The spur of death

Dalrymple’s BMJ column from last week takes on an unpleasant subject: death. I found this part particularly interesting:

La Rochefoucauld believed that we couldn’t contemplate death for long because the prospect of personal extinction was too painful for us; for [Emile] Zola, however, it derived from the fact that we are too rooted in the concerns of everyday life for it to preoccupy us for long.

I wonder if these two reasons are necessarily mutually exclusive. Don’t many people nowadays occupy themselves with mundane tasks for the express purpose of avoiding deep contemplation about much of anything, death especially?

Read the column here

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