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June 7, 1985

To Fear Death

Author Affiliations

Oklahoma City

JAMA. 1985;253(21):3092. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350450064014

To the Editor.—  I read with great interest the Nov 2 COMMENTARY.1 The concept put forth by the authors was perhaps better stated by Plato (The Apology) long before the coming of Christ: "For to fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise without really being wise, for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For no one knows whether death may not be the greatest good that can happen to man. But men fear it is as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?"2