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   dark matters   

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facing and accepting the universal law of the impermanence of all things; alignment with and acceptance of the immutable laws of nature.

Whatever your beliefs, most people would agree that the body left behind when we depart this mortal coil is just a heap of bones and flesh. But what happens to those leftovers? Assuming that nature is left to its own devices, our bodies undergo a fairly standard process of decomposition that can take anywhere from two weeks to two years.

Supply Your Own Light

“It may surprise you to learn that the definition of death varies from state (to state) in the United States. In general though, the official time of  death is considered to be the time when you’ve entered cardiac arrest – the electrical signals that cause your heart to beat stop, and blood stops flowing in your body. But it might also surprise you to learn that once your heart stops and you’re dead, you’re aware that you have died. Which, honestly… Sounds pretty terrifying.”

Stephen Cave is a writer and philosopher who is obsessed with our obsession with immortality. He's the author of Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization, an inquiry into humanity's irrational resistance to the inevitability of death. Cave moves across time, religion and history's major civilizations to explore just what drives this instinct. 

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Studies on how we cope with the inevitability of death, or terror management, have a fundamental flaw -- they lack a control group. It's impossible to test if or how a person changes their beliefs or behavior when reminded of their mortality, because our awareness of this human condition never ceases. Our brain's superfrontal gyrus sees to this neurologically, while culture and our physicality highlight it further with books like the Bible and with every new wrinkle.

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