Essay: Do You Feel the Deaths of Strangers?

"Any man's death diminishes me." It has always sounded excessive. John Donne expressed that thought more than 350 years ago in a world without mass communications, where a person's death was signaled by a church bell. "It tolls for thee," he said. Does it really? Logic would suggest that an individual's death would not diminish but rather enhance everybody's life, since the more who die off, the more space and materials there will be for those who remain. Before his conversion, Uncle Scrooge preferred to let the poor die "and decrease the surplus population." Scrooge may not have had God on...

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