Thread: Life and death
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:03 PM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Life and death

An interesting thing about death, evidenced by most of the previous posts, is the constant use of metaphors to describe what happens afterwards. The interesting thing about these metaphors is that, unlike other metaphors, with a ground and an argument -- so that you know why they are metaphors, this area of metaphor is different: we do not know whether the metaphors we use to describe what, if anything, happens after death, are really metaphors.

'Life is a journey' is an attractive metaphor, but it is not applied to death or history. We never call death a destination, or the end of a journey, or history the record of a journey, or journeys. I think a famous philosopher called history 'the unfolding of the absolute in space and time,' which is quite cumbersome as a metaphor.

I recently watched the film Kingdom of Heaven, which is about the crusades of the twelfth century and the Leper King. The king wears a mask to hide his disfigurement, but tells the hero Balian that what happens to him in Hell will be much worse that what is happening to him now; his disease is a punishment. The film was made by Ridley Scott, who believed that it had a good basis in actual fact, but the theatre edition was criticized when it was released because of all the cuts that had been made. The director's cut roadshow version is much better, but, of course, none of the film versions is a correct historical account of what actually happened.

Another interesting film that relates to death is The Name of the Rose, which deals with murders -- and thus the journeys towards death that are rather faster than the travellers intended -- in a mediaeval monastery. The film is based on a book of the same name by Umberto Eco, who, in my opinion, does a better job of handling his subject than Ridley Scott, but others may differ. Eco writes a novel that is doubly fiction: it is a fictional record of an account of events that is also turns out to be fictional.Eco was a professor of semiotics, which was also my professorial area of specialization at university.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 05-22-2019 at 06:11 PM.

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