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Learning to be dead

a radio feature produced by Lyn Gallacher

This week it’s all about beginnings and endings and the idea that in the beginning nothing and nobody has experienced the end. Creation is only possible because of destruction — and death is a natural part of that eternal cycle. But we can never actually know death … we can only imagine. This is the thought experiment contained in Italo Calvino’s short story ‘Learning to be Dead’. The central character is Mr Palomar and it is he who leads ABC producer Lyn Gallacher into the philosophical realms of what being dead can teach us.


What was the world like before the first person died? Is Cain to be held responsible for murdering his brother Abel when he doesn’t know what death is? In a sense Abel is the first dead body in history and the first one to be buried. So who will be the last? Is our end in our beginning? Perhaps there is something to be learned from imagining what it would be like to be dead. Do you think the world can do without you for a little while? If so, join us in Learning to be dead.

Listen to the program here …

The Night AirLearning to be dead



Lyn Gallacher, Producer


John Jacobs, Producer


Brent Clough, Presenter




© 2012—Lyn Gallacher & ABC RN

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