Before I Go: Neurosurgeon's Reflections

Posted by Sriram Shamasunder on Feb 24, 2015
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Friend of mine's husband, Paul Kalanithi, is a neurosurgeon with a terminal illness.  Here's some beautiful writing and his take on time: Before I go

Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described, hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed. 

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Comments (5)

  • Nipun Mehta wrote ...


  • Terry Koch wrote ...


  • Bela Shah wrote ...

    Thank you for sharing this Sri. I recently read this article by Oliver Sacks of the NY Times after he learned that he has terminal cancer. He shared, "I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.

    Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure." [View Link]

  • Kozo Hattori wrote ...

    Thank you for posting this powerful story. Love this quotation from the video: "It's not all that useful to spend a lot of time thinking about the future...beyond lunch."

  • Usha Krishnamurthy wrote ...

    Thank you for sharing, profound and beautifully written..