Tuesday, 26 March, 2013
Sasha MacKinnon, who at age 21, was clinically dead for four and a half minutes, after going into cardiac arrest, describes the life, death, and life, experience.
The stories you hear about people dying usually end with tunnels, lights, flashbacks, God, and big epiphanies. That isn’t what happened to me. After finally regaining enough consciousness to understand my situation, I sat for hours staring at the hospital walls. I didn’t have any life changing realizations. I wasn’t regretful. In fact, I couldn’t think of anything in my life I wanted to change at all. Being trapped alone in that sterile room with wires hanging off my chest only made me think about everything in my life I wanted back.
Late Australian media baron, Kerry Packer who died in 2005, had a near death experience in 1990, also as a result of a heart attack, and spent six minutes in a clinically dead state. He too reported seeing nothing in the way of tunnels, lights, and what have you, declaring that there was nothing out there, or words to that effect.
death, health, philosophy
Tuesday, 19 March, 2013
Morbidly fascinating, a collection of the last tweets made by relatively well known Twitter account holders, shortly before they died.
death, social media, twitter
Wednesday, 30 January, 2013
An intriguing idea advanced by British theoretical physicist Geoffrey West – that, by the way, is hotly disputed by some scientists – suggesting the lifespan of all living creatures can be determined by their size:
Everything alive will eventually die, we know that, but now we can read the pattern and see death coming. We have recently learned its logic, which “You can put into mathematics,” says physicist Geoffrey West. It shows up with “extraordinary regularity,” not just in plants, but in all animals, from slugs to giraffes. Death, it seems, is intimately related to size.
death, life, science
Wednesday, 30 January, 2013
Six, likely uncomfortable, steps those contemplating suicide go through. Maybe being familiar with them will help you spot someone who is struggling.
There are certainly more recent theoretical models of suicide than Baumeister’s, but none in my opinion are an improvement. The author gives us a uniquely detailed glimpse into the intolerable and relentlessly egocentric tunnel vision that is experienced by a genuinely suicidal person. According to Baumeister, there are six primary steps in the escape theory, culminating in a probable suicide when all criteria are met. I do hope that having knowledge about the what-it-feels-like phenomenology of “being” suicidal helps people to recognize their own possible symptoms of suicidal ideation and – if indeed this is what’s happening – enables them to somehow derail themselves before it’s too late.
death, health, psychology, well being
Monday, 6 August, 2012
You may not know of US new age musician David Young, despite the fact he has an extensive back catalogue, though it is very possible you have heard his music before… especially at a funeral or memorial service.
So how does music “relaxing” enough for grief sound? Songs on Young’s CDs vary between “downtempo,” “upbeat,” and “spiritual.” They bring to mind waiting for customer service. There are lots of wind chimes and bird sounds. There are no large leaps in volume or changes in meter, no unpredictable or complex chord progressions. This is music as single-issue sloganeering, a made-for-TV movie of sound. Young’s oeuvre is one of distillation, melding classical, opera, pop, and folk. It always sounds familiar, even when you hear it for the first time.
death, music, songs
Tuesday, 24 July, 2012
I’ve seen this story swirling about the web but finally took some time to read it. Before his death a couple of weeks ago, late Salt Lake City resident Val Patterson wrote his own obituary, perhaps as a way of putting his affairs in order, but more I would say out of a desire to set the record straight in regards to certain aspects of his life:
Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say. As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest. Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn’t even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters “PhD” even stood for.
What can I say? If you’re worried you are living a lie you’re certainly not the only one.
death, life, obituaries
Wednesday, 27 June, 2012
A chart published by The New England Journal of Medicine that compares the ways people died in 2010 with causes of death in 1900.
While the mortality rate has almost halved, and instances of diseases such as tuberculosis and influenza, which were big killers at the beginning of last century, have been greatly reduced, heart disease and cancer rates are well up on what they were one hundred years ago.
While I really know nothing about such matters, I’d venture to guess that this is because we are now living longer than people did a century ago, and succumbing more to heart disease and cancer in old age, something most people then wouldn’t have lived long enough to encounter.
death, disease, health, mortality
Thursday, 3 May, 2012
End Piece is a collection of the final artworks created by well known artists before their death, such as the above piece by late Cuban artist Félix González-Torres.
Possibly a morbid interest, but it’s something I look out for at exhibitions – the Picasso show at AGNSW being a recent example – of the work of artists who are no longer with us.
art, artists, death
Monday, 16 April, 2012
Not that I mean to be morbid with talk of death this morning, but I couldn’t go passed this piece on our digital legacy… what will become of our digital artefacts (photos, videos, etc) that reside online in websites (hmm, another question) social networks, and the like, after we die? A digital will may be the solution.
I know it goes against every fiber of your being, but the only real way to make sure that your digital legacy remains in tact is to make a digital will. A digital will should include a list of all your login credentials – or at least the ones you want to share – and a layman’s description of all the data stored on your various devices. You should leave your digital will in a safe place, but it should not be part of your normal will, which will be made public after you die.
death, digital legacy, wills
Monday, 16 April, 2012
US film critic on Roger Ebert on death and memory… I think I’m beginning to like his off-topic writing more than his film reviews.
Early one morning, unable to sleep, I roamed my memories of them. Of an endless series of dinners, and brunches, and poker games, and jokes, and gossip. On and on, year after year. I remember them. They exist in my mind – in countless minds. But in a century the human race will have forgotten them, and me as well. Nobody will be able to say how we sounded when we spoke. If they tell our old jokes, they won’t know whose they were. That is what death means. We exist in the minds of other people, in thousands of memory clusters, and one by one those clusters fade and disappear. Some years from now, at a funeral with a slide show, only one person will be able to say who we were. Then no one will know.
death, legacy, life