You will write a 2-3 page reflection (yes, you can write more than 3 pages) as the final for this course, thus, 20% of your grade in this course depends on the precision, depth, and creativity demonstrated in this paper. Having dived into the study of society and discussed differences across hundreds of variables, the time has come to think about the one variable which is incontrovertible across time and space – death.
Every person who has ever lived has had to contend with the facts of existence and no fact is more immutable than all who live will eventually pass away. The existential angst induced by such realizations often follows on the heels of a close friend or loved one passing away. Of course, just because all people pass away doesn’t mean they agree on what constitutes a life well lived. It is my hope that all of you will live a life that you can consider to be “well-lived” whatever that means to you personally.
I think part of living such a life stems from having thought about what we value about ourselves and others, what we are most proud of and ashamed of, and what we hope our legacy will be after we are gone. To facilitate such thinking, I have created this journal exercise based on two thought experiences. All I ask is you sit there and think deeply about each experiment for a few minutes and then commit yourself to writing no less than one page about each one.
Thought Experiment #1:
Imagine that one of your close friends is talking to one of their friends, someone who knows nothing about you and who has never met you before. Having never encountered you before, this friend of your friend has no idea what you look like, what your voice sounds like, how you dress, what your beliefs are etc. How would you WANT your friend to describe you to their friend?
Thought Experiment #2:
Imagine that you lived to be 90 years old and passed away while you were sleeping. One hundred years after you die, a researcher begins writing a biography about your life. What would the researcher need to emphasize for you to feel like the biography did a good job of capturing your life?
Again, please read the thought experiments carefully and think about them for several minutes before starting to write. You need only include one whole page for each experiment, although you are certainly welcome to write as much as you want.
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