Monday, October 17, 2011

On death and dying

There is a whole division of sociology that studies death and dying. We don't have room for that in our schedule, but it comes up as part of our discussion of American culture and Tuesdays With Morrie so I wanted to post about it.

Our culture trains us how to think about death. While we are living, it is a taboo topic and when it happens we don't know exactly what to think about it - all we have is sadness and a sense of loss. It is important to note that this is a cultural norm that varies in other cultures around the world. One book that examines this is called Dancing on the Grave, by Nigel Barley.  You can read an excerpt here, but the important point that Barley makes is that grief and mourning are different.  All cultures mourn death, that is they have rituals for dealing with death, but grieving is an emotion and is not part of all cultures.  Grief is a fairly modern concept and is tied into the development of individualism and (in my opinion) materialism.  We see each individual as separate and less connected to other individuals than our ancestors did.  So death represents the loss of an individual.  And because our modern culture is so wrapped up in material things, it is hard to get by the loss of the physical individual.  Instead we could see that person in all of us - we are all impacted by one another.  The love we share is a part of us.  Like Morrie said, "Death ends a life, not a relationship."  We have trouble with that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Volunteer Op: This Saturday!

Habitat for Humanity is so excited to volunteer to Paint The Town sponsored by Delilah and 93.9 Lite Fm. They will be in town THIS SATURDAY to transform Genesee Street! If you have an hour or the whole day we would love to see you out there to volunteer! Julie Donovan invited you to join her at 8:00 am at Jack Benny Plaza in Waukegan for the Habitat for Humanity crew to Paint the Town!

Here is their link.