Thursday, May 24, 2007

Death and Politics

Posted by Teresa at 6:33 PM
Today I read an article by Joseph Bottum called
"Death and Politics.
" It deals with the
importance of death in society and culture. I know
it is a morbid topic but it is well written.
Here are some highlights of the lengthy article:
  • Freedom of the will is closely tied to a world with
    death in it: If nothing really dies, then we have
    no freedom of choice; if we lack significant freedom
    of choice, then death will prove unreal.
  • A culture that generally embraces fatalism will also
    tend to deny meaningful death.
  • The modern failure of funerals serves as both as a
    cause and symptom of the shattering of culture,
    first into the nuclear family, then into atomized
    individuals, and at last into nothingness....
  • Contemporary America: a culture with such a
    damaged sense of community that it has difficulty
    maintaining even small, genial associations of
    mutual interest.
  • How we live is important only if we see the
    consequential future flowing towards us-
    beginning, always, with the fact that we will die and
    must prepare our children to assume the burdens
    of culture.
  • To the commonly cited feature of high Enlightenment
    philosophy- a preference for rational order, a rejection
    of superstition, a fascination with the scientific method,
    the general substitution of epistemology for metaphysics-
    we might add one more: a dying away of cultural
    knowledge about death.
  • The poverty and weightlessness of modern culture really
    can only be solved by death.

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