Death Society and Human Experience Essay

Pages: 3 (1071 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Sociology

Death, Society, And Human Experience

Death

Death is often an extremely frightening and problematic experience to think about for the modern individual. One of the reasons for this is that the contemporary secular world provides very few formal and accepted channels for coping and dealing with or explaining death. As one book on this subject states, "…paradoxically, death has always been an essential part of life. Indeed it is hardly possible to conceive of one without the other in the real world." (Death 22)

At the same time modern society and culture has progressed in a certain way that has placed into doubt the religious and other approaches to dealing with death which provided channels for coping with this experience in the past. This has left the experience and meaning of death to be resolved in the psychological and philosophical realms; which in turn leads to issues of death anxiety, avoidance and depression and finally acceptance of death as an intrinsic part of life.

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On a personal and psychological level, the anxiety about the inevitability of death in life leads to various types of avoidance behavior and to a denial of the reality of death. This can also be seen on a larger sociological level where modern society has over time created mechanisms for avoidance and escape from thinking about death. One commentator notes that, "A lot of activity in the modern society is dictated by the presence of death, or the fear of death…We think that current understanding of death brings a lot of hedonistic behavior to society: consume now - you will not have the opportunity to consume later." (Death and Society)

Essay on Death Society and Human Experience Assignment

In other words, avoidance and denial is one of the most prevalent cultural ways of dealing with death in modern Western society. Avoidance techniques such as entertainment, drugs, alcohol etc. are an integral part of society. This avoidance is so extensive in many cases in modern industrialized society that the subject of death and dying is considered to be socially unacceptable and even a taboo subject. "To think about our own death is considered to be dangerously morbid and to talks of it in public is frowned on as being in extremely bad taste." ( Mullin 3)

While this view is representative of the Western attitude to coping with death, different cultures have different responses to death. For example, in many traditional Eastern cultures the attitude towards death shows a greater integration and cultural acceptance of death. In Western culture the reality of death and dying has in fact removed from the centre of social concerns and cultural discourse. The reason of this difference can explained to a certain extent by different cultural perceptions and especially by the increase in secular materialism in the West.

Anthony Giddens, in Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age (1991) refers to the sequestration of death as being a distinguishing feature of modernity. (Giddens 156) to sequester means to separate or to part company and this implies that there has not been an integration of death into Western culture. ( 'Sequestration' )

Death in a contemporary context is described as sequestration due to "…its 'purchasing' of ontological security through institutions and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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