Portal:Death

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Death is the termination of the biological functions that define a living organism. It refers both to a particular event and to the condition that results thereby. The true nature of the latter has, for millennia, been a central concern of the world's religious traditions and of philosophical enquiry. Belief in some kind of afterlife or rebirth is a central aspect of many religious traditions. Within the scientific community, many suppose death to terminate mind or consciousness. The effect of physical death on any possible mind or soul remains for many an open question. Cognitive science has yet to explain the origin and nature of consciousness; any view about the existence or non-existence of consciousness after death remains speculative.

Humans and the vast majority of other animals die in due course from senescence. Remarkable exceptions include the hydra, and the jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii, which is thought to possess in effect biological immortality.

Intervening phenomena which commonly bring about death earlier include malnutrition, disease, or accidents resulting in terminal physical injury. Predation is a cause of death for many species. Intentional human activity causing death includes suicide, homicide, and war. Roughly 150,000 people die each day across the globe. Death in the natural world can also occur as an indirect result of human activity: an increasing cause of species depletion in recent times has been destruction of ecosystems as a consequence of the widening spread of industrial technology.

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Selected article

The Etruscan "Sarcophagus of the Spouses", at the National Etruscan Museum in Italy
Funerary art is any work of art forming or placed in a repository for the remains of the dead. Tomb is a general term for the repository, while grave goods are objects—other than the primary human remains—which have been placed inside. Such objects may include the personal possessions of the deceased, or objects specially created for the burial, or miniature versions of things needed in an afterlife. Our knowledge of several cultures is drawn largely from these sources.

Funerary art can serve many cultural functions, although generally they are an aesthetic attempt to capture or express the beliefs or emotions about the afterlife. It can play a role in burial rites, serve as an article for use by the dead in the afterlife, and celebrate the life and accomplishments of the dead, as part of practices of ancestor veneration. Funerary art can also function as a reminder of the mortality of humankind, as an expression of cultural values and roles, and help to propitiate the spirits of the dead, preventing their unwelcome intrusion into the affairs of the living. Many cultures have psychopomp figures, such as the Greek Hermes and Etruscan Charun, who help to conduct the spirit of the dead into the afterlife.

Selected picture

Oppenheim Charnel house
Credit: Joscha

The charnel house at Saint Catherine’s Church in Oppenheim, Germany.

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Quote

"Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?"

Plato "Phaedo" 72

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WikiProject Death outstanding articles


The Death WikiProject is a collaboration that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in Death.
The aim of this project is to standardize and improve articles related to Death, and to create any missing articles
To become a member of this WikiProject (anyone may join), simply click here - and add {{user|username}}.
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