The deaths of others

.. some thoughts from the eminently sensible Adam Phillips..

“…The deaths of others should be the only deaths that matter to us, not because we are altruistic, but because they are the only deaths available to us (death in the abstract, that is, one’s own, always makes people portentious and pretentious, that is, sentimental). We can’t forget about our own death, because there is nothing to remember; but we can resist being lured into the larger profundities of taking our own deaths at all seriously (my death should only be a ‘problem’, or whatever, for others, and so it goes on). Grief, even at its most desolate, is at least full of surprises, in a way that people talking of their own ‘finitude’ tends not to be. When people are alive, for example, they can be a barrier to what we feel about them … When the dead cannot reply we find, occasionally, that we can speak to them; when we know there can be no answers we can ask our questions. Indeed, death often reveals most shockingly not only whether people have mattered to us, and the unexpected ways in which they did and didn’t, but also how we shied away from them, how we kept to ourselves. It is easy not to notice people when one is in their presence, and far more difficult to hide from them when they are no longer there…”

True dat..

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