N. Lloyd Hewitt, Writer, Stoic, Previously obese and 150 pounds down…answers:
There’s a handful of books that has changed the way I look at many things. But one book in particular changed my entire perception of life.
A book called: The Denial Of Death by Earnest Becker
Of course, people interpret and experience books differently.
But what I loved about this book was the way Becker theorised that all our anxieties are the result of an unconscious fear of death.
That everything we do (or don’t do) is a way to preserve our lives after we are gone.
And the problem is: when people don’t achieve what they want, they fall into a deep depression, or find ways to numb themselves rather than face reality (an issue with our society today).
After reading this book, you see yourself in a different light. You realise that people are wasting their time, focused on meanginless things, all to avoid their mortality And that it doesn’t matter anyway.
While that sounds depressing, it’s actually the opposite.
You realise that your anxieties are pointless. That most of what you fear is unessecary. And that we waste so much of our time worrying about not being good enough, skilled enough, or lucky enough to do what we want.
But in reality: who cares. You are going to die anyway. Might as well take whatever leap you want. Nobody cares. Nothing you will do will really be remembered. And if it does, well you’re dead. You won’t know about it.
It’s a tough read. But this book is golden.
“The irony of man’s condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive. – Earnest Becker