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How to Live With Dying - The American Scholar

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article explores the differences between walking and running, and how the author's obsession with running led him to neglect moderation and balance in his life. It delves into the philosophical concept of the "absurd" as described by Albert Camus, and how the author's near-death experience forced him to confront the realities of the absurd human condition.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The Difference Between Walking and Running

1. What is the key difference between walking and running according to the author?

  • The author initially thought he knew the difference, but later realized there is no clear distinction. He describes how his obsession with running led him to neglect moderation and balance in his life.

2. How does the author's brother Matt's experience with running influence the author's perspective?

  • Matt's ability to run effortlessly and enter a trance-like state while running is contrasted with the author's own struggles with running, which he initially thought was due to being "big boned."

3. What does the author learn about running from the ancient Greek concept of the "tetra"?

  • The author learns about the four-stage process of preparation, exertion, rest, and moderate activity that the ancient Greeks associated with foot races. However, the author ultimately rejects this approach in favor of running hard every day.

[02] The Absurd and Moderation

1. How does the author's understanding of Aristotle's concept of the "golden mean" evolve over time?

  • The author initially dismisses Aristotle's call for moderation, believing that the "golden mean" is only for "Sunday strollers." However, after his near-death experience, he comes to appreciate the wisdom of Aristotle's teachings on finding the right balance.

2. What is the author's interpretation of Camus' concept of the "absurd"?

  • The author explains Camus' view of the absurd as the dissonance between the human quest for meaning and the indifference of the universe. The author recognizes that his obsessive running was a way of fleeing from this absurd reality.

3. How does the author's experience in the extreme cold of Saskatchewan change his perspective on the absurd?

  • The author's near-death experience in the freezing temperatures of Saskatchewan forces him to confront the absurd reality of the human condition, and he realizes that his attempts to escape it through running were futile.

[03] The Near-Death Experience and Aftermath

1. What happens to the author during his final run on the treadmill?

  • The author experiences a sudden cardiac event, leading to his collapse and the need for emergency medical intervention, including the use of a defibrillator to revive him.

2. How does the author's near-death experience change his perspective on his obsession with running?

  • The author recognizes that his relentless pursuit of running had caused him to neglect other important aspects of his life, such as his relationships and his own well-being. He now sees the need for moderation and balance.

3. What insights does the author gain about the appropriate response to the absurd, as described by Camus?

  • The author comes to understand that the proper response to the absurd is not resignation or denial, but rather a form of "revolt" - the willingness to confront the absurd with an existential urgency, rather than trying to escape it through distractions like obsessive running.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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