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10 Weird Ways To Honor The Dead: You'll Be Glad You're Not Alive When This Stuff Happens by Michael Volpi

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10 Weird Ways To Honor The Dead: You'll Be Glad You're Not Alive When This Stuff Happens



We may look back at historical ways of honoring the dead, thinking that they're barbaric and murderous. Even present-day ones seem bizarre or creepy. In the future historians will study our rituals and compare them with their own. What will they think?

Most of us, however, aren’t going to die when the sun becomes a red giant or the universe degenerates into a uniform void of cool, sparse gas. We’re going to leave relatives, friends and other loved ones behind, and they’re going to want to grieve and remember us in whatever way their culture accepts. They’re also going to have to dispose of our bodies, and most funeral rites incorporate that as part of the process. We can’t be perfectly preserved forever.

Egyptian mummies, skeletal Buddhist monks and even Gunther von Hagens’s plastinates are deteriorating – infinitesimally slowly, far too slowly to see much change in a single lifetime, but deteriorating nevertheless. Not even plastic is eternal and one day the matter in our bodies will be distributed back into the world of nature. In a Tibetan sky burial that might take three or four hours; for a plastinated corpse it could be 10,000 years or more. But it will happen. Funeral rituals are our way of coming to terms with it and making it manageable, whether that’s by delaying it as long as possible or encouraging nature’s scavengers to get it over with quickly and cleanly.


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About The Author...

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Michael Volpi

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