With 2016 continuing to be the year of death, losing David Bowie, Prince, Harper Lee, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, Ronnie Corbett, Terry Wogan, Admiral Ackbar, and what seems to be the majority of the western hemisphere, death is the one thing that all societies have to deal with (unless your society is one of omnipotent immortals, à la Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time, naturally).

How they view death in a philosophical sense, and how they deal with the practical side, can vary wildly, and can also tell us a great deal about the kind of society we are dealing with. Is death something to be feared, or something to embrace? Is a funeral a solemn ceremony, a cheerful celebration of a life, or a clinical procedure? Let’s take a look. Continue reading