Tyler Volk - "What is Death?: A Scientist Looks at the Cycle of Life"

Posted By: Alexpal


Tyler Volk, "What is Death?: A Scientist Looks at the Cycle of Life"
Wiley | ISBN 0471375446 | 2002 Year | PDF | 0,9 Mb | 256 Pages


Answering the question "What is death?" by focusing on the individual is blinkered. It restricts attention to a narrow zone around the individual body of a creature. Instead, how expansive is the answer we receive when we look at the context of death within the biosphere. Death now is tied to all of life, via the atmosphere and ocean. Death supports the awesome biological enterprise of making abundant the green and squiggly life. Talk about death has headed us straight into a contemplation of life, not only individual life, but big life, life on a global scale. Death and life are neatly dovetailed by the supreme cabinetmaker of evolution. Again, the crucial feature is not the death of any one creature per se, but rather what is done with death. To reach into the meaning of death, we must reach out into the wider context of which death is a part.

In the winter of 1997, biologist and critically acclaimed science writer Tyler Volk began suffering from mysterious physical ailments that would bring him face to face with his own mortality. This experience led him to explore what death means to us–and to discover that our mortality is, paradoxically, extraordinarily life affirming. In What Is Death? Volk shows how we deal with death psychologically and come to inner peace; how as a culture we find our funeral rituals a tremendous comfort and a revitalization of community; and how death evolved at the cellular level and stands as one of the most beautiful necessities in our biosphere. Here is death that is at once an end and a beginning, a source of dignity and a revelation, the basis of who we are as people and as a people.