Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids, laments the Rocket Man in Elton John’s timeless classic. In fact, it’s cold as hell. But that doesn’t seem to worry a new generation of space entrepreneurs intent on colonising the “final frontier” as fast as possible.
What can we learn about death from the X-Men, small screaming rodents, and unwitting college students in psychology experiments? It turns out that the fear of death (or death anxiety) affects human behavior in all sorts of surprising and deeply troubling ways.
There are two stories here, interwoven: the story of a project called “All Things Mortal,” and the story of the dying and funeral of our friend and colleague in Transition. They are two sides of the same coin, like life and death, and joy and grief. Neither one would have happened the way they did if it hadn’t been for Transition.
Activist Tim DeChristopher presents his views on our big question with themes of identity, capitalism and mortality.
Western environmentalism is surely haunted by the same ghosts as the death-phobic culture out of which it came. When we look at that famous image of the Earth from space, I can’t help thinking that our sense of its fragility is overlaid with projections of an unreconciled fear of our own deaths.
Knowing that our lives are brief—and worse—not knowing where the end of the waterfall is (is it a short drop or a long one?) means it is up to us to live every moment of our lives well. Not “live it up” but live meaningfully, purposefully, and conscious that life could end at any moment.
People grow old and die. Civilizations eventually fail. For centuries amateur philosophers have used the former as a metaphor for the latter, leading to a few useful insights and just as many misleading generalizations. The comparison becomes more immediately interesting as our own civilization stumbles blindly toward collapse.
Though death is an inevitable part of life, do we really act as if we know we’re going to die?
I thought I had an original idea recently only to find that thousands of others were way ahead of me. I got to thinking about cemeteries and their potential for garden farming while making death a little less abhorrent. That’s when I had this “new” idea that actually is very old but is now a new movement.