Not Thinking The Unthinkable, But Thinking Hard

Yesterday Graeme pointed meScientific American, to an article entitled, “Never Say Die: Why We Can’t Imagine Death.” The article sticks strictly to scientific explanations, and ignores the possibility that some non-scientific accounts might actually be well-grounded; that’s OK, it’s what we pay scientists to do. If someone asks me about death and existence, I won’t talk about MRIs or evolutionary psychology.
The article does the valuable work of directing our attention to death with unyielding unsentimentality, in contrast to cultural cues that favor denying, trivializing, or romanticizing death. At the risk of saying more than I know, I would affirm forcefully that everyone should take time for a more [painfully] unsentimental consideration of death and dying, if only to counteract the stifling concealment by which the powerful, profitable enterprises endeavor to assure us that if we just consume enough, we will live forever (or that we need not think about death as long as we’re accumulating material goods, or that death only happens to other kinds of people). Whatever conclusions you may come to, death will surely be among them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *