Nothing to Be Frightened of

Nothing to Be Frightened of

Book - 2008
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Based on his own memories and those of his philosopher brother, a memoir about the author's family offers a meditation on the inevitability of human mortality and the fear of death, a celebration of art, and an argument for, against, about, and with God.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2008
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780307269638
Branch Call Number: B BARNES
Characteristics: 243 p. ; 22 cm


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Aug 16, 2018

"For Montaigne, the death of youth, which often takes place unnoticed, is the harder death; what we habitually refer to as 'death' is no more than the death of old age ... The leap from the attenuated survival of senescence into non-existence is much easier than the sly transition from heedless youth to crabbed and regretful age." (p. 41-2)

Aug 16, 2018

"We may allow Death, like God, to be [occasionally ironic] ... The essential difference remains: God might be dead, but Death is well alive. ... 'Death is sweet; it delivers us from the fear of death.' Is this not a comfort?" (p. 205, 209)

Jan 20, 2009

I don’t believe in God, but I miss Him. That's what I say when the question is put. I asked my brother, who has taught philosophy at Oxford, Geneva and the Sorbonne, what he thought of such a statement, without revealing it was my own. He replied with a single word: 'Soppy.'


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Aug 16, 2018

This book-length personal essay on dying, death and nothingness would have benefited from having an index so that readers could refer back to earlier references to philosophers, theologians, and the author's relatives. Since this essay was published in 2008 the emergence of medically-assisted-death in Europe and elsewhere has changed attitudes on dying. This essay would be valuable reading for gerontologists (especially pages 101-105).


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