Lately I have been finding some free time on my hands. This generally means one thing for me – I have time to read. I used to take my reading time for granted but not anymore. It is rare that I actually can sit back and relax with nothing but a good book. And speaking of good books, have you heard of The Book of Dead Philosophers?
At first glance, it may not sound like an exciting read but hey, look at that title again and you will certainly feel something like a thrill. The Book of Dead Philosophers. How much more interesting can that be?
I have not had the chance to get my hands on this book but trust me, Amazon is my next stop after this post. After reading Laura Miller’s take on the book there is no other option. She shares some of the ideas to be found in the book:
According to Critchley, only the right kind of philosophy can teach “a readiness for death without which any conception of contentment, let alone happiness, is illusory.”
The universal truth of that assertion strikes me as debatable, as does much else in “The Book of Dead Philosophers,” but the link between philosophy and mortality is by necessity an intimate one. In philosophy, the human mind studies itself, and the same faculty that makes this study possible — our self-consciousness — also makes us aware of the inevitability of our own deaths in a way no other living creatures are. Philosophers, therefore, ought to be experts on the problem of how to die well. Since dying only happens once, and (if we’re lucky) it doesn’t take long, acquiring the skill of dying well might seem like a low priority…
While some people might fear death, we just might find something that will help overcome this fear in the book. Interesting reading, to say the least.