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Living A Life In Full

Jul 1, 2023

Death might seem to render pointless all of our attempts to create a meaningful life. But Professor Dean Rickles argues that only constraints―and death is the ultimate constraint―make our actions meaningful. In order for us to live full lives, Dean believes it is the finiteness and shortness of life that brings meaning. In this episode we explore how this insight is the key to making the most of the time that we do have.

Dr. Dean Rickles is a Professor of History and Philosophy of Modern Physics at The University of Sydney. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Leeds with a thesis on conceptual issues in quantum gravity. He is also the Co-Director of the Sydney Centre for Time, an Advisor for The Lifeboat Foundation, and Co-leads a Templeton Foundation-funded interdisciplinary project on the flow of time. His primary research focus is the history and philosophy of modern physics, particularly quantum gravity and spacetime physics. 

Dean’s authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles along with a number of books. He is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Foundational Questions Institute

The primary focus of our conversation was on his latest book, Life Is Short. I personally really enjoyed it, and midway through I set it aside to send Dean a request to be on the podcast as I knew I needed to connect and discuss it. 

Life is Short explores how death limits our options and forces us to make choices that forge a life and give the world meaning. Therein Dean writes that people often live in a state of indecision, in a misguided attempt to keep their options open.

“By reminding us how extraordinary it is that we have any time to live at all, Life Is Short challenges us to rethink what gives life meaning and how to make the most of it."

Dean has said that he, himself feels that that life is too short, so I asked him about some of the ways he lives his, albeit too short life, in full. While this is a deep, deep conversation that covers many disciplines, our specific discussion on Life is Short I think will be of interest to anyone wanting to live their life in full.