Two pieces of news have got me thinking about death (again). Most immediately, mere hours, I learned that a heroine and icon Carrie Fisher joined the stunning ranks of Great Voices who didn’t make it out of 2016. The other I’ve been sitting with for a while: the confirmation with a second, more robust trial that psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, is a cure for “existential anxiety.” In other words, a cure for the fear of death. The latter is great news. The former is deeply sad, but we’ll all get through it.
You see, I am not the kind of futurist who thinks that indefinite life extension is desirable, let alone a good idea for society. I think that death is necessary, and that fear of death is natural. Grief is a compound emotion, the elements of which vary for each moment it’s experienced and each person who experiences it.