Philosophy 108 (Death and Dying) - Transcending Death

1227 words 5 pages
Transcending Death
The anthropology of death is a fascinating field of study which depicts the conceptualization of death, the modes of death, and from various funerary rites/rituals that a Western society might even find repulsive or enchanting. Why is it that the most appealing form of media among kids is about superheroes overcoming adversity or death, and then the hero comes in to save the day? The answer is quite simple, because humans find death interesting. Is it due to the fact that no one lives forever? Humans know this fact of life but they still wish for this goal of cheating death. A common occurrence is through funeral and mortuary rites where there is the belief in a future life and in the survival of the
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Duncan has used popular or well known fictional characters as a way for the readers to relate with his writing. He used Spiderman, Batman, Wolverine, and the Hulk as examples to show that these characters encountered death, had a near death experience, or died and was resurrected (Duncan 3). These examples of heroism show mastering death anxiety through symbolic immortality (Lifton and Olson 38). According to Robert Jay Lifton and Erin Olson’s “Symbolic immortality,” that human life is at “every moment as moving between two poles: imagery of total severance (death imagery) and imagery of continuity (symbolic immortality)” (Lifton and Olson 38). The two poles of human life cannot exist without the other because death imagery necessitates the need for symbolic immortality. Imagery of continuity makes the thought of death less threatening that would allow them to live a healthy functioning life. One of the most iconic examples would be the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ, he represents death imagery on showing humanity the sacrifices he made and also points the inevitability of human mortality. Jesus Christ can also be classified as a form of symbolic immortality and his transcendence of death, because he rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. Furthermore, Duncan also noted the transformative empowerment in accepting death, rebirth, overcoming death, and magnifying a human’s fragile mortal