One of these days, if there’s enough demand – and I know full well there never will be – I may get round to some Dead Dadcasting. But in the meantime, I have started listening to other people’s podcasts on the way into and back home from work. Today I was listening to a Freakonomics podcast about souls. And very entertaining it was too.
They covered the story of a man who had observed that he was unable to find anyone willing to sell him their soul for $50. Even if they were avowed atheists, they wouldn’t part with it. Finally, the show was able to put him in touch with someone who was prepared to sell him their soul. I know the chemical difference between the Dead Dad just before and just after he died are pretty similar. So it’s not unreasonable to propose that this is due to some intangible essence that distinguishes the living from the dead. And because we have no idea what on earth it might be, it’s clear to see why people across the generations have presumed that this must be in God’s gift.
The podcast then discussed the Mormon practice of baptising the dead. While I can see that this might provide some comfort to those still living who feel their loved ones cannot go to heaven because they were unbaptised, it has become infamous due to some high profile “unilateral” baptisms, including Anne Frank and some Holocaust victims. I can see why members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints might want to baptise posthumously and I can also see why other people get upset about it. But it could afford me with a simple way to make the Church of the Dead Dad the largest church in the history of mankind…
And the title of this post? I started studying Gogol’s book after I did Russian O-level. But I never got very far. If you did, well done.