Några beröringspunkter mellan kontemplation och döden – inspirerat av Catharina Stenqvists författarskap

Erica Appelros


Catharina Stenqvist, former professor in philosophy of religion at Lund University, alludes that there are simi-larities between death and contemplation. In this article I suggest three possible such similarities, what they may consist in, how they may be given grounds, and examples of how further research may be carried out. The three suggested points of similarity are 1) experiential similarities, 2) physiological similarities, and 3) functional similarities. The experiential similarities consist mainly in the experience of both death and contemplation being pre-linguistic, not possible to put into words. Empirical research and philosophical argument may provide grounds, and a possible route for further research would be to investigate how the incorporation of the Christian hope of resurrection would affect the issue. The suggested physiological similarities consist in the aforemen-tioned experiential similarities also being reflected in the neurophysiological states of the brain during contem-plation and death. Empirical research may also here provide grounds, but are to date too scanty to be valid. A question for further research could be to investigate the philosophical and/or theological implications of such a link, should it become properly established. The functional similarities consist in death and contemplation being mutually used as a therapeutic aid for understanding the other, and both being used as means to reflect on our own death and present life. The grounds are established practices and their effectiveness. Further research may want to compare the therapeutic role of ‘death’ in existential philosophy and in Christian contemplation.