What Do We Owe the Dead?

Adam DeVille What Do We Owe the Dead?

On our responsibility to dead bodies.

Recent Issue  //  Summer 2021 Embodiment

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While there are many ways to interpret the markers of “progress” over the last millennium, one line stretching east along the axis is the gradual displacement of bodies. Without quite realizing it, many of us pre-pandemic were starting to believe that bodily limitations could be cast aside in the quest for more—ignoring the boringly basic needs of our human bodies and their rhythms.

And so this year of death and disease has offered, in a tragically revealing way, a severe mercy of course correction. We’ve realized that embodiment is not actually a hurdle to overcome, but the very yeast for flourishing itself. How will we allow this to reshape our understanding of the good life? Will our app designers and urban planners, theories of change and individual habits reflect this recovery of our creatureliness, of givenness and finitude?

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