Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not: this gives us no concern—why then should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be? . . . To die is only to be as we were before we were born; yet no one feels any remorse, or regret, or repugnance, in contemplating this last idea. It is rather a relief and disburthening of the mind: it seems to have been holiday-time with us then: we were not called upon to appear upon the stage of life, to wear robes or tatters, to laugh or cry, be hooted or applauded; we had lain perdus all this while, snug, out of harm’s way; and had slept out our thousands of centuries without wanting to be waked up; at peace and free from care, in a long nonage, in a sleep deeper and calmer than that of infancy, wrapped in the finest and softest dust. And the worst that we dread is, after a short, fretful, feverish being, after vain hopes, and idle fears, to sink to final repose again, and forget the troubled dream of life!I thought of this quote when I came across a video, an animation produced by Luke Jurevicius and directed by Ari Gibson and Jason Pamment, based on a lecture by philosopher and writer Alan Watts (1915-1973), author of the cult-classic The Way of Zen.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Hazlitt and Watts on death
William Hazlitt, born in 1778, wrote On the Fear of Death,