The fear of death is deep-seated, hardwired into our bodies and subconscious. But every single living thing—and human being—will go through the process of dying. While we witness it happening to others and know intellectually that it will happen to ourselves, many of us avoid thinking about it as much as possible. But when a culture avoids death, sidelining it from social spaces and public discussion, it can make addressing our discomfort, anxiety, fear, and curiosity about death an isolating experience. When we are then confronted with death close to us, we can have difficulty processing the emotions we are faced with and end up in an existential or spiritual crisis. Many traditions believe that incorporating a healthy discussion of death in day-to-day life actually helps release us from the fear of dying and lets us live freer, more vibrant lives.
In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first identified the stages of dying in her transformative book On Death and Dying. Decades later, she and David Kessler wrote the classic On Grief and Grieving, introducing the stages of grief with the same transformative pragmatism and compassion.
Today we are talking about death, looking at philosophical approaches from Socrates, Epicurus, and Zhuangzi. We will consider whether it’s logical to fear your own death, or the deaths of your loved ones. Hank also discusses Thomas Nagel, death, and Fear of Missing Out.
With hard-won wisdom and refreshing insight, Thich Nhat Hanh confronts a subject that has been contemplated by Buddhist monks and nuns for twenty-five-hundred years—and a question that has been pondered by almost anyone who has ever lived: What is death? In No Death, No Fear, the acclaimed teacher...