“Alive!” is a 1993 film directed by Frank Marshall and based on a like-named book written by Piers Paul Read. It tells the true story of an Uruguayan rugby team that boards a flight to Chile along with some friends and relatives on October 13, 1972. Due to severe turbulence and pilot error, however, the plane does not reach its destination and crash lands on a glacier in the Andes mountains at an altitude of nearly 12,000 feet. Amid faith, fear, cooperation, and extreme hardship and resilience, this story of survival in one of the most remote and forbidding places on Earth offers viewers a profound reflection on humanity and what leads people to choose life even in the most extreme circumstances.
“And to the west are the green valleys of Chile,” Nando says.
“We’re going to die, you know,” Canessa responds.
“Maybe. But if we die, we’re gonna die walking,” Nando replied.
Through beautiful illustrations and short yet potent phrases, these two books portray the theme of death in a simple and powerful way. Employing a frank and direct approach, they explore the inevitable connection between the possibility of life and our finite reality, nature’s cyclical processes, and our place in the universe.
“Este aprendizaje es tan importante que en ello nos jugamos la calidad de la vida. No sería posible vivir dignamente luchando contra la muerte. No podríamos llamar vida a lo que es una negación y una fuga de la muerte”
Writing in these pages from his own experience, Thich Nha’t Hanh proposes a stunning alternative to the opposing philosophies of an eternal soul and nihilism. He tells us: “Since before time you have been free. Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey. Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek. You have never been born and you can never die” and “Our greatest pain is caused by our notions of coming and going.” Over and over again, he invites us to practice looking deeply so we can know for ourselves the freedom and joy of the middle way between a permanent self and oblivion. As a poet, he explores the paradoxes of life and gently lifts the veil of illusion, allowing us, maybe for the first time in our lives, to see that our dread of dying is caused by our own misperceptions and misunderstandings. (From the foreword to “No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life”