“Start Your Own Religion” (Timothy Leary, 1967)

An excerpt from this classic of the ’60s counterculture: How to Start Your Own Religion First, decide with whom you will make the voyage of discovery. If you have a family, certainly you will include them. If you have close friends, you will certainly want to include them. The question, with whom do I league … Read more“Start Your Own Religion” (Timothy Leary, 1967)

“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?”

“Burying the Dead Monuments”

Professor Elizabeth Scarborough muses on potential futures for discarded monumental statues: Monuments are objects designed and created intentionally to remind us of something worth honoring. According to J.B. Jackson, “A traditional monument, as the origin of the word indicates, is an object which is supposed to remind us of something important. That is to say, … Read more“Burying the Dead Monuments”

“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”

Tributes to Robin Williams at the “Good Will Hunting” Bench (Boston Public Garden, 2014)

In the days and weeks following the tragic death of actor/comedian Robin Williams in August of 2014, many Boston-area fans paid tribute at the site of one of Williams’ most iconic scenes. His Academy Award-winning performance as therapist Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting (1997) included a moving scene in which Maguire quietly confronts his … Read moreTributes to Robin Williams at the “Good Will Hunting” Bench (Boston Public Garden, 2014)