Philosophy = Learning How to Die

Maybe you’ve been reading about Pete Rollins’s Pyro-Theology. If you like that, you should also be reading Kester Brewin‘s Pirate Theology. He’s got a great post about it today:

‘to philosophize is to learn how to die.’

That really struck me when I read it, and Critchley goes on to expand a little on that in the piece, especially in relation to love, which draws the possibly selfish philosophical attitude to death out of itself and into relationship with another person. Critchley’s – and Socrates’ – point is this: by carefully considering what life is about, we are better able to consider what our own life means, so that when it comes to the end of our life, whenever that might be, we are better prepared to step into the void beyond.

Pete Rollins tweeted something on these lines yesterday too:

‘Coming to terms with the death that signals the end of life seems easier to me than coming 2 terms with the deaths that happen while we live…’

Musing on that today, I was reminded of Socrates’ other famous adage that

‘the unexamined life is not worth living.’

I have been thinking how that fits with the above, for it might seem that, while the unexamined life may be unenlightened or not well thought out, it at least doesn’t get forced to drink hemlock. The examined life, the one that is worth living, actually turns out to be a lot of trouble, because it throws up difficult questions about our place in the world and our relationship to those around us, and to our closely held beliefs too.

So perhaps Socrates should have continued: the unexamined life is not worth living, but the examined life may come at too high a price.

via Kester Brewin » Is ‘The Examined Life’ Worth It? | Philosophy, Theology and Death.


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