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A penetrating and provocative exploration of human mortality, from Epicurus to Joan Didion For those who don’t believe in an afterlife, the wisdom of the ages offers four great consolations for mortality: that death is benign and good; that mortal life provides its own kind of immortality; that true immortality would be awful; and that we experience the kinds of losses in life that we will eventually face in death. Can any of these consolations honestly reconcile us to our inevitable demise? In this timely book, Andrew Stark tests the psychological truth of these consolations and searches our collective literary, philosophical, and cultural traditions for answers to the question of how we, in the twenty-first century, might accept our mortal condition. Ranging from Epicurus and Heidegger to bucket lists, the flaming out of rock stars, and the retiring of sports jerseys, Stark’s poignant and learned exploration shows how these consolations, taken together, reveal death as a blessing no matter how much we may love life.
|Publisher:||Yale University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Andrew Stark is professor of management and political science at the University of Toronto. His books include The Limits of Medicine and Drawing the Line: Public and Private in America. His articles have appeared in American Political Science Review, Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, among others. He lives in Toronto, Canada.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Death is Benign
1 Attending Your Own Funeral 13
2 How to Rest on Your Laurels 32
3 Look Who's Calling Himself Nothing 52
4 Bucket Lists 70
Part 2 Mortality Intimates Immortality
5 Retiring Your Jersey 99
6 Regrets" How Much Time Do You Have? 111
7 You Never Know 126
8 Making Your Mark 133
Part 3 Immortality Would Be Malignant
9 This All There Is? 151
10 Still Life 158
11 A Wistful Backward Glance 169
12 Making the Sun Run 176
Interlude Mortality versus Immortality: Why Not the Right to Choose? 191
Part 4 Life Intimates Death
13 The Big Sleep 197
14 Stardust and Moonshine 203
15 Every Time I Say Goodbye, I Die a Little 212
Conclusion My Last Espresso 226