Sooner or later we all face death. Will a sense of meaning help us? - Deepstash

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Valuing life

Valuing life

Death and disease are unavoidable aspects of life. However, in the West, we've developed a delusional denial of this. We pour billions into prolonging life, most employed in our final years, but fail to value life. The most regrets of the dying are cited as follows:

  • I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself.
  • I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
  • I wish I'd dared to express my feelings.
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • I wish I had let myself be happier.

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A reminder to live

German philosopher Martin Heidegger concerned himself with the relationship between death-awareness and leading a fulfilling life. He argued that being aware of our own passing makes us desire to make our life worthwhile and give it meaning and value.

This awareness that we are going to die is important because it reminds us to live our life to the full every day and avoid experiencing unnecessary regret.

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Seeking meaning

Most Eastern philosophical traditions appreciate the importance of death-awareness for a well-lived life. The Buddha saw desire as the cause of all suffering and counseled not to get too attached to worldly pleasures but to focus on loving others, developing a calm mind, and staying in the present.

An awareness of our mortality can move us to seek and create the meaning we crave.

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