In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Victor Brombert explores the Intimations of Mortality in his own life and in literature.
Far more troubling was the occasional dialogue I carried on with myself during my adolescent years. Why me? My unreality was early impressed on me when I discovered that I had come very close to nonbeing, had my mother not decided to undergo a delicate operation enabling her to conceive. That too worked both ways, intensifying my delight in being alive. Why me? was turned into, Why not me? And that reminded me once again of my vulnerability. Every wound could be mortal.Posted by Jill Fallon at October 10, 2013 5:21 PM | Permalink
Then came the war.
Plato set the tone in the Phaedo when he had Socrates tell his disciples, before drinking the poison hemlock, that true philosophers concern themselves with nothing but dying and death, that philosophy is in fact the study of death. This seemed to me rather excessive.
There is an Italian saying one hears occasionally when things go really wrong or when someone wants to express a so-called philosophical resignation in the face of the downward ways of this world: "Aiuta a morire" (it makes dying easier—literally, it helps one to die)