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By Douglas Davies

Акт самой смерти и ритуалы окружающие ее чрезвычайно различны и проливают свет на культуры, частью которых они являются. В этой краткой и живой истории Дуглас Дэйвис - международно признанный ведущим экспертом в этой области - рассматривает некоторые из самых существенных аспектов смерти и складывает их в незабываемую историю наших отношений к смерти.Темы книги: Смерть - психологические аспекты; Смерть - религиозные аспекты; Смерть - социальные аспекты; Смерть в искусстве

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In religious terms, too, there are those who speak of experiences that are not dissimilar in that they are in a love relationship with God and are aware of this in deeply personal terms. The popular love songs of the world at large become the devotional hymns and songs that now frame the believer’s identity in a very special way. Both historically and today, this highly charged personal awareness of a special link with the divine extending beyond death has been influential upon society. It comes to sharpest focus, perhaps, in martyrs.

This, too, is largely devoid of serious impact. Then someone dies in the family; if it is a distant relative the death may be almost like that of the ‘death of others’ except that, now, a family member to whom one is close shows a degree of emotion over the death. A child, for example, may be aware of its parent being upset at the death of the mother’s sister, an aunt relatively distanced from the child. The emotion of grief in another becomes a learning experience. Yet, even that is relatively little preparation for the day when the child, perhaps now already adult and with children of his or her own, suffers the loss of parent, spouse or even of their own child.

Depending upon an individual’s intellectual outlook and belief, one or other of these approaches may come to provide the bedrock for an understanding of life and death. Such theories provide what I call ‘words against death’, a phrase that I have used as a basis for an earlier book, Death, Ritual and Belief (Davies 2002). In the following chapters, especially chapter 4, I will use this phrase as a shorthand description of the way human beings use language so as not to let death have the last word.

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