“conversations with the dead”

“To live the best life you should have conversation with the dead.” ~An oracle’s response to Zeno.

I recently met a guy my girlfriend just started dating (again), and as a good friend, I came up with three questions to ask him during our first meeting. The first question (what I thought was most insightful) was, “If you had a chance to visit and talk with THREE people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?” I was impressed with his answers, first because he had already thought of this and knew his answers immediately, and second, I was impressed with his “why”. Without getting into detail on his answers, two of the three were well-known, somewhat public figures, and currently dead. He admired them due to how they lived their life with COURAGE while facing adversity and at times intentionally put themselves in the middle of adversity, leading the fight, the cause for what they believed in so passionately. The other person on his list (the first he mentioned) was someone related (biologically) to his family whom no one knew, which was in part, the reason for why he was on the list. The chance to talk with him might help him and others in his family better understand their family history on multiple levels (e.g. health, and how the lack of his presence impacted and continues to influence their lives today).

Since this conversation, I’ve thought a lot about my own list of people I would have a conversation with to get to know and learn from. Of course, I have way more than three as I’m sure many of us do. So, I decided to add more dedicated reading time to learn from others who are no longer living, and see how their life lessons can apply to life today.

My challenge to you this week is to do just that, have a conversation with the dead. Choose someone you want to learn about whether you admire them or not. In fact, make it more of a challenge and choose someone you know nothing about or a controversial person you don’t agree with what you think you know of them, like their politics, religion, life philosophy, etc. Read their (auto)biography, watch a documentary or a movie on their life. Learn about who they were, the time and era in which they lived, and how they lived. Even those you don’t admire have lessons we can all learn and apply to our current lives.

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