Thinking Challenge Excerpt-Perceptions vs. Realities of Remembrances-Veronique Whittaker09-28-2011
On a weekday morning of last week, while listening to National Public Radio, I first encountered the notion of Dignity Therapy. The concept is used by psychiatrists and seeks to soothe those who are dying, to aid them in coping with the realities of their impending death. The therapy consists of individuals writing the story of their lives’ joys, tragedies, memorable moments, etc. The autobiographies are how they want to be perceived, thus when they are gone, their loved ones will have the story of the memorable and significant events in the lives of the dear ones.
[caption id="attachment_1290" align="alignnone" width="297" caption="Aida Essenburg with her daughter Kate Fredo"][/caption]
In thinking of such a therapy, notions of human condition are brought to light: namely that we as humans want to feel connected, and that the truth about the events of our lives may change over time, in the face of time, and depending on how we wish to remember them. The nature of dignity therapy fascinates those most closely connected to studying the human condition: psychiatrists. As scholars seeking to understand the ideas posited by Hannah Arendt we must consider the nature of memory and narrative. We must ask: what are purposes of remembering those with whom you share human condition? What are the truths and untruths inherent in remembering, and ultimately what is it that we value about our human condition?
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