By Alexander T. Riley
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Additional info for Angel patriots : the crash of United Flight 93 and the myth of America
The statement “we all die alone” is proven untrue, Kagan argues, by recognizing that, if we mean simply that we are all physically alone at the moment of death, it is evident that some people at least certainly do die in the company of others. If we mean that our own death is something that only we can experience, then there is nothing unique about death here as compared to other experiences, since no one else can experience taking a shower, or shooting a jump shot, or walking out the front door for us either.
We can achieve immortality, of a sort, through personal investment in the symbols of our collectivity, for, although we die, the family, the tribe, the country lives on. Death and the Idea of America It is certainly true that rituals, beliefs, and meanings surrounding death are particularly important in defining any society. 25 Claudio Lomnitz’s Death and the Idea of Mexico takes Morin’s claim seriously and makes just such an approach to understanding Mexican history and culture. One might well charge that the task is quite more compelling in a case like this one, where death is and nearly always has been such a prominent part of national identity.
27 The religious precepts of the American Puritan, based in the ferocious doctrinal combination of sola fides (and so the irrelevance of any earthly deeds to salvation) and the predestination of eternal damnation and salvation of souls (which meant that even faith could not save you if God had already marked you before birth for Hell), death and anxieties concerning post mortem fate were the inescapable companions of all. ”29 Here, remarkably, we find an early American culture much closer in the central role it assigns to death in its broadest narratives to the Mexico described by Lomnitz than to its contemporary incarnation.
Angel patriots : the crash of United Flight 93 and the myth of America by Alexander T. Riley