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1 Introduction

loved ones. Needless to say I was not of much help, simply because, like almost everybody else, I felt baffled by the “phenomenon of death” and grieved sometimes when those I knew died. It became clear to me that I used the word death in a number of meanings and that I shifted from one to another, sometimes without even noticing it. I therefore made myself be watchful and keep all the meanings in their respective places, watching also how they affected one another. I studied my instruments of study so that I could assess, as truly as possible, whether I was making any progress in my grasp of the challenge. I remember that for 39 years I had wanted to know precisely what sleep was and all the time its meaning escaped me — and all other students of it as well, I think. I did, after all that time, find a meaning for sleep which enabled me to say that I had answered my own question satisfactorily. Others agreed with me when they read my writings on it, or when, in seminars, I put to them the exercises which they needed to go through in order to know what I knew and to become students of sleep in their turn. For 60 years at least I have been engaged in the study of death and have experienced all along that, like sleep, its real meaning kept escaping me. Since I had managed to give myself an entry into sleep — which produced the state accorded to scientists when they solve a riddle of the universe — I was free to move to some other challenge. I never considered death as prolonged sleep because this did not seem to help much in understanding it. Indeed, what finally helped me understand sleep was that I

5

On Death  

"Is there any hope that we may ever know what death is? Since it is a problem of knowing, we need to find the epistemological devices that w...

On Death  

"Is there any hope that we may ever know what death is? Since it is a problem of knowing, we need to find the epistemological devices that w...

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