“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?”

“Monuments to Unbelief”

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”

Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene (2013)

A sobering New York Times essay by Roy Scranton: The human psyche naturally rebels against the idea of its end. Likewise, civilizations have throughout history marched blindly toward disaster, because humans are wired to believe that tomorrow will be much like today — it is unnatural for us to think that this way of life, … Read moreLearning How to Die in the Anthropocene (2013)

“Dancing with the Dead: Two Techniques for Spiritual Rejuvenation”

Humanist poet, speaker, organizer and ritualist Daniel Lev Shkolnik writes for Patheos on a self-devised memento mori/carpe diem rite: When I pass into a cemetery alone, a calm settles over me. I watch the hawks hunt from the pines. The hares dash through among the stones and the bones of slower hares. The puffball mushrooms … Read more“Dancing with the Dead: Two Techniques for Spiritual Rejuvenation”