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Friday, August 14, 2020

Covid19 fatality undercount?

 From the NY Times.

Interesting analysis. There remains a good bit of political contention regarding what legitimately counts as a "confirmed case" and a covid19 "cause of death."


The surprising benefits of contemplating your death
Now is the perfect time to face your fear of mortality. Here’s how.

Nikki Mirghafori has a fantastically unusual career. After getting a PhD in computer science, she’s spent three decades as an artificial intelligence researcher and scientific advisor to tech startups in Silicon Valley. She’s also spent a bunch of time in Myanmar, training with a Buddhist meditation master in the Theravada tradition. Now she teaches Buddhist meditation internationally, alongside her work as a scientist.

One of Mirghafori’s specialties is maranasati, which means mindfulness of death. Mortality might seem like a scary thing to contemplate — in fact, maybe you’re tempted to stop reading this right now — but that’s exactly why I’d say you should keep reading. Death is something we really don’t like to think or talk about, especially in the West. Yet our fear of mortality is what’s driving so much of our anxiety, especially during this pandemic.

Maybe it’s the prospect of your own mortality that scares you. Or maybe you’re like me, and thinking about the mortality of the people you love is really what’s hard to wrestle with.

Either way, I think now is actually a great time to face that fear, to get on intimate terms with it, so that we can learn how to reduce the suffering it brings into our lives…

Great interview and podcast. I've certainly reflected on my own mortality lately, given the ongoing pandemic. Grateful to simply still be alive.

See also my 2016 post "A billion tons of human bones."

I am also reminded of a recent Arthur C. Brooks article:

I suspect that my own terror of professional decline is rooted in a fear of death—a fear that, even if it is not conscious, motivates me to act as if death will never come by denying any degradation in my résumé virtues...

More to come...

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