On Wisdom: Principles: Death

Music: Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor.
By J.S. Bach. Sequenced by George Pollen.

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Nicholas Gordon

1. Experience without death is as unimaginable as experience without time.

2. Death is the sunlight that makes all things visible, the end that measures time, the music that moves us to compassion, the nothingness that brings us peace.

3. Life and death are one gift, as are joy and sorrow. One cannot esteem one without esteeming the other, just as one cannot regret one without regretting the other.

4. The experience of death, like the experience of birth, is unique. But otherwise it is merely an experience, like breathing, like falling asleep, like any loss of consciousness.

5. What happens after death, if anything, like what happened before birth, if anything, is unknowable and therefore fit for faith and speculation.

6. A life from birth to death, however, is complete, and therefore perfect, indelible, and everlasting.

7. Though fear of death is natural, the wise know that it is also irrational, and that only by embracing death can one live with dignity and understanding.

Next: The Practice of Wisdom: The Golden Mean
Previous: The Principles of Wisdom: Ecstasy

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