01 May 2007

毛, on death and dying

I’m reading a very unfavorable biography of Mao, called Mao: The Unknown Story. It’s a good break from 1984, my dissertation reading, and my plans to read all the books on this list. I wish it were a little more balanced.

Yoko and I were talking about Mao, but she didn’t know the English pronunciation. I wrote 毛 on her chest with my finger and she immediately knew.

I don’t want to be a Mao-hater because he did get some interesting things accomplished in his lifetime, you know, killing aside. Mao wrote this, in his twenties, which sort of resonates:
Human beings are endowed with the sense of curiosity. Why should we treat death any differently? Don’t we want to experience strange things? Death is the strangest thing, which you will never experience if you go on living… Some are afraid of it because the change comes too drastically. But I think this is the most wonderful thing: where else in the world can we find such a fantastic and drastic change? (Chang and Halliday, 2006: 17)