Mankind’s Morbid Fascination With Death

CemeteryMankind’s fascination with death is pretty obvious. People love to wonder about their own mortality—pondering how they might undergo such a phase, or if there really is an afterlife waiting after this. It’s also worth noting that some people are actually preparing for their own deaths. Crematoriums and memorial plans tend to be booked way too early because of this anticipation. While this is not an outright attraction to death in a sense, it’s a logical realisation that everyone will die someday. It’s just a matter of time.

Still, there’s no explanation for this fascination that people have with dying—until now.

It “Reminds” People of the Life They Have

The Guardian’s Eva Wiseman puts forth an interesting take on the subject. She cites the way people tend to flock to the recollections of terminally ill people. According to her, people like to read such memoirs because it reminds them that they’re alive.

Quoting the words of renowned film critic Roger Ebert: “Ask someone how they feel about death, and they’ll tell you that everyone’s going to die. What if you die within the next 30 seconds? Within the afternoon? Within the week? There’s this level of uncertainty that shrouds mortality, and it seems to make people recollect. They know they might pass on any moment, so they gain a new lease on appreciating their lives. Because in death, they’ll never be able to do anything anymore.

On the Topic of Blood

Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Weill Cornell School of Medicine, claims that most people are “bloodthirsty” in a sense. This comment is made after recognising that discussions about gory, violent deaths seem to have become the norm in several online communities.

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Saltz claims that this fascination is due to humankind’s sadomasochistic tendencies. People don’t necessarily watch car races just because they love the sport; they follow it for the thrill of anticipating a potentially fatal crash. The one thing that keeps people from being murderous barbarians are societal norms.

There might never be a common understanding as to why people like talking about death, but it speaks bounds. It’s evidence of a sentient race that’s willing to face its impending doom without so much as blinking. A logical thought, since all are bound to die anyway.