In his 1909 book Memories of My Life, English polymath Sir Francis Galton reflected – in the language of his era, whose sentiments on civilization do not match our own in some regards – on several curious and creative experiments in poetic faith: In the days of my youth I felt, at one time, a … Read moreSir Francis Galton Worships Mr. Punch
Leigh E. Schmidt’s essay for Aeon.com examines the phenomenon of public memorials representing humanism, freethought and atheism: American freethinkers had long been preoccupied with the public memorialising of their incredulity and anticlericalism. They wanted to enshrine their commitment to scientific rationality over biblical revelation, their strict construction of church-state separation, and their worldly focus on … Read more“Monuments to Unbelief”
Terror Management Theory proposes that humans experience a fundamental psychological conflict between the instinct of self-preservation and the understanding that death is both inevitable and, to some extent, unpredictable; a state described as mortality salience. TMT is based on the pioneering theoretical work of anthropologist Ernest Becker, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning 1973 book The Denial of Death … Read moreSymbolic Immortality and Mortality Sapience
Click here to read Brendan Kiley’s article for the Seattle Times: As I’ve learned more about Recompose, I’ve found it to be a very graceful and beautiful way to go,” Bontrager said. “It’s the natural way, the way every living thing in history has eventually been cared for, from an apple core to a human … Read moreRecompose, the First Human-Composting Funeral Home in the U.S., is Now Open for Business
Syrio Forel, First Sword of Braavos (played by actor Miltos Yerolamou) offers an object memento mori ergo carpe diem lesson to Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) in this scene from the first season of Game of Thrones.
You can see more of artist Jenny Jinya’s “Loving Reaper” cartoons here – though be aware that few of them end quite this happily.
Critic, author and video essayist Lindsay Ellis offers a survey of the many personifications of Death in Western art and culture.
Life-support.uk is a superbly-designed online experience answering (and asking) many useful questions about death and dying.
In devising Mr. Spock’s famous Vulcan salute (“Live long and prosper”), Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy was inspired by the Priestly Blessing performed by Jewish Kohanim. This benedictory gesture represents the Hebrew letter Shin (ש), the three upward strokes of the letter being similar to the position of the thumb and fingers in the gesture. The ritual practice of symbolic gestures is … Read moreWhen the Spirit Moves Me: The Mudra of My Way of Life and Death
Artist Peter McGough explains the Oscar Wilde Temple, a secular “celebration of the creative process through which experience is transformed into art and reality abstracted into revelation.” For more information on this project, please see the Oscar Wilde Temple website.