Quite often I am told – reprimanded even – for writing columns seen as deeply depressing because they deal with death, its inevitability, the fact that what we enjoy in a lifetime is gone in a blink of history never to return and soon to be forgotten. “Yes,” I am told, “we know these are unavoidable truths but why on earth call attention to them, dwell on them, remind us of them, place them before us so insistently? What good does this do? Life is for living, certainly not for contemplating death any longer than it takes to make a will!”
There is no obviously good answer to this critique – unless you believe that such reminders are good for the health of the immortal soul – and I have to say I do not write such pieces with that in mind.
I write such pieces partly because it is intellectually satisfying to think about and express views on issues which have been the subject of philosophical and spiritual debate from the dawn of mankind. And, after all, to find something intellectually satisfying is very much part of enjoying life, especially the life of the mind – as important, surely, as the body’s life. So there is that – thinking and writing about death turns out to be a quite normal and challenging part of life itself…..