Some say that the most important event in the (pre-)history of mankind was the discovery of fire and how to control it. I would say that equally important, if not more so, was the day man came to understand his own mortality and it scared the bejeezus out of him. The former gave him tools, but the latter gave him purpose. Ever since then man has been trying everything in his power to escape his fate. The most obvious manifestation of this is religion. In its myriad guises, and its various messages about ethics, lessons on how to properly sacrifice animals, what clothes to wear, and whether you can marry your first cousin the one constant seems to be a reassuring narrative of some sort of life after death, whether it be reincarnation, a hall for warriors full of wenches serving mead, or some abstract heaven. Follow us, the religions say, and we will ensure that the curse of mortality doesn't befall you. Even Buddhism, which is seen by many to be a philosophy rather than a religion, has incorporates the idea of reincarnation.
|Smoking's a killer. Torajan skulls left with cigarettes as offerings.|