Merlin Student Scholar Fellow: “Grief as Self-Discovery”

Inspired by her interest in grief & the role it can play in our lives, Merlin Student Scholar Fellow Julianna Breit designed and led a workshop on grieving through the lens of philosophy.

Merlin Student Scholar Fellow: Workshop

Grief as Self-Discovery

Once upon a time, we lived in a dark, damp world where children didn’t attend school, employment disappeared, and city air was poisonous. COVID-19 was an international pandemic of grief –we all know someone whose families struggled to make ends meet, whose jobs changed or disappeared; whose loved ones have lingering health complications; and whose workplaces, homes, and cities became surrounded by death. Even now as we emerge from the quarantined era, an eeriness pervades our old habits and infects our new ones. So much has happened in the past 2 years to unsettle our sense of place and identity. Not only has the pandemic reoriented how we approach our daily lives, but it has also called attention to the impactful role grief has in multiple aspects of life – school, work, family, health, and home. Pandemic or not, where do we go from here?

In this workshop designed & led by Merlin Student Scholar Fellow Julianna Breit, we offered a framework for acknowledging and understanding grief’s role in our lives through the lens of philosophy In the process, we explored three basic questions:

  • “What is grief?” 
  • “What can it do for us?”
  • And, “How is grief related to self-discovery & self-knowledge?”

“Vain is the word of a philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man.” Epicurus


This philosophy workshop is a result of countless hours of reading, research, and writing…as well as regular meetings and think-tank discussions with David Nowakowski (her Senior Fellow Mentor) and myself.  Julianna is an astute young thinker & excellent human being .  She has put in the work and then some…and it shows!  It has been a delight mentoring her, learning from her, witnessing her philosophical growth, and having her part of our philosophical community.  

– Marisa Diaz-Waian

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