“At some point in history, Europeans had the brilliant idea of sending the dead to the outskirts of their towns. It wasn’t exactly ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ but it was definitely ‘out of sight, out of urban life.’ Graveyards were built beyond city walls; ghost were separated from the living. It was all done quickly and efficiently, like removing the yolks from the whites. The new arrangement had proved highly beneficial. When they no longer had to see tombstones – those ghastly reminders of life’s brevity and God’s severity – European citizens were galvanized into action. Having pushed death out of their daily routines, they could focus on other things: composing arias, inventing the guillotine and then the steam locomotive, colonizing the rest of the world and carving up the Middle East . . .You could do all that and much more if only you could take your mind off the disturbing thought of being a mere mortal.”
- 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak.