Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Death and Dying

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Thank you everyone, for the responses. Had I gone a month further in my traversing of the archives I would have stumbled upon those great comments.

I think Ayn Rand died from pnemonia or complications therefrom, when she was 82.

Thank you, that's a bit of information I've never collected. Can anyone recommend a good biography of Rand's life?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is actually something I've been struggling with lately and I was also going to post about it.

I'm not depressed or melancholy but lately I've found myself thinking about the null or void after I die. Usually it catches me off guard when I least expect it and it pierces me with pain for a second. I don't want to die, yet it's the one thing that guaranteed to happen in ones life.

Whenever this happens I just look at what or who is around me. If I'm outside I look at a tree that full of life. If I'm with family I embrace them. When I'm with my g/f I reason why I value her and why she values me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My thinking is that, as was said in the previous thread, death is not important. It is life, and life's work, that is. However, I do acknowledge that as thinking, reasoning beings, thoughts of death and the "null and void" associated with it (as the previous poster identified) are a natural thing. As an individual who values life and the beauty and potential it offers, remorse must inevitably accompany thoughts of its end. However, this remorse must not dictate our actions, behaviors, or thoughts in any other way than by encouraging decisions that are in the best interest of prolonging life and making it valuable. Here is a quote I've found helpful on this topic:

"Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. Joy is not "the absence of pain," intelligence is not "the absence of stupidity," light is not "the absence of darkness," an entity is not "the absence of a nonentity." Building is not done by abstaining from demolition; centuries of sitting and waiting in such abstinence will not raise one single girder for you to abstain from demolishing... Existence is not a negation of negatives."

--Taken from Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I don't think that remorse is what you should feel. It's a bit like feeling remorse over the fact that volcanos erupt. It doesn't make sense to me to feel something about the metaphysically given, and death is one of those things. I think only when you don't yet truly understand the necessity of death in our existence you feel remorse about it, and after that it will probably vanish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I don't think that remorse is what you should feel. It's a bit like feeling remorse over the fact that volcanos erupt. It doesn't make sense to me to feel something about the metaphysically given, and death is one of those things. I think only when you don't yet truly understand the necessity of death in our existence you feel remorse about it, and after that it will probably vanish.

Maybe remorse is the wrong word. But I do think it is logical and not reprehensible to experience displeasure at the knowledge of one's own end, if one is living a valuable life. Even understanding that death is natural and that it must happen allows for this sort of emotion. Yes, volcanoes erupt, but they do not rob us of our work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can anyone recommend a good biography of Rand's life?

If my memory still serves me, Harry Binswanger, a friend of Ayn Rand at the time of her death, said she died of a heart attack. A nurse was with her at the time.

1) Harry Binswanger, Ayn Rand's Life: Highlights and Sidelights. My copy is audiotape, but I am sure it is on CD now. Check the Ayn Rand Bookstore site.

2) Jeff Britting, Ayn Rand, 2004. This little book is packed with information about her life, plus lots of photos of her and the places where she lived. There are photos from her youth too, including (on p. 39) a stunning photo used on her immigrant "green card." The advantage of Britting's biography is that the author is the archivist at The Ayn Rand Institute. He knows her writings, notes, and other records very well. His work is based on documented facts. You can order it from the Ayn Rand Bookstore site.

3) Mary Ann and Charles Sures, Facets of Ayn Rand. I highly recommend this account written by two of Ayn Rand's friends. It shows Ayn Rand at work and at play.

Edited by BurgessLau
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If my memory still serves me, Harry Binswanger, a friend of Ayn Rand at the time of her death, said she died of a heart attack. A nurse was with her at the time.

1) Harry Binswanger, Ayn Rand's Life: Highlights and Sidelights. My copy is audiotape, but I am sure it is on CD now. Check the Ayn Rand Bookstore site.

