Death: A Nice Opportunity for Regret

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4 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    1. One also might have no regrets if they believe we are mere carbon and when we die, that’s it.

    2. Not to nitpick , but without getting involved in ehe debate over whether authorial intent matters (in halacha or literature), the actual Samuel Johnson quote and context (a bit different imho from its usage here) follows:
    In his journal entry for September 19, 1777, Boswell noted that a friend of Johnson’s told the great man he suspected Dodd didn’t write the piece himself, because it was so good.

    “Why should you think so?” responded Johnson. “Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

    Johnson’s authorship was eventually revealed and The Convict’s Address is now generally – and properly – credited to him.


  2. Baruch C. Cohen, Esq. says:

    I take issue with the premise that if one does not have sadness or remorse, that he’s a liar and hasn’t lived life yet. What if someone chooses to live an ethically moral life, made correct decisions in life, and accomplished great things? What should he be remorseful about?


  3. Whoa Nelly says:

    Reb Boruch,

    That is a fimne thought, however we know that ayn tzadik bo’oretz asher ya’ase tov v’lo yechta.

  4. Raymond says:

    I never heard of this Thomas Kemp before, but clearly, he was a man lacking in any conscience whatsoever. I am reminded of something I learned when studying psychology years ago, and that is, how being a psychopath is not an extreme form of neurosis, but rather, its moral opposite. In the case of the psychopath, there is no sense of personal conscience whatsoever. In the case of the neurotic, there is excessive feelings of guilt, in which the person feels guilty for just about anything wrong that ever occurs.

    Obviously both extremes are not psychologically healthy. However, if one could choose to be one or the other, surely being a neurotic is vastly superior to being a psychopath. Better to take on an absurd level of personal responsibility, than to take none at all. Better to be a masochist than a sadist. I would like to think that I am much more in the neurotic category without any hidden Thomas Kemp in me whatsoever, based on the fact that I find myself with far more personal regrets than could ever be resolved in a single lifetime.

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