Symbolic immortality through children. A thanatological perspective
Culture and death are tied in a bijective relationship. Death challenges culture
and culture moulds the face of death, to the extent that the latter cannot be conceived
of as not being, in some measure, cultural. Rites, beliefs, religions and immortality are
some of the cultural products engendered by death.
This study has two main objectives. First, it aims at reflecting on the status of
immortality as a cultural product, and, thus, analysing the mechanisms by which
immortality can be seen as a symbolic construct. Second, it examines the non-religious
symbolic construction of the continuation of existence through children. The role of
this second section is to deconstruct this myth from a point of view that merges modern
Thanatology with the sociology of knowledge, searching to discover and investigate the
social and cultural issues entailed by immortality-through-children.The relation to
one’s children deserves special attention as it merges nature and culture in an extreme
and paradoxical way. If there is a critique that can be brought to this immortality myth,
it does not target its ontological necessity, but its absolutization and its being deemed as
natural, when being first and foremost cultural.
Death, Immortality, Children, Paradox, Construction, Mythology.