Reasons modern Americans are so good at denying death

February 19, 2012 | By | Reply More

Peter Lawler, citing to the writings of Dr. Craig Bowron, argues that “we’re much less accepting of the thought that death necessarily completes every natural life.”   I agree.   Why is this so?  Lawler suggests that “Each of us has a hard time thinking of himself or herself as a biological being.”  Why would that be so?  Lawler offers the following:

1.   Changing demographics.  80% of Americans live in urban areas, where death (especially the death of non-human animals) is rarely witnessed, and our food (notably our meat) is antiseptically prepared by grocery stores.  Because most of us don’t live in places where we see death as an ordinary and necessary part of life, we are better able to deny it.

2.  In modern society, we segregate our elderly off to special places where we don’t see them.   Back in 1850, 70 percent of “white elderly adults lived with their children.”  Today, that number is only 16%.

At bottom, our young “know less and less and about being old and less and less about death and dying.”

See also, my earlier article regarding the work of Mark Johnson, “Why it matters that humans are animals.” See also, my previous writing on terror management theory (TMT).

Share

Category: Human animals, Meaning of Life

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Leave a Reply