The Mortality Club

It's Good that We Die

September 24, 2016

Tags: dying, die, death, grave, mortality

Death is a scary thing to contemplate. Images of the grim reaper are designed to terrify, not to console. It is no wonder that so many horror movies include dark cemeteries as the place where terrible things happen to good people. A belief in Heaven, or life everlasting helps mitigate against the terror, but rarely alleviates it entirely. And yet, it is good that we die.

If death were not the consequence of failing to take care of our bodies, we would become slothful and unhealthy, and spend all of eternity feeling poorly. We would be like a sick, old person condemned living in a state of decay forever. Consider T.S Eliot’s The Waste Land. The epigraph refers to the story of Sybil. She requested and was granted eternal life. Unfortunately, she forgot to ask that she be allowed to remain forever young. She aged and became decrepit. Not knowing what else to do with her, the townsfolk put her in a basket and hung her over the town square. For a thousand years, they listened to her moan, “Let me die. Please let me die.” And yet they could do nothing to help her. (more…)

Selected Works

Psychology/Aging and Dying
In youth we are invincible. The world is forever: we are forever. But, sentient creatures that we are, time inevitably plays its part. Aging and illness shadow those early sensibilities until one day we feel the lurking presence of death itself. Fearful of our own dark thoughts, too often we keep such anxieties to ourselves. To deny our own mortality is a parlor game of sorts, played within our own heads and frequently played alone. Pamela Cuming will have none of it. In her latest book, The Hourglass, she throws back the parlor curtains and lets the light stream in. This is a powerful, objective, unflinching, and yet profoundly empathic work that explores the rewards of honest caring⎯the privilege and the pain⎯not only for one’s friends and family but also for one’s self. Drawing upon an uncanny intuitive understanding of human foible plus a broad knowledge of character development, honed from decades of consulting in the business world, this is a book filled with personal stories both engaging and instructive. In short, The Hourglass is a must read for all those who seek to live life to the full, from start to finish. ________________ Peter C. Whybrow MD, Director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Beavior at UCLA and award-winning author of The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience and the Life Well Lived.
Fiction: Publication Date Nov 14, 2014
Set in New York City and Los Angeles between August 1999 and November 2001, The Stranger Box is the story of a mother and a daughter caught like two white dwarf stars in separate orbits, destined to collide. Though she does everything in her considerable power to insure the child never finds out who she is, the vain and self-obsessed Katherine Blair is unable to change the course of her destiny or evade Eden, the resourceful daughter whose pursuit is fueled by the desire for revenge and the determination to steal the family that has been denied her.
Memoir
Widow’s Walk is a bold, brave, and candid admission of bereavement, weakness, and, ultimately, strength.
Nonfiction
A strategic guide to organizational and personal effectiveness
Turf is a direct, and sometimes disturbing book about the use and abuse of power in organizations.

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