Freedom and death

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I made the mistake of starting to read a novel on the train on the way home, so of course when I got home I didn’t do any sewing I spent the evening reading. Then I thought about going to bed but couldn’t sleep so here I am, sitting at my computer pondering Sartre, when I really should be getting some sleep so I am nice and perky for work tomorrow.

So freedom and death. Where does that come in. Well if according to Sartre freedom is choosing then death becomes a problem, because we can’t choose the manner and timing of our death. I am sure Sartre will come up with some way out of it, but it did get me thinking about whether we do or don’t choose our own deaths. I’m not talking about suicide, which I don’t recommend, but other types of dying. Okay you can’t choose the exact minute but you can set yourself on the path. When I choose to eat too much junk, knowing as I do that I have a family history of heart disease, stroke and diabetes in a way I choose my future heart attack. When I drive way too fast I choose my death by car accident. Sure I could get hit by a car on my way to work tomorrow but probably only if I choose not to look where I am going. I am prepared to concede that there is the occasional freak accident entirely beyond your control, like a satellite falling on your head, but it is our choices that put us in that place, at that time, in those set of circumstances. I don’t know if that is the kind of choosing that counts. Most of us wouldn’t consciously choose our deaths if we thought that was what we were doing, but then most of us don’t consciously choose our lives either. I’m starting to think that is where Sartre’s freedom falls down. Existentialism is  supposed to be about the evidence of the experience, and I am not sure that the experience of freedom gels with Sartre’s theory of it. I don’t know in the end whether that really matters.

Anyway, enough long-winded ramblings. Now I am going to have to go and try to get some sleep. 

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