Retirement, Life Purpose and the Fear of Death

with David Lorimer


I get a lot of newsletters from people or organisations which had attracted me for some reason in the past. Having only 24 hours a day to fill with interesting stuff, I usually scroll through the flood of invitations – until a topic or a speaker attracts my attention and I inquire further.

One of these occasions was the panel discussion about death, featuring Marilyn Schlitz and others, which was led by David Lorimer. Planning my mini-series about death for November I contacted the organisation and was referred to David who graciously sent me the preprint of his newest book where a whole chapter is dedicated to death. And he sent me invitations to other events about completely different topics, one of which I refer tto in our recorded conversation about death and dying: the movie about fungi and the conversation with Merlin Sheldrake about his research on fungi – where among others, the huge benefit of “magic mushrooms” for treating stress, depression and the fear of death were discussed. A really fascinating topic!

I invited David to a conversation about death, the fear of death, the cultural attitude about death and dying and how much our avoidance of talking about this topic influences our lives, especially in the present time where “the Virus” is dominating our personal and social life to an unbelievable degree. 

Read my introductory article to the topic HERE


David Lorimer, MA, PGCE, FRSA is a writer, lecturer, poet and editor who is a Founder of Character Education Scotland, Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network (  and former President of Wrekin Trust and the Swedenborg Society ( He has also been editor of Paradigm Explorer since 1986 and completed his 100th issue in 2019. He was the instigator of the Beyond the Brain conference series in 1995 (  and has co-ordinated the Mystics and Scientists conferences every year since the late 1980s.

Originally a merchant banker then a teacher of philosophy and modern languages at Winchester College, he is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including Survival? Death as Transition (1984,2017) Resonant Mind (originally Whole in One) (1990/2017), The Spirit of Science (1998), Thinking Beyond the Brain (2001), The Protein Crunch (with Jason Drew) and A New Renaissance (edited with Oliver Robinson). He has edited three books about the Bulgarian sage Beinsa Douno (Peter Deunov): Prophet for our Times (1991, 2015), The Circle of Sacred Dance, and Gems of Love, which is a translation of his prayers and formulas into English. His new book of essays, A Quest for Wisdom comes out in March 2021.

David is a founding member of the International Futures Forum and was editor of its digest, Omnipedia – Thinking for Tomorrow. He was also a Trustee of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment and a Churchill Fellow in 1978. His book on the ideas and work of the Prince of Wales – Radical Prince – has been translated into Dutch, Spanish and French.

David is the originator of the Inspiring Purpose Values Poster Programmes, which has reached over 350,000 young people all over the world, and has edited fifteen magazines and five books in this connection. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham from 2015-2018. See

David is also Chair of the Galileo Commission ( which seeks the widen science beyond a materialistic world view.

In 2020 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award as a Visionary Leader by the Visioneers International Network and the Aboca Human Ecology Prize to be awarded in April 2021.

Time Stamps

0:00 Intro Heidi

1:15 David talks about his engagement with detah and dying: his previous books and works on death and near death experiences. The need of maintaining the awareness of death an d dying.

3:10 David mentions Elizabeth Gilbert: death is always coming by surprise

3:55 How David entered into the topic death. Interest in 2 questions: What actually happens with death? Ethical implications of near death experiences, mystical experiences.

6:15 Svedenborg, a mystic of the 18th century which inspired him

6:55 Is near death experience like real death experience?

8:15 Why do we fear death so much?

9:10 Dying without consciousness: do we miss out the experience? 

11:15 Can we go in peace? Monika Renz works with cancer patients. Surrender and letting go of the body and the ego

12:30 Is suicide an ego-project?  What is the basis of the decision? Taking the whole package? Did we sign up for the package LIFE

15:40 Did we chose to come here with a certain task.

17:00 What about the fear around death and dying. A story about an attempted suicide. It was a mistake. Fear element in the physical body. Understanding, love and service is important!

20:10 Another story told by Kübler-Ross: “I made a living, but I never really lived”

21:45 Retirement depression. Retire TO something instead of FROM something

23:15 French retirement system as example to facilitate the transition. Mark’s experience with retirement

24:40 David on Dunov, Bulgarian spiritual teacher: Love and service gives fulfillment. The need of purpose, also keeps up the immune system.

Fear and stress, immune system and addiction.

28:10 “Everything is difficult before it becomes easy”

28:50 About the webinar on fungi and the benefit of magic mushrooms, altered states of consciousness

32:30 Heidi’s experience and reference to Merlin Sheldrakes book “Entangled World”

35:10 The collective fear of death. David refers to Charles Eisenstein.  How to respond to Covid.

37:10 Alliance for Helath international: evidence based information

37:55 Heidi introduces the integral perspective. Reality is considered to be on the outside, even the mind is not real! Interiority is not addressed. “Our freedom is to choose our attitude”. Fear creates the development of technology, like biological weapons.

41:00 The question of personal responsibility.

42:25 Short interruption.

43:10 Limitations make life precious. Maturing human being: what is the process. David’s experience with his Bulgarian teacher who has embodied the essential principles of life: Who we are as humans.

45:00 Compass direction. David’s presentation “Towards a culture of love and wisdom”. Putting the health of the larger organism first, the individual health follows.

46:45 About what David does into this direction.

47:45 Upcoming events on,