Tag Archives: death

Writing or Art? Mel Bochner’s “LANGUAGE IS NOT TRANSPARENT” (1970)

Is it art? Is this the sort of art one passes by impatiently as not really art? Notice that it has no conventional images in it, such as, say, a Madonna with child. Where Mary and the baby Jesus might … Continue reading

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Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: Get an Annual Flu Shot and a Colonoscopy Every Ten Years, But Skip Your Annual Physical

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist, writes at The New York Times today that you should get an annual flu shot and a colonoscopy every ten years, but skip annual physicals. Seriously. He says there is no evidence that they save lives. … Continue reading

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A New Golden Age? The Empty Soul Revs Up, Getting Ever Better at Gobbling Things Into Its Seemingly Bottomless And Insatiable Abyss, And We Call It Prosperity

Some good news. We are basically living in the most peaceful and prosperous moment in human history. Ever. Here’s Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator: A study in the current issue of The Lancet shows […] Global life expectancy now … Continue reading

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ATP, Not The Soul Or A Vital Essence, Is Why You’re Alive–And Why You Might Live Again

In our bodies, oxygen and glucose are transformed by protein machines in our cells into the molecule ATP. ATP is the bomb. It’s what stands between you and “the point of no return.” Shakespeare seems apt here (from Hamlet’s famous … Continue reading

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One Shall Be Taken

Two horses–look again– Winged, like cherubim– Watering at a marble trough, Ivy in riot about them. Reality? Silence, bones Saline, a coffin–not a trough– And a tale in the main that Had been uneven, rough, harsh. I’d have done it differently. This … Continue reading

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Brute Facts and Sufficient Reasons

The most brute fact of all is learning that we will die, which we then cast about for an explanation that will sufficiently account for this fact: “As in, forever? Does someone will this death of mine?” In our searching … Continue reading

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Between Gods And Animals, The Sweet Spot

From the vantage of the Greco-Roman pagans, because we’re neither gods nor exclusively animals, human beings are in a very, very sweet spot. Arguably the best spot. Think about it. The gods can make choices; they can fight and have … Continue reading

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A Great Little Intro to the Life of James Baldwin

___________ James Baldwin was born in August of 1924, so if he were still alive (he died at the age of 63 in 1987), he would have turned 90 this year. And I love this quote of his from chapter … Continue reading

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Female Elephants Rescue a Baby Elephant from Drowning

Pretty life affirming. Watching this works your nerves, but they do manage to get the baby out. Absent hands and tools, these adult elephants use their trunks, their bodies, and a willingness to run risks to their own lives to … Continue reading

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JD Schramm on coming out of the suicide closet: __________ And here’s a good new book on the issue of suicide.

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Sandra Bullock As Odysseus: The Film “Gravity” Is Insanely Good

I saw Gravity, and plan to see it again before it leaves theatres. But it’s not a perfect movie. With its inane exchange of banter between the ground crew and astronauts at the beginning of the film, it gets off … Continue reading

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James Baldwin on Death

Nicely, nicely said: Life is tragic simply because the earth turns, and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of … Continue reading

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Existentialism Defined in Two Sentences

The following occurred to me on waking from a nap this afternoon: Existentialism can be summed up in just six words consisting of two sentences: You’re going to die. Your move. Chess players, medieval Germany, circa 1305-1340. (Image source: Wikipedia … Continue reading

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Our Collective Existential Situation in a Nutshell (In Case You Missed It)

Here’s the two-fold problem: (1) each of us is limited to a body we did not choose and that dies, and (2) science since Darwin has revealed living things to be machines that evolve by competition (the proteins in cells, … Continue reading

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The Meaning of Life in the Midst of Large Numbers

In For the Time Being (1999), Annie Dillard (b. 1945) writes the following: “There is now, living in New York City, a church-sanctioned hermit, Theresa Mancuso, who wrote recently, ‘The thing we desperately need is to face the way it is’” … Continue reading

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Aging Before Your Very Eyes

A plausible scenario of start to finish based on a related family of girls and women:

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Dog Plays By Itself

Pleasure in concentration and pursuit. And notice the constant tail wagging. On your way to dusty death (Heidegger called us “beings unto death”), do you have a satisfying mental and physical practice that keeps you occupied? Aside from giving you … Continue reading

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Death and Persona

Heidegger calls each human being a “being unto death”–that is, a being turned toward and moving in death’s direction. What is the consequence of this? One is that each of us adopts a persona. The time-limiting nature of your existence … Continue reading

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We Live Without a Net on the Outskirts of Nowheresville

The below image of the Earth and our moon (the starburst is our planet and the tiny dot under it, the moon), recently taken by the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn 900 million miles away, is more than a little unnerving. … Continue reading

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James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) Died Today

Apparently of a heart attack while in Italy. He was 51. Here’s a bit from The New York Times’ obituary: James Joseph Gandolfini Jr. was born in Westwood, N.J., on Sept. 18, 1961. His father was an Italian immigrant who … Continue reading

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