The Vigorous Pull of Money All the Way to the Grave

death and money

I am looking forward to class this week because we will be talking about “faith” as an epistemology. I find myself totally confused about its meaning, while recognizing its power in the lives of millions of people. I am in the American South today and driving around multiple neighborhoods between 10 AM and noon suggests that faith is right there with empiricism in the race for “dominant” proof.

I know of no better way to stimulate discussion about this question than reading or viewing the important young playwright Lucas Hnath’s The Christians.”

But this post is about another of Hnath’s plays, Death Tax .

As much as we would like to wish that money does not affect how and when we die, we all know the effect is there. How does money affect (1) care of the dying inside a health care system where many of the caretakers are desperate for money and (2) the behavior of family members of the dying who cannot help but be cognizant of the life cycle of income, i.e., the dying tend to have a higher probability of having amassed a pile of money than the pile built up by younger family members.  That pile of the dying may be a very tiny lottery in the offing, but the pile exists in a large number of situations where the dying’s continuing longevity postpones the lottery drawing. And a small pile is better than no pile of money any day.

Hnath deserves a lot of credit for exploring these issues when we prefer to ignore them.

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