Portal:Death

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Death

Death is the termination of the biological functions that define a living organism. It refers both to a particular event and to the condition that results thereby. The true nature of the latter has, for millennia, been a central concern of the world's religious traditions and of philosophical enquiry. Belief in some kind of afterlife or rebirth is a central aspect of many religious traditions. Within the scientific community, many suppose death to terminate mind or consciousness. The effect of physical death on any possible mind or soul remains for many an open question. Cognitive science has yet to explain the origin and nature of consciousness; any view about the existence or non-existence of consciousness after death remains speculative.

Humans and the vast majority of other animals die in due course from senescence. Remarkable exceptions include the hydra, and the jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii, which is thought to possess in effect biological immortality.

Intervening phenomena which commonly bring about death earlier include malnutrition, disease, or accidents resulting in terminal physical injury. Predation is a cause of death for many species. Intentional human activity causing death includes suicide, homicide, and war. Roughly 150,000 people die each day across the globe. Death in the natural world can also occur as an indirect result of human activity: an increasing cause of species depletion in recent times has been destruction of ecosystems as a consequence of the widening spread of industrial technology.

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Illustration of the Black Death from the Toggenburg Bible (1411)
The Black Death was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. It is widely thought to have been an outbreak of bubonic plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, but this view has recently been challenged. Usually thought to have started in Central Asia, it had reached the Crimea by 1346 and from there, probably carried by fleas residing on the black rats that were regular passengers on merchant ships, it spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population, reducing the world's population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as creating a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe's population to recover. The plague returned at various times, resulting in a larger number of deaths, until it left Europe in the 19th century.

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Death and the Maiden
Credit: Till.niermann

Death and the Maiden is a common motif in Renaissance art. It developed from the Dance of Death. The new element was an erotic subtext.

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Rudolf Schiestl (1878-1931) - Tod von Basel.jpg

Anniversaries of death

Obituaries

Disasters and accidents

Did you know...

  • ... that deaths caused by falling billboards in Metro Manila during Typhoon Xangsane (Milenyo) prompted a renewed push by Philippine legislators for a ban on billboard advertising?
  • ...that in 1994, a wild bottlenose dolphin in Brazil named Tião killed one man and seriously injured a second after they had been harassing the animal?
  • ...that guards on the mail coach had to remain outside for the entire journey and sometimes froze to death?

Quote

"Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?"

Plato "Phaedo" 72

Major topics

Death project

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The aim of this project is to standardize and improve articles related to Death, and to create any missing articles
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