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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Connie Willis on how we feel about death

“Death is a subject Americans don’t like to talk about. I guess nobody does, but our American culture is especially in denial about death. If they do want to think about it, it’s in non-threatening Hallmark terms. Polls show these people don’t go to church, they don’t have any organized religion, but they all somehow think they’re going to heaven. They are in love with happy thoughts about death and at the same time they’re very frightened about death. You can see it in the culture everywhere - the way people jog frenetically, not to feel better or to be healthy but to be immortal. I’ve been on some convention panels where the overriding topic has been immortality: ‘The last person to die has already been born and the next generation will live forever.’ This is actually religion masquerading as science, and it speaks to how terrified people are about death.”

Connie Willis, interviewed by Locus, January, 2003. Willis is an award-winning author of fantastic literature.

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