June 7, 2013

Two Quotes On Death

"If asked to explain the history of world civilizations in one word, it would be 'death.' Of all animals, man alone knows he will die, and this has fashioned his approach to life, and indeed to all existence. Either one follows the 'prehistoric' shamans, who hope to raise the bones of the dead, later amplified to include the body in some religions, or a belief of the voyage of the soul alone to heaven dominates thought. The cognition of death has determined religion, which in turn influenced poetry, music, art and architecture, and all facets of man's time on earth. Another approach to death, the Buddhist extinction of the self, was not favored by people outside of the Orient, even though it makes sense." - Richard N. Frye, "Greater Iran: A 20th-Century Odyssey." Mazda Publishers, Inc. 2005. Preface. 

"We are a death-fearing, death-denying, death-escaping culture. And Tolkien nails it by giving the Ring the power of deathlessness." – Ralph Wood: "On Tolkien—The Lord of the Rings—A Book for our Time of Terror."