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Cheerfully cultivating mortality
August 11, 2014

Michael Foley’s Age of Absurdity (a book I am very much taken with) identifies certain strategies, though I prefer to use the word practices – that he has identified as being universally and long understood as contributing to a life that will work for us. In my 28 July Newsletter. I focused on autonomy as one of these practices – which was the cultivation of separation from the group. That we should practice to understand ourselves as separate and distinct from the group – in other words to practice our capacity for independent thought. Very unfashionable of course - which is Foley’s observation for all of the practices (or strategies) that he has identified.

A second of these practices, identified by Foley is to have a constant awareness of mortality. How unfashionable is that? For, to echo the insights of everyone “from Buddha to Sartre”, it is only this that will remind us of the emptiness of convention and the temporary triviality of so much of what consumes our time and attention.

And of course this is self evidently the case. So how might we find a way to cheerfully contemplate our mortality and impermanence.

best wishes

Andrew Richardson
94 Malford Grove, London E18 2DQ

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