Heroes

How you're likely using 1 of these 3 reasons to not totally freak out about dying someday

It's hard to be aware of our own mortality. I think deep down, a lot of us hope there will be a miracle and somehow we'll live forever. Maybe the solution isn't finding a cure to death but changing the way we look at it.

How you're likely using 1 of these 3 reasons to not totally freak out about dying someday

From an early age, we become acutely aware of our own mortality, knowing that everyone we know and love will one day die.

This awareness is enough to plague the average person with a lifetime of anxiety, yet most of us are able to wade through the world without becoming totally paralyzed by fear of death.

During his 2012 keynote speech at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, philosopher Jason Silva offered up a mix of harsh truth and hope to his audience.

Silva's address focused on the three "solutions" to what he dubbed "the death problem," as outlined by the late philosopher and author Ernest Becker in his 1973 book, "The Denial of Death":


  1. Religion
  2. Romance
  3. Creativity

The first solution, the religious solution, is an age-old approach to dealing with impending death. In the religious solution, one manages their mortal anxiety by believing that once their life ends on earth, they will be granted an eternal afterlife in the kingdom of God.

The second solution, the romantic solution, exists in, as Silva notes, "the lyric of every pop song." This coping mechanism exists by propping up our loved ones as their own sort of deities. That is, we ascribe to them characteristics beyond that of humans. "She's like the sun" or "she is my wind" are examples of how we accomplish this. Sadly, Silva explains, this solution tends to lose its effectiveness when we're reminded of our loved ones' own mortality.

To Silva, the creative choice is the closest option humanity has to being an infinite solution. This option takes the form of both the arts and technology. Arts allow us to "solve" the death problem — we can create works that outlive our bodies. Technology, through the constant evolution and improvement, can extend physical life, to preserve old memories, transcending space and time.

Silva closes his speech with a quote from Alan Harrington, urging his audience to keep evolving and looking to the creative solution.

Watch a short video containing excerpts from Silva's speech below:

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.