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The death thread

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Sorry if this upsets anyone's sensibilities, but I've been thinking about this a lot in the last few days.


We are all going to die at some point. We probably all have different views on what happens to us after death.


I'm interested in the topic of pre-death rituals, and the treatment of our bodies in this thread mostly, but happy for it to be a more generalised place for people to post about anything related to the topic.


Pretty much all religions of the world have some form of "last rites", and a proscription of what to do with the body. Mostly this involves burial or cremation.

Personally, I don't think I want to be buried, I have various reasons for that. I think I'd like to be cremated and my ashes sent out on the waves. Maybe that's asking for trouble, the ocean is restless, in constant motion. Does that sound like eternal peace? I don't know. I do take solace from the ocean, it is always in my consciousness, I don't think I could live away from it. 


But what about pre-death? I guess if life is taken suddenly and without warning, there's not much you can do to prepare.


What do you have in mind as your own "last rites"?


This one might be the most important thing to put thought into. So many people end up in a hospital deathbed, and at that point, decision making is taken away from the dying. This is a tragedy. My father in law laid dying in hospital, and said he just wanted one last beer. Nobody took this request seriously, and I don't think I'll forgive myself for not running out and getting him one. I mean, FFS, what is the worst that could have happened? He was literally about to die. 


What happens to me if I shun the last rites of the religion I was raised in? A broken circle is never usually a good thing. But I don't want to be treated as one of the flock, I'm not a sheep. Do I need to renounce the religion beforehand to close that loop?


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Wow excellent and honest post... Thanks for that. 


Indeed many people dont seem to take the last moments of a person that is about to die very seriously - rather they think its about them.  The seriously sick are often treated like infants or a delusional. So sad. I really think these are some seriously important moments. But it's a cultural thing.. I think it really varies from culture to culture...  And then you have the euthanasia thing.. So cruel that its illegal in almost every country. 


I think christian funerals and the whole rituals around them are overly sad and mostly defeatist - the more traditional and folk-like the rituals (f.e. in villages and smaller communities), the more suiting to the occasion, less formal  - more authentic , I think. I feel most funerals, except perhaps those of very young people, should be celebrations, maybe with a bitter sweet flavour, a party even.  But that would require a cultural shift. 


I too would like my body to burn. It has recently become an option in greece, or its about there, not sure.  I think cemeteries are very interesting places though.. Especially small village cemeteries out in nature, in more remotel places. I am not ashamed to admit I like walks in cemeteries lots more that most people would perceive as 'normal'. 


This "last moments before death" thing reveals another aspect of the whole thing. I dont think that anything happens after you die. Well, other people hapen. After the death, it really falls on other people. Like Epicurus said,  rationalising it doesnt really makse sense to fear of death, because  "when we are alive he is not there, and when he comes, we are not there" .  So we never meet death.  One could say death doesnt exist. Its only life that ceaces to be. 


I especially like your last questions. I have been an atheist since ~12 years old. I am ~41 now. From my experience, its really cool to live without any religion. There's more freedom, more questions to answer and wonder about. Its a more open approach to life. Its a more individualistic approach to life.  Maybe the individual point of view is lots more important than any "collective cosciousness" mumbo jumbo, which to be honest is a construct.. What is the collective consciousness? Some concept Yung came up with, BECAUSE HE WAS RELIGIOUS.  


So, yeah, I think that for some people it's very beneficial to break through the circle, denounce the 'religion'. Religion and much if not most of the existential awe is directly or inderectly linked with fear of death. If you dont want to feel like a member of the flock the FIRST and most important step is to completely get rid of your childhood religion and all the ethics that come along.  


There are tons of stuff to replace that former religious spirituality with. To stick with the childhood religion seems like a missed opportunity to me, but hey, it works for some people. Most people are not like me.  Even a big number of atheists and especially modern atheists and neo-atheists replace religion with scientifism.  Scientifism is their spiritual kick and their dogma.  


PS:  personal fave "last rites"  totally depends on circumstances.. you would have to die in a peaceful way to be able to succed in planning any last rites, which is something you cant know.. What you can do is "prepare" for it, by not shying away from it.  

PS2: Euthanasia being legal would definately allow people more freedom of how and when they die (including last rituals), which is propably why it's such a big tabboo and illegal.. All systems of opression and human manipulation are based on religion/religious type of thought  and the fear of death. If you make euthanasia legal, you empower people. 

Edited by sagiXsagi
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