Why we intently listen to people on death’s doorstep
With long-time TNT announcer Craig Sager announcing that his leukemia is no longer in remission and that he likely has months left to live, the pair waxed poetic on the afterlife. More specifically, why someone who speaks from the doorstep of death always holds more gravitas.
Tom says there’s something philosophically profound about listening to people deal with the end of their lives and the dismissal of the superficial aspects of life. Curley said we always want to know what’s on the other side.
John Curley: “You want to know what is over there. Because then you look at your life in a much bigger picture. You could just believe that this is it, that you live, you eat, you die and you go into the ground and that’s the end of you. But if you believe there’s some other thing on the other side then maybe you don’t fear death as much, because you think there’s this glorious eternal life and I’m sitting on the right hand of the father, and all that other stuff. But since we can’t find anybody to come back from the dead and tell us what’s on the other side, I guess we just take the people who are right there on the edge and then we try to gain something from them: which is courage. They’re giving us some words like, ‘don’t fear, I’m right there, I’m about to fall over and this is how I feel about it.’ And all of the sudden, what they’re giving you is a tool to illuminate the darkness that will soon be upon all of us. That’s the lantern that they’re handing us.”
Tom Tangney: “I don’t think people who don’t believe in the afterlife somehow have less to live for. There is a philosophical argument being made that if you assume there is nothing after your death that you will live your life even more vigorously, profoundly and philosophically. It all depends on your approach to life. People have different world views about things and I think we live our lives the best we can, whether we think there is a life afterward or not.”
TC: “Certainly the idea of somebody saying, ‘Live your life within this context — do this, this and this — and there will be a great reward for you on the other side. I do think somebody came up with that idea a long time ago in order to keep us all in line. And I hate to say that as somebody who believes in Jesus Christ, and I sit in church … I believe the message, but I don’t need the candy to be hung out in front of me; I don’t need the carrot dangling in front of my nose to live a good life. I just find that if you live a good life, you’re blessed with a better life.”
- Tune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.