Friday, February 07, 2014

The Dominion Of The Dead, Robert Pogue Harrison

The contract between the living and the dead has traditionally been one of mutual indebtedness. The dead depend on the living to preserve their authority, heed their concerns, and keep them going in their secular afterlives. In return, they (the dead) help us to know ourselves, give form to our lives, organize our social relations, and restrain our destructive impulses. They provide us with the counsel needed to maintain the institutional order, of which they remain the authors, and prevent it from generating into a bestial barbarism.

The dead are our guardians. We give them a future so that they may give us a past. We help them live on so that they may help us go forward.

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