Cavesword: A Nontheistic Religion of Radical Death Acceptance in Gore Vidal’s “Messiah”

Gore Vidal’s 1954 dystopian satire Messiah is the story of a religious movement that forms around a charismatic undertaker named John Cave. Cave’s central message is, simply and profoundly, that people should not be afraid of death; not because they could look forward to an afterlife of eternal bliss in paradise, but rather because oblivion … Read moreCavesword: A Nontheistic Religion of Radical Death Acceptance in Gore Vidal’s “Messiah”

The House of Black and White

The fantasy cultures in George R. R. Martin’s epic Game of Thrones stories have conjured a rich diversity of religious perspectives. The journey of Arya Stark, noblewoman by birth and killer by temperament, leads her to the House of Black and White, which is the temple, headquarters and thanatorium of a cult of priestly assassins … Read moreThe House of Black and White

Quietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s post-Apocalyptic masterpiece Children of Men is set in a nightmarish future United Kingdom about eighteen years after the human fertility rate dropped to zero. As war and existential despair claim most parts of the world, the UK “soldiers on” via a near-totalitarian regime that offers its citizens the option of suicide via … Read moreQuietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

William Archer on the Ethics and Future of Suicide (1893)

During August of 1893, the recent publication of a suicide note by a young Englishman named Ernest Clark sparked an impassioned letters-to-the-editor debate upon the philosophy and ethics of “self-effacement”. A missive by the prominent Scottish writer and theatre critic William Archer outraged those of less bohemian sensibilities – including G. K. Chesterton – by … Read moreWilliam Archer on the Ethics and Future of Suicide (1893)

The Thanatorium in “Soylent Green”

The 1973 movie Soylent Green posits a catastrophically polluted and over-populated future society in which suicide is not only legal but encouraged and facilitated by the state. In the New York City of 2022 (according to this fictional timeline), there exist institutions where people can end their lives peacefully and beautifully. In the full context … Read moreThe Thanatorium in “Soylent Green”