10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
really good, 8 April 2012
Stephen Cave takes apart what we refer to as civilization. Almost everywhere he uncovers as a driving force our deep desire to avoid death. He then makes out four ways which have been tried since the beginning of time by hopefuls of all creeds and races to achieve immortality. Along the journey he uncovers interesting historical facts and anecdotes but also uses cutting-edge research from the biological sciences. The best thing for me though was the ending where Cave moves on from dissecting our culture in order to build a truly eye-opening philosophy that tries to look death in the eye rather than run away from it. Rarely have I encountered as much food for thought in a book. I know look at civilization and its rituals in a very different way. Very convincing.