The Power of Story.
One day in 1888, a wealthy and successful man was reading what was supposed to be his brother’s obituary in a French newspaper. As he read, he realized that the editor had confused the two brothers and had written an obituary for him instead. The headline proclaimed, “The merchant of death is dead,” and then described a man who had gained his wealth by helping people to kill one another. Not surprisingly, he was deeply troubled by this glimpse of what his legacy might have been had he actually died on that day. It is believed that this incident was pivotal in motivating him to leave nearly his entire fortune following his actual death eight years later to fund awards each year to give to those whose work most benefitted humanity. This is, of course, the true story of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and the founder of the Nobel Prize. Yes, we all die. When we are reminded of our deaths, we remember that we don’t want to die – we want to live! But we understand death’s inevitability and that fact creates an existential dilemma in light of our deeply rooted survival instinct.