2) Jeff Britting, Ayn Rand, 2004. This little book is packed with information about her life, plus lots of photos of her and the places where she lived. There are photos from her youth too, including (on p. 39) a stunning photo used on her immigrant "green card." The advantage of Britting's biography is that the author is the archivist at The Ayn Rand Institute. He knows her writings, notes, and other records very well. His work is based on documented facts. You can order it from the Ayn Rand Bookstore site.

3) Mary Ann and Charles Sures, Facets of Ayn Rand. I highly recommend this account written by two of Ayn Rand's friends. It shows Ayn Rand at work and at play.

Wow, those all sound great, I can't wait to get my hands on them. Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. Joy is not "the absence of pain," intelligence is not "the absence of stupidity," light is not "the absence of darkness," an entity is not "the absence of a nonentity." Building is not done by abstaining from demolition; centuries of sitting and waiting in such abstinence will not raise one single girder for you to abstain from demolishing... Existence is not a negation of negatives."

--Taken from Galt's speech in Atlas Shrugged

Hey, Charlotte!!

Just sending a very warm welcome to you to this forum!

I can see that all went okay when you registered here after all. *smiles

I think that that is a very appropriate quote that you have found in regards to life and death.

You are very good at finding quotes, may I add, and able to understand their application in conversations that you have had with me and with others. "Existence is not a negation of negatives".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1905-1982 according to wikipedia

Ayn Rand was born on February 2, 1905. She died on March 6, 1982. Both according to the Ayn Rand Institute.

More specifically, this next part is directed to Charlotte, to answer her question:

The following was also taken directly from the ARI:

"Of what did Ayn Rand die? Where is she buried?

Ayn Rand died on March 6, 1982, of heart failure. She was buried in Kenisco Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y., next to her husband Frank O'Connor (who died in 1979). See also: 'To the Reader,' by Harry Binswanger, The Objectivist Forum, Vol. 3, No. 1."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am curious as to everyone's thoughts on death as it relates to an objectivist's life. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe as an objectivist and atheist

It's "O"bjectivism. Also, atheism is inherent in Objectivism. That was a redundancy at the end.

one's consciousness must surely cease to exist when the biological processes fueling it no longer function.

You are absolutely correct. Consciousness is the faculty that we have, that allows us to be able to percieve that which is in existence. When that faculty can no longer function, because certain biological mechanisms have shut down, then our consciousness ceases and we can no longer percieve reality.

Or is it something to be accepted as a logical inevitability and given no greater thought?

You have to accept that which is the metaphysically given, or a fact, or it is a considered a form of evasion, no?

Once accepted, however, one does not grant it much significance, but treats life, living, rather than death, dying as being paramount.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the person earlier who said "death isn't important" just about summed up what I think about it. I think the biggest thing I worry about when it comes to dying isnt that I will die, but that others will be left behind, and I only hope that they can understand that it doesn't matter how long life is, and it doesn't matter when life ends, the only thing that matters is that it did happen. We had a friend who died last year here at college, he was 19 years old. Everyone said it was a tragedy that a young person had died, but I think that the amount of time you get to spend here is completely irrelevent.

If I died tomorrow, up to this point I have accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish so far. I have told everyone that I love that I love them, and I do so almost everyday. I have been working towards my ultimate life goals, building strong relationships, enjoying my job, learning at school, basically I've been LIVING.

There's nothing tragic about death. Sure, we miss those who are gone. There are people I would be devistated without. I know that they wouldn't want me to suffer, they would want me to learn from what happened, and realize that every day is a new opportunity to LIVE.

I don't want to die, but every second I spend thinking about it is a second I could spend living. In fact, it's not even that I don't want to die, it isn't just the avoidance of the inevitable, It's that I want to live.

Whenever I think about death, I just think about life. The only thing we can really learn from death is that unless we are truly living, we mine as well be dead anyway. (Isn't that was being an Objectivist is all about, Living Life On Earth!)

For the person who lost someone, I'm sorry for your pain. My only recommendation is to learn as much as you can from what happened, and also to remember him. Take him with you in your heart and in your life, and as long as your alive, his memory, his worth, the things he did here on earth, will live on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...