Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A little bit about death and society

The psychologists have unwittingly made their analyses of mourning into a historical document, a proof of historical relativity. Their thesis is that the death of the loved one is a deep wound, but one that heals naturally, provided one does nothing to delay the healing. The bereaved must become accustomed to the absence of the other, must transfer the libido still obstinately fixated on a "living" person, must "internalize" the deceased.

. . .

But this model that seems so natural to the psychologists is no older than the eighteenth century. It is the model of the beautiful death of the romantics and of the visits to the cemetery that we have called "the death of the other.". The style of mourning of the nineteenth century -- all too theatrical, of course, corresponds rather well to the requirements of the psychologists.

From "The Hour of our Death, by Aries, p.581

How often do we assume that what is modern is eternal?

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