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Death Is A Fact, And Our Culture Really Can’t Accept it. Here’s Why.

When we acknowledge and formally recognize death in our culture, it is fundamentally a different way of dealing with it than what we usually do.

There are a number of ways that humans deal with death, depending entirely on where in the world they live and what culture they were brought up in.

For example, in 1900 United States, every house was equipped with a “death room” where their dead would lay until the funeral as people came to pay their respects. In fact, families lost infants and children so often in the 1800s and early 1900s that it was very common for families to experience that kind of loss, but additionally, medicine and all things that kept all humans alive were very much still being discovered. 

As the funeral home industry took off in the early 1900s, the name “death room” was changed to “living room.”

From cremation to burial in a casket to tombs within pyramids to “sky burials” (where the body is placed high on the sides of cliffs and birds of prey feed upon it), human beings have many ways of handling their dead. 

But the fact of death itself is something we try not to deal with; so much so that most of our modern religions simply tell people that they’ll meet their loved one later, when they themselves pass on.

It can help in the moment, and assuage some of the grief and make it bearable, but author Sam Harris suggests in this 3-minute video that it isn’t helpful to simply deny grief and not recognize that something huge has just happened. 

Thumbnail image Creative Commons licensed via Flickr.


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