Essay: ON DEATH AS A CONSTANT COMPANION

LIFE is too short. Perhaps no single force has worked so powerfully on man as his knowledge that he must surely die. Whole civilizations have been built in death's dominion: the Egyptians turned their land into a vast necropolis, and the Aztecs conquered Mexico not for booty but for human sacrifices to blunt the lethal appetites of their man-eating gods. Trying to cope with the dreadful and perplexing fact of death, man has erected great intellectual edifices; philosophers as far apart as Socrates and (2,300 years after him) Karl Jaspers have held that the essence of philosophy is preparation for death....

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