Death  

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Dying is certainly to be regarded as the real aim of life; at the moment of dying, everything is decided, which through the whole course of life was only prepared and introduced.” -- Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation

El amor y la muerte (English: Love and Death) is plate 10 from the Caprichos by Francisco Goya.
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El amor y la muerte (English: Love and Death) is plate 10 from the Caprichos by Francisco Goya.
This page Death is part of the death series. Cenotaph for Newton (1784) by French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée
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This page Death is part of the death series.
Cenotaph for Newton (1784) by French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée
Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin: "Basel" version, 1880
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Isle of the Dead by Arnold Böcklin: "Basel" version, 1880

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Death is the permanent end of the life of a biological organism. Death may refer to the end of life as either an event or condition.

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Society and culture

Main article: Death and culture

Death is the center of many traditions and organizations, and is a feature of every culture around the world. Much of this revolves around the care of the dead, as well as the afterlife and the disposal of bodies upon the onset of death. The disposal of human corpses does, in general, begin with the last offices before significant time has passed, and ritualistic ceremonies often occur, most commonly interment or cremation. This is not a unified practice, however, as in Tibet for instance the body is given a sky burial and left on a mountain top. Proper preparation for death and techniques and ceremonies for producing the ability to transfer one's spiritual attainments into another body (reincarnation) are subjects of detailed study in Tibet. Mummification or embalming is also prevalent in some cultures, to retard the rate of decay.

Legal aspects of death are also part of many cultures, particularly the settlement of the deceased estate and the issues of inheritance and in some countries, inheritance taxation.

Capital punishment is also a culturally divisive aspect of death. In most jurisdictions where capital punishment is carried out today, the death penalty is reserved for premeditated murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries, sexual crimes, such as adultery and sodomy, carry the death penalty, as do religious crimes such as apostasy, the formal renunciation of one's religion. In many retentionist countries, drug trafficking is also a capital offense. In China human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are also punished by the death penalty. In militaries around the world courts-martial have imposed death sentences for offenses such as cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny.

Death in warfare and in suicide attack also have cultural links, and the ideas of dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, mutiny punishable by death, grieving relatives of dead soldiers and death notification are embedded in many cultures. Recently in the western world, with the supposed increase in terrorism following the September 11 attacks, but also further back in time with suicide bombings, kamikaze missions in World War II and suicide missions in a host of other conflicts in history, death for a cause by way of suicide attack, and martyrdom have had significant cultural impacts.

Suicide in general, and particularly euthanasia, are also points of cultural debate. Both acts are understood very differently in different cultures. In Japan, for example, ending a life with honor by seppuku was considered a desirable death, whereas according to traditional Christian and Islamic cultures, suicide is viewed as a sin. Death is personified in many cultures, with such symbolic representations as the Grim Reaper, Azrael and Father Time.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Death" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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