“Will I Go Gentle?”

Dale McGowan writes for OnlySky, the new secular/Humanist multimedia platform, on the vexing question of “what is it like to die?”: There are ways to diminish the fear of death and dying. Epicurus may have been the first to formally note that our existence is bounded by symmetrical eternities. We fear the eternity of nonexistence … Read more“Will I Go Gentle?”

“Inventing Farewell: Poetry as a Mortuary Practice”

I taught a course last semester, at Brandeis University, on elegy and contemporary death practices. This humanities practicum was entitled “Inventing Farewell” because every modern generation must re-invent its relations to the dead. It was a pedagogical experiment. The students in this workshop read contemporary poems to discover what they have to offer a modern … Read more“Inventing Farewell: Poetry as a Mortuary Practice”

“Carnival Cosmology” by Gary Warne (1977)

The world is a midway; cities are its sideshows. The only difference between children and adults is that there is no one to take care of us. When we left home it meant we were lost on the midway and, unlike God, the carny boss will only let us ride as long as we pay. … Read more“Carnival Cosmology” by Gary Warne (1977)

“How to not fear your death”

Aeon editor Sam Dresser offers the Epicurean perspective on life in relation to mortality: Key points – How to not fear your death * The end of your existence is inevitable. The question is whether or not you should fear it.* Epicurus, and many others besides, have argued that there are reasons not to fear … Read more“How to not fear your death”

“Annihilation and the Meaningfulness of Life Beyond Death”

Philosophical perspective courtesy of Floris Tomasini: The notion that death should be “nothing to us”, as Epicurus puts it, is difficult to reconcile with desires that give meaning to our lives beyond our sense of self-satisfaction. That the meaningfulness of life extends beyond death is testified by our transcendent interests or desires. Or, as Belliotti … Read more“Annihilation and the Meaningfulness of Life Beyond Death”

The Death Issue

In the Death Issue of The Nib Magazine, two dozen artists from around the world offer their perspectives on mortality, from a heartfelt and poignant memoir of infant loss to an exploration of the cultural relationship between Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. Here’s a generous assortment of excerpts and below are some sample panels … Read moreThe Death Issue

“To Be a Field of Poppies”

Here’s author Lisa Wells’ new essay on the ethos and practice of human composting at Recompose: As a matter of convenience, one might be deluded into thinking their ecological sins in life could be absolved in death. Recompose claims that each person who chooses composting over conventional burial or cremation will prevent an average of … Read more“To Be a Field of Poppies”

“Death by Design”

Freelance writer and philosopher Daniel Callcut speculates for Aeon on the notion of bespoke, curated deaths: The word ‘euthanasia’ comes from the Greek for a ‘good death’. However, this idea of a positively good death can easily be lost in contemporary debates over euthanasia where the emphasis is typically on the rights of a person … Read more“Death by Design”

“Is grandad on the moon?”

Behavioural and data scientist, author, speaker and consultant Pragya Agarwal writes for Aeon on the subject of speaking with children about death, and on children’s conception of mortality: ‘Maybe they go to the Moon. Do you think Naanaa has gone to the Moon?’ I am noncommittal even though I would like to believe that, yes, … Read more“Is grandad on the moon?”