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How We Should Disrupt Death

March 21, 2018, 5:36 AM UTC

Is it time to disrupt death?

There are plenty of Silicon Valley-types already working away on ways to make us live longer.

But, there is also, more practically, a growing group of lower-tech disruptors that simply want us to die better.

Take for example Michael Hebb, the founder of Death over Dinner, a nonprofit that brings together people—over dinner—to reflect on the consequential event that happens to us all, but that no one likes to talk about.

“Death is not a morbid thing. We’ve turned it into a medical act, sterilized it and separated it from it from life,” said Hebb, speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif. on Tuesday.

Hebb explained that his dinners have a transformative effect on participants.

“People don’t focus on the darkness of the topic,” he said. “They do focus on vulnerability and human connection. Through looking at death, they’re falling in love with each other.”

The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, a Buddhist monk who is also the ethics director of MIT’s Media Lab, agreed that the benefits of talking about death are overlooked and ignored. He said most people’s relationship to dying is like a Woody Allen joke: “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

But when people actually engage with the topic and think about and discuss mortality, he said, “It enriches life. It changes your perspective. You begin to enjoy every moment.”

For more coverage of Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference, click here.