Sunday, May 25, 2008

"All Paris was spread out at his feet, with her thousand turrets, her undulating horizon, her river winding under the bridges, her stream of people flowing to and fro in the streets; with the cloud of smoke rising from her many chimneys; with her chain of crested roofs pressing in ever tightening coils round about Notre Dame."

- Victor Hugo, 'Notre-Dame de Paris,' Chapter 2

Grave matters

"Of all the world's wonders, which is the most wonderful? That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die."
- Yudhishtara answers Dharma, from "The Mahabharata"

Some people find it morbid to think about death - particularly their own or that of those they love - and so never dwell on it, never discuss it. But I can't help contemplating the inevitable on at least a weekly, if not daily basis. Maybe its because of my religious background - death was a constant topic and was nothing to be feared at the time because we were so completely confident that we knew what would come after. Of course now not so much. Now its just a huge unknown. (Though not necessarily a terrifying one.)

Anyway, it was interesting to come across this and see that I'm not actually alone in this obsession with my own mortality and that thinking about it may even be healthier than not. I'm not a fan of the "psycho" fields (psychology/psychiatry), but this seems like undeniable common sense thinking to me:

The Salon interview with Irvin Yalom