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Sebastian Junger, NYC author of ‘The Perfect Storm,’ explores near-death experience in new book

Sebastian Junger was dying — quick.

For many years, the famed author, journalist and filmmaker had instructed the tales of males going through down their very own deaths — be it on the decks of the doomed Andrea Gail, which he chronicled in 1997’s hit book and flick “The Perfect Storm,” or on the battlefields of Kosovo, Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, which he visited throughout his prolonged profession as a conflict reporter.

But on that day in June 2020, the reaper reached out to him instantly — in the shape of a ruptured belly aneurysm.

The avowed atheist watched as disturbing, practically supernatural scenes unfolded earlier than his eyes — startling photographs he particulars in his new book, “In My Time of Dying: How I came Face to Face with the Idea of an Afterlife.”

Sebastian Junger
Author, journalist and filmmaker Sebastian Junger simply launched a new book known as, “In My Time of Dying,” in which he tries to make sense of a near-death experience that occurred 4 years in the past. Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

A deep, black chasm opened on the ground subsequent to his hospital gurney, the 62-year-old Junger instructed The Post. Then, his long-dead father appeared overhead, whispering phrases of consolation.

Junger, the daddy of two little women, instructed the docs in a panic, “You’ve got to hurry.

“You’re losing me right now.”

The docs did hurry, and Junger survived. But the experience shook him to his bones, and an avalanche of anxiousness and despair swept over him as he realized the lengthy arm of dying might lengthen far past the battlefield.

“It was devastating,” stated Junger, who primarily lives together with his household in Lower Manhattan, to The Post. “It completely undid my sense of there being stability and safety in the world — which war zones didn’t because of course I knew inherently that they’re dangerous and I was choosing to go to them.

“So what was really disconcerting was to then be sort of tracked down by the threat of death,” Junger stated. “And it found me in the safest place imaginable: Deep in the woods in my home [on Cape Cod]. It really pulled the rug out from under me.”

So Junger did what authors do: He wrote the book, launched May 21,in which he tried to make sense of the nonsensical and put the fantastical into perspective.

Simon & Schuster

But the tome — which has stayed inside the highest 10 on the New York Times’ bestseller listing for hardcover nonfiction — is just not the story of a hard-bitten journalist who instantly casts apart his atheistic methods in tragedy’s wake.

In truth, it’s fairly the other: Junger stated the slim, 176-page work is an ode to the facility and wonder of rational thought. And he hopes it imparts the reader with “a kind of reverence for life” they might in any other case be ignoring.

“Many people get to that reverence through religion, but you don’t need to,” the author stated. “And one of the things that almost dying made me realize was that I was alive. We’re all at risk of not appreciating that sufficiently.”

Junger’s tendency to brush apart the notion {that a} increased energy intervened to save lots of his life has rubbed some of his extra religious readers the unsuitable method.

Sebastian Junger, George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg
Junger seems right here with actors George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg on the set of Hollywood’s “The Perfect Storm,” which was primarily based on his 1997 book. Moviestore/Shutterstock
Sebastian Junger
Junger stated the near-death experience woke up him to the notion that he should live every day as if he’d die tomorrow. Getty Images for Concordia Summit

“I’ve had a little bit of hectoring from people at readings who say, ‘You survived by the grace of God, you’re being ungrateful,’ and nonsense like that,” Junger stated. “But for me, the mystery of seeing my father points to something far more mind-blowing than religion.

“Religion comes up with rather prosaic explanations for things, like there’s a guy up above us with a beard, sort of stage directing everything and judging us,” he stated. “And I’m like, the fact that the universe exists and is 93 billion light years wide and came from nothing — that’s actually the great mystery that we’re here to contemplate it.

“Let’s just stop for a moment and consider how stunning that is and that we’re part of this,” Junger stated. “It brought that into focus.”

But he doesn’t faux to know all of the solutions.

In truth, regardless of his aversion to faith and all its trappings, Junger stated the near-death experience additionally made him surprise if even the physicists “really know what the hell’s going on.”

At a studying final month at an Upper West Side Barnes and Noble, he in contrast humanity’s understanding of the universe to a canine watching a tv present: The pup sees the image transferring however has no concept the way it obtained there, why it’s appeared or what went into making it occur.

Sebastian Junger
Junger, 62, is the married father of two little women. He lives in Lower Manhattan. Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

His dive into the very nature of existence paradoxically led him straight again to his father, a physicist by commerce.

“It was a world I hadn’t taken much interest in when he was alive,” Junger acknowledged. “And now here I was. … It was sort of my path out of the wilderness.”

In the top, his near-death experience was his “memento mori” second — the one which reminded him he would die, irrespective of how wholesome or sturdy he was.

But he additionally realized that nobody is aware of when it’s their time to punch out. And the one method to deal with that’s to live like it is going to all finish tomorrow.

“What would you want to focus on if you knew this was your last day — who would you want to be?” he requested. “Then be that person every day, because you never know. Do you really want to be scrolling through TikTok on your phone on your last day on Earth?

“That, to me, is a sort of beacon in the darkness,” he continued. “I could be that way. And I came to that because of this medical catastrophe.

“So who do you want to be?”

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