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    Existentialism, , , , Paul Kalanithi, ,   


    The problem, however, eventually became evident: to make science the arbiter of metaphysics is to banish not only God from the world but also love, hate, meaning—to consider a world that is self-evidently not the world we live in. That’s not to say that if you believe in meaning, you must also believe in God. It is to say, though, that if you believe that science provides no basis for God, then you are almost obligated to conclude that science provides no basis for meaning and, therefore, life itself doesn’t have any. In other words, existential claims have no weight; all knowledge is scientific knowledge.

    ―Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air



     
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    , , Paul Kalanithi,   


    There is a tension in the Bible between justice and mercy, between the Old Testament and the New Testament. And the New Testament says you can never be good enough: goodness is the thing, and you can never live up to it. The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time.

    ―Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air



     
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    , Paul Kalanithi, Quality of life,   


    At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability–or your mother’s–to talk for a few extra months of mute life? The expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand’s function to stop seizures? How much neurological suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient, and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?

    ―Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air



     
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    , , Paul Kalanithi,   


    If the unexamined life was not worth living, was the unlived life worth examining?

    ―Paul Kalanithi



     
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    , Paul Kalanithi, , Striving   


    Years ago, it had occurred to me that Darwin and Nietzsche agreed on one thing: the defining characteristic of the organism is striving.

    ―Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air



     
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    , , Medicine, Paul Kalanithi,   


    The physician’s duty is not to stave off death or return patients to their old lives, but to take into our arms a patient and family whose lives have disintegrated and work until they can stand back up and face, and make sense of, their own existence.

    ―Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air



     
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    , , Paul Kalanithi, ,   


    Science may provide the most useful way to organize empirical, reproducible data, but its power to do so is predicated on its inability to grasp the most central aspects of human life: hope, fear, love, hate, beauty, envy, honor, weakness, striving, suffering, virtue.

    ―Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air



     
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