It is better for men to learn how to die than how to kill". Séneca
Death is the only experience that we can be sure will come to us all.
Given this situation, it would seem advisable to deepen our knowledge of it, even making it a subject of study from primary school to university.
What actually happens, of course, is just the opposite. The subject is hardly mentioned. Conversations end if someone brings it up; we are frightened by it, we are urged to 'touch wood' and hope it is not our time just yet, we lie to our children about it,...
We even lie to the dying, arguing that it is better for them not to know the truth. We ignore testimony that points to the benefits of being accompanied by honest and understanding people in the last moments of our lives.
In these pages we try to show the different ways people deal with the issue of 'knowing how to die'. A small grain of sand can become a huge mountain if we all contribute our opinions, data and experience.
All opinions are welcome as long as they are open to those different from their own. You will not read words such as 'truth', 'lie', 'correct', or 'incorrect' in these pages.
We respect all opinions, while avoiding dogmas and attempts to convert people to particular philosophies. These pages are anti-confessional and apolitical. Our goal is to improve our understanding of death by sharing knowledge and experience.
We have brought together points of view on the subject from various philosophies. This is, however, an unfinished work. In the near future we plan to include atheist, Gnostic, shaman, Hindu and other sections. The following chapter, Human Needs, outlines our basic philosophy: before we put -ism labels on anyone, we must remember that we are all humans.
It is time to focus on the similarities that different ideas, philosophies and religions have. We should not look to present one way of thinking as the best or most coherent.
Things are changing. Every day there are more palliative medical services, more help groups and more associations dedicated to helping people die better.
The goal is to help people die 'aware'. To do this, they must first have learned how to live 'aware'; a process that requires developing all our human qualities.
In Duplessis-Mornay's words: "To die well we have to learn how to live. To live well we have to learn how to die."