As I write this(b)log, my thoughts turn to my birthplace, and the Elysian Fields of my youth. I have been studying the history of the city of Pompeii and the catastrophic events which overtook it in 79 AD, and there are few things more likely to make one think about the randomness of birth and death and circumstance than what happened there.
The ancient Greeks thought that the afterlife was divided into three places - The Elysian Fields, where heroes and those who made their mark with good on the world would reside - The Asphodel Meadows, where the ordinary people(neither especially good nor bad), would live - and Tartarus, where the treacherous and evil would spend eternity being subjected to cruel and inhuman punishments - which I suppose is basically the equivalent of the Christian Old Testament notion of Hell.
The Asphodel Meadows were reputed to be neutral in all respects - mechanical, almost, in daily life - no joy, no sadness, no individual identity. The whole thing seems a little harsh to me - but then, I lived in New Jersey once - and nothing surprises me any more...
Causes Alex Grant Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center