1.2.3 The effect of death on life
In some cultures, or groups within a culture, there is an attempt to integrate the fact of mortality into the centre of living so that members are actively encouraged to see death as normal and to face the fact that each of us will die. In others there is a tendency to combat or deny the fact of death, to the extent that life becomes an exercise in keeping thoughts of death at bay.
Yet it remains true that some ways of life and systems of belief do actively prepare people to acknowledge the reality of death whilst others encourage denial of that reality. Mostly we find ourselves somewhere between the two, shifting back and forth according to situation, time, place, company, age and so on. It is almost as though denial and affirmation of death form two ends or poles of a continuum along which we move. To highlight the process, this section describes an example of what it is like at each end.