Top 5 regrets of the dying [link]

post by Dr_Manhattan · 2012-02-04T17:56:22.156Z · score: 3 (10 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 9 comments

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying?fb_action_ids=10151236956340524&fb_action_types=news.reads&fb_source=other_multiline

Interesting b/c future concerns and what other people think type of concerns are not much of a factor here.

9 comments

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comment by Pfft · 2012-02-04T18:04:10.861Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Robin Hanson wrote about it on Overcoming Bias.

comment by SonnieBailey · 2012-02-05T03:22:49.146Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with Robin Hanson. I'd go further and say this smells like unsubstantiated self-help in disguise.

It's interesting that Hanson's wife, who also works with dying people, cannot recall a single patient spontaneously expressing a general life regret. This suggests that Bronnie Ware asked the patients what their greatest regrets were.

For one thing, this strikes me as a bit mean. Of all the things that you could ask a dying person in their last days or weeks of life, why ask them what their regrets were? If you care about their welfare, there are better questions you could ask.

On another note, there is a good chance that her questions were leading questions. Or that the responses Ware received have been filtered through her own worldview.

If you give some thought to these comments, they are largely meaningless. What does it mean to "live a life true to myself"? What does it mean to have "the courage to express my feelings"? Is it really true that you can simply let yourself be happier?

comment by Dr_Manhattan · 2012-02-04T18:38:26.656Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Excellent, thanks!

comment by Quinn · 2012-02-04T19:35:37.519Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Cached wisdom?

Anyway, I'd be more interested in hearing the regrets of those people who lived true to themselves, didn't work too hard, let themselves be happier, etc. Do they wish they'd worked harder and "made something of themselves"? Been better at cooperating with the rest of society?

comment by faul_sname · 2012-02-05T03:56:56.052Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Why should we care more about what people think in the last 12 weeks of life as opposed to any other 12 weeks? Why is that perspective more important or more wise?

comment by Dagon · 2012-02-06T20:45:34.190Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

We should give (slightly) more credence to what people in their last 12 weeks of life say, as they have (somewhat) less reason to mislead their listeners - they have less to gain from listeners' reactions.

comment by jpulgarin · 2012-02-06T03:36:17.371Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

More time to think about past experiences and also more time to see their long-term consequences.

comment by faul_sname · 2012-02-06T03:58:17.960Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That seem like a more general reason we should pay attention to what older people say, and is a valid point. However, it doesn't seem to specify why the very end of life is a significantly more important time than say, the first 12 weeks after turning 65.

comment by jpulgarin · 2012-02-06T10:35:09.910Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

However, it doesn't seem to specify why the very end of life is a significantly more important time than say, the first 12 weeks after turning 65.

It's probably not - I was simply replying to your point about how all 12 week periods of life are equally valid.