Society's Awakening Interest in Death
Disappearance of Taboos on Discussion of Death
In this outspoken age, no aspect of human life seems barred from flagrant public exposure. Yet one subject of profound interest to every man—death—has remained in the shadows, shunted away from popular discourse, ignored until recently by social research. Modern man has tended to avoid pondering his ultimate fate. Only in its formal aspects has death come forward for public consideration, as in the rites for a departed public figure or in abstract terms such as casualty statistics.
Death is omnipresent—more than 5,000 Americans die every day—and death by violence is commonplace in the news and in popular entertainment. But the actual experience of dying and the experience of bereavement are private matters. There is ...