Taking as a starting point the suggestions of some well known books on death (written by Philippe Ariès, Georges Bataille, Edgar Morin, Emmanuel Lévinas, Jean Ziegler, Louis Vincent Thomas, Vladimir Jankélévitch, Jean Baudrillard, etc., but also by Emil Cioran, Ion Biberi, Mircea Eliade) the book approaches the problem of finitude from a reforming and unprejudiced perspective. Irina Petraï¿½ selects and comments freely upon statements concerning the state of deadness, emphasizing certain ideas again and again from different viewpoints, almost turning them into leitmotifs: death is a process, not a punctual event; intravital death is worth all the manifestations of life and it alone gives them meaning and importance; a reform of death would restore man‘s dignity, lost under the pressure of deceptive dogmas; the mortal condition, as the supreme sign of the humanness, can become a force; „the immortal” – either „the new man” of the totalitarian system or the serene and irresponsible „consumer” of the post-industrial society – endangers not only the quality of life, but the existence itself of mankind; the existence dictated by fate is man‘s necessary evil in order to value his passing life; the only salvation that man has is art, creation.
The process of making the being less and less responsible for self – assiduously assisted by the totalitarian political regime or by the economical system of the consumer society, on both cases the society being more and more indifferent and, somehow, more abstract, made up of individuals whom, paradoxically it does not contain any more – can be stopped by a lucid assumption of the finitude.
The essay offers an introduction to „the Knowledge of Death”. This phrase, taken from Eminescu‘s poetic laboratorv, is used in both senses of the word „knowledge” in Romanian: that of knowing something, of being aware of something, but also that of being able to do something, of mastering a skill.