In a talk that’s by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny shares her hard-earned wisdom about life and death. Her candid approach to something that will, let’s face it, affect us all, is as liberating as it is gut-wrenching. Most powerfully, she encourages us to shift how we approach grief. "A grieving person is going to laugh again and smile again," she says. "They’re going to move forward. But that doesn’t mean that they’ve moved on."
Tagged with “death” (14)
To accompany the current Allusionist miniseries Survival, about minority languages facing suppression and extinction, we’re revisiting this double bill of The Key episodes about why languages die and how they can be resuscitated. The Rosetta Stone and its modern equivalent the Rosetta Disk preserve writing systems to be read by future generations. But how do those generations decipher text that wasn’t written with the expectation of requiring decipherment? Features mild scenes of linguistic apocalypse.
In one of Long Now’s most moving talks, Ostaseski began: “I’m not romantic about dying.
This is the hardest work you will ever do.
It is tough.
It’s sad and it’s messy and it’s cruel and it’s beautiful sometimes and mysterious, but above all that, it’s normal.
It’s a boat we’re all in.
It’s inevitable and intimate.“
He said that people think it will be unbearable, but they find they have the resources to deal with it, and “they regularly—not always—develop insights into their lives in the time of dying that make them emerge as a much larger, more expansive, more real person than the small, separate self they’d taken themselves to be.”
That is one message that dying gives to living.
“Reflection on death,” he said, “causes us to be more responsible—in our relationships, with ourselves, with the planet, with our future.”
Ostaseski summarized the insights he’s learned from the dying as “five invitations to be present.”
1) Don’t wait.
2) Welcome everything, push away nothing.
3) Bring your whole self to the experience.
4) Find a place of rest in the middle of things.
5) Cultivate don’t-know mind.
For 2), Ostaseski quoted James Baldwin: “Not everything that can be faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed that is not faced.”
An example of 4): a woman who was panicking at her difficulty breathing was encouraged to try resting in the moment between breaths, and there she found the handle on her panic and relaxed into the situation.
Ostaseski ended with a story.
One day at Zen Hospice in San Francisco he was in the kitchen reading a book called Japanese Death Poems.
A tough old lady from the streets named Sono, who was
there to die, asked him about the book, and he explained the tradition of Japanese monks to write on the day of their death a poem expressing the essential truth discovered in their life.
He read her a few.
Sono said she’d like to write hers, and did, and asked that it be pinned to her bedclothes when she died and cremated with her.
Don’t just stand there with your hair turning gray,
soon enough the seas will sink your little island.
So while there is still the illusion of time,
set out for another shore.
No sense packing a bag.
You won’t be able to lift it into your boat.
Give away all your collections.
Take only new seeds and an old stick.
Send out some prayers on the wind before you sail.
Don’t be afraid.
Someone knows you’re coming.
An extra fish has been salted.
—Mona (Sono) Santacroce (1928 - 1995)
Kevin Kelly was in Jerusalem. For reasons too complicated to go into here, he ended up sleeping on the spot where Jesus was supposedly crucified. After Kevin awoke, the thought came into his head: Live as if you’ll die in six months. So he did.
Original video: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/50/shoulda-been-dead?act=1
Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/
Kim Stanley Robinson and Sheldon Solomon on exploration and death – books podcast | Books | The Guardian
Can humanity escape extinction by reaching for the stars? We confront final questions with the science fiction novelist Kim Stanley Robinson and the psychologist Sheldon Solomon.
We’re heading off into the unknown in this week’s podcast, with a pair of writers who explore what drives our human experiment.
The writer Kim Stanley Robinson has been examining possible futures for humanity for 40 years in a series of novels that stretch from nuclear devastation through climate chaos to Mars and beyond. His latest novel, Aurora, pushes 500 years onwards with a story of a vast starship on a 200-year journey to Tau Ceti.
Robinson explains why he decided to write a generation starship novel and why he’s happier pushing at the boundaries of fiction rather than the boundaries of science.
The psychologist Sheldon Solomon has, by contrast, been expanding the realm of science, putting an insight from ancient philosophy – that our lives are shaped by our awareness of our own mortality – on a sound experimental footing.
Solomon explains how he and his colleagues Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski have been measuring the ways in which the fear of death alters our behaviour and how the stories we tell ourselves against that fear have forged history.
In 1990, the federal government invited a group of geologists, linguists, astrophysicists, architects, artists, and writers to the New Mexico desert, to visit the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. They would be there on assignment.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the nation’s only permanent underground repository for nuclear waste. Radioactive byproducts from nuclear weapons manufacturing and nuclear power plants. WIPP was designed not only to handle a waste stream of various forms of nuclear sludge, but also more mundane things that interacted with radioactive materials, such as tools and gloves.
WIPP, which is located deep in the New Mexico desert, was designed to store all of this radioactive material and keep us all safe from it.
Eventually, WIPP will be sealed up and left alone. Years will pass and those years will become decades. Those decades will become centuries and those centuries will roll into millennia. People above ground will come and go. Cultures will rise and fall. And all the while, below the surface, that cave full of waste will get smaller and smaller, until the salt swallows up all those oil drums and entombs them. Then, all the old radioactive gloves and tools and little bits from bombs –all still radioactive– will be solidified in the earth’s crust for more than 200,000 years. Basically forever.
Legacies, especially what constitutes them and who has access to them, have changed a great deal over time. For instance, Willa Cather, a giant of 20th century American literature, and author of classics like "O Pioneers!" expressly forbade the publication of her personal correspondence. Her wish has largely been respected and enforced by her executors since her death seven decades ago.
When we die, we leave behind more than friends and family, homes and possessions. These days, we leave behind Facebook profiles and Twitter accounts and thousands of emails.
When we die, we leave behind not just intangible memories and tangible physical possessions, but a whole host of digital accounts that are somewhere in between the two. Unlike the photos and documents you store in your desk, access after death to data stored with email providers and social networking websites is impeded by several major barriers.
Aleks Krotofski looks at death and how this fits into our always-on, forever searchable modern world.
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