home
RSS
TEDMED: Mortality gives life meaning
October 28th, 2011
05:04 PM ET

TEDMED: Mortality gives life meaning

Humans have a self-preservation instinct, a natural drive to survive. But we also have an awareness that there will come a day when all of those efforts will fail, and we will die.

"Death looms somewhere in the distance," said Dr. John Wynn, medical director for Cancer Psychiatry at the Swedish Cancer Institute of Seattle, Washington. "It pushes us to ask: What am I doing with my time?"

Wynn's talk on what death means for us was one of the last at TEDMED 2011. It forced sobering reflection on mortality at the end of a week of many enthusiastic presentations demonstrating technologies aimed at fighting diseases and thus prolonging life.

"Life is built around avoiding the simple, inevitable truth that you’re going to die," he said.

Children tend to become aware of death around age 7, Wynn said. With luck, their parents will teach them how to be safe and cooperate with others. These are skills they will carry with them throughout their lives, and will help them continue on their own even after their parents pass away.

We have to ask ourselves how and where will we spend our time and our energy, and carefully calculate sacrifices we make, Wynn said.

This isn't entirely a bad thing, he said. Our society thrives because we have found ways to cope with the awareness that we won't live forever: We are driven to be creative, collaborate with others and be masters of our environment. Fear of death can push us to build things, connect with others and create beauty.

"To ignore mortality puts the meaning of our lives in jeopardy," he said.


soundoff (317 Responses)
  1. Repair Fuel Pump Mercedes Sprinter Dodge 3500 2010

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't fail me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I truly believed you would have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you can fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.

    https://53938.measurementapi.com/serve?action=click&publisher_id=53938&site_id=92394&sub_campaign=g5e_com&url=http://boxtruckrepairshop.com/sprinter-van-paint-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. mudanças

    Hello to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this
    site, and your views are good in favor of new viewers.

    May 17, 2021 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ranpaul2016

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted at this web page is
    really fastidious.

    May 17, 2021 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV AC Riverside

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://www.partner.pccomponentes.com/servlet/effi.redir?id_compteur=13365084&url=https://trenton6n1l0.buyoutblog.com/3493303/top-guidelines-of-rv-repair-shop

    May 17, 2021 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rv upholstery

    I like it when folks come together and share opinions. Great website, stick with it!

    https://www.naniwa-search.com/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=23&url=https://forum.adhys.org/index.php?action=profile;u=542643

    May 17, 2021 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Storage Near Me

    https://sh.shulcloud.com/track.php?id=4c5c111e733449a9a439790f0d4b1431&url=https://8thfleet.net/forum/index.php?topic=5949.0

    May 17, 2021 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Generator Los Angeles

    http://www.drdiag.hu/kereso/bl.php?id=91782&url=https://t2digitaltv.com/digibox-01/

    May 17, 2021 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Celebrity

    Hi, i think that i ssaw youu visited my website so i came to “return the favor”.I'm attempting
    tto find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ook to uuse some oof your ideas!!

    May 17, 2021 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. game poker online

    Hi there! This blog post couldn't be written any
    better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept preaching about this. I will send this information to
    him. Pretty sure he'll have a very good read. I appreciate you for
    sharing!

    May 18, 2021 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv solar installation near me

    http://old.evermotion.org/stats.php?url=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Beer Companies

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your internet site.

    https://scripts.affiliatefuture.com/AFClick.asp?affiliateID=29219&merchantID=2543&programmeID=6678&mediaID=0&tracking=&url=https://craftbrewersofboise.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Assisted Living Near Me

    http://www.semex.com/popurl.cgi?url=https://assistedlivingseniorcarepalmdesert.com

    May 18, 2021 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Best Dentist Offices

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Cheers!

    https://www.nilaima.com/link.php?url=https://www.newportcenterdentalgroup.com

    May 18, 2021 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Senior Care Palm Springs

    https://www.preissuchmaschine.de/link.asp?url=http://assistedlivingseniorcarepalmdesert.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Elder Care

    https://www.j-friends.jp/cgi/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=8555&url=https://www.assistedlivingseniorcarepalmdesert.com

    May 18, 2021 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Roof Company Near Me

    http://sys.labaq.com/cli/go.php?s=lbac&p=1410jt&t=02&url=https://www.sanmarinoroof.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. best energy pills 2017

    http://crewroom.alpa.org/SAFETY/LinkClick.aspx?link=https://hootnholler.net&mid=12872

    May 18, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Leave a Reply to Window Washing Service Belcaro, Denver, CO


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.