How We Die
“All of this makes more precious each hour of those we have been given; it demands that life must be useful and rewarding. If by our work and pleasure, our triumphs and our failures, each of us is contributing to an evolving process of continuity not only of our species but of the entire balance of nature, the dignity we create in the time allotted to us becomes a continuum with the dignity we achieve by the altruism of accepting the necessity of death.
A realistic expectation also demands our acceptance that one’s allotted time on earth must be limited to an allowance consistent with the continuity of the existence of our species. Mankind, for all its unique gifts, is just as much a part of the ecosystem as is any other zoologic or botanical form, and nature does not distinguish. We die so that the world may continue to live. We have been given the miracle of life because trillions upon trillions of living things have prepared the way for us and then have died—in a sense, for us. We die, in turn, so that others may live. The tragedy of a single individual becomes, in the balance of natural things, the triumph of ongoing life.”