March 25, 2019
Death has always been a subject that has tough for me to approach for obvious reasons. Not only is it a subject that’s tough to talk about in general, but it’s a topic that’s incredibly taboo, but perhaps it shouldn’t be.
Losing two grandparents the last couple of years, and also a few friends, death has been a subject that’s been in the back of my head for quite some time. Moreover, my last hospitalization was so incredibly daunting that I honestly didn’t think I would make it, but lo and behold, I did thanks to a myriad of circumstances that are too long too discuss here. That said, the confluence of circumstances mentioned, as well as many others, have made me come to an appreciation of life and the moments I share with others that I never thought I could have.
I am not the type of person to take things life lightly, nor was I the type of individual that took things for granted. That didn’t matter though, for death has a way of making you appreciate life – everything about it – at levels hitherto unknown, regardless of where your point of view was/is at. At least that’s how I feel. That’s where the following book by Kreeft leave’s me at, at a more profound appreciation of such an obscure subject.
I read two of Kreeft’s book in the past and found his writing to follow a very direct no-nonsense approach, regardless of topic. For those very reasons as well as others, I thought it prudent to avail myself of more of his work, given the quality and insights. This made me look forward to what Kreeft had to say about death as a whole.
Love Is Stronger Than Death by philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D. is an in-depth gander into love, death and life through five lenses: death as an enemy, death as a stranger, death as a friend, death as a mother, death as a lover. Curious chapter titles no doubt, and yet, each offer more than ample insights to ruminate upon.
Examining this curious conundrum, Kreeft takes a very methodical and deft approach into attempting to take the taboo out of death. Following many thought-provoking considerations that really hit home for me, Kreeft undoubtedly leaves the reader not only with a fresh new understanding of death, but more importantly, with a reassuringly new point of view of life.
The profound ruminations that Kreeft embarks in are quite meaningful, as they tend to add color to the strands of life that are often fraught with greys and blacks. For instance:
“On the one hand, death is loss of self; on the other, loss of death is loss of meaning, of identity, of self. On the one hand, death takes its loss of meaning, of identity, of self. On the one hand, death takes from me my self, and immortality would give me my self snatched from the jaws of death of nothingness. On the other hand, death gives me my self, as we have discovered in this chapter, and the “Immortality pill” would snatch it from me. Death both unmakes me and makes me.”
Passages as such leave the reader much to ponder upon.
Employing a multi-pronged approach, Kreeft deftly uses logic, analogies, biblical lessons, as well as philosophy to strip away much of the mystery that has confounded humanity since time immemorial.
In fact, Kreeft at one point speaks honestly about the subject:
“My concocting and writing this book about death has sharpened my appreciation of life also – beyond all my expectations. The thought of death has made my life exactly the opposite of “morbid.” But why passively read about this experience in other people? “Look thy last on all things lovely” now. You have something infinitely better to do than to continue reading this book. Meet your friend. Lay the book down for ten minutes and ask yourself what you would think, feel, say, and do if you knew this was the last ten minutes of your life. And then do it. For the very good reason that it might be the last ten minutes of your life, and for the equally good reason that some ten minutes certainly will be your last.”[Bold Emphasis added].
Whether one agrees with his religious views or not, how can someone not appreciate a mind, and individual, with such an honest and caring point of view?
The bold highlighted portions of the paragraph above are the passage of the book that I appreciate the most, for after several rereads of this book, it is the point of view that I take to life and have for quite some time. This is one of the leading reasons why I often talk about “searing yourself” into the moment. One can only live life by the fullest by living life to the fullest. Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, only happens once. Not having your entire focus within it is simply not living life to its fullest potential.
In any case, throughout his books, seeing Kreeft employ logic and philosophy in a sound manner made me appreciate more the value of keen mental faculties that much more. It goes without saying, Love Is Stronger Than Death has made me appreciate life even more so even after another reread. Not because I did not appreciate life, but because I did more so than before, which is also why it paradoxically scares me more personally when someone passes.
The issue is that I myself, as others, often find ourselves so interwoven within life’s intricacies and forget to slow down and ‘smell the roses so to speak’. We forget not just to slow down, but really slow down, in every second, in every breathe – really take the totality of life in. This insight has allowed me to begin living life to an extent previously undone in my past.
Not only does the last passage above by Kreeft make me ponder about the roads of life we all take, but it also sheds light into the darkest realm of the individual psyche – the end of the road as individuals. And the intriguing possibility is that this endroad – or is it beginning to a new life? – is not paved in darkness, but in light. That is just my take on it, yours may vary, and rightly so.
Either way, after reading this book, you can’t help but subsume Kreeft’s ideas into your mind and perhaps ponder than deeply than ever before, thus growing at rates you possibly couldn’t. I know personally that I have grown incredibly thanks to Kreeft’s work.
Kreeft’s book not only removes the scaffolding to the fear surrounding death, but it leaves one prepared to tackle life with a newfound sense of meaning. And that, my friends, makes life that much sweeter, and in fact, more lively and more meaningful.
 Peter Kreeft Ph.D., Love Is Stronger Than Death, pp. 56-57
 Ibid., p. 48.
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About The Author:
Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.