Every society has its ways of dealing with death. Some enforce long mourning periods in ritual dress. Some cover mirrors. Some hold celebrations of life. And of course there are countless individual variations as well.
I once read a great book by a terrible author whose name I won’t share here, where telling the whole truth about a person, both the good and the bad, had become a tradition. It fascinated me – this idea that we do a disservice to people by only saying the good things about them after they have passed.
On the practical side, cemeteries take up a lot of land that could be used for other purposes, and cremation has steadily been gaining ground over the burying of our dead, and is generally less expensive. On the other hand, an actual grave site gives families a place to go to honor their dead.
We’re also working to push back old age. We already live a fair amount longer than people 100 or 200 years ago, and generally in better health. We may one day be able to turn off the process that creates aging altogether – the planned obsolescence inside each one of us.
So my questions for you today: How we will deal with death in the future – ritually and practically? And will we eventually eliminate it altogether, with what consequences?