A wise and uplifting book on the beauty of decay: against health crazes and the eternal belief in progress
After Dearest Pet, his stunning book about the flip side of animal love, Midas Dekkers carries on in a familiar fashion, lashing out at sacred institutions and established norms and values. This time he concentrates on the conflict between beautiful, young and firm on the one hand, and ugly, old and decrepit on the other. Mortality is considered in the broadest sense: along with death, decay and destruction, he also looks at buildings that are demolished before they get a chance to deteriorate into romantic ruins, and ageing people who would do anything to stay young, if only in appearance.
Glory is at its best at the moment of its passing, writes Dekkers. And: ‘More than anything else, life is a way of dying slowly.’ Only man is bothered by this. Grim-faced, he struggles against mould and fungus, renovates buildings, and declares war on his own mortality. De vergankelijkheid is vehemently opposed to health crazes, delusions of immortality, contemporary neophilia and the eternally optimistic belief in progress.
Dekkers believes that our aversion to decay and mortality makes our lives shallow. With his typically idiosyncratic erudition, he jumps from plants to animals to humanity to inanimate objects, all for the purpose of conveying his insights into death, but never forgetting to provide a scientific basis for his mental leaps. The way of all flesh develops into a series of hilarious accounts of the clumsy ways mortals try to sidestep their own transience. Dekkers obviously enjoys showing his readers new ways of looking at things and never wastes any time before wiping the floor with the fallacies that others hold so dear.