Death Doesn’t Lie

“Death doesn’t lie, so death masks – a cast of the face in wax or plaster, taken just hours after breath has gone – promise truthful representations of the departed. In an era before photography, these masks give us each beauty and blemish, a living presence in unchanging material. But how were they made? And what is their uncanny allure?” (Obit Magazine)


Does Death Sell?

Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674): Still-Life...

A recent study by University of Wisconsin and University of Virginia consumer researchers… examined how individuals relate to objects they have purchased when they think about death. The result, strikingly, is that thinking about one’s demise motivates people to form a strong connection to their material possessions, specifically to the brands that they have purchased. In the face of the great unknown, people develop, “strong brand identity,” a melding of their personalities and their possessions.” via Obit Magazine.

This school of research originated with Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death (1974), which argued that the entirety of human culture is an attempt to manage our terror at the prospect of our mortality.


A neuroscientist imagines the afterlife

[Image 'https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3f/GuideToTheAfterlife-CustodianForGoddessAmun-AltesMuseum-Berlin.png/202px-GuideToTheAfterlife-CustodianForGoddessAmun-AltesMuseum-Berlin.png' cannot be displayed]
from the Egyptian Book of the Dead...

“Something interesting almost always happens when thinkers with a scientific bent write fiction. (Jonah Lehrer discusses this in “Proust Was a Neuroscientist.”) But David Eagleman really is a neuroscientist — he heads the Laboratory for Perception and Action at Baylor College of Medicine. Each vignette here describes a possible afterlife.

“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.” The afterlife is soft in one story, has “San Diego weather” in another. Not surprising, God’s favorite book is “Frankenstein,” so Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley gets her own throne.

God is a woman. God is a married couple. We are God’s internal organs. In one afterlife, you relive your life with events shuffled in a different order; for example, you take all your pain at once or spend six days clipping your nails. Another afterlife is made up of only people you know. There’s less traffic, but “The missing crowds make you lonely.” “Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives” is teeming, writhing with imagination. It’s the Duomo between covers, reinvented and distilled.” via Seattle Times.