ‘it sounds very interesting but what do you do with it?’. In some circles, philosophy is seen as impractical, abstract, even useless. I think that the opposite is...
Posted by Havi Carel

David Baker on Reflecting on Death

Last Saturday was the Jewish Day of Atonement. For 24 hours, from sunset to sunset, we neither eat nor drink, we don't wear leather (a sign of comfort and luxury), and we don't wash or bathe. Synagogues are full many non-observant Jews attend on...
Posted by David Baker

Dr Mark Taubert on How To Think About Death

Where was it? said he to himself. Where was it that I read of a condemned man who, at the hour of death, says or thinks that if the alternative were offered to him of existing somewhere, on a height of rock or...
Posted by Mark Taubert

We All Need Words on death. And how to write condolence letters.

We don't like writing about death any more than we like thinking about it. Just listen to the string of euphemisms in Monty Python's Dead Parrot Sketch: He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet his maker! He's's a stiff! Bereft of life! He...
Posted by We All Need Words

Mark Vernon on Hope

What is hope? In his autobiography, Miracles of Life, the writer J.G. Ballard offers an arresting case in point, which I think gets to the heart of the matter. He tells of the apparently most hopeless moment in his life. He, his wife and...
Posted by Mark Vernon

Alain de Botton on Tsunamis and Stoicism

Early in the morning on the fifth of February AD 62, a gigantic earthquake rippled beneath the Roman province of Campania and in seconds, killed thousands of unsuspecting inhabitants. Large sections of Pompeii collapsed on top of people in their beds. Attempts to rescue...
Posted by Alain de Botton

James Geary on Metaphor

Metaphor is not just for poets. We all use metaphor all the time, and research in the social and cognitive sciences shows how metaphorical thinking influences us in surprising, hidden, and often oddball ways.  People holding a hot cup of coffee are more likely...
Posted by James Geary

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