Heard at Hutchmoot: Solidarity of Mortality

Heard at Hutchmoot:  A Series on Words from our Weekend in Nashville

Friday evening at Hutchmoot, David and I sat down to dinner with the mysterious DKM.  If you meet the man in person, he does not seem all that mysterious, and he will even tell you his real name.  He also had a non-mysterious daughter with him, who was bright and funny in her own right.  We talked about his writing career, television shows, movies, and books.

DKM is the voice behind the Rabbit Room press book Subjects with Objects.  He teamed up with artist Jonathan Richter for the publication.  The book itself is hard to explain concisely; you should go read the interview or look at the samples in the Rabbit Room store — and then buy it.  I will only say that it is a great mind stretcher and conversation starter.

Without spoiling the entire book for you — because I think you should buy it, have I made that clear yet? — I will tell you that a concept it introduces is what DKM calls “the solidarity of mortality.”  The solidarity of mortality is that realization that every man, woman, and child on this earth will die at some point. As a result, we are all unified in that reality.

This indisputable truth should affect our interactions with other humans in some way.  It should cause us to look on with some sympathy people who might otherwise repulse us.  What if you knew that the person who is frustrating you today — yea, even that politician — would die tomorrow?  As DKM puts it, “We recognize something shared between us and we grieve for them, and then, in a mysterious juxtaposition, realize that we’re grieving for ourselves.”

you have never met a human soul

who didn’t feel the curse’s toll

who didn’t wish that death would die

– Andrew Peterson, “Day by Day”