Book Notes on Aging and Dying

Nothing last forever. Here are a few great notes on aging from my reading the last couple of years. Memento Mori.

๐Ÿ“ โ€œBy becoming deeply aware of our mortality, we intensify our experience of every aspect of life.โ€ – Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature

๐Ÿ“ โ€œNo one set value on time. All use it lavishly as if it cost nothing. But see how these same people clasp to the knees of physicians when they fall ill and the danger of death draws nearerโ€ – Seneca, On the Shortness of life.

๐Ÿ“ People have different sensitivity to caffeine. Older people are more sensitive in general.

Notes from Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker.

๐Ÿ“ A deadly gene could survive in the gene pool by inflicting its damage only after a person reaches an old age, where the victim already produced itโ€™s offspring. Like Cancer.

Notes from The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins

๐Ÿ“ John D. Rockefeller was obsessed with his health and set a goal for himself to live until he was 100 years old. He died at 97.

Notes from Titan, Ron Chernow

๐Ÿ“ โ€œWhatever the cause of the inverse association between body size and aging, it seems to be found in all mammalsโ€ Bigger animals live longer.

Notes from Mutants, Armand Marie Leroi

๐Ÿ“We know intellectually that we are going to die. But we donโ€™t really feel it. We repress the affects of death to be able to function normally. – The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker

What are your favorite quote on the subject?

Notes from a Year of Reading – Psychology

๐Ÿ“ โ€œIt takes a lot of courage to take the unconscious seriously and to tackle the problems it raises.โ€

– Carl Jung, Man and his Symbols.

๐Ÿ“ โ€œAs a rule, whatever we donโ€™t deal with in our lives we pass on to our children.โ€

– Gabor Matรฉ, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.

๐Ÿ“ โ€œSometime educated guesses can be made about the wounds of childhood by closely inspecting what matters adults irrationally lose their tempers overโ€

– Clarissa Estes Pinkola, Women Who Run with the Wolves.

๐Ÿ“ โ€œThose with a negative attitude tend to operate from a basic position of fear towards life.They unconsciously want to limit what they see and experience to give them more control.โ€

– Robert Greene, The Laws of Human Nature.

๐Ÿ“ โ€œIn other words, the final terror of self-consciousness is the knowledge of oneโ€™s own death, which is the peculiar sentence on man alone in the animal


– Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death.

Iโ€™m working my way through my notes from the last 12 months. I thought it would be interesting to share my notes by subject rather than per book.

Whatโ€™s your next read on human psychology?

(If you donโ€™t have one. Pick any of the books above and youโ€™ll be good!๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜‰)

Thoughts on: โ€œThe Denial of Deathโ€ by Ernest Becker

We know we are going to die someday. This is the unique problem of the conscious animal. We know it but we donโ€™t feel it because we need to repress this truth in order to function.

So what to do? Itโ€™s really hard to accept that we are just worms in the dirt. Especially when our nature is so paradoxical; the body being so animalistic and limited yet our minds so godlike and boundless. We are gods with anuses.

What we need is a lie. A vital and grand one that we can always rely on. We need something that transcends us, some system of ideas and powers that embed us, whether itโ€™s a flag, the proletariat, a guru or religion.

Kierkegaard, Freud, Jung, Maslow and Fromm are some of the characters youโ€™ll get to familiarize with during this journey. I felt like each chapter demanded a following period of reflection. I was absolutely taken aback by this book.

freud meme

Some notes:

๐Ÿ“ โ€œI believe that those who speculate that a full apprehension of manโ€™s condition would drive him insane are right, quite literally right.โ€ Damned if you do, damned if you donโ€™t. ๐Ÿ˜จ

๐Ÿ“ Man is beaten down by life and the world; โ€œbeaten because he fails to face up to the existential truth of his situationโ€” the truth that he is an inner symbolic self, which signifies a certain freedom, and that he is bound by a finite body, which limits that freedom.โ€

๐Ÿ“ How much of experience do we let in?The schizophrenic allow for too much; the depressed too little.

๐Ÿ“ Anxiety is the possibility of freedom.

๐Ÿ“ Ideally man is โ€œ…fully in the world on its terms and wholly beyond the world in his trust in the invisible dimension.โ€

โญ๏ธ TAKEAWAY:

If life is an insurmountable problem, and we canโ€™t live with the truth of our situation then the question is on what level of illusion to live our lives on.

This book really checks all the boxes for me:

โœ…Itโ€™s complex and nuanced – yet I donโ€™t feel totally lost (expect that fu*king castration complex.. I just do get it…๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ โœ‚๏ธ )

โœ… I started the book being one person, came out of it as another. (SWIPE for example ๐Ÿ˜‰)

โœ… Checked one book of my reading list – added a dozen!

Loved it!


Find more fantastic books in my Reading Lists or get this at Amazon