…it may seem to many that the ultimate requirement — to give up one’s self and one’s life — represents a kind of cruelty on the part of God or fate, which makes our existence a sort of bad joke and which can never be completely accepted. This attitude is particularly true in present-day Western culture, in which the self is held sacred and death is considered an unspeakable insult. Yet the exact opposite is the reality. It is in the giving up of self that human beings can find the most ecstatic and lasting, solid, durable joy of life. And it is death that provides life with all its meaning. This “secret” is the central wisdom of religion.
—M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled