Two days ago, my boyfriend and I were driving to Lowe’s with NPR on in the background (what hipsters) when I heard the name “Sarah Sudhoff” come across the radio. She’s a photographer whose seminal pieces thus far are photos of the aftermath left at death scenes. Not really a typical Sunday-afternoon discussion piece for most people, however, I’m really glad to have caught it! She’s, maybe unsurprisingly, one of my favourite photographers.
Her interview ended and another began: William Irvine, a modern stoic, talking about how he purposefully ruminates on the thought of his loved one’s dying in order to get a better sense of joy in his own life.
Think about how most people pursue happiness. They think their happiness lies in the external world, and what is preventing them from being happy is the external world.
The Stoic insight is that, almost regardless of the external world you find yourself in, if you are in the right frame of mind.
Think about somebody you really love, now think for five seconds, what your life would be like if they were gone. Whenever I do that I find it’s an almost instant little rush of joy that – that hasn’t happened.
Turns out the entire program was dedicated to talking about death and mortality! Most people would not be as excited as I am about this but I figure since you’re reading this blog, you’ve got SOME morbid curiosity and I can share this with you.
You can find the entire collection of interviews here: http://ttbook.org/book/minding-mortality
Also, you can view part of Sarah Sudhoff’s collection on her website (probably NSFW): http://www.sarahsudhoff.com/at-the-hour-of-our-death
I might try to explore these interviews in more depth individually in a later post. For now, let me know what you think in the comments!