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  • Writer's pictureAli Assareh

Death, as a way to be.

A dear friend just lost two loved ones, and it made me revisit my now 15-year journey to make sense of death.

I'll share Martin Heidegger's fascinating theory of death - or at least my understanding of it.

Heidegger defines life as an "unfolding of possibilities."

Whether we consider the simplest of possibilities ("what time should I wake up tomorrow?"), or the most complex of possibilities ("what kind of life should I live?"), what life essentially is, is a space, a canvas, a background, for the unfolding of such possibilities.

Sometimes, we unfold possibilities "authentically" - not just by doing them in a way that is true to us, but also by taking a stand on doing them in that way.

Other times, we unfold possibilities inauthentically - by doing them the way "one" does them.

Now, this "unfolding of possibilities" structure of life is itself possible only because our lives are made finite by death.

If there was no death, we would live infinitely.

If we lived infinitely, *everything* would be possible. We would be everything, not just how we choose to unfold our possibilities.

In this outlook, death - in addition to being a sad part of life - can also be a reminder, to each of us, about what it means to live authentically.

Death, as a way to be.

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