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Matthew C. Kruger

Jan 20, 2022

What The Living Know

A Novel of Suicide and Philosophy

Nfb Publishing 2020

Now that science has granted eternal life and youth to all, the world is a place of endless opportunity to live out one's dreams and fulfill one's desires. With death unnecessary, it becomes optional and suicide is celebrated when chosen. However the main character, 10,000 year old Warren, has fought off the urge to die but begins to contemplate making this choice for himself. Matthew C. Kruger's book What The Living Know: A Novel of Suicide and Philosophy (Nfb Publishing, 2020) tackles questions such as: How many times can you send someone on their way and not start to feel as if it might be your time to go? How much life will you live before you come to say "that's enough for me"? Or, through it all, will your love for life always endure?

Our conversation discusses the importance of, not just having a philosophy, but having a lived and embodied philosophy: one that's procedural and takes into account the messiness and hardships of each and every day. While the book is a hard read mentally -- and perhaps spiritually -- it comes to the beautiful and paradoxical conclusion that there might not be a point to living but there's no point in dying either, that life is worth living, and that you should let yourself be moved and transformed through struggle. Not easy, certainly, but worthwhile.

Sarah Kearns (@annotated_sci) reads about scholarship, the sciences, and philosophy, and is likely over-caffeinated.

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Sarah Kearns (@annotated_sci) reads about scholarship, the sciences, and philosophy, and is likely drinking mushroom tea.

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