From The Sketch Pad Near the Deathbed by Theodore Dalrymple
This persuaded me that the one thing we refuse to do in these supposedly multicultural times is to try to see the world, including ourselves, through the eyes of others, either in time or in space. Might it not be that those others would consider our own determination to push aside or avoid personal confrontation with death—which is, after all, still the inevitable dénouement of human life, technical progress notwithstanding—morbid and neurotic? Is our avoidance of all contact with death (except on video games) not a pretense that we shall live forever, that death is an aberration that we shall not fall into thanks to our healthy diet, our full health insurance, and our thirty minutes’ exercise a day, and that, while some people no doubt continue to die, it is really by their own fault or at their own insistence? Is not our revulsion from deathbed portraits—an old genre, after all, and by no means confined to the fin de siècle Viennese—more indicative that we wish to ignore the fundamental condition of our existence, even at the cost of forgetting our loved ones, so that we can get on with the business of life, which is to amuse ourselves?Posted by Jill Fallon at October 27, 2013 8:37 AM | Permalink
In short, is it not an indication of shallowness and egotism?