While presenting a lecture on the Life-cycle model of personal finance (my term) I talked about the end-point of the model: death. I made the point that in a world that is essentially uncertain (especially as we experience it sequentially,) there is only one thing that is truly certain—the death of an individual human. How ironic that true certainty is reserved for the one thing that the vast majority of people find difficult to consider and discuss. Everything else is uncertain, admittedly to vary degrees (between 0 and 1, in fact.) Death is also the only thing in life that is common to everyone. Not everyone gets to ride a horse, or go to school, but everyone dies.
Of course, if you’ve read this far, you’ve probably said to yourself, I know why people don’t talk about death: it’s so morbid! And who wants to hang out with someone who keeps talking about dying? But I’d like to argue that because death is so certain, it’s actually not very interesting. What’s actually interesting are the related questions of how and when? Thinking about how just satisfies our curiosity hoping we don’t die a horrible, or painful, death. Thinking about when has real implications for what we do now, and tomorrow in all the personal, social, and economic dimensions of our lives. I spend quite a lot of time thinking about these aspects of death. For good reason.