Nobody, nobody, needs to bury their dead. If they had been raised in a culture that did not bury their dead, do you still think they would still have that need? The simply believe they do because it is the tradition. It can, and will, change.
I'd agree. Nobody has the intrinsic need to bury their dead. Its a function of our society, and I'd agree that if our last x-thousand years of culture had been different, we'd all be saying "bury
grandpa? What are you, sick? We'll burn the entrails, east the flesh, and use the bones for furniture like we've always done! Bury
him? Urrrgh, weirdo!"
But that isn't what we do. We bury (mainly), because that's what we've always done. And there is a mountain to climb to change that, regardless of the need from space and resources. And you seem to agree with that -
....cemeteries are falling apart. But even then, just try to dig it up to build a shopping mall. See how many people support that.
but some of the suggested solutions don't seem to recognise that -
Passing laws banning metal caskets, embalming, and concrete tombs would be a start.
Yes - the governments could try to get those laws through. But imagine the hoo-haw there would be - especially with embalming, which I'll come back to. On the other hand,
A public information campaign explaining the wastefulness of the current burial practice, and suggesting less resource-hogging alternatives might gain a lot of positive attention. A petition to ban metal coffins and concrete tombs might get enough signatures to get on the ballot. Whether it is voted into law or not, it will bring attention the issue.
is a good idea - although even then, it IS going to require careful handling. Like it or not (and I don't), there are enough people who believe what the tabloid press tell them that this will quickly become a "liberals want to take grandma's coffin away and bury her in a potato sack" issue unless veeeery sensitively handled.
And that's where I have an issue.
I love how everyone is ignoring my actual point and instead, making my point. You love to hate me so much that you don't bother to read what I'm actually saying. This is not specifically directed at you Jamie, but you're just helping me demonstrate this amusing fact.
You have rational ideas, which need careful handling. But the way you present them, the way you argue them, seem designed precisely to generate opposition on emotional grounds - and on this subject, emotional grounds are the ones that will carry the politicians, at least for the forseeable future.
I suspect you pride yourself on your straight talking, no nonsense approach. Which would work if everyone were a totally rational creature capable of dispassionate assessment of the facts. But very, very few people are, which is why often the straight talking no-nonsense guy will just come across as....well, I think we all know what. We may still be right
, but that won't help him get his point accepted. Continually talking in the same way perhaps suggests that that person prefers the arguing
to the argument
? But I digress. One final point.
Embalming, as has been pointed out, IS a necessary function. Bodies start to go yuck very quickly, and embalming needs to happen almost instantly if the body is to be viewed after the first day or two. Having made the funeral arrangments for my father just a couple months ago, this point was made to me very diplomatically by the undertaker (if you'd been the undertaker you'd have been thumped on the nose with your delivery style!!), and I decided NOT to embalm, to have closed casket cremation. But I was able to take that decision because all the family had been close enough to see the body straight away. If I'd had to wait for someone to fly in a few days later.....I don't know.
I can tell you that I have no superstitious need to see my father's body - I was well aware that "he" was gone - but his physical form and appearance were still there and it made it possible for me to say goodbye, to pat his shoulder, and "acheive closure" (urgh, yuk, horrible phrase!!!) in a way that would have been much harder if the hospital had said "he's gone, we've dealt with the body".
Again, of course, we come back to society and culture, and if we'd all been raised different, I may well not have had the same problem with that. But we are, and (in the main) we do, and despite it being an increasingly urgent issue, it is nonetheless a sensitive one.
Can I ask - how long ago did your last loved one die? Were you responsible for the arrangements? I could well be wrong, but your delivery seems to be made by someone who has not gone through the experience, or at least not recently?