[Buddha-l] Being unable to imagine dying [confused?] (lemmett at talk21.com)

Mitchell Ginsberg jinavamsa at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 6 21:02:30 MDT 2010

Hello Lemmett (or Luke, I think) and all, 

I think I see which of your postings were replies to me and which to others. What I have are these 2 postings by you that I think are addressed to me -- you wrote: 

1. Hello. I mean that my own death can't be imagined without contradiction from the inside - phenomenologically. Conceivability is a well known item of analysis, as far as I understand it.I am sorry if it's a problem I'm not presenting my erm interest in posting to this list in a particularly well schooled way. Do you mean that I am lying: that I have not tried to stare death right in the face countless times these past few years and blinked each and every time. I'm happy to leave this list alone, Richard was kind enough to help me and for that I'm grateful for this resource but am not about to spend this evening defending myself for what I don't know! It doesn't seem very sane.

My reply: Oh, OK. I understand phenomenology (having studied with Farber years ago and reading various bits of what some call Husserliana) but am wondering what is difficult about imagining your own death. Incidentally, do you mean the transition from being living to being dead or the state of being most quite dead ongoingly? What is the contradiction that you come up against? 
I at no point have raised any issue of how schooled or not you are, nor about whether you present your comments in terms of any scholarly criteria. Are you actually asking if I meant that you were lying? (I wonder if you are replying in that to me or to something else said in some other context.) The straight answer is, no, I did not mean that you were lying. What would you be lying about? I have no idea what that might be. 
You are of course free to "leave this list alone" but I do not think I was encouraging that or, in other words, trying to discourage you from posting here. And, just to complete a reply to your comments in #1 here, I am not asking you to defend yourself or calling on you to defend yourself. Whether defending oneself is sane or not, I suppose that depends on the context and what we take sanity to be. (I recall a friend of mine who once said that sanity isn't all it's cracked up to be.) Well, that's your first posting. 

2. I mean that I'm only trying to be understood so really what does it matter if I link to something else?Respectfully,

My reply: This is an interesting question. The "matter" or what is important is that you are asking the reader to go to some other source, take the trouble to read that source, interpret that, and then, further, interpret how you might be taking in the cited passages, and guessing what conclusions you drew from them and what you found important, central, inspiring, and so forth. That is a lot of work you are asking others to do. Much simpler, less onerous for others, would be for you just to say what it is that you see as important in the passage and how it impacts you. So that's the "matter" (the problem) with your just citing someone else's work as a reply to a question about what you are talking about or mean. It depends on how much you effort you yourself want to put into articulating (putting into words) what you are raising as a topic of discussion. So if you are only trying to be understood, there is a more efficient way to do it, that's all, 

best wishes, 
Homepage (updated May 23, 2010): http://jinavamsa.com 
See also http://jinavamsa.com/mentalhealth.html


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