Two forms of death: ecological and anthropocene made

Monday, July 18, 2011

Deborah Bird Rose (2011):

There are two big contexts of death. The first is the fact that death resides in life... Death, as a corollary to life, happens to all of us complex creatures. It may happen through old age, or illness; it may happen through hunting or killing; it may happen on larger scales through events such as cyclones, earthquakes, or volcanoes. In this context, living things are bound into ecological communities of life and death, and within these communities life is always making and unmaking itself in time and place.

The second context differs from the first in being a uniquely human invention: man-made mass death. This form of death arises out of a will-to-destruction that seems to be confined to humans... The will-to-destruction can most vividly be thought of as death work. It involves imagining a future emptiness, and then working systematically to accomplish that emptiness... In ordinary life, death is the necessary completion of life. Man-made death is not necessary and does not complete life. Instead it is a massive interruption, a negation of the relationships between life and death.


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