Matters of Life & Death

There is one thing that we can be absolutely certain of: we will die. What is far less certain is that death is something to be feared.

In this class, we will look at what philosophers and theologians, film-makers and poets have said about death. We will ask whether there is such a thing as a good death and how we might mourn the loss of others well. We will see if we can catch a glimpse of what J.M Barrie called ‘an awfully big adventure.’

On the one hand, it is almost commonplace to say that it is suffering that we fear, not annihilation. But on the other, anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one, or faced death themselves, will know that it is no trivial incident.

If the way that we disguise death and keep it out of sight is anything to go by, we might even be best described as a death-denying culture. So how can we re-evaluate the way we, as individuals and as a collective, think about death – what should we make of it, what resources are there to help us deal with it?

In this class, we will:

  • Engage with our mortality in order to motivate us to live a more fulfilling life
  • Confront our own limits to prepare us for everyday losses and life transitions
  • Explore how to reprioritise sources of deep meaning in our life
  • Ask what our life’s legacy might be
  • Discover some examples and tools for experiencing grief, loss and mourning
  • Discuss the concept of what makes a good death

This class provides us with a set of tools, insights and sources of comfort to assist us with confronting life’s greatest certainty; death.


12.45pm          Drinks & welcome
1.00pm            Class begins
2.30pm            Break (times vary)
4.00pm            Class finishes


'Unbeing dead isn't being alive.'

- E. E. Cummings


Our classes have been designed to give useful insights around the big themes in life. You’ll be challenged to think deeply and have courageous conversations about the issues that matter most, and you’ll be encouraged to step outside your comfort zone in a safe space with other curious, open-minded individuals.

To find out more about what to expect when you come to a class or workshop at The School of Life, take a look inside our London classroom.

These sessions are designed by experts and taught by members of our faculty. They include a mix of lecture, conversation and group activity.


Pierz Newton-John is a writer, psychotherapist and software designer. Pierz’s short stories have been widely published in Australian literary journals and anthologies, and his critically acclaimed collection “Fault Lines” was published by Spineless Wonders in 2012.

As a psychotherapist, Pierz worked for many years in private practice and in the correctional system. He wrote a book on post-prison reintegration which for several years was provided to all prisoners released from Victorian gaols. More recently Pierz has pursued an interest in technology, working as a web developer for the not-for-profit counselling organisation On the Line.


Buy tickets for
Matters of Life & Death





Full price: $100.00
Concession: $80.00
(+ $2 booking fee and 1.5% CC fee) 

Valid concession cards include a Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current student cards.

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers with less than 7 days cancellation notice before the original class date.

For ticketing and box office enquiries please